THE KOCHER-JAGST CYCLE ROUTE: A tale of two rivers
In north-eastern Baden-Württemberg, this attractive but still largely undiscovered circular tour runs through unspoiled countryside. This is peaceful, relaxing and very much off the beaten track. But, along the way are pretty half-timbered villages, as well as fascinating historic towns, such as medieval Schwäbisch Hall, Aalen with its Roman connections, Baroque Ellwangen and the spa town of Bad Wimpfen. Don’t miss Schöntal, the grand and beautifully-conserved 12th-century Cistercian monastery in the Jagst valley. No wonder this is rated 4* by the German Cyclist’s Association. Experienced cyclists cover all 332 km / 200 miles of marked pathway in six stages – a good, week-long trip. But, as long as you don’t mind a few hills, you can take any of the 13 well-marked ‘cross-connections’, short cuts linking the Kocher and Jagst valleys. Use these to create your own tours. For more suggestions, see the website: www.kocher-jagst.de
And everywhere is cycle-friendly, from rentals (including e-bikes) to e-bike charging stations and B&Bs that are part of the Bett+Bike association. Sleep in a comfy bed or snuggle down in a hayloft on a farm. Apart from pedalling, you can relax in natural hot spring spas, refuel at farmer’s markets and enjoy one of the many outdoor summer music festivals.
TIP: Stop for a traditional “Veschber”, the local name for hearty afternoon snacks of home-made sausage, cheese and bread – with a glass of wine or locally-brewed beer, of course!