Cycling along the Rhine
From the mountains to the sea
The Rhine Cycle Route is one of the premium cycle routes in Europe, and rightfully so. Its 1230 kilometers (764 miles) cut a stunning path from the Swiss mountain resort of Andermatt through France, Germany and the Netherlands to the North Sea. Along the route, you’ll see Lake Constance, Basel, Strasbourg, Cologne, Utrecht and Rotterdam as well as the spectacular Rhinefall, the legendary Loreley, and the Rhine delta. Also known as the EuroVelo 15, the Rhine Cycle Route is a well signposted and well loved path through four countries. Many of the flat stretches along the river are ideal for family rides or day trips. Those are all the arguments you’ll ever need to convince any bike lover to cycle this route with you!
From Andermatt to Basel
The source of the great Rhine River is in the Swiss town of Andermatt, and this is where you begin your biking adventure. The Alpine terrain of the Saint-Gotthard massif presents you with a challenging start over a mountain pass, but it comes with jaw-dropping views and a comfortable alternative: the Rhaetian Railway.
The Swiss stretch of the Rhine Cycle Path continues to impress with the Ruinaulta, also known as the Swiss Grand Canyon, and the descent to majestic Lake Constance past coniferous forests and quaint mountain villages. The Rhine Falls, Europe’s largest waterfall, awaits cyclists just past Schaffhausen. Cool off on a refreshing boat trip in the spray! The medieval town of Stein am Rhein is famous for its beautiful frescoes and a must-see stop before leaving the Switzerland.
The Rhine Cycle Path in Switzerland
From Basel to Karlsruhe via French Alsace
At Basel, the Rhine Cycle Path divides and presents you with a choice: follow the river on its German or its French side for the next 180 kilometers (112 miles). The Alsace region is famous for its tumultuous history, its beauty and its tarte flambée. East of the Rhine on the German side, explore Freiburg and the Black Forest.
The French Rhine Cycle Path passes the fortified town of Neuf-Brisach, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the nature reserve “Petite Camargue”. The towns of Colmar and Mulhouse are only a short ride west from the river and have much to offer to visitors interested in the unique culture, history and the food of the region. Surrounding the “European capital city” Strasbourg, historical locks dot the Rhine. Once you reach Karlsruhe, you leave the French/German Alsace region and enter the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate.
The Rhine Cycle Path in France
From Karlsruhe to Kleve
In medieval times, the great Rhine was a hub of commerce and trade. This is still evident in the large number of towns and castles lining the river as it winds its way through the south and west of Germany. Over 900 Kilometers (560 miles) of Rhine Cycle Path wait to be discovered between the Swiss border in the south and the Dutch border in the north.
Nature reserves and wine regions flank the river in Hessen before it arrives in the Middle Rhine Valley. The very idea of Rheinromantik – Rhine Romance – has its roots in the region of Koblenz, Boppard and St. Goar, and the legend of the Loreley. The famous murmuring rock and its beautiful siren can be seen from boat tours on the river and the cycle path on its bank. In North Rhine-Westphalia you can bike on either side of the Rhine, taking in the bustling cities of Bonn, Cologne and Krefeld on the left and Dusseldorf and Duisburg on the right. After passing through the densely populated Ruhr valley with its rich industrial history, the final stretch towards the Netherlands changes tone and turns quiet and rural.
The Rhine Cycle Path in Germany
From Arnhem to the North Sea
The river splits and divides into many canals and waterways in Holland. Together with the confluence of the Meuse and the Scheldt rivers, it forms the Rhine Delta, so the variety of cycle routes you can follow west to reach the coast is endless. While the many name changes of the waterways can be confusing, the infrastructure for cyclists is consistently excellent. Flat fields, houseboats, canals and bikes characterize the scenery. Explore the windmills of Kinderdijk, the harbor of Rotterdam or the dunes of the North Sea in the world's number one cycling country, the Netherlands.
The main distributary and busiest waterway of the Rhine is the Waal, but the Kromme Rijn (Crooked Rhine) arm still holds the remnants of what used to be the border of the Roman Empire: its old castles and medieval towns are worth a visit. In the picturesque University city of Leiden, the Old Rhine appears as a gracht. For romantic views of creeks, willows and wild geese head to De Biesbosch National Park, a large wetlands nature and wildlife reserve in the heart of the lowlands.
The Rhine Cycle Path in the Netherlands
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