Do you love wide-open vistas? Are you interested in Ice Age caves? Then the Albtäler Cycle Path is for you. Rated 4* by the ADFC (German Cyclist’s Association), the 186-km / 115-mile circuit in the Swabian Alb is a real roller-coaster, taking in eight valleys. Some cyclists relish the workout; others appreciate the help of an e-bike.
This is SouthWest Germany’s newest specially-designated long-distance cycle route and it passes through the unspoiled hills of the Swabian Alb UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Here, limestone caves were recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2017, thanks to the discovery of artworks dating back 40,000 years! And several of these accessible caves are on the trail.
A good place to start the five-stage tour is Amstetten. As you pedal through part of the UNESCO Swabian Alb Geopark, explore the romantic Lone Valley, where a highlight is the Charlottenhöhle, discovered in 1893. One of the region’s largest accessible caves, its 587 m /2,000 ft of walkways pass imposing stalagmites and stalactites. Learn about mankind’s earliest art and culture at the family-oriented Vogelherd Archäopark, with its two small caves. Also fun is HöhlenErlebnisWelt, the Adventure Cave World in Giengen-Hürben. Above ground, geological curiosities include the Stone Maidens rock formation in the Eselsburger Valley. The Upper Filstal valley is known for its natural mineral springs: enjoy a soak in a thermal pool in Bad Überkingen or Bad Ditzenbach. Then go underground again in Laichingen, in Germany‘s deepest cave, the Tiefenhöhle (80 m / 263 ft deep and 1,253 m / 4,100 ft long). This cycle tour is the best geology and archaeology lesson ever!