Extensive floodplain landscapes, rolling hills, steep vineyards, magnificent castles and stately castle ruins: along the rivers in Hessen lie unique cultural monuments and charming landscapes. But also true world metropolises. On a bike tour, you can discover all of this at your own pace and in peace. For example, on these six routes.
We start in the middle of the smallest, but one of the most famous wine-growing regions in Germany: the Rheingau. The finest wines are grown here on 3,200 hectares, especially Riesling. Right through the vineyards and along the Rhine, the 40-kilometer long QuerRhine Cycle Route. On the tour you can expect pristine nature reserves, wide panoramic views of vineyards and the Rhine, two ferry rides and plenty of quaint wine taverns to stop at. Start and finish of the round trip is at the Hindenburg plant in Bingen. From there, the ferry will take you directly to the other side of the Rhine and across the Hessian border. During your crossing to Rüdesheim, you will have the best view of the Bingen Mäuseturm, the imposing Niederwald Monument and the banks of the Rhine with its many wine taverns. From Rüdesheim you cycle through the vineyard slopes on the panorama path R3a with a view of the Rhine plain and the castles of Vollrads and Johannisberg. The latter was the first Riesling winery in the world and looks back on 1200 years of wine culture. Today you can taste the best wines in the Schlossschänke or take a bottle home with you in the Vinothek. Via Geisenheim the way leads to Oestrich-Winkel. Here you will cross the Rhine a second time to the red wine and imperial palace town of Ingelheim. Here you should definitely take a detour into the medieval old town. Also on this side of the Rhine, fantastic panoramic views of the vineyards of the Rheingau await you. The best vantage point is the Ockenheimer Anhöhe. Through the nature reserve "Fulder Aue - Ilmen Aue", past the imposing remains of the Hindenburg Bridge from the Second World War and along the famous Kulturufer in Bingen, you will return to the starting point - and have well deserved a glass of wine in one of the wine taverns.
By train comfortably and without traffic jams to Bingen: Plan arrival.
Also running through the Rheingau and into Hesse's second wine-growing region is the Rhine Cycle Route (EuroVelo 15). In fact, the route is much longer: The Rhine Cycle Route (EuroVelo 15) runs from the source of the Rhine in the Gotthard Massif in Switzerland to the mouth of the Rhine in the North Sea - a total of about 1,500 kilometers. 100 kilometers of this cross-state route run through Hesse, starting at Lampertheim on the Hessian Bergstrasse and ending in the middle of the Rheingau in Lorchhausen, the state border with Rhineland-Palatinate. It thus connects the two wine-growing regions of Hesse. That's exactly why you should make sure to stop at one of the Straußenwirtschaften along the way and sample the fine wines and, of course, all the other regional specialties, such as hand cheese or cooked cheese.
There are also plenty of culinary highlights along the Main River. On a tour of the MainRadweg you will have countless opportunities to taste apple wine, Bethmännchen, Frankfurter Kranz or Grüne Soße. The MainRadweg follows its namesake from its two sources in the Fichtelgebirge and in the Franconian Alb to its mouth in the Rhine near Mainz. It has two starting points in Bavaria: Route 1 begins in Creußen near Bayreuth and Route 2 in Bischofsgrün. Shortly after Aschaffenburg, the long-distance cycle route crosses the Hessian border and ends after 78.6 kilometers in Mainz. In addition to all kinds of delicacies, there is of course much more to discover: You'll pass idyllic, reed-filled riverside meadows, architectural monuments with a thousand years of history and striking evidence of industrial culture on the two daily stages in Hesse. For example, the Isenburg Castle in Offenbach, the Iron Bridge and the Peace Bridge in Frankfurt or lovingly restored half-timbered houses in Hochheim am Main. The tour is also particularly attractive due to its alternation of metropolitan flair in "Mainhatten," as Frankfurt is also called, and idyllic old town alleys in traditional wine villages.
There are also plenty of romantic half-timbered houses and old town alleys to admire along the tranquil little river Dill. The Dill Valley Cycle Route leads from the headwaters of the Dill near Haiger through the valley of the same name and ends at the mouth of the Dill into the Lahn. Along the way, small villages with historic old towns adorn the path. For example, Dillenburg and Herborn with their colorful half-timbered houses. Dillenburg is also home to the Hessian State Stud, which looks back on a long and successful tradition in horse breeding. Parades with magnificent stallions and foal shows are held here regularly. The time-honored stud farm is also worth a visit. Also unique in Dillenburg are the casemates, underground defensive fortifications from the 15th/16th century, which you can visit on a guided tour.
