BIKING THE GERMAN RIVERS
Germany is famous for its rivers; they cut through beautiful landscapes from north to south, from east to west, from the sea to the mountains. The rivers have been the modes of mass transportation long before roads and today the Elbe, Rhine, Main, Moselle or Danube invite hundreds of thousands of tourists each year for river cruises. But you cannot only discover Germany’s rivers on a boat. Cycling paths follow them through ever changing landscapes, past old castles, romantic towns and buzzing cities.
The Elbe Cycling Path is one of the most attractive in Germany. It leads for 520 miles from Dresden in the southeast all the way to the North Sea. The route is split in several stages, all easily doable in a day, and you can choose between both sides of the river. Leading through fascinating landscapes from wetlands to hills, connecting UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the city of Dresden, the Luther town of Wittenberg and the harbor city of Hamburg, there is plenty to discover along the way. The river has historic significance as part of the former West German-East German border and you can still see the transformation of this region in process. Along the way you will find plenty of bike-friendly hotels, hostels and camping grounds, and many package tours make this a very accessible route.
The Moselle Cycling Path in Germany’s west between the wine-growing region of the Elbling wine near Trier, a wine specialty of the Upper Moselle, and Koblenz invites you to a pleasurable bike tour. For 150 miles discover the 2,000-year-old history of the region, from old Roman ruins in Trier and Koblenz, to romantic wine villages such as Bernkastel or Cochem and great spas in Traben-Trabach. The trail is predominantly level, with an excellent network of cycle tracks and rural roads as well as old towpaths and accurate sign-posting, offer optimum conditions for the casual cyclist.
For 360 miles the Main River Cycling path leads from east to west through the northern Bavarian Region of Franconia and the State of Hesse to Frankfurt. Highlights along the way are the majestic Wagner town Bayreuth, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bamberg, known as Germany’s beer capital and for its Baroque architecture, the wine growing region around Wuerzburg and the buzzing financial metropolis of Frankfurt. Stop along the way in one of the many local breweries or vineyards and be enchanted by 1,000-year-old castles and cathedrals.
The second longest river in Europe, the Danube, springs unofficially in the park of the princely Fuerstenberg castle in Donaueschingen at the border of the Black Forest in southwestern Germany, contained in a magnificently decorated, circular fountain from the 18th Century. “Mother Bear” presides over the fountain and shows her “daughter,” the young Danube and all cyclists the way.
The Danube Cycling Path leads for 360 miles through the German states of Baden-Wuerttemberg and Bavaria from the Black Forest to Passau in the southeast. The cycling road is signposted and package tours with several itineraries from seven to 15 days are bookable. Highlights along the way are the Sigmaringen and Hohenzollern castles of the Hohenzollern dynasty that ruled Germany in Baden-Wuerttemberg. Also interesting are the cathedral and merchant town of Regensburg, with the largest core of undestroyed medieval houses in Germany, and the three-river city of Passau. Discover the Danube from its fast flowing beginnings until it grows into a wide and impressive river in Bavaria.