Cycling along Stages 1 and 2

Württemberger Tälerradweg Cycle Trail

Mit dem Fahrrad lässt sich das Eselsburger Tal mit den Steinernen Jungfrauen und spektakulären Felsformationen erkunden.
Discovering a Long-Distance Cycle Trail in Southwest Germany

BW-Story - Hirsch & Greif

Discovering a Long-Distance Cycle Trail in Southwest Germany

Welcome to the Württemberger Tälerradweg Cycle Trail, one of the newest long-distance cycle trails in the Southwest Germany. Opened in 2023, it covers 273 kilometres from Crailsheim to Schwäbisch Gmünd, crossing a total of 12 valleys along the way. We joined friends Julia and Simone on stage two of their cycling adventure

In Unterkochen am Nordrand der Schwäbischen Alb entspringt der Weiße Kocher in mehreren Quellen unterschiedlicher Größe.
In Unterkochen on the northern edge of the Swabian Alb, the Weiße Kocher River has several springs of different sizes. | © TMBW, Foto: Andreas Weise

“Don’t let go,” laughs Julia as she grabs a tight hold of her friend Simone’s hand. Carefully, she places one foot on the tree trunk in the middle of the wide Kocher Spring. She gently pushes her foot, first left, then right, and when nothing moves, she climbs onto the short trunk surrounded by shallow water. “Did it!” Julia says with a grin and balances away from the bank, her arms outstretched. In the little woodland by the spring, the air is pleasantly cool. The friends lie down and relax in the grass next to their bikes. Then they use an app to try and identify the water plants as they cool their feet in the cold water. They have plenty of time. Today’s route from Buch to Giengen an der Brenz should take them just under four hours. The remaining eight hours of sunshine are reservesd for those lovely things you finally have time for on holiday.

Ein Fernradweg: Was ist das?

According to German cycling club ADFC, a long-distance cycle trail is at least 150 kilometres long, has a unique name and can be cycled in all weathers. The specifications also require tourist infrastructure with stops for meals and overnight accommodation along the route, so these cycling adventures are manageable for almost anyone. Before the trip, it is worth studying the route and the altitude difference to be covered so you can think about whether you can cope with the recommended daily stages or you would rather plan more overnight stops along the way.

Twelve Valleys in Six Days

Twelve Valleys in Six Days

Der Württemberger Tälerradweg führt auf ruhigen Radwegen mit bestem Belag durch malerische Flussauen und über die idyllischen Hügel der Schwäbischen Alb.
The Württemberger Tälerradweg Cycle Trail leads along quiet, well-maintained cycle paths through picturesque floodplains and over the idyllic hills of the Swabian Alb. | © TMBW, Foto: Andreas Weise
Auf dem Württemberger Tälerradweg durch die Schwäbische Alb bietet der Bucher Stausee eine schöne Bademöglichkeit.
On the Württemberger Tälerradweg Cycle Trail through the Swabian Alb, Bucher Stausee Reservoir is a beautiful place to swim. | © TMBW, Foto: Andreas Weise
Der Bucher Stausee ist ein vier Kilometer langes Hochwasserrückhaltebecken und Naherholungsgebiet.
Bucher Stausee is a four-kilometre-long reservoir and local recreation area. | © TMBW, Foto: Anna Monterroso-Carneiro

There are plenty of indulgence options along the six stages of the 273-kilometre long-distance cycle trail. These include those in the numerous towns, such as Crailsheim, the starting point of the trail and the finish in Schwäbisch Gmünd as well as those along the Kocher, Jagst, Brenz, Rems and Danube Rivers that accompany you along sections of your ride and those in the 12 valleys you cycle through.

This long-distance cycle trail is brand new. It was put together from sections of the Hohenlohe-Ostalb and Alb-Neckar Cycle Trails in  2023. The newly created route has been awarded four out of five stars by German cycling club ADFC.

The official route of the Württemberger Tälerradweg looks a bit like a spidery letter ‘J’ on the map and covers six stages from town to town. But Simone and Julia took a diversion as early as the first day of their ride. Instead of finishing the first stage in Aalen, they headed to Buch, as they fancied a dip in the 67-acre Bucher Stausee Reservoir. When planning their route, it was important to the two friends that water would play a key role. They are happy to take the odd diversion to springs that are not directly on the cycle trail itself.

Fernradtour: Die richtige Vorbereitung

Once you have looked at the daily stages, it does no harm to do one or two rides the length of the day’s routes. This will allow you to check if your bike is in good working order and find out whether the saddle is comfortable enough for a long ride. It is always a good idea to get the bike checked by a professional before a long trip and to know how to patch a tyre. If you are travelling with luggage, make sure you test ride with realistically packed bags to see whether you will be okay with the weight. One more tip: Look out for special accommodation for cyclists. Bett+Bike accommodations provide extra services for cyclists, such as repair sets and contacts to workshops, drying rooms for equipment and clothes, and a really generous breakfast.

