Rhine Cycle Route, Baden-Württemberg (EV15)
In Baden-Württemberg, the Rhine Cycle Route runs along two of the state’s long-distance cycle routes: the Rheintalradweg [Rhine Valley Cycle Route] in the counties of Konstanz, Waldshut and Lörrach and the Veloroute Rhine through the Black Forest and the Kurpfalz.
In Baden-Württemberg, EuroVelo15 leads cyclists from the banks of Lake Constance, one of Europe’s most appealing natural and cultural landscapes, and through the Upper Rhine rift area, which is bordered to the east by the Black Forest, the Kraichgau region, and the Odenwald Mountains and to the west by the Vosges Mountains, the Pfälzer Wald [Palatinate Forest] and the hill country of Rhine-Hesse. It offers ideal conditions for cycling. The land is flat, the climate Mediterranean. It is possible to enjoy both family excursions on individual legs and sporty, long-distance trips. In addition, there are connections to numerous regional cycle routes, allowing you to discover the “hinterland” of each region.
The Rhine Cycle Route presents the river as a waterway, with its straightened course, ports and locks, but also shows off the versatile landscape, with its untouched riverside forests and rich flora and fauna. It passes through charming historical towns and villages, as well as renowned wine-growing areas, offering cyclists a tour rich in touristic, cultural and culinary diversity
Tour starting point in Baden-Württemberg: Konstanz
Tour destination in Baden-Württemberg: Mannheim
Ascents: slight ascents
Traffic: little traffic on the German side
Nature to experience: riverside forests with rich flora and fauna
Cultural offerings: the cities of Konstanz, Breisach with its St Stephen’s Minster, Rastatt with its baroque residential palace, Karlsruhe, Mannheim
Distance: 508 km
The cycle route largely consists of asphalted but semi-natural paths. Large parts of the Rhine Cycle Route run right along the riverbank, offering unique views of the water, riverside forests, vineyards and pretty villages. En route, the numerous locks, port facilities and ships illustrate the Rhine’s significance as a transport route.
The route is ideal for anyone that likes to eat a croissant in the morning and a Schäufele [shoulder of pork] in the evening. You can cycle back and forth along the right and left bank of the Rhine, enjoying both Baden and Alsace lifestyle. After all, the emphasis here is on fun, as the cycle route passes through largely flat land in a mild climate. The hills are not to be defeated but rather simply to be admired: the Vosges Mountains and the Black Forest, the Pfälzer Wald [Palatinate Forest] and the Odenwald Mountains lie along the Upper Rhine rift. Short excursions extend the tour, but you should not miss out on destinations such as Colmar and Freiburg. Anyone with a need for speed will be in their element on the roller coasters of the Europa-Park in the town of Rust.
On the section from Konstanz to Stein am Rhein via the Untersee [lower lake], the landscape is dominated by Lake Constance and the Rhine. Slight ascents await cyclists on the approach to the Höri peninsula; however, these are accompanied by beautiful views of the Rhine and the neighbouring Swiss bank of the lake. During this section of the route, stopovers should definitely be made in Konstanz and Radolfzell and on the Höri peninsula.
The route along Lake Constance to the Rhine Falls features exceptionally diverse landscape, with views of the Swiss Alps, Lake Constance, the Rhine and picturesque old-town buildings. Visitors to wayside towns are rewarded with cultural diversity and architectural attractions. Examples include places such as Konstanz, Allensbach and Radolfzell and the Höri-peninsula municipalities of Moos, Gaienhofen and Öhningen.
Covering more than 11,000 square kilometres, the Black Forest holiday region is home to diverse landscape between the Upper Rhine to the west, the High Rhine to the south and the Nagold, Neckar and Wutach valleys to the east. Experiencing nature here, you will alternate between sunny, sloping vineyards and shady forests. The High Rhine and Upper Rhine enclose the Black Forest and offer magnificent views of the biggest and highest of Germany’s low mountain ranges as you travel along the Rhine Cycle Route.
The Kurpfalz [Electoral Palatinate] is a highly diverse region in the three-border area formed by the states of Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse and Baden-Württemberg: the “German Wine Route” with the nearby Pfälzer Wald [Palatinate Forest], the “Blühende Bergstraße” [Blossoming Mountain Road] on the slopes of the Odenwald Mountains, the “Nibelung-Siegfried Route”, which is shrouded in legend, or a cruise on the River Neckar from the romantic city of Heidelberg to the much-praised Neckar Valley.
There are many reasons to love the Kurpfalz, and you won’t have to search long to find them. Elector Carl Theodor led a revival of the Kurpfalz in the mid 18th century. In the Kurpfalz, you can cycle on the Baden-Württemberg side through the Odenwald Mountains, discover World Heritage Sites and experience colourful markets, wine festivals, folk festivals and music festivals.
