On this walking tour stroll through the romantic town of Donauwörth, see the colourful houses on the main street, the church and the island by the banks of the rivers.
This walk starts from Donauwörth train station. It’s 20-40 minutes on the train from Augsburg and 50mins-1hr20 from Munich or Nuremberg Central Stations. It’s slightly longer if you decide to drive.
Tips for Donauwörth Walking Tour
- There are many cafes and restaurants in town, concentrated on the Isle of Ried and Reichsstraße (the main street through town)
- This walking tour lasts 1.5-3 hours depending on how long you spend in the museums.
- Check out other walks and hikes on our Germany Hiking Page.
Top Sights in Donauwörth
On this self-guided walking tour you’ll see the main sites and attractions of Donauwörth. Half a day is the perfect amount of time to spend in Donauwörth, but there are several walking and cycling routes nearby to extend your time in the region.
- Isle of Ried
- Monastery of the Holy Cross
- Käthe Kruse Doll Museum
- Donauspitz – Danube Promenade
Donauwörth Walking Tour Route
This walking trail starts from Donauwörth train station.
Directions: After leaving the train station, head across the car park and turn right at the junction. Soon you’ll see a bridge on your left across the Wörnitz River and onto the Isle of Ried.
1. Isle of Ried
The Isle of Ried is a small, mainly pedestrianized island in the old part of Donauwörth. There are several historic buildings and many restaurants and cafes, all with outside seating on often sunny streets.
Directions: When you reach the first square, head left down a small alleyway between a blue and pale-yellow building to the old red Hintermeierhaus.
Hintermeierhaus City Museum
Key Information: May-Sept open Tue-Sun 2-5pm. Oct-Apr open Wed, Sat, Sun 2-5pm. Open on all public holidays except Good Friday and Christmas Eve.
This small city museum (or Heimatmuseum) describes how people used to live in the 18th to 20th centuries, with arts, crafts and folk stories from that time. The building itself is from the 15th century and was formerly a fisherman’s house.
Directions: Head right along the river.
Rieder Gate – Town History Museum
Key Information: Museum open on demand.
The Rieder Gate (Tripadvisor Reviews*) is one of the most famous sights in Donauwörth, and one of the most beautiful German town gates. It’s the only remaining of four large gate towers surrounding the town. Inside is a small museum about the history of Donauwörth as a free imperial city, with weapons, papers and other artefacts.
Directions: Walk through the gate and in the middle head right down some steps, back around in front of the gate and along the river towards the church.
As you walk along the banks of the river, you’ll see the remains of the City Walls on your right. You’ll also pass an old white tower, the Färbertörl, nestled amongst the trees. This is one of the 38 former city wall towers.
Directions: Once you meet the large Wörnitz River, head right away from the water to walk along the track through the field.
You’ll have a great view across the field to the side of the large Monastery of the Holy Cross, with the church tower behind.
Continue up and into the courtyard in front of the church. The main gate will be open if the church itself is open.
2. Monastery of the Holy Cross
This former Benedictine Monastery has its beginnings back in the 11th century. In 1030AD a piece of the Holy Cross that Jesus was crucified on arrived at this church from Constantinople, after which the monastery takes its name. The current buildings come from the late 17th and early18th centuries. Napoleon visited Donauwörth twice, and when here he turned part of the monastery into stables for his horses.
You can enter the church (Tripadvisor Reviews*), baroque in architecture, which has several ornate gold alters, and some nice ceiling paintings. It’s very quiet and still inside, a nice place to sit down and take a break.
Directions: Leave the church and head slightly left and straight on down the street.
You’ll soon see a fancy old building on the corner, the distinctive Fugger House. It’s now the district office, containing an exhibition about the Fugger Family (open weekdays 07:30am-12:30pm, until 5pm on Thursdays, closed on public holidays).
History of Donauwörth
On this walking tour you can explore the history of Donauwörth, which goes back over 1000 years. In 977AD locals erected the first bridge here across the Danube (Donau). At the same time, Mangoldstein Castle was built atop the Mangoldfelsen (Mangold rock) in the centre of town, and expansion followed as trade developed. A few hundred years later, Albrect the First of Austria destroyed the Castle, but the town gained Free Imperial City status and continued to thrive.