Perfect For A Break: Eselsburg Valley

Perfect For A Break: Eselsburg Valley

Wunderschön verwunschen schlängelt sich die Brenz im Eselsburger Tal an eindrucksvollen Felsformationen vorbei.
The beautifully enchanted Brenz River meanders past impressive rock formations in the Eselsburg Valley. | © TMBW, Foto: Anna Monterroso-Carneiro
Der Radweg durch das Eselsburger Tal führt an den Steinernen Jungfrauen vorbei.
The cycle path through the Eselsburg Valley passes the Steinerne Jungfrauen (stone virgins), a prominent rock formation. | © TMBW, Foto: Andreas Weise
Das Wirtshaus Talschenke in Eselsburg bietet regionale Spezialitäten in gemütlicher Atmosphäre - im Biergarten auch direkt an der Brenz.
The Talschenke Inn in Eselsburg offers regional specialities in a cosy atmosphere - in a beer garden directly by the Brenz River. | © TMBW, Foto: Andreas Weise

Simone closes her eyes as the wind wafts gently through her hair. The breeze on her forehead and through her hair feels so good after wearing a helmet for so long. Julia sits across from Simone in the beer garden of the Talschenke Inn and sighs with satisfection. Although there are only eight kilometres left until the end of today’s stage, they have decided to take a break in the pretty village of Eselsburg. The Brenz River flows gently by, glistening through the low-hanging branches and high grass on the riverbank. The river is wonderfully enchanting here in the Eselsburg Valley. It meanders in gentle curves through the juniper heaths, gurgles past meadow orchards, and is not distracted from its route by the impressive rock formations. As the two friends enjoy their lunch of lentils, spaetzle and home-made Maultaschen (Swabian ravioli) in their idyllic spot in the garden, they think about what they have enjoyed the most on their tour so far. Simone’s favourite was the little town of Königsbronn with its baroque town hall and the blue-green lake at the source of the Brenz River. Julia loved the morning swim in the Bucher Stausee Reservoir and is looking forward to more chances to swim later on.

Der vier Meter tiefe Brenztopf ist eine der schönsten Karstquellen der Schwäbischen Alb.
The four metre deep Brenztopf is one of the most beautiful karst springs in the Swabian Alb. | © TMBW, Foto: Anna Monterroso-Carneiro
Das barocke Rathaus der Gemeinde Königsbronn auf der Schwäbischen Alb liegt direkt am grün-blauen Brenztopf.
The baroque town hall of Königsbronn in the Swabian Alb is situated right next to the green-blue Brenztopf Spring. | © TMBW, Foto: Anna Monterroso-Carneiro
Evil Mythical Creatures and Geological Phenomena</span><span>&nbsp;

Evil Mythical Creatures and Geological Phenomena 

As the two friends push their bikes along the tarmac road after their long break, the light has changed. The green and beige tones of the summer landscape seem to have become warmer and softer. After a couple of bends in the road and a quick stop to watch cows eating in a pasture, they leave the village behind them and are once again surrounded by nature. A short time later, they arrive at the Steinerne Jungfrauen, literally the ‘stone virgins’, one of the highlights of the second stage of the cycle trial. These two pointed rock cones rise up towards the sky, right next to the cycle trail. Simone is fascinated by myths and legends and knows the grisly story about the rocks that the people of the valley have come up with. “They are supposed to be two of the maids of the former lady of Eselsburg Castle,” she explains. “The lady of the castle hated men and is said to have banned even her maids from having contact with any male beings. Unfortunately, the two young maids fell in love with two lads they met on their regular trips to gather water in the valley.” Simone gulps: “The lady of the castle is said to have turned them to stone as a punishment for their disobedience.”

Mit dem Fahrrad lässt sich das Eselsburger Tal mit den Steinernen Jungfrauen und spektakulären Felsformationen erkunden.
You can explore the Eselsburg Valley with the spectacular Stone Virgins Rock Formation by bike. | © TMBW, Foto: Anna Monterroso-Carneiro

Of course, we now know that the two rocks are probably not enchanted virgins from times gone by. The five-kilometre-long valley has been carved out over millions of years by the Brenz River around the Buigen Mountain Range. Parts of the rugged limestone of the Swabian Jura were washed away and others were exposed. Along the green, overgrown edges of the valley, Julia and Simone discover more and more rocks that have evidently withstood the flow of the Brenz.

Stage Finish in Giengen an der Brenz

Stage Finish in Giengen an der Brenz

Ein Abstecher vom Württemberger Tälerradweg nach Giengen an der Brenz, der Heimat der Steifftiere, lohnt sich.
A detour from the Württemberger Tälerradweg Cycle Trail to Giengen an der Brenz, the home of the Steiff animals, is well worth the trip. | © TMBW, Fotot: Andreas Weise

The two friends cheer loudly as they reach their destination in Giengen an der Brenz in the evening. We made it! Although they are tired from today’s ride and all they have seen along the way, they are already looking forward to the next day. But before they head off towards Ulm, they want to visit the Steiff Museum. Apollonia Margarete Steiff, the inventor of the world-famous teddy bears, was born in Giengen and built her cuddly toy factory here. In the museum, the Steiff animals are presented in different scenes, and you can also see some historic models, such as the ‘Elefäntle’, the very first Steiff animal, originally sold as a pincushion. Fortunately, it is only a three-hour ride. So Julia and Simone have plenty of time to spend the morning enjoying everything the Württemberger Tälerradweg Cycle Trail has to offer.

Cycling along the Württemberger Tälerradweg Cycle Trail

Overview

Cycling along the Württemberger Tälerradweg Cycle Trail

Neidlinger Valley

Long distance cycle path

Württemberg Valley Cycle Route - overall tour

Medium
  • 273 km
  • 20:50 h
  • 1307 m
Castle ob Ellwangen in Ellwangen

Long distance cycle path

Württemberg Valley Cycle Route - Stage 1: Crailsheim to Aalen

Medium
  • 53.9 km
  • 03:55 h
  • 321 m
Stone Virgins in the Eselsburg Valley

Long distance cycle path

Württemberg Valley Cycle Route - Stage 2: Aalen to Giengen an der Brenz

Medium
  • 48.5 km
  • 03:45 h
  • 61 m
Aalen Panorama

Aalen

Fantastic views await you in many corners of Aalen, especially at the city's most popular vantage point - the Aalbäumle. It's worth exploring a …
Eselsburger Tal

Nature preserve Herbrechtingen

Eselsburger Tal

Steiff Museum exterior view

Children’s & family museum Giengen (Brenz)

Steiff Museum

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