Put on your helmet, place your buttocks on the seat and press the pedals. There are many cycling trails in Germany (cycle paths and secondary cycle paths) to help you navigate its varied landscapes. Here are some of the best in the whole country.
Altmühltal cycle path
With about 800 km of cycle paths through the countryside, a pedestrian crossing is the best way to get to the Altmühltal Nature Park. The bike paths are clearly marked and have long brown rectangular signs with a bike badge. The most popular cycle path is the Altmühltal Valley cycle path, which runs for 166 km parallel to the river.
You can rent bicycles in almost all cities of the park and the prices are more or less the same. Most bike rental shops also stock bicycles. Ask for a list of bike rental points at the Altmühltal Nature Park information center.
In good weather, Lake Constance is no better to explore than in the saddle. The well-marked Lake Constance cycle path is a 170-mile (273 km) loop of Lake Constance, covering vineyards, meadows, orchards, wetlands and historic towns. There are many small beaches where you can swim in the lake. You can find routes and maps on the Bodensee cycle path website.
Bike rental is available in most cities at a price of few euros per day. Although the entire route takes about a week, ferries and trains can also run shorter routes, such as Friedrichshafen-Konstanz-Meersburg, on weekends.
Fat Tire Bike Tours and Berlin on Bike offer guided bike tours of Berlin and along the wall. If you’re ambitious, rent a bike for a 99-mile (160 km) guided tour of Berlin’s mauerweg, a bike and pedestrian path that runs along the former border fortifications, with 40 multilingual information stations along the way.
The German part of the 823 km-long cycle path leading to the Baltic Sea coast through the northern outskirts of the country is a multi-day adventure. Between Flensberg and Olbek there are some excellent stops, such as seaside resorts, historical towns or excursions to the islands of Rügen and Fehmarn. When you reach the limit, don’t be surprised if you want to move on.
There are several excellent cycling routes around Speyer. The Kaiser Conrad cycle path connects the Emperor Speyer Cathedral to the town hall in Bad Durkheim (20 miles / 32.5 km distance) on the German Weinstraße; the 75-mile (120 km) long Saller cycle path also leads to Worms. From Basel in Switzerland, the 260-mile (420 km) Rhine cycle path follows the Rhine north via Speyer to Worms. The Tourist Offices have information about cycling; in addition, visit Open active for downloadable links, maps and more.
Gently sloping hills and forests cover much of the Saarland countryside. Cycling routes include 356 km (221 miles) of the Saar cycle path and 110 km (68 miles) of the Saar cycle path (SaarLorLux cycle route) along the (mostly) beautiful Saar.
German plonk route
The German plonk route, one of the oldest routes in Germany, was opened in 1935. It passes through the heart of the Palatinate – a region with vineyards, vast forests, castle ruins, picturesque villages and, of course, outstanding vineyards. It is blessed with a temperate climate in which almonds, figs, kiwis and even lemons can thrive. Cycling here is fun thanks to the many cycle paths and easy-to-navigate side roads, such as the German Weinstraße cycle path. The Tourist Offices sell various excellent bike maps and have detailed information on bike rental.
The romantic Rhine Valley
The Rhine cycle path stretches for 1,233 km from Andermatt in Switzerland to Hook Van Holland, near Rotterdam. Between Bingen and Koblenz, it runs along both banks of the Rhine in the romantic Rhine Valley. It is connected to two other long-distance cycle paths: the 79-mile (127 km) cycle path Near Hunsrück-Moselle, which follows the road near Bingen southwest to Selbach, and the 193-mile (311 km) Moselle cycle path, which runs along the banks of the Moselle from Koblenz to Traben-Trarbach, Bernkastel-Kus and Trier
Bicycles can be transported by regional trains, cars and river ferries, so it is possible to ride in one direction (for example, in the valley) and take public transport in the other.
Elberadweg or Elberadweg is one of the best bike paths in Germany, it stretches about 860 km west along the Elbe River from the Czech border to Cuxhaven. Especially popular is the picturesque Saxony-Anhalt road, which is 360 km long. Dessau-Rosslau is a good center to consider accommodation.
Danube cycle path
While the Austrian part of the bike path is more popular, the German part still has a lot of highlights and offers many breathtaking landscapes with fewer crowds. The way to Germany stretches for 590 km from Dunaischingen to Passau, near the Austrian border. The complete map is available online. Bike tours are also available if you don’t want to do it alone.