Cycle path through the Schorfheide-Chorin nature reserve

Visit Germany by bike: 15 popular cycling routes [2024]

Traveling by bicycle through Germany, it's impossible not to appreciate the convenience offered by German bike routes. For several years, the Elbe-Radweg, a cycling route along the Elbe River, was the most popular according to the survey by the General German Bicycle Club (ADFC). Then for two years, it was overtaken by the Weser route, and now the Elbe has returned to the top spot. In every German region, there are dozens of bike routes, with Brandenburg with as much as 7,000 kilometers of bike paths, including the longest bicycle route in Germany. Below we present the German cycling routes that have made the biggest impression on us. The order is dictated by our subjective assessment, though, of course, each route is different and can excellently serve various types of cycling tourists.

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Burgundy by bike
Cycling tourism in Brandenburg
Bicycle panniers and trailers
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Uckermark - cycling Brandenburg
Cycle Route around Uckermark in Brandenburg

Here are our picks for the top cycling routes in Germany, featuring the most scenic, the most attractive cycle routes the country has to offer. Each entry below includes (or: will include soon) a brief overview of the route, a map and detailed information about each route to enhance your cycling adventure:

 

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Würzburg - cycling in Franconia
Main River Bike Route in  Franconia
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Main River Bike Route (Main-Radweg) - Franconia

The Main River and its accompanying 600-kilometer bicycle route take the top spot on our list of the best cycling routes in Germany, being the first in the country to be awarded 5 ADFC quality stars. The route's scenic and natural experiences are shaped by the river valley's topography, typically surrounded by forests or picturesque vineyards for which Franconia is renowned. Along the Main, there's no shortage of cultural and historical attractions - cities like Bayreuth, Bamberg, Würzburg or Aschaffenburg are worth a longer stay, not just a brief stop.

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Biking atmosphere by the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea Cycle Route in Northern Germany
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Baltic Sea Cycle Route (Ostseeküsten-Radweg) - Northern Germany

The cycle route along the German part of the Baltic Sea coast starts in Flensburg at the border with Denmark and stretches for 800 kilometers to end in Ahlbeck at the border with Poland. We cycled its middle section - from Lübeck through Wismar, Rostock to Stralsund - enjoying the beloved seaside landscapes, harbor atmospheres, the history of the medieval Hanseatic League and the culinary delights dominated by Baltic seafood and... marzipan, for which Lübeck is the European capital. The Baltic Sea cycle route is an excellent proposal for a family-friendly, safe cycling summer.

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Rail cycling route in Germany
Hessen Railway Cycle Route in Hesse
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Hessen Railway Cycle Route (Bahnradweg Hessen) - Hesse

The Hessen Railway Cycle Route (BahnRadweg Hessen) holds the title as the longest bike route in Germany and is likely the longest route in Europe, tracing the paths of former railway lines. The entire route of the Hessen Railway Cycle Route consists of several shorter post-railway bike trails. This bike route, lying close to Frankfurt (Main), is famed for its surrounding natural landscapes. The two small post-volcanic mountain ranges, Vogelsberg and Rhön, not only add to the scenic beauty but also provide varied cycling activities. The longest ascent is over 20 kilometers long, yet thanks to the very slight, railway-grade incline, it is easy to cycle.

More: Hessen Railway Cycle Route - Hesse

 

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The Oder-Spree-Tour in Brandenburg
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Oder-Spree-Tour - Brandenburg

The Oder-Spree-Tour left a more significant impression on me than the famous Oder-Neisse bike path. The nearly 300-kilometer loop winds through forests, between lakes, and along the canals of the Oder-Spree Lakeland in Brandenburg, which should enchant cyclists looking for close contact with nature. The nearest major cities are Frankfurt (Oder) and Berlin, precisely between which the bike paths of the Oder-Spree-Tour run. Smaller towns along the route include, among others, Beeskow, Storkow and Fürstenwalde (Spree), known for their well-preserved medieval urban layouts.

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Cycling along the Weser River
Weser Cycle Route in Lower Saxony
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Weser Cycle Route (Weser-Radweg) - Lower Saxony

The Weser Cycle Route in Lower Saxony was the first German riverside cycling route we had the pleasure of exploring. The presence of large groups of cyclists on the route, the cycling ambiance in the pubs along the way and the well-prepared, though not exclusively asphalt, path made us eagerly return to cycle by other German rivers in the following years. In 2018-2019, the Weser-Radweg was even chosen as Germans' favorite cycling route. Traveling along the Weser was part of a loop through Lower Saxony - we reached the river from the nearby Harz mountains.

