The longest and one of the most impressive archaeological monuments in Europe, the Limes marks former Roman boundaries from the Rhine to the Danube over a distance of 550km. Around 2,000 years ago its forts, watchtowers, walls and palisades protected the mighty Roman Empire from the Barbarians.
The Limes runs from Bad Hönningen/Rheinbrohl on the Rhine to the Eining fort on the Danube, a short distance from Regensburg. As well as the original Roman ruins there are reconstructions, architectural digs and replicas, and the course of the border wall can still be made out in places as it stretches in long, straight lines across forests and pastureland. Special highlights along the route include the reconstructed Roman fort at Saalburg in Bad Homburg, the Roman museum in Osterburken, the Limes museum with archaeology park and fort in Aalen (southern Germany's largest Roman museum), the Roman baths and the Roman museum and Limes information centre in Weissenburg. The ramparts and moats are the best-preserved parts of the Upper Germanic Limes fortifications, and these are most clearly visible in a number of wooded areas of the Westerwald forest and Taunus hills. You can gain a real insight into the world of the Romans by visiting Saalburg Fort, especially if you combine it with the Rundweg Saalburg tour that takes you about two kilometres through the Taunus hills and around the fort itself. Afterwards, you can stop for a bite to eat in the Taberna museum café. The Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes is not, however, a stand-alone world heritage site, but is part of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire, of which Hadrian's Wall in Britain is the most significant part. Scotland's Antonine Wall was added in 2008. But even on its own, the Limes is more than impressive enough.
Saalburg Fort, Bad Homburg
Archaeological Park and Museum, March to October 9am to 6pm daily; November to February 9am to 4pm daily excl. Mondays; further information: www.saalburgmuseum.de
Roman Museum in Osterburken
Open daily excl. Mondays
Further information: www.roemermuseum-osterburken.de
Aalen Limes Museum
Tuesday to Sunday: 10am to 5pm. Free tour every first Sunday of the month at 2.30pm
Further information: www.museen-aalen.de
Roman baths and Roman museum with Limes information centre in Weissenburg
January and February: Monday to Friday; March to December: open daily
Further information: www.weissenburg.info