Castle Ruins Walk

Burgruinen in Ries Crater
Burgruinen in Ries Crater

By Vicky · Published Mar. 18th, 2024 · Updated Jun. 6th, 2024

This walk on the edge of the Ries Crater, near Nördlingen, visits two castle ruins, an old battle site and lovely rocky open areas.


This walk near Nördlingen starts from the Wanderparkplatz Burgruine Niederhaus. It’s 15 minutes drive from Nördlingen, 30 minutes from Donauwörth and about 1 hour from Augsburg.

Castle Ruins Walk Map

Get the route by downloading the .gpx or .kml file below. For navigation with on your mobile phone, simply download the .kml file and open to add it to the bookmarks.


  • Take your own food and enough water as there’s no place to buy refreshments on this hike.
  • You can shorten this walk to only 3.3 km by returning to the start after the second castle ruin. This short walk would take about 1 hour.
  • While in the area, why not visit the historic towns of Nördlingen, Harburg with its great castle, or Donauwörth? Alternatively, find other great hikes on our Germany Hiking Page.

Castle Ruins Walking Route

Walking in Germany
Countryside of Ries Crater on a hike

From the car park, you can start with a lovely short loop up a gentle hill (~1.5 km). It’s through a rocky open area from which there are great views of the surrounding countryside and one of the castles. Head up the track away from the road, then when you meet the junction by the large tree, take the small path to the left heading back on yourself.

Burg Niederhaus Castle Ruin

walking to Burg Niederhaus Castle Ruin on a walk near Nördlingen
Countryside views walking in Ries Crater, Bavaria, Germany

When you get to the other side of the road, continue straight across on the track, following the signs to Burg Niederhaus Castle. You’ll pass through a farm and then wind upwards to the right. Soon you’ll see Burg Niederhaus Castle Ruin in front of you. Before heading inside, walk in the opposite direction for roughly 100 metres until you reach a scenic wooden table. There are lovely views from here, and it’s a great place to take a break.

When you’re ready, return and cross the drawbridge into the castle. Burg Niederhaus was founded in the 12th century. During the Thirty Years War in the 17th century, Swedish troops besieged and captured the castle, and later in the 19th century, the castle was allowed to decay.

In a room of Burg Niederhaus Castle Ruin on a walk near Nördlingen
Burg Niederhaus Castle
Views of Burg Niederhaus Castle on a short walk near Nördlingen

If you head to the left after the drawbridge, you can walk through an arch into the largest room of the castle. From the holes around the stone walls, you can see that there used to be three floors here, and imagine the splendid feasts that were celebrated here hundreds of years ago.

Leave the ruin following the hiking signs, down a short, steep and rocky little slope. Follow the path as it leads downhill towards the wood factory. At the road turn left, and admire the views across the pond to the castle high above. At the far side of the pond, turn left, then take the right up a path heading gently up the wooded hillside.

Burg Hochhaus Castle Ruin

Burg Hochhaus Castle Ruin near Nördlingen

This section of the walk is one of the toughest as the path becomes steeper and steeper as it reaches the top of the hill, and the other castle ruin, Burg Hochhaus. It’s not as impressive as the other castle because it’s surrounded by the forest, so less easy to see. Once you reach the castle, head left to walk around the former moat.

Follow the moat halfway around the castle and you’ll reach a larger path. To the right, this path leads back up to the ruins. If you walk up here, you’ll see a sign that says it’s ‘verboten’, i.e. forbidden to enter the castle ruins themselves as there’s a risk of collapse. So turn left down the main path and you’ll soon reach a small road in the open at the bottom of the wood.

Walking through a Valley and a Wood

Walking through Bavarian forest and countryside
A quarry seen on a walk near Nördlingen

Turn right on the road, left at the junction and then left again on the small road through the houses. On the other side, take a right on the signed path along the edge of the trees. In just over a kilometre, you’ll see a long yellow building on the right. Take the small path leading right and past this building back to the road. Walk right on the road for a short distance, then take the first right into the woodland.

This area of wood is surrounded by a deer fence, as it’s used as a private hunting ground. There’s a small gate through the larger gate into the pleasant woodland. About 1.3 km after entering the wood, turn sharply right at the junction. This will lead you out of the forest, past a quarry and along the edge of some large fields. Bend right around the edge of the open and continue following the track downwards towards the small village of Ederheim.

Walking through a Village and Battlefield

The scene of an important battle during the Thirty Years War in Ries Crater
Walking through the hills of Ries Crater near Nördlingen

Head through the village, and at the main junction head straight onwards up the hill on the other side. Near the top of the hill, take a right to walk over a small little hill. After reaching the road on the other side, turn left and almost immediately right down a track. Continue walking along the edge of the wood, the into the wood and back out into the open.

This wild field, dotted with little trees and bushes, is the location of an important battle during the Thirty Years War. This battle took place in 1634 and was between the Catholic Holy Roman Empire’s troops and the Swedish Protestant army. The Catholics won and the previously protestant city of Nördlingen had to surrender to catholic King Ferdinand.

Head straight across the field, and bend right after the monument. Walk down the track at the edge of the field, cross the main road in the valley bottom, and then head up the smaller road on the other side. After this short climb you’ll reach the car park where you started and the end of this lovely walk near Nördlingen.

Guidebooks to explore more of Germany

While in the area, why not visit the historic towns of Nördlingen, Harburg with its great castle, or Donauwörth? Alternatively, find other great hikes on our Germany Hiking Page.

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