Most of the Ries UNESCO Global Geopark area lies in the state of Bavaria, with a smaller part in the state of Baden-Würtemberg comprising the Ries Crater, situated between the Swabian and Franconian Alb in southern Germany. The geopark covers an area of 1,749 km² with around 162,500 inhabitants. Some 15 million years ago, a meteorite collided with Earth in this very place, leaving an impact crater that is the best-preserved meteorite crater in Europe and the most intensively studied impact structure among the nearly 200 known craters worldwide. Visitors can explore the Nördlinger Ries impact crater and learn about its geology and history by following nature trails which take hikers to scenic outlooks, on their own or on guided tours. Information centres and school programmes are also available. The geopark provides an intriguing insight into the Earth’s history through its unique natural landscape, cultural and culinary history.