Via Claudia Augusta: Part 1 Donauwörth to Landsberg am Lech

Published on:  | Last updated: 29 April 2017

The Via Claudia near Nordendorf

The Via Claudia near Nordendorf

At a glance

Distance

97 kilometres

Difficulty/​terrain

Easy. The route climbs to ascend but the gradients is gentle you won't notice it.

Traffic

Predominantly on traffic-free cycleways.

Surfaces

Mainly on surfaced roads or cycleways. Note that there is a signi­ficant stretch of unsur­faced cycleway along the Lech into Augsburg.

Signs

The signposting along this section of the route is excellent. However, there are a number of cycle routes in this area and if anything you may face a problem of inform­ation overload due to the sheer number of signs for different routes may be a problem. In particular there's a cycle route (the Via Danubia) that has a very similar logo to the VCA logo.

Augsburg: the Goldener Saal in the Rathaus

Augsburg: the Goldener Saal in the Rathaus

Overview

The first part of the Via Claudia is a gentle cruise south south through Bayern (Bavaria) heading for the Alps. The main highlights are the inter­esting and pretty towns of Augsburg and Lech am Landsberg.

Map and altitude profile

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Distances
Donauwörth - Augsburg 48 kms
Augsburg - Landsberg am Lech 49 kms
Mural in Donauwörth commemorating the Kreuz- und Fahnengefecht

Mural in Donauwörth commem­or­ating the Kreuz- und Fahnengefecht (Cross and Banners Fight'). Photo by Cholo Aleman via Wikimedia Commons

Route description

The route starts in Donauwörth on the Danube (Donau) river. Initially it heads through through open countryside before turning east to pick up an unsur­faced bike path along the left (western) bank of the Lech river. 

The path along the Lech will take you past Augsburg, but it would be a shame to miss it. The city was heavily bombed during the war but has been carefully restored and is a relaxed and charming place to wander round. It's also pretty easy to ride around. My favourite bits were the Stadtmarkt and the little streets behind its renais­sance Rathaus (town hall). 

Cyclist on the riverside cycleway near Augsburg

Cyclist on the riverside cycleway near Augsburg

Meet the Fuggers

Perhaps the most inter­esting place to visit in Augsburg is the Fuggerei. 

The Fuggers were a family of merchants who grew rich trading along the Via Claudia Augusta and the Donau. Jakob Fugger the Younger became banker to the Vatican and the Emperor Maximilian.

The Fuggerei (en.wikipedia.org) is a community of houses built 500 years ago by a charitable found­ation estab­lished by the Fugger family to provide housing for the less well-off citizens of Augsburg (including Mozart's great grand­father) . It is the world's oldest social housing project.

The rents were (and are) fixed at the equivalent of less than one euro —plus three prayers a day. 

One intriguing feature is that each doorway has a unique bell pull so that residents could identify their door in the dark.

One of the apart­ments in the community has been turned into a museum so you can see it as it originally would have been. There's also an exhib­ition about the Fuggers and about the recon­struction of the Fuggerei after the bombing of Augsburg in 1944 —70 per cent of it was destroyed but it was rebuilt by the found­ation and its residents. 

Augsburg: the Fuggerei

Augsburg: the Fuggerei

Augsburg towards Landsberg am Lech

The Via Claudia continues along the Lech before crossing the river at the Hochblass barrage. It then parts company with the river and continues on a combin­ation of cycleways and quiet roads. 

The official route bypasses Landsberg am Lech completely, but if you want to visit it you can turn off the route at Erpfting and follow a cycleway that takes you pretty much all the way into the centre of Landsberg. Alternatively you could continue on the D9 cycle route south from the Hochblass barrage. The D9 sticks more closely to the river, but is unsurfaced.

The Via Claudia near the Isesee

The Via Claudia near the Isesee

Landsberg am Lech

I loved Landsberg am Lech. It's quite possibly the most attractive town on the whole route (OK, strictly speaking it's not actually on the route). 

Don't miss the Mariä Himmelfahrt church or the medieval gates. 

The Mariä Himmelfahrt church in Landsberg am Lech

The Mariä Himmelfahrt church in Landsberg am Lech. Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

More information

Places to stay

Hotels and B&Bs etc

The ADFC operate a Bett und Bike scheme. You can also use the Bett und Bike search page to generate pdf lists of accom­mod­ation, or lists of gps waypoints.

Hostels

There are Jugendherberge at Donauwörth (Jugendherberge Donauwörth), and Augsburg (Jugendherberge Augsburg).

I stayed in the Jugendherberge Augsburg (which also offers very reasonably-priced rooms). The bike parking facil­ities weren't secure so I ended up taking my bike to my room and putting it on the balcony, however they do have a big room in the basement for luggage storage which might have been an alternative.

  Hostels map:  VCA-FT-hostels-mapshow map in overlay    |  VCA-FT-hostels-map  show map in new window 

Campsites

The only campsite near Donauwörth is the Camping Donau Lech at Eggelstetten. 

There are three sites to the north east of Augsburg but I chose to stay at the hostel which made a convenient base for seeing the city. 

There's a campsite near Landsberg am Lech (the Campingpark Romantik am Lech, but it's a bit of a way out of the city. I think it would have defin­itely been worth paying the extra for a to stay the night in Landsberg itself.

On the Lechsee I stayed at the Via Claudia Camping , which is a nice site with places for tents overlooking the lake. There are a also couple of sites on the route on the shore of the Forggensee.

In Reutte I stayed at the Camping Reutte on the outskirts of the town. Further on there's a campsite a little way off the route beside the Heiterwangsee near, you guessed it, Heiterwang.

  Campsites map:  VCA-FT-campsites-mapshow map in overlay    |  VCA-FT-campsites-map  show map in new window 

Transport and services

Bike shops

If you know of other bike shops, or you spot a mistake, please let me know.

Transport connections

There are a number of stations along the route between Donauwörth and Landsberg am Lech. South of Landsberg there are only two stations: at Schongau and Füssen.

Resources

Tourist information sites

Cycling sites

Landsberg am Lech: the Bayertor (Bavarian Gate)

Landsberg am Lech: the Bayertor (Bavarian Gate). Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Articles in this series

Get in touch

Please get in touch if you find any errors in the information, or if there’s anything, good or bad, that you’d want other cyclists to know.


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