Danube-Lake Constance Route: surround yourself with nature in the Alpine foothills
This cycle route between the famous river and the famous lake runs from Ulm to Kressbronn, delivering lots of sights along the way: pastureland and woods, conservation areas, countless hop gardens and fruit orchards, as well as picturesque old towns such as Bad Waldsee and Biberach, little villages and, right at the very start, the major city of Ulm. There are some steep climbs on the route, but most of the trail is on traffic-free asphalt paths.
It can prove quite difficult to tear yourself away from Ulm to start this cycle tour. This 'city of two cities' (Ulm on the Baden-Württemberg side and Neu-Ulm on the Bavarian side) is almost too interesting to leave behind. There are more than a few attractions to see here, including the historical Ulm town hall and of course Ulm Minster with the highest church tower in the world. If you can bring yourself to leave the city to follow the trail, a much smaller but no less noteworthy town awaits: Laupheim.
It is situated on the Upper Swabian Baroque Route and has a pretty old quarter that is perfect for a lovely stroll. From here it's not far to Biberach an der Riss, which is a checkpoint not only on the Baroque Route, but also on the Swabian Poets' Route, St James' Pilgrimage Way and the German Half-Timbered Houses Route.
After all that culture, the varied route continues through the idyllic villages of Ummendorf and Eberhardzell before heading towards Bad Waldsee. After Biberach you need to climb 100 metres, after which the route eases into gently rolling terrain for a fairly leisurely ride. Nestled between two lakes, Bad Waldsee boasts not only a beautiful medieval centre but also the popular Waldsee thermal baths. And if you don't have time to stop there for some rest and relaxation, the idyllic scenery of the Württemberg Allgäu en route to Wolfegg will certainly leave you feeling re-energised.
The farmhouse museum with its 15 historical buildings offers a fascinating insight into the living and working conditions of rural communities in days gone by, while the 200 or so cars, motorbikes and tractors at Fritz B. Busch Car Museum provide an interesting cross-section of the history of motoring. The route continues through Rötenbach and on to Kisslegg, a little town that is well worth visiting for the fountains, clock towers and ornate baroque facades in its old quarter and for its two palaces. Beyond Kisslegg the landscape turns into a chain of lakes that leads cyclists to the Lower Argen Valley and the town of Wangen.
A little after Wangen, the trail begins its descent to Lake Constance, passing through an ever-changing landscape that is today characterised by fruit farms and hop fields. As you get closer to Lake Constance, these fields start to give way to vineyards that thrive in the sunny climate here and produce especially good wines. In Kressbronn, where the trail reaches its final stop, you can sample some of these wines while soaking up the immense view of Lake Constance and the Alps beyond.