Thalmässing — Hiking Wonder In The Altmühltal

Ahhh, this is it for me, my last town in Germany for a little while; and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have chosen a better place to end my travels than right here in the Middle Franconian town of Thalmässing. Besides, with everything you could possibly dream up can be found here — so I’ll be busy enough before starting my travels all over again.

The hardest part of experiencing Thalmässing (as always) is where should you start?

For me it’ll be the Altmühltal Nature Park, followed by a whole lot of hiking through the countryside. There are eight trails of them, and that’s not even counting the “themed” trails like the Way of St. James, Kulturwanderweg, Frankenweg, and Archäologischer Wanderweg.

Now this last one might sound like one trail, but it really isn’t. It comprises the Keltenweg, a 5 km route where you’ll learn about Celtic history — including a chance to visit a historical village. The Vorgeschichtsweg is a tad longer (12 km) taking you through the Jura landscape to Stone and Iron Age burial fields.

The Mittelalterweg is great for anyone who loves all things medieval. The route starts at the Archaeological Museum (or the historical village in Landersdorf), eventually ending at the Burgstall Landeck. Hey, what are the Middle Ages without a castle?

Forget one castle, Thalmässing has a few. Or, should I say, a few castle ruins? After hiking up to Castle Landeck, you should venture over to the Burgstall Altenburg and Burg Stauf. A totally intact castle worth seeing is Schloß Eysölden, whose Gothic architecture is worth the trip. Too bad it’s privately owned — and all you get to do is enjoy its restaurant.

Thalmässing’s castles and Celtic origins aren’t its only historical claims to fame. Please, I haven’t even gotten to its numerous village churches — and with 38 villages there are plenty. Let’s see…

For starters there’s St. Ottilia’s, a Gothic church from the 14th century; and you’ve got medieval St. Thomas & Giles Church.

There was even a synagogue here at one time, but all that’s left from the town’s once thriving Jewish community is its Jewish cemetery — whose oldest grave dates back almost 200 years ago.

My only regret is I’m not here for one of Thalmässing’s festivals; ain’t that always the way? Oh well, next time I’ll plan on being here for its Ostermarkt (Easter Market), or its Michaelimarkt (the 3rd Sunday in September). Ohh, maybe Carnival or during Pentecost (there’s a Pentecostal Market) would be better.

Oh wait, I forgot I was going to be here for a while… perhaps some other cultural event will pop up. I’ll keep you posted. ;-)

 

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