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Four unforgettable weekend getaways on EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route

Tuesday, April 23, 2024
The Rhine Cycle Route is for everybody... even for short trippers! Public transport connections and lots of beautiful towns and villages to see make EuroVelo 15 the perfect route for a cycling weekend.

Cycling holidays are often associated with gargantuan undertakings: countless nights of meticulous planning leading to the ultimate trip of a lifetime, months or even years spent exploring entire continents. But that is only one of many options: perhaps you are short on time, or would like to dip your toes into the water of cycling tourism before committing to a longer trip. Whatever your motivation is, EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route is sure to offer you the ideal weekend cycling trip. All tours can be done in each direction, and all start and end points are easily accessible via public transport, ensuring a stress-free trip from start to finish.

Düsseldorf to Arnhem: Explore Europe’s industrial and military heritage (145 km)

The first journey begins in Düsseldorf, the vibrant capital of North Rhine-Westphalia. The city is known for its modern architecture and local beer (Altbier), served by famously grumpy bartenders known as “Köbes”. From there, you will follow the Rhine, pedaling through Germany’s industrial heritage: this section of the Rhine is known as the birthplace of the industrial revolution in Germany, the remnants of which dot the route as you cycle.

Düsseldorf © Dominik Ketz, Tourismus NRW e.V.
Düsseldorf © Dominik Ketz, Tourismus NRW e.V.

As you cycle northwest, you'll reach Xanten, a historic town brimming with Roman heritage. Explore the impressive archaeological park, admire the stunning cathedral, and spend the night here before crossing the border the next morning. As you set off for Arnhem, the countryside changes: windmills line the horizon, and if you are lucky, you might even see fields of tulips in bloom. Once in Arnhem, explore the Netherlands Open Air Museum to learn about the historical Dutch way of life, or visit the Airborne Museum, to learn about the important role the city played in World War II, popularised in the classic movie A Bridge Too Far.

The John Frost Bridge in Arnhem, what was the 'Bridge too far' in World War II. PIeter Delicaat, CC BY-SA 4.0
The John Frost Bridge in Arnhem, what was the 'Bridge too far' in World War II. PIeter Delicaat, CC BY-SA 4.0

Head over to the EuroVelo Route Planner for all details of this trip.

Bingen to Bonn: Discover countless castles on the Middle Rhine Valley (136 km)

The next trip begins in Bingen am Rhein, home to one of the most important medieval composers: Saint Hildegard von Bingen. Today, the city is best known for its wine, as it straddles the border of three important German wine-making regions. But don’t indulge too much – there’s a lot of cycling yet to be done!

After leaving Bingen, you will cycle along the Rhine Gorge to Koblenz. The unique landscape with the Rhine, its narrow banks and the steep, partly vine-covered valley slopes as well as the more than 40 castles, palaces, monasteries and churches, combined with the myths, legends, works of literature, music and visual art, especially from the 19th century, have contributed to the recognition of the 60-km long Rhine Valley between Bingen/Rüdesheim and Koblenz as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You are never far from a jaw-dropping view!

Upper Middle Rhine Valley, view on Burg Maus © Maximilian Semsch / Romantischer Rhein Tourismus GmbH, CC BY SA 4.0
Upper Middle Rhine Valley, view on Burg Maus © Maximilian Semsch / Romantischer Rhein Tourismus GmbH, CC BY SA 4.0

Stop overnight in the historic city of Koblenz, where the Rhine and Moselle rivers converge, to explore its ancient fortresses, cobblestone streets, and vibrant squares. Don’t miss out on the cable car from the famous Deutsches Eck (German Corner) across the Rhine up to the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress cultural center. From Koblenz, it is only a short cycle along more beautiful river vistas until you reach Bonn, birthplace of Beethoven and former capital of West Germany. Explore Bonn's cultural landmarks, including the Beethoven House and the Museum Mile, before concluding your weekend cycling adventure with another local delicacy: the gummy bear.

Statue of Beethoven on Münsterplatz, in Bonn © Johannes Höhn, Tourismus NRW e.V.
Statue of Beethoven on Münsterplatz, in Bonn © Johannes Höhn, Tourismus NRW e.V.

See all points of interest on the route and download the official track here.

Strasbourg to Karlsruhe: A mélange of German and French influences (84 km)

The shortest proposed itinerary contains only 84 km, but is packed full of beautiful nature and scenic villages and cities. We begin in Strasbourg, known for its blend of French and German influences. Both the historic city centre and the Haussmannian Neustadt district are classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the city hosts the European Parliament for four days per month.

STRASBOURG Petite France place Benjamin Zix - © C.FLEITH 0670.JPG
Strasbourg, Petite France ©C. Fleith

Although you might be so charmed by Strasbourg that you will never want to leave, the reward for setting off is immediate: you can cycle on either side of the Rhine, through Germany or France, or even criss-cross your way through both. On either side you will be greeted by quaint riverside villages, where life is a little bit slower than in the bustling metropolises otherwise found on the Rhine.

After spending the night in one of these villages, it is time to set out for Karlsruhe. The city is known for its green spaces and cultural offerings, as well as being Germany’s legal centre, containing the Constitutional Court and the Court of Justice. If that sounds too dry for your liking, visit the picturesque Karlsruhe Palace and its adjacent gardens to relax after a day spent in the saddle.

Sounds like a plan? Download the GPX tracks from the EuroVelo website.

Strasbourg to Basel: A spin through history (130 km)

From Strasbourg you can also set out in the opposite direction, following the Rhine southwards and taking in the culture of three different countries in the process. Once you have left one UNESCO World Heritage Site behind you, it won’t be long before you reach the next one: the charming fortified town of Neuf-Brisach. Take in the well-preserved fortifications and streets lined with half-timbered houses while enjoying a typical Alsace wine or Flammkuchen, and you will be well fuelled for the next day of cycling. Or cross the Rhine onto Germany via the Rhine islands, a treasure trove of biodiversity, and spend the night in the parent town of Breisach.

Neuf Brisach © Euregio Rhein-Waal - Projekt Demarrage - P. Gawandtka - ADT
Neuf Brisach © Euregio Rhein-Waal - Projekt Demarrage - P. Gawandtka - ADT

Continuing on towards Basel, you will notice the landscape around you becoming more hilly and undulating, but fear not: cycling along the Rhine means the gradients remain easily manageable throughout. Once you reach Basel, known as Switzerland’s cultural capital, stroll around the historic old town, along the Rhine promenade, and over the picturesque bridges built to match the visual identity of the old town.

The Rhine Cycle Route in Basel, Switzerland

Explore this trip on the EuroVelo Route Planner.

We have gathered four of the best options, but of course, the joy lies in the endless customisability of the itinerary. Go ahead and use the many useful tools has to offer, such as the route planner and GPX tracks, to create your very own EuroVelo extravaganza.

Article by Mark Sheridan

Cover image: Upper Middle Rhine Valley, View on the castles Burgen Liebenstein und Sterrenberg © Maximilian Semsch / Romantischer Rhein Tourismus GmbH, CC BY SA 4.0