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Dreaming about Cycling Holidays: EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route from your bedroom

Monday, April 27, 2020
The COVD-19 pandemic and the lockdowns currently happening in most parts of the world make it difficult for many of us to plan cycling holidays in the summer. Times are uncertain and we do not know when it will be safe to travel again. With #EuroVeloAtHome, we would like to let you know that it’s okay to dream.

"The house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace", wrote Gaston Bachelard in The Poetics of Space.

Take this extra time to explore the world from your bedroom and let your mind wander along rivers, down cycle paths and around the castles and palaces of foreign countries that you find inspiring. When we can travel again, your cycle journey will be made richer by the intimate relationship you’ll have built with the landscapes in your reverie…

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The Rhine Falls, one of the biggest waterfalls in Europe, is located in Switzerland © Demarrage LTMA

EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route follows the Rhine River from its source in the Swiss mountains to its outlet in the Dutch North Sea. For centuries, the Rhine has fascinated poets and painters. Victor Hugo praised it in 1842 in his book The Rhine: “The Rhine combines every quality a river can exhibit. The rapidity of the Rhone, the breadth of the Loire, the rocks of the Meuse, the sinuosity of the Seine, the translucency of the Somme, the historical reminiscences of the Tiber, the regal dignity of the Danube, the mysterious influence of the Nile, the golden sands of the glittering streams of the New World, the phantoms of some Asiatic stream.”

The source of the Rhine river, Lake Toma in the Swiss canton of Graubünden © Demarrage LTMA
Biebrich Palace, a Baroque residence in Biebrich in the city of Wiesbaden, Germany © Demarrage LTMA

The Rhine has changed a lot since 1842, but its variety and contrasts still amaze every traveller. Starting as a small stream near Andermatt, it climbs the Oberalp Pass among snow-capped summits, gorgeous views on valleys lost in the clouds and soothing cowbells’ music and continues across the Graubünden canton, passing Chur, the oldest town of Switzerland (more on this section). After a short visit to Austria, the route goes along peaceful Lake Constance and reaches Constance, where you are left with a choice: you can follow the left bank of the river, staying in Switzerland, or the right bank, entering Germany. But your choice is not binding, as many bridges and ferries along the route allow you to get on the other side.

The left bank of the Rhine will bring you to Basel, cosmopolitan city located at the intersection of Switzerland, Germany and France, and cultural capital of Switzerland with its 40 museums. The Alsace Region, known for Strasbourg, its gastronomy and delicious wines, then awaits you. Explore the region on long straight greenways following the Alsatian canals.

Strasbourg in Alsace © Demarrage LTMA

The right bank meanders through Germany, in the natural landscapes of Baden-Württemberg and the incredible Middle Rhine Valley. The route then reaches a wider part of the River in North Rhine-Westphalia, where you can cycle through beautiful protected areas and discover formerly industrial towns such as Duisburg (more on this section). Finally, the last section of the Rhine Cycle Route takes you on the Netherlands’ well-developed network of local cycle routes and leads through many beautiful Dutch towns (more on this section).

Are you a food lover? Then dream some more by reading this article, a delicious account of the culinary highlights of EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route. And let children walk into your reveries: the Rhine Cycle Route is a great source of family-friendly cycle trips and we have even published the story of a trip on the whole Rhine Cycle Route viewed through the eyes of Azur, a five-year-old boy.

De Gelderse Poort, a nature reserve in Millingen at the Rhine river © Demarrage LTMA
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Ottmarsheim, a commune in Alsace in north-eastern France © Demarrage LTMA

In case you are a more pragmatic dreamer, our website offers an interactive map of the Rhine Cycle Route, dividing it into the four bordering countries (Switzerland, Germany, France and Netherlands) and the seven thematic stages. You can explore the highlights of each region, including UNESCO sites and beautiful natural and cultural heritage. Additionally, you can download or order detailed maps that help you in planning your future trip, including ECF’s Rhine Cycle Route Service Handbook and the very good Bikeline Esterbauer guides. Or else, opt for the offer of a tour operator if you don’t want to worry about technicalities. Get inspired!

But images may be the best call to daydreaming, so take your time to scroll through this selection of inspiring pictures of the Rhine Cycle Route. Staying home is the perfect time to browse through photo albums, right?

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- #EuroVeloAtHome #dreamtoday #traveltomorrow

Author(s): Florence Grégoire