Castles and palaces, historic towns, half-timbered villages and vineyards: the Lahn flows for 245 kilometers from its origin in the Rothaargebirge mountains through Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate, where it flows into the Rhine. Almost along the entire route, cyclists, hikers and canoeists will find perfect conditions to explore the wild and romantic landscape of the Lahn Valley.
What do you need for an enjoyable bike tour? A varied route. Preferably car-free and asphalted. Preferably even and without major climbs. In addition, a charming landscape with meadows, forests, river meadows and steeply sloping rocks. The Lahn Valley has it all - plus many cultural highlights.
Added to this is a perfect infrastructure for cyclists on the 245-kilometer Lahn Cycle Path. The trail begins at the source of the Lahn in Netphen in the Rothaargebirge mountains of North Rhine-Westphalia, runs for 166 kilometers through Hesse and 57 kilometers through Rhineland-Palatinate to where the Lahn flows into the Rhine at Lahnstein. Due to the good navigability, signposting and safety as well as the excellent tourist offer, the General German Bicycle Club (ADFC) has awarded the cycle path four stars. Here you will find everything you need for a successful cycling vacation - whether you are traveling with the family, as an e-biker or in a very sporty way.
All info about the Lahnradweg is available here.
If you want to start with a particularly scenic stage, it's best to start in the lower Lahn Valley. The route leads from Diez to the spa town of Bad Ems. Even before you have cycled the first kilometers, you will be enchanted by the former residential town of Diez with its half-timbered houses at the Old Market and the Count's Castle. From here, the Lahn cuts up to 200 meters deep into the lovely landscape. And that's exactly what makes the route so beautiful: again and again, breathtaking views of the Lahn open up from the bike path, where canoeists glide through the water between vertically sloping bank rocks. Via Balduinstein with its medieval rock castle ruins, the route continues to the vineyards of Obernhof - the only wine village on the Lahn. Time for a glass of Pinot Noir or Riesling from the sunny and mild climate of the Lahn valley! The young Goethe may well have enjoyed one when he exclaimed his famous "To die for" on a rocky outcrop above the village in 1772. The view of the Taunus on one side of the river and the Westerwald on the other is simply fantastic to this day.
Back on your bike, you'll roll past the 1000-year-old Arnstein Monastery. The next destination is Nassau - a small town with a great history. Remains of the Limes bear witness to Roman rule, Nassau Castle and Stein Castle to Nassau's importance in the Middle Ages. Now it is not far to Bad Ems. The imperial spa welcomes you with its impressive spa architecture and spa promenade - and the Emser Therme directly on the banks of the Lahn. In the various pools with thermal water at different temperatures, in the salt caves and in Germany's first floating river sauna, your stressed muscles will quickly become supple again.
You prefer hiking or like to go canoeing? The Lahn is also perfect for these activities. It is one of the most water-friendly rivers in Germany and offers more than 160 kilometers of paddling. You can experience the world from a different perspective while gliding quietly over the still water, but also during adventures in gentle rapids and several locks. From the water, the castles along the shore appear even more powerful, the cliffs even steeper and the villages amidst the greenery even more romantic. The first entry point for water hikers is south of Marburg. Downstream between Wetzlar and Limburg, a unique attraction makes boaters' hearts beat faster: the Weilburg ship tunnel. Germany's oldest and longest ship tunnel still navigable today passes under the Mühlberg over a length of 195 meters. Fun and action can be experienced by both beginners and experienced paddlers on the scenically spectacular paddling route from Diez to Lahnstein.
On the Lahnwanderweg you can walk 295 kilometers from the Rothaargebirge to the Rhine near Lahnstein. The trail changes banks several times and has been awarded the title "Quality Trail Wanderable Germany" by the German Hiking Association. The most beautiful views of the course of the Lahn are also available to hikers in the lower Lahn valley from Diez, where the river meanders between towering cliffs. What a natural experience, wild and romantic at the same time!
By train comfortably and without traffic jams to the Lahn Valley: Plan arrival.
Cover photo: Break with a view from the Hohe Lay near Nassau © Rheinland-Pfalz Tourismus GmbH/ Dominik Ketz
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