POIs along the Rhine Cycle Route
Lake Constance is one of Europe’s largest inland bodies of water and is excellently suited to swimming and water sports. Along the banks of the lake, fishing villages with winding streets and rustic towns invite you to pay a visit. It is worth making a detour from Konstanz to see the flower island of Mainau and Reichenau Island – a UNESCO World Heritage Site with its churches of St Peter and St Paul.
This twin city in the foothills of the Black Forest in southern Baden-Württemberg lies right by the Swiss border. Sights in Tiengen include the castle and the Storchenturm [stork tower], one of the symbols of the town. In Waldshut, the historic old town is well worth a visit.
Bad Säckingen is home to the longest covered wooden bridge in Europe, which connects the spa town with the Swiss municipality of Stein. Other sights include the historic old town and the Fridolinsmünster [Fridolin Minster].
Weil am Rhein
Weil am Rhein is in the extreme south-west of Germany, in the middle of the three-border region formed by Germany, France and Switzerland. Special features: Vitra Campus, the Dreiländerbrücke [three countries bridge], the open-air “Stadt der Stühle” [city of chairs] museum, the open-air “ART-Dorf Ötlingen” gallery. Weil am Rhein is the end-point of the Badische Weinstraße [Baden Wine Route], which has many sights to offer along its 500 km course. www.w-wt.de
Vitra Campus Weil am Rhein
Spectacular buildings by the architects Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando, Nicholas Grimshaw, Alvaro Siza, SANAA, Herzog & de Meuron, Jean Prouvé, Jasper Morrison and Richard Buckminster Fuller. www.vitra.com/de-de/campus.
The charming town of Breisach is situated in the midst of the splendid landscape of Baden and Alsace. Directly on the Rhine, it links the two wine regions on the near and far sides of the river. The symbol of the town is the St. Stephansmünster [St Stephen’s Minster], which towers over the town and the Rhine.
The hilltop castle of Sponeck lies on a spur above the meadows of the Rhine, in the Jechtigen district of the municipality of Sasbach am Kaiserstuhl. Today’s ruin was once built atop the remnants of a late Roman castle, and was surrounded by the Rhine until the river was straightened by Tulla.
Taubergießen nature reserve
With its oxbow lakes and seemingly primeval riverside forests, Taubergießen is one of the largest nature reserves in Baden-Württemberg. Stretching more than 12 km from north to south, the area includes land belonging to the towns of Kappel-Grafenhausen, Rust and Rheinhausen.
Europa-Park in Rust
There is loads to discover at Germany’s largest amusement park: in an area of 94 hectares, adventurous visitors can look forward not only to more than 100 attractions and international show programmes, but also to 13 European themed areas with architecture, vegetation and gastronomy typical of the respective countries – pure enjoyment in summer and winter alike!
As part of the first cross-border garden show in 2004, Kehl and Strasbourg linked the French and German banks of the Rhine to one another with the Passerelle – a bridge reserved for cyclists and pedestrians.
The baroque city and royal residence of Rastatt is situated between Karlsruhe and Baden-Baden. Modelled on the French Palace of Versailles, the residential palace was built by Margrave Ludwig Wilhelm and Margravine Sibylla Augusta of Baden-Baden. Schloss Favorite [Favorite Palace] in Rastatt-Förch is Germany’s oldest “porcelain palace”.
The Fächerstadt [fan city] of Karlsruhe is home to the Center for Art and Media (ZKM), the only institution of its kind in the world. A visit to Karlsruhe is a rich cultural experience thanks to the spectacular special exhibitions of the Landesmuseum [State Museum] in the castle, the outstanding opera house of the Badische Staatstheater [Baden State Theatre], and a wealth of other theatres and museums.
The Quadratestadt [square city] of Mannheim is one of the largest cities in Baden-Württemberg. Popular attractions include the Reiss-Engelhorn museums and the Wasserturm [water tower]. Set in the midst of Friedrichsplatz, one of the most attractive art nouveau ensembles in Europe, the 60 m Wasserturm soars above the highest point of the square and is visible from far away.
Ortenau wine-growing areas, the Kaiserstuhl hills and the Markgräflerland region
Baden is one of southern Germany’s two large wine-growing areas. With diverse landscape, the region stretches over 400 kilometres and is divided up into several sub-regions. Those close to the Rhine Cycle Route include: Lake Constance; the Markgräflerland region; the Breisgau region; the Kaiserstuhl hills; the Tuniberg, Ortenau and Kraichgau regions; and the Badische Bergstraße [Baden Mountain Road]. Time and again, the route offers worthwhile detours to vineyard landscapes where you can find picturesque wine-growing villages, magnificent farmsteads and modern wine-growing architecture, as well as impressive views of vineyards and vines that reveal themselves as you travel along the Badische Weinstraße [Baden Wine Route].