The Altmühl Cycle Route


Dollnstein on the Altmühl


On the Altmühl in Essing

On the way on the Altmühl cycle route

On the way on the Altmühl cycle route



Danube Gorge near Weltenburg

Danube Gorge near Weltenburg

Are you looking for an introduction to the world of cycling tours? Then a cycling tour on the Altmühl Cycle Route is just the thing for you. Over a length of just under 250 kilometres, the Altmühl Cycle Route accompanies the river that gives it its name once right across Bavaria. The Altmühl is considered one of the slowest rivers in Germany. Like the river, like the cycle path close to its banks.

The Altmühl Cycle Route is not only one of Germany's most popular cycle routes, but also one of the most leisurely. The unagitated nature of the Altmühl will seduce you into a decelerated cycling experience. With a gradient of just under 120 metres to the confluence with the Danube, you roll almost imperceptibly downhill on the almost flat cycle path. In addition, the Altmühl Cycle Route offers a special perspective on the numerous sights and natural phenomena in the heart of Bavaria. The ever-changing landscape is characterised by a multitude of geological and historical evidence. Prehistoric remains from the Jurassic period, Roman buildings, medieval castles and venerable monasteries line the Altmühl Cycle Route. Thanks to its excellent quality and infrastructure, it is an ideal travel and holiday destination.
To name just a few of the highlights along the way: The Roman fort Biriciana in Weißenburg, baroque Eichstätt, Prunn Castle near Riedenburg and Weltenburg Monastery near Kelheim.

On this page you can find out more about the Altmühl Cycle Route, its topography, signposting and route quality as well as how to get there and the ideal time to travel. Be inspired by our cycling holidays along the Altmühl. We will be happy to advise you on your choice of route. If you decide to travel with us, we will take care of the hotel bookings and luggage transport for you. Carefree, just like the Altmühl itself.

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Altmühl Cycle Route

Short & simple: The Altmühl Cycle Route

  • Length
    approx. 250 km
  • Topography
    Altitude profile ●●○○○
    Mainly flat, slightly hilly for the first few kilometres.
  • Signposting
    Uniform signage in both directions, with green-blue-yellow logo at all important intersections and additional information boards along the route.
  • Quality
    The cycle path runs for the first few kilometres on paved forest and field paths as well as low-traffic side roads. From the Altmühlsee, mostly finely gravelled cycle paths near the shore, without traffic nuisance.
Signpost Altmühl Cycle Route
Signpost Altmühl Cycle Route

On the way from Rothenburg ob der Tauber to Kelheim

The Altmühl Cycle Route begins in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. The town is considered one of the most romantic medieval towns in Germany. Accompanied by the hills of the Nature Park Frankenhöhe, you cycle the first few kilometres on the Altmühl Cycle Route through the Upper Altmühl Valley to Herrieden. Turn your back on the still very narrow Altmühl for a short while and take a detour to nearby Ansbach.

Shortly before you reach the baroque town of Gunzenhausen, you cycle along the shores of the Altmühlsee. The man-made lake is worth a dip in the cool water before the cycle path leads you into the Nature Park Altmühltal. It is characterised by its special landscape. Bizarre dolomite rocks, castles and fragrant juniper heaths accompany you along the cycle path. A detour to Weißenburg is also worthwhile. The Roman fort Biriciana in the town area and the legendary Hohenzollern fortress Wülzburg overlooking the town are real eye-catchers. Back on the Altmühl Cycle Route, you reach the thermal spa town of Treuchtlingen.

A few kilometres further on, you will discover Pappenheim Castle perched on a hill. Solnhofen, famous for its fossil deposits, and the university town of Eichstätt with Willibaldsburg Castle and the prince-bishop's residence are also on your route. On your way towards the mouth of the Altmühl, the Altmühl valley continues to spread out. Stops at the Beilngries Brewery Museum and Hirschberg Castle are worthwhile, as is Dietfurt, known as Bavarian China.

Bei Dietfurt trifft die Altmühl auf den Main-Donau-Kanal. Sie teilt sich mit ihm das Flussbett auf knapp 34 Kilometern und ist nun schiffbar. Ein nächstes Highlight am Altmühl-Radweg ist das Städtchen Riedenburg, das von Schloss Rosenburg und den Burgruinen Rabenstein und Tachenstein umgeben ist. Unweit Riedenburgs treffen Sie auf die Burg Prunn, eine der eindrucksvollsten Ritterburgen Deutschlands. Besuchen Sie in der Nähe von Essing die Tropfsteinhöhle Schulerloch und bestaunen Sie die Befreiungshalle auf dem Michelberg nahe der alten Herzogstadt Kelheim.

