In the massive Swabian Alb, next to Lichtenstein, is the town of Sonnenbühl, a place where all you’re going to do is be outside.
Or, in a cave.
Yes, a cave. Sonnenbühl is close to what’s called the Bärenhöhle, or Bear Cave. This natural formation was created around five million years ago, but not discovered until 1949. You can walk about 271 meters inside, where you can see the old bones of bears (and once a hangout for cave lions).
Here you can also see moss growing on the stalactites — which grows because of the artificial light. To counteract this unnatural phenomenon you can’t use any flash photography, and the lights are only switched on for guided tours.
The other must-see in Sonnenbühl is the Mist Cave, or Nebelhöhle. This cave creates its own fog — created when cold air outside meets with the warmer air inside. The temperature inside the cave varies very little — roughly 8-10 degrees Celsius at all times.
Every year on Whit Monday the cave is decorated entirely with candles, but you an see the sawed off stalactites (people cut these ancient rock formations to make things like jewelry boxes) just about any time.
Be aware, there are 141 steps along the 450 meters that visitors can see of the Mist Cave. So, please use caution.
Another of Sonnenbühl’s outdoor sightseeing includes a visit to Schloss Lichtenstein. The castle isn’t the original one from around 1200, this one didn’t come along until the mid-19th century. Either way, the castles sits (or sat) atop a craggy cliff in all its grey stone glory.
As I originally mentioned, Sonnenbühl sits within the Swabian Alb. Just picture perfect when you’ve found the right hiking or cycling trail through the Nature Reserve area, or alongside farms with sheep grazing in the distance.
Golfing enthusiasts can play all they want at the 18-hole golf course (call for a tee time first, OK?). And museum lovers will appreciate a trip over to Germany’s first Ostereimuseum (Easter Egg Museum).
Snow doesn’t stop people from coming to Sonnenbühl (Schloss Lichtenstein is great all covered in snow), there are a number of cross-country skiing trails to tackle.
Don’t worry if it gets cold… you can always go over to the Mist Cave to warm up. ;-)