Story and photos by Wendy Payne
Bad Urach was the first place I fell in love with in the Stuttgart area. Having to escape our temporary housing last summer, my daughter and I researched the hiking trails and some of Baden- Württemberg (BW) ruins. We were lucky to be so close that we could do a quick day trip. Now, after visiting five times, I can tell you I have only just begun to discover what this gorgeous area has to offer. There are the castle ruins of Hohenurach (built in the 600s), waterfalls, the old town, a royal palace and much more.
One of my favorite views is from the ruins of Hohenurach castle. You can see why the royalty chose such a nice perch for their residency. It has the perfect location when it comes to its views, with hills steep enough to protect them against any potential enemys. The hike to the castle ruins is not easy. We recommend using a hiking stick for rocky terrain; you’ll be glad you brought them. By the way, don’t forget to pack lots of drinking water. Though it is only a 5k hike, it is quite steep and you will not get around breaking a little sweat. The trails here have trails within other trails. Just follow the signs and you will be safe. In addition, there are many parking areas for each trail.
The area has a few waterfalls to admire. This week, with a little help from some friends, we saw the Urach waterfall. We parked at the designated (Wasserfall Parkplatz) which was only a 15 minute walk. During a different hike, we found the top of the waterfall and a little Gasthaus where we enjoyed a bowl of Gulaschsuppe (Goulash soup) and beer. Rustic restrooms are available here as well, remember “rustic.” No 50 cents needed here.
The old town of Bad Urach is a little town that looks like you’ve popped into Bavaria. As you stroll the cobblestone streets with half-timbered houses, you feel like you have stepped back in time. I found the people of this village to be very welcoming and warm. It is the perfect place to bring out-of-town guests for coffee and cake (Kuchen) on Sunday afternoon or anytime else, really.
The Royal Palace Bad Urach, located in the heart of town, was the site of the royal wedding in 1474 of Barbara Gonzaga of Mantua (over the Alps) and Count Eberhart V. Barbara came to be known as the one who built the brilliant court in Urach. We found the tour staff to be exceptionally friendly and helpful as well. It is my understanding that the largest “sleigh” exhibit in BW can be found here and it is absolutely worth seeing. Though there is no English tour, they offer brochures in different languages.
I know there are many more treasures to seek out in Bad Urach and I look forward to each and every trip. I recently learned that it’s a popular town for locals to visit for massages and healing spas, so stay tuned for more on this.
Bad Urach is less than 45 minutes south of Stuttgart, just over 2 hours and 40 minutes southeast of Kaiserslautern as well as 2 hours and 40 minutes south of Wiesbaden. Click on DB Bahn for train information.
Author’s Profile: Wendy Payne is a military spouse and lives with her family in Stuttgart, Germany. She is a freelance writer, blogger, and photographer. She also enjoys gardening, hiking, yoga and sharing Europe with people.