Via Burg you continue to Herborn, which delights visitors with its medieval town fortifications and many half-timbered houses. A constant companion on your tour through the Dill Valley is not only the river of the same name, but also the mighty ruins of Greifenstein Castle. A detour to it on the mountain is worthwhile. And don't worry: You can reach it quite comfortably with the bicycle bus "Blue Line" from Herborn. The cycle path meanders on via Sinn, Dill, Katzenfurt and Dillheim to Ehringshausen, Werdorf and Aßlar. From here it is only a few kilometers to Wetzlar and thus to the confluence of the Dill and the Lahn. In the historic old town with - surprise - half-timbered houses you can end the tour comfortably.
On the Lahn there is also a bike path that follows the river from its source to its mouth. Colorful meadows, green hills, steep slopes and rocks accompany you on the 245-kilometer tour on the Lahn Cycle Path. It is ideal if you want to switch off for a few days and enjoy nature, because the ADFC quality bike route with four stars runs mostly directly along the river, away from car traffic and hustle and bustle. The route starts in Netphen near Siegen in North Rhine-Westphalia, in the middle of the Rothaargebirge mountains. From here, it continues via the university town of Marburg to Giessen, Wetzlar and Limburg on the Lahn to Lahnstein, south of Koblenz.
On the way, however, there is not only extensive nature, but also many magnificent churches and castles that look as if they have sprung straight out of a storybook. There are also numerous museums along the way. Like the Holz + Technik Museum in Gleiberger Land, the visitor mine Grube Fortuna in Solmser Land and the museum in the Count's Castle in Diez, which is located high on a rock above the Lahn and is a geo-information center showing historical facts from the Lahn valley. The ship tunnel in Weilburg is also unique; here you can watch the canoes being locked. The scenic highlights include the Lahn meanders between Weilburg and Runkel and between Diez and Lahnstein.
By train and bus comfortably to Netphen: Plan arrival.
And for those who can't decide on just one region or river, the Four Rivers Tour is just right. The route with the official designation Hessian long-distance cycle route R2 begins near Biedenkopf-Wallau on the state border with North Rhine-Westphalia and ends in the Spessart region on the Bavarian border near Obersinn. It thus crosses central Hesse once over a length of 202 kilometers, following the courses of the Lahn, Fulda, Lüder and Lauter rivers. With Biedenkopf, Cölbe, Kirchhain, Alsfeld and Lauterbach, you pass almost only small towns and villages along the way. The only exception is the cathedral and baroque town of Fulda. The important Fulda Monastery was once located here, and the old university town is still the seat of a bishop. The most famous landmark of the city is the imposing St. Salvator Cathedral. It was built, like the city palace with its large park and orangery, during the early 18th century in the Baroque style.
You should also not miss Alsfeld with its half-timbered architecture. Not directly on the route, but worth a detour, is the university town of Marburg. And Amöneburg: A single mountain rises from the Ohme plain, with the small town of Amöneburg sitting on top - and from there you have the best view of the Marburg region. From the Lahn to the Vogelsberg, by the way, you'll be rolling mostly downhill, with only a few arduous climbs to follow until you reach the Spessart. Only at the end does it really get down to business: the Spessart is challenging. If you enjoy long climbs, you're in the right place here - and will be rewarded with fantastic views at the end.
By train comfortably and without traffic jams to Biedenkopf-Wallau: Plan arrival.
Cover photo: Incomparable sight: The Main cycle path leads directly to the Main metropolis Frankfurt © #visitrheinmain, David Vasicek
Hiking through quiet low mountain ranges, old beech forests or orchards, paddling on the Lahn, looking at the most beautiful medieval half-timbered houses and soaking up the atmosphere of historic spas - Hessen makes romantic souls happy all around. But gourmets also get their money's worth on wine hikes, in Hessian butcher shops and with "Handkäs mit Musik", a pickled cheese. Reasons for a Vacation in Hesse there are enough!
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