Our summer vacation in the Swabian Alb was fantastic! Tucked away in the southwest of Germany, the Swabian Alb is a mountain range filled with lots of cool stuff to do. While it might live in the shadow of its neighbor, the Black Forest, the Swabian Alb has rolling hills, picturesque countryside, enchanting castles, hiking trails, medieval towns, and the famous university town of Tübingen. It’s a perfect spot for holidaymakers of all ages!
We chose to stay at Royal City Apartments in Metzingen as it’s conveniently located near the places we want to explore. Here’s our planned itinerary for the short vacation in the Swabian Alb:
- 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)
1st Day: Old Town of Tübingen
The old town of Tübingen
The historic heart of Tübingen is a charmingly restored medieval centre, exuding the distinctive vibe of a university town. Our walking adventure kicked off at the plane tree avenue on a quaint island in the middle. At the waterfront, we were happy to see one of Tübingen’s most renowned and picturesque spots – the colourful medieval houses perched atop the city wall, overlooking the Neckar River.
Several excellent restaurants are along the waterfront. After a satisfying lunch at Mexico restaurant, we made our way to the castle (Schloss Hohentübingen). Later, we meandered through the market square and explored the city hall. Tübingen’s old town is also renowned for its abundance of half-timbered houses.
In the late afternoon, just before heading back to our apartment, we made a quick stop at the Metzingen outlet. Our primary focus was the Lindt chocolate shop, where it had numerous promotions available that day. To my delight, I stumbled upon my favorite Mocha chocolate balls!
2ed Day: Hohenzollern Castle (Burg Hohenzollern) and Lichtenstein Castle (Schloss Lichtenstein)
Hohenzollern Castle (Burg Hohenzollern)
The castle proudly perches nearly 900 meters above the Swabian Jura. However, for the most stunning view of Hohenzollern Castle, we made our way to a nearby hill called Zellerhorn Gipfel. A pleasant walking trail leads from the parking area to the hill’s summit.
We captured some picturesque shots of the castle from the hill and retraced our steps back to the parking spot, enjoying the lower viewpoint, Zellerhornwiese. International visitors arriving in Frankfurt can consider booking he Hohenzollern Castle day tour for an enriching visit to this historic site.
Lichtenstein Castle (Schloss Lichtenstein)
We grabbed a quick lunch at the restaurant near the parking area, offering both snacks and formal meals.
Inspired by Wilhelm Hauff’s novel “Lichtenstein,” the Duke of Urach brought to life the neo-Gothic architecture of Lichtenstein Castle, situated on the historical foundation walls of a medieval castle. If Neuschwanstein Castle is the fairy-tale castle in Bavaria, Lichtenstein Castle claims its spot as the counterpart in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
The panoramic view from the castle is truly fantastic. I could take in the details of the surrounding ditch, the cliff, the village below, and the light-coloured stone (as reflected in the name “Lichtenstein”). For the optimal castle view, the small garden proved to be the perfect viewpoint. Beyond the castle garden, additional walkways and two viewpoints offer glimpses of different sections of the castle.
3rd Day: Bad Urach and Hohenneuffen Fortress Ruins (Burg Hohen Neuffen)
Bad Urach, located at the foot of the Alb, is a delightful spa town with hiking trails, and therapeutic springs. And, the historical gems like the Urach Residential Palace (Residenzschloss Urach) is on the fringes of the Swabian Alps. This palace stands as the sole surviving late Medieval residential palace in the Württemberg region, with its magnificent Goldener Saal (golden hall) proudly displaying the coat of arms of Count Eberhard im Bart. As we headed towards the town centre, we couldn’t help but admire the many timbered buildings dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries.
Hohenneuffen Fortress Ruins (Burg Hohen Neuffen)
Atop high above Neuffen, the fortress offers a stunning vista of Württemberg’s enchanting landscape. Throughout its military tenure, the Hohenneuffen fortress withstood all attempts at conquest, showcasing its indomitable strength. In addition to its military role, the fortress also served as a prison.
A pleasant 15-minute walk from the parking area and bus stop brought us to the castle garden, where entry was free. The fortress’s restaurant in the courtyard offers authentic German cuisine, and its terrace provides a delightful spot to soak in the scenic beauty of the surrounding valleys.
Tips for a vacation in the Swabian Alb
Discovering sites like Hohenzollernschloss in Sigmaringen, the picturesque waterfalls in Bad Urach, dense beech forests, natural caves, and hiking trails has made our holiday itinerary truly memorable. For those planning a similar adventure, here are some of my recommended hotels.
If you’re gearing up for your next holiday in that area, it’s advisable to secure your accommodations well in advance..