During the Second World War large sections of Donauwörth were destroyed. However, in the 1970s many historic buildings dating from the Middle Ages were rebuilt, which is why there are in such good condition today.
Directions: Turn left at the Fugger House. Walk along the street, looking out for the old wall remains on your left, and soon you’ll see the pale yellow building of the next museum on the right-hand side.
3. Käthe Kruse Doll Museum
Key Information: May-Sept open Tue-Sun 11am-6pm. Oct-Apr open Thu-Sun 2-5pm. Open on all public holidays except Good Friday and Christmas Eve.
The Käthe Kruse Doll Museum (Tripadvisor Reviews*) contains more than 150 dolls made by the famous doll designer, Käthe Kruse, who worked mainly in the first half of the 20th century. Her dolls, renowned for their lifelike and natural looks, have become collectables and are now worth a lot of money. Dolls are still hand-made in Donauwörth today.
Museums in Donauwörth
- Käthe Kruse Doll Museum: Over 150 dolls on display from this famous doll designer.
- Hintermeierhaus – City Museum: Exhibits on life 100 years ago.
- Rieder Gate – Town History Museum: History of Donauwörth
Directions: Head around the back of the museum and into the garden. Continue past the children’s playground, with the old wall on your right.
On the right you’ll see some distinctive rocks, with walls built on top. This is the Mangoldfelsen, atop which a castle existed in the 10th century. The rock itself is marble, deposited roughly 15 km away. A huge meteorite impact 14.5 million years ago, centred to the north, hurled the rock to its current position. The impact was so powerful that large chunks of rock were thrown through the air for many kilometres.
Turn right back into town. Take the second right and first left to come out on the main street by a large church.
4. Reichsstraße (Imperial Street)
The central street of the old town is called Reichsstraße (Tripadvisor Reviews*) and is lined by prettily coloured old houses. The name comes from the time when this stretch of road was part of the Holy Roman Empire (Heiligen Römischen Reiches), joining the Imperial towns of Augsburg and Nuremberg. There are several restaurants, cafes and bakeries along the street, along with clothes shops and more.
Near the top of the street is a large church, the Liebfrauenmünster (Tripadvisor Reviews*), with a tall brick tower. As you head down the street, watch out for the red Tanzhaus (dance house) on the left. People came here to shop and dance since the 1400s. It was destroyed during the Second World War and rebuilt in the 1970s. At the end of the street is the stately Rathaus (town hall, Tripadvisor Reviews*), the oldest parts of which are from 1236. The current building was restored in 1853 in neogothic style.
If you head left at the T-junction here, you’ll find the tourist information office (open 9am-12pm and 1pm-5pm Mon-Thu, and 9am-1pm on Fri, closed weekends. ). There’s a sign just outside the tourist office with all the very many hiking and cycling routes that pass through, or start, here in this town.
Directions: Turn right at the Rathaus (town hall) and follow the road as it bends to the left. Take the first on the right and then head left by the river to walk alongside the footpath on the riverbank. Cross the river on the bridge (from which you have nice views) and then immediately turn left.
5. Donauspitz – Danube Promenade
There is a small grassy park at the confluence of the Danube and Wörnitz Rivers. The Danube flows 2850 km from its source in the Black Forest of Germany all the way to the Black Sea in the east. It’s a nice place to relax and look out for wildlife on the water. The view of the confluence itself is slightly obscured by trees.
Directions: Follow the grassy path from the park along the banks of the Danube River. Follow this path for 500 metres until you reach a small church. Head right, right again and soon left. This street will bring you quickly back to the train station.
FAQS – Donauwörth Walking Tour
Donauwörth is known for its historic old town and large Monastery of the Holy Cross.
The Donau is the name of the river that flows through Donauwörth, however, this river is known to those in the English-speaking world as the Danube.
The best thing to do in Donauwörth is stroll around the old town and admire the historic buildings while soaking up the peaceful atmosphere.
Half a day is the perfect amount of time to spend in Donauwörth, but if you want to explore more of the immediate surroundings you can easily stay a few days.