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Cycling through the Ore Mountains in Saxony
Ore Mountains Cycle Route in Saxony
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Ore Mountains Cycle Route (Sächsische Mittelgebirge Radfernweg) - Saxony

The Ore Mountains Cycle Route in the Ore Mountains offers several days of diverse cycling adventures in the mountains. The bike route starts near the Elbe River close to the Schmilka-Hirschmühle train station and ends in Eibenstock, about 250 kilometers further. This main cycling route through the Ore Mountains requires more physical preparation due to its layout - the trail includes many ascents, forest and field sections, making it suitable for gravel-type bikes. The route's attraction lies in its journey through areas associated with the Ore Mountains' industrial traditions - toy and Christmas ornament production, as well as mining.

More: Ore Mountains Cycle Route - Saxony

 

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Bicycle route in the Lower Oder Valley
Oder-Neisse Cycle Route in Eastern Germany
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Oder-Neisse Cycle Route (Oder-Neiße-Radweg) - Eastern Germany

I was pleasantly surprised by the length and quality of the cycle route by the Lusatian Neisse and Oder rivers. The route is devoid of large cities - except for Frankfurt (Oder) - and mainly runs on dedicated bike paths, including along river embankments designed for flood control. The Oder-Neisse cycle route is a suitable spot for cycling families, including those with small children, as well as for individuals new to cycling tourism. The most interesting segment for me was in Saxony, due to its more intimate nature and many forested stretches. Be mindful of the wind direction, which can be challenging in the open spaces along the Oder.

More: Oder-Neisse Cycle Route - Eastern Germany

 

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The Berlin Wall Memorial at Bernauer Strasse
Berlin Wall Route in Berlin
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Berlin Wall Route (Berliner Mauerweg) - Berlin

The Berlin Wall Route (Berliner Mauerweg) stands out as one of the most remarkable bike routes in Europe. It traces the boundaries of what used to be West Berlin, separating it from the territory of former East Germany for decades. From the vantage point of a bicycle saddle, riders have the opportunity to see one of Europe's largest cities, passing through both Berlin's bustling center and its more peripheral districts. Along the Berlin Wall Route, you'll find not only historical sites but also many modern attractions that showcase the capital of Germany in a more contemporary light.

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Cycling path along the Elbe in Saxony
Elbe River Bike Route in Saxony
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Elbe River Bike Route (Elbe-Radweg) - Saxony

During our stay in the Elbe Valley in Saxony, we covered several kilometers of the famous German bike route, probably in its most attractive part. Along the Elbe and in the vicinity of Dresden, there are a dozen or so interesting towns and cities that can effectively keep a tourist engaged for several days. Besides the Saxon capital, the places worth visiting include Meissen with its renowned porcelain factory, the beautifully located Moritzburg Palace, and Radebeul with its impressive vineyards filling the slopes of the Elbe Valley. The Dresden Elbe Valley to the south borders the famous Saxon Switzerland.

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Bike path in Müritz National Park
Mecklenburg Lakes Cycle Route in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
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Mecklenburg Lakes Cycle Route (Mecklenburgischer Seen-Radweg) - Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

The Mecklenburg Lakes Cycle Route spans approximately 600 kilometers, navigating through the Mecklenburg Lake District. It starts on the island of Usedom, briefly heads towards Szczecin, then veers westward, traversing central Mecklenburg all the way to Lüneburg in Lower Saxony. The route encompasses, among other attractions, the largest national park in Germany and numerous Mecklenburg manors and palaces, which offer additional route variations through the Mecklenburg Lake District.

More: Mecklenburg Lakes Cycle Route - Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

 

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Tour Brandenburg in Wittstock
Tour Brandenburg in Brandenburg
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Tour Brandenburg - Brandenburg

We encountered the signposts for the Tour Brandenburg bike route several times during our travels in Germany, and on two occasions, this route was our primary guide around Brandenburg. The Tour Brandenburg spans a total of 1,111 kilometers, making it the longest marked tourist cycling route in Germany. The entire route can be divided into several trips, each offering a unique experience. In this report, we recommend the section in the north of Brandenburg, which reveals a less known side of Germany - areas with very low population density and large forest expanses.

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Cycle path through the Schorfheide-Chorin nature reserve
Cycle Route around Uckermark in Brandenburg
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Cycle Route around Uckermark (Uckermärkischer Radrundweg) - Brandenburg

The Uckermärkische Radrundