Millions of years ago the Altmühltal Nature Park was a tropical lagoon. Its landscape has been shaped by primeval forces, weather and changed into its current aspect. Rock formations of jurassic limestone are one of the landscape's characteristic features. Millions of years ago they have been reefs in the jurassic sea. Mighty castles, for instance Burg Prunn near Riedenberg, impressively keep guard on high jurassic limestone rocks. The panoramic way follows the course of the Altmuehl river and the Main-Danube canal.
And here we start our tour. The castle of Prunn ( http://www.burg-prunn.de/englisch/castle/index.htm ), close to Riedenburg, for instance, is considered one of the most beautiful feudal castles in southern Bavaria located on a 70m high cliff. It is one of the best-preserved castles in Germany, indeed. Its central late Romanesque structure and its mighty keep date back to the early 13th century. The views on Altmuhltal valley are marvelous.
Then we head through the forrest until we reach the ruins of Burg Randeck and we go down to the river passing by the picturesque village of Essing that looks like a postcard being built just under the rocks. http://www.marktessing.de/ We keep walking along the Donau until we reach Essing Hölzbrucke, the longest wooden bridge in Europe. This way we can cross the river and we keep along the Jurasteig path in the woods until we reach the village of Stausacker.
We cross the river on small wooden boats and we visit Kloster Weltenburg located in a beautiful ansa in Danube. The Benedictine abbey of Weltenburg is the oldest monastery in Bavaria and was founded around 600 AD. by the monks of St. Columbanus. It is situated near the entrance to the scenic Danube gorge, http://kloster-weltenburg.de/a-short-guide-to-weltenburg/
Here you can taste Weltenburger Kloster Barock Dunkel, the oldest brewery beer in the world that was given the World Beer Cup award in 2004, 2008 and 2012 as the best Dunkel beer in the world.
Finally we jump on the ferry boat to enjoy the ride along the Donau back to Saal in a really interesting lanscape since the Danube Gorge and its surroundings are part of a nature reserve which is home to numerous rare species and has been declared Unesco site since 2005 due to its beauty and it has received the European Diploma of Protected Areas in 1978, unique in Bavaria!
We finally reach our destination and we can admire the liberation hall high above Kelheim built by king Ludwig I to celebrate its victory against Napoleon.