The weirdest thing came to mind about Umkirch, a small town in both the Upper Rhine Valley and the Breisgau — I thought about how densely populated it is. Strange, I know, but on paper Umkirch isn’t even nine square kilometers with just over 5,000 people calling this place home.
It certainly doesn’t feel crowded; maybe it’s all the wide open countryside. There are certainly enough bike trails to keep you from feeling stifled. Prepare yourself for some serious riding, many of Umkirch’s trails range from 29km to a more staggering 64km — with “themed” trails like the Markgräfler Radwanderweg; Kaiserstuhl Radwanderweg; Breisgau Cycle Path; and Rhine Valley Bike Trail.
Too much for you? No problem the 5.4km Nordic Walking trail can be done at a more leisurely pace; and with 27 signposts dotting the way, you’ll have plenty of time for a rest while you read.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: you don’t want to be out hiking and cycling while there’s an event going on. With careful planning you’re able to enjoy one of the two Summer Festivals (one in July, the other in August); its October Herbstfest and Kirchweihfest; and the December Christmas Market.
As fun as you’ll find pocket-sized Umkirch, it isn’t without history. Heck no, this was once a Roman settlement — but sadly nothing remains of those days. What does remain is the Romanesque Pfarrkirche, dating back a thousand years. In fact, it’s believed the Parish Church is the oldest church in the entire Breisgau.
Also from the Middle Ages is Schloss Büningen, although you’d never guess it since the original castle was destroyed during the Thirty Years’ War, eventually rebuilt in the late 17th century.
It really stinks the Hohenzollernschloss is privately owned these days — a long way from once being occupied by the French. Hey, it’s not like the French had to go too far, France is only two towns over. Perhaps they wanted to hang around its famous Castle Park…
My first thought of Umkirch might’ve been a strange one — but I found it to be historic, charming, and totally pretty. Let’s just say it isn’t pint-sized, but concentrated goodness. OK? ;-)