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Travelogue: Altmühltal-Panorama-Path

On 4 paws along Germany's most beautiful hiking path.

When I read that in 2012 the Altmühltal-Panorama-Path was crowned Germany’s most beautiful hiking path and considered one of the ‘Top Trails’ of Germany, I could not help but   travel to the idolised Altmühltal and get an idea of Eurohike’s hiking holiday Altmühltal-Panorama-Path, 9 days. Instinctively I chose the second week in September where we were blessed with fabulous late-summer moments, asked my dad whether he fancied a father-daughter-trip and of course grabbed Barney, my four-legged hiking companion featuring a cold nose.

Arrival at the spa town Treuchtlingen

Already the journey into the Altmühl-valley completely decelerated. We arrived in the spa town of Treuchtlingen, checked into our modern room in the recently renovated Altmühlhotel and on the same evening explored the local spa park, where I could have spent hours, and the Treuchtlingen castle ruin.

Lateron with an air of excitement we packed our rucksacks and divided hiking luggage from the main luggage. Thanks to the well-organised luggage transport all our non-hiking clothes, toiletries and dog food remained comfortably in the big luggage.

Idyllic river Altmühl…

The first hiking day started perfectly for us with a delicious breakfast in the hotel. Invigorated we strapped on our rucksacks and aided by our route description and city map of Treuchtlingen we check out the route from the hotel to the first important signpost for us. The Altmühl-valley Panorama Path is signposted well with red-yellow signposts along the 200km-long route. The initial stage should lead us into Pappenheim roughly 8km away. After the bridge over the river Altmühl we left Treuchtlingen behind and directly tackled the first ascent. In the forest it felt still very cold on this particular September morning, however once we reached the first viewpoint after just one kilometer we packed away our jackets in our rucksacks. The sun rose higher and higher and bestowed on us plenty of warmth for this day.

Sometimes to the left, sometimes to the right

We walked across fields, crossed the river Altmühl and sometimes this idyllic river ran on our right, sometimes on our left and also sometimes behind our route. We walked through the little hamlet of Dietfurt before ascending steeply into the forest. By now it was nice and warm. At 26 degrees we enjoyed the shade along the forest paths and the tranquillity along the trails leading us through the local forest ‘Friedwald’. We took a rest at a viewpoint with the best view onto Pappenheim castle and devoured our provisions we brought along in our rucksacks. We decided on the direct route to Pappenheim instead of an additional detour-loop of 8 kilometres. In Pappenheim we visited the majestic castle complex where dogs are welcome too and are allowed to come anywhere as long as they are on a lead. Barney loved it in the cool torture chamber, but naturally we led him out of there safely.

Slopes of heath covered in juniper

Hiking Day 2 welcomed us with marvellous sunshine. We started early on the longest stage of the tour. From Pappenheim we hiked 25 km via Solnhofen and Mörnsheim to Dollnstein. The first few kilometres already promised a fabulous tour. We proceeded along narrow trails along mountainsides and on every corner soaked up completely new views. We glanced at heath slopes covered in juniper, passed impressive rock formations such as the renowned ‘Twelve Apostles’ and hiked along glorious panoramic sections. In the villages of Solnhofen and Mörnsheim there are plenty of options for a lunch break or to cut the tour short. We definitely recommend you bring plenty of water with you – especially for the four-legged friend – since many sections are located on unprotected hilltops. Barney persevered bravely and once we reached Dollnstein threw himself directly into the cool waters of the river Altmühl.

Where you come across herds of sheep, shepherd and all …

During our final day of hiking there was an air of melancholy. We would have so loved to stay longer. Packing our rucksack in the morning was total routine by now and our trekking-experienced Barney too know straight away what his task was. Again we walked on lovely trails through fragrant pine forests, across vast juniper heath areas  and even came across a herd of sheep, shepherd and all. At the adventure quarry Blumenberg we were forced to rush since a thunderstorm was brewing, otherwise we would have embarked on a fossil treasure hunt. The final panorama trail led us in a bend around Eichstätt and offered fantastic views from various viewpoints and perspectives onto the impressive castle ‘Willibaldsburg’ of Eichstätt. With the first sounds of thunder we reached our hotel feeling tired and completely happy.

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