Goody, goody, gumdrops — there are castle ruins and all kinds of amazing hiking and bike trails in and around the town of Sontheim an der Brenz. What I thought was going to be a quiet town along the Swabian Alb, turned out to be quite a remarkable place.
Found in the Danube Valley, Sontheim is one of those places that makes you glad to be outside. Marked bike trails, ranging from 43 to 55 kilometers, are one of the best ways to see it. The Höhentour route (43 km) will snake you along the Lonetal, passing quite a few castles along the way.
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Places like Burg Güssenburg, a 14th century castle once belonging to the Hohenstaufens. Who cares if it’s been a ruin for more than 500 years — the crumbling stone gives it character. The ruins of the Kaltenburg also have character — but then again, if you’ve been around for more than 800 years, you’d have some too.
The Middle Ages saw a building boom in Sontheim, as that’s when the Galluskirche was built. Well, I should technically say, that’s when the church was built over the original Roman structure that used to be here.
The St. George Church might not have come from the medieval period, but there’s nothing wrong with visiting a proper Baroque one — complete with stucco artwork. And Schloss Brenz came from the Renaissance, which today is a Local History Museum.
Inasmuch as Sontheim embraces its past, the present town is pretty gosh-darn good. This is a town that holds wonderful music concerts throughout various venues; and it plays host to its Spring Joseph Market and Matthäusmarkt (Matthew Market) in September. Doesn’t matter which one you attend, you’re in for stalls of good food, friendly people, and fresh Swabian air.
It’s always a delight to come through South Germany, especially when you’ve found little-known gems like Sontheim an der Brenz — can’t wait to come back again.