At Dietfurt, the Altmühl meets the Main-Danube Canal. It shares the riverbed with it for almost 34 kilometres and is now navigable. A next highlight on the Altmühl Cycle Route is the small town of Riedenburg, surrounded by Rosenburg Castle and the castle ruins of Rabenstein and Tachenstein. Not far from Riedenburg you will come across Prunn Castle, one of the most impressive knight's castles in Germany. Visit the Schulerloch stalactite cave near Essing and marvel at the Befreiungshalle on the Michelberg near the old ducal town of Kelheim.

Below the town, the Altmühl flows into the Danube. Although the Altmühl Cycle Route ends here, it is worth continuing, now on the Danube Cycle Route, to Regensburg. Do you fancy cycling the entire Altmühl? Then we recommend our classic route from Rothenburg ob der Tauber to Regensburg. By the way, the Altmühl Cycle Route can also be cycled in the opposite direction.

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Travel time

Experience shows that the middle and lower sections of the Altmühl Cycle Route are very busy in July and August. Finding accommodation becomes even more difficult. Ideally, you should switch to these cycle path sections in April and June and September and October. The Upper Altmühl Valley is less frequented and thus offers optimal conditions for quieter cycling between March and October.

As the Altmühl does not flow very fast, it offers ideal cooling in one of the designated river swimming pools during the summer months.


Cycle break in the Nature Park Altmühltal
Cycle break in the Nature Park Altmühltal


If you want to ride your own bike on the Altmühl Cycle Route, we recommend travelling by car or train. All larger towns along the Altmühl Cycle Route are connected to the motorway and federal road network. Many towns between Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Eichstätt, as well as Kinding, Saal an der Donau (about eight kilometres from Kelheim) and Regensburg are connected to the long-distance or regional railway network. Please make sure that your chosen train connection allows you to take your bicycle with you. Along the Altmühl Cycle Route, the towns of Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Ansbach as well as Regensburg (on the Danube Cycle Route) are served by long-distance bus. You must register in advance if you wish to take your bike with you. The nearest airports are in Nuremberg and Munich.

The source of the Altmühl
The source of the Altmühl

Short cuts

If you do not want to cycle a stage or the weather is not cooperating, you can shorten your stage. However, this is not always possible without problems. Railway lines or stations that run parallel to the cycle path are rare. You must therefore reckon with longer detours. Only between Gunzenhausen and Eichstätt does the railway line run close to the cycle path. Between Eichstätt and Kelheim and as far as Regensburg, the FreizeitBus runs on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from spring to autumn. The bus has a bicycle trailer. Groups with more than ten bikes must book in advance. The Altmühl is navigable from Dietfurt. However, regular boats mainly run between Riedenburg and Kelheim. Bicycles can be taken on board.

Burg Kipfenberg
Burg Kipfenberg an der Altmühl

Who is the Altmühl Cycle Route suitable for?


The Altmühl Cycle Route is ideal for cycling beginners. Thanks to the gentle gradient of the Altmühl river of only 120 metres along the entire route, you can easily cycle from place to place on the Altmühl cycle path near the river banks. The mostly barely noticeable gradients are just as suitable for families. You can let your children cycle themselves on long stretches without hesitation. The many rest areas along the way offer an additional recreational factor. Our family cycle tour, which also takes you into the Franconian Lake District, is particularly family-friendly.

Especially in the extensive Altmühl Nature Park, with its picture-book landscapes, nature lovers get their money's worth. The same goes for those interested in culture and history: visitor quarries for amateur geologists, prehistoric treasures and Roman sites, medieval castles and magnificent residences - there is much to discover along the Altmühl Cycle Route.

The area along the Altmühl also offers a high recreational value for climbers, hikers and canoeists. Our tip: Why not combine cycling with a canoe trip? This is easily possible with our Canoe and Bike Tour at the Altmühl. For those who want to take a sporty approach, the Altmühl Cycle Path is also recommended. The well-maintained cycle path is ideal for cycling one or two kilometres more than usual.

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