Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Dinkelsbühl Old-Town Running Route

Click here for route map
Length 5 km (3.1 miles), terrain: easy, flat, gain 41 meters

Dinkelsbühl is one of those fairytale towns along Germany's Romantic Road: church towers rise above city walls lined by stone watchtowers. Heading through the city gates, the old-town lanes lead you from one little market square to the next, passing thousand-year-old monasteries and fountains surrounded by of half-timbered houses. If you visit south Germany, there's a good chance you'll end up in Dinkelsbühl.
Old-town street in Dinkelsbühl
Dinkelsbühl blends a mixture of South German culture, with good food and beer, perched on the border between Swabia, Bavaria and Franken. The Romantic Road (a section of route 25) links a string of scenic towns from Würzburg to Augsburg like pearls on a chain.

And there is no better way to discover a beautiful town like this than to put on your running shoes and start following the alleys past the gate-towers and little shops.
House entrance in the old-town
In Dinkelsbühl, you can run a loop around the old town, outside the walls, and also run a few zig-zags within the walls.

NOTE: There are also runs taking you outside town in each direction, see https://www.outdooractive.com/de/touren/#cat=Wanderung&filter=b-loopTour-1&view=listMap&wt=Dinkelsb%C3%BChl,%20Deutschland%20(undefined)&zc=14,10.3199,49.07836 
This run will just cover the essentials, circling the walled city once, then heading inside to wind through the narrow streets past the main sights in the old town.

Dinkelsbühl is shaped like an elongated triangle, with the angles pointing north, south and west. We'll start this inspiring run at the north end of town, outside one of the main gate towers, Rothenburger Tor (where the road to beautiful Rothenburg heads off to the north). There is a small lake there, Rothenburger Weiher, part of the water barriers that once protected the walled town.
Rothenburger Tor
To start the run, walk out through the gate, with the massive fortifications behind you, and run with the lake to your left side, heading north.
The Faulturm tower
At the north end of the lake, turn left to continue following the lakeside, and then left again to head back towards the fortifications, at the Faulturm tower. There is a public park here, with a big gazebo. There are a couple of parallel pedestrian trails following the outside of the walls, going southwards. Stay on the one closest to the wall, in the old moat. An earthen berm to the right side protects the city walls. You'll pass smaller towers every hundred meters or so, a really medieval setting.
Moat trail: wall to the left, protective earthen berm to the right
You'll head under a bridge that brings traffic through the western gate, the Segringer Tor. Keep running southwards.

After the one-kilometer-mark, you'll go under a narrow pedestrian bridge, where the trail circles back to take you up to the embankment to the right. Once up there, continue running southwards outside the walls. There are now various gardens between you and the walls.
The trail at the Segringer gate
When you come to the busy Südring traffic-circle at the south end of the old-town, keep running along the outside of the walls, past the Third-Dimension Museum (with its interesting optical illusions) located inside a fortified water mill with pointed corner towers. This is the two-kilometer-mark.
The 3D museum
Continue on the trail as it now turns northward, with a narrow side-arm of the Wörnitz River to your left, along the eastern walls. The open parkland keeps things nice and quiet.

There is a group of old houses outside the western gate, Wörnitztor. Keep running north through the archway through the yellow house, and into more parkland as we approach the spot where we started the run.
Wörnitztor gate-tower
When you come to the Schleuse Biergarten, where we started the run, turn left to run westwards directly between the wall and the Rothenburger Weiher pond, at the three-kilometer-mark.
The walls along the lake
Just before the round Faulturm at the northwest corner of town, turn left into the open pedestrian gateway through the wall, going into the old-town for the first time. Head between the old-fashioned gardens to the street ahead, Bauhofstraße. Right there on the corner is a huge half-timbered building that was once the armory, now used as a clubhouse for the kids' costume fest, Kinderzech.
Old timbering at the Kinderzech
Now just run south on this scenic street, past places like Weib's Brauhaus, the Schweinemarkt and the Rathaus (town hall). After you cross Segringer Straße, the street name changes to Föhrenberggasse as it curves to the southeast.

You'll pass a big baroque palace on the right side, the former local headquarters of the Teutonic Order, now used by the German tax authorities.
Teutonic Order palace
When you get to Schäfersgäßlein, turn left and run the one block to Nördlinger Straße. We're almost at the south end of the old-town now, so turn left and head back north through the eastern neighborhoods.

In a few blocks you'll come to the main church, the Gothic St. Georg, at the wine market. There are some other amazing old houses lining the market square here, take a look!
The Weinmarkt
Now run the few blocks north along Dr.-Martin-Luther-Straße towards our starting point at Rothenburger Tor.

Just before you get there, maybe turn right into the courtyard of that big yellow complex of buildings on the right side: the old hospital, the Spital. There are water wells, a water mill, a tread-mill, a theater and other interesting stuff to take a look at on a quick loop through the courtyard.
In the Spital courtyard
Now, aren't you glad you decided to get out and run today?

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