A Short Vacation in the Swabian Alb (Schwäbisches Alb)

Our vacation in the Swabian Alb took place in the high summertime. The Swabian Alb in the southwest of Germany is a mountain range offering plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Overshadowed by its neighbour, the Black Forest, the Swabian Alb has rolling hills, beautiful countryside, fairy tale castles, hiking trails, medieval towns, and a famous university town of Tübingen. It is an ideal place for holidaymakers of all ages.

We stayed in Royal City Apartments, Metzingen since it is close to many places we would like to visit. Our short vacation in the Swabian Alb includes following itinerary:

  • 1st Day: Old Town of Tübingen and Metzingen outlet shopping
  • 2ed Day: Hohenzollern Castle (Burg Hohenzollern) and Lichtenstein Castle (Schloss Lichtenstein)
  • 3rd Day: Bad Urach and Hohenneuffen Fortress Ruins (Burg Hohen Neuffen)
Entrance View of the Hohenneuffen Fortress Ruins (Burg Hohen Neuffen); Schwäbisches Alb itinerary

1st Day: Old Town of Tübingen

The old town of Tübingen

The historic centre of Tübingen is a lovingly restored medieval centre with the typical atmosphere of a university town. Our walking tour started from the plane tree avenue on a small island in the centre. Along the waterfront, we were happy to see one of the most famous picturesque places in Tübingen, the colourful houses built in the Middle Ages on the city wall above the river Neckar, which created this distinctive waterfront.

There are several good restaurants along the waterfront. After having lunch in the Mexico restaurant, we headed to the castle (Schloss Hohentübingen). Then, we wandered through the market square and visited city hall. The old town of Tübingen is also famous for its numerous half-timbered houses.  

Metzingen outlet

Late afternoon, before returning to our apartment, we had a quick shipping tour in the Metzingen outlet. We had spent most of our time in the Lindt chocolate shop. The shop had several promotions on that day. I even found my favourite Mocha chocolate balls! 

View of the Old town of Tübingen from the island; vacation in the Swabian Alb

2ed Day: Hohenzollern Castle (Burg Hohenzollern) and Lichtenstein Castle (Schloss Lichtenstein)

Hohenzollern Castle (Burg Hohenzollern)

The castle stands almost 900 metres above the Swabian Jura. But the best view of the Hohenzollern Castle is from a neighbouring hill, the Zellerhorn Gipfel. From the parking place to the hilltop is a nice walking trail. 

We took some pictures of the castle from the hill and then went back to the parking place via the lower viewpoint, Zellerhornwiese. Those international visitors who arrive in Frankfurt can book the Hohenzollern Castle day tour to visit this castle. 

Lichtenstein Castle (Schloss Lichtenstein)

We had a quick lunch in the restaurant near the parking area. The restaurant offers snacks as well as a formal meal. From the restaurant, it is only a few minutes of walking to the castle ground.

Inspired by Wilhelm Hauff’s novel Lichtenstein, the Duke of Urach had constructed the neo-Gothic architecture of Lichtenstein Castle on the historical foundation walls of a medieval castle. If Neuschwanstein Castle is the fairy-tale castle in Bavaria, the Lichtenstein Castle is the one in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. 

The view from the castle is fantastic. I could see the ditch around it and the cliff, the village below, and the white stone (as it reflects in the name, Lichtenstein, the light-coloured stone.). The best view of the castle is from its small garden. Outside the castle garden, there are another walkway and two viewpoints, from which visitors can only see part of the castle.

Walkway to the Zellerhorn Gipfel
Hohenzollern Castle (Burg Hohenzollern); vacation i nthe Swabian Alb

3rd Day: Bad Urach and Hohenneuffen Fortress Ruins (Burg Hohen Neuffen)

Bad Urach

Bad Urach at the foot of the Alb is a spa town with fantastic hiking trails, healing springs, historical buildings, such as Urach Residential Palace (Residenzschloss Urach) at the edge of the Swabian Alps. The palace is the only remaining late Medieval residential palace in the Württemberg region. Its Goldener Saal (golden hall) bears the coat of arms of Count Eberhard im Bart. A stroll through the centre of town, we admired many timbered buildings from the 15th and 16th centuries. 

Hohenneuffen Fortress Ruins (Burg Hohen Neuffen)

High above the town of Neuffen, the fortress offers a breathtaking view of the enchanting landscape of Württemberg. The Hohenneuffen fortress was never conquered during its period of military use. In addition to its military function, the Hohenneuffen fortress also served as a prison.

From the parking place and the bus stop, it is about 15 minutes of walking. Entrance to the castle garden is free of charge. The restaurant in the courtyard offers simple German food. Its terrace has views of the surrounding idyllic valleys.

vacation i nthe Swabian Alb
Hohenneuffen Fortress Ruins (Burg Hohen Neuffen); Schwäbisches Alb itinerary
Entrance of the Hohenneuffen Fortress Ruins (Burg Hohen Neuffen); Schwäbisches Alb itinerary
View from the Restaurant Terrace of the Hohenneuffen Fortress Ruins (Burg Hohen Neuffen)

Tips for a vacation in the Swabian Alb

We stayed in Royal City Apartments in Metzingen, the outlet city. The driving time to all the above places is less than one hour. It is easy to extend the vacation in the Swabian Alb to one week and more. Each of those towns, such as Bad Urach or Tübingen, is the base for exploring the surroundings. Sites such as Hohenzollernschloss in Sigmaringen, the waterfalls in Bad Urach, deep beech forests, exciting natural caves, and many hiking trails in the area  are perfect destinations for any holiday itinerary.Some of my hotel picks are:

If you are planning your next holiday there, please book accommodations earlier.

Restaurant Terrace of the Hohenneuffen Fortress Ruins (Burg Hohen Neuffen); vacation in the Swabian Alb

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