Fifteen million years ago a meteorite slammed into the Alb plateau close to the site of present-day NÖRDLINGEN, southeast of Dinkelsbühl on the boundary with Baden-Württemberg. Hitting the earth at a speed of 70,000km per hour, the impact of the meteorite was sufficient to form a crater 25km wide, known today as the Ries, and reputedly the best-preserved impact crater on the planet. Geology isn’t the only reason to visit the town however, for Nördlingen is another of the Romantic Road’s perfectly preserved medieval gems, a former imperial free city like Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Dinkelsbühl, but less touristy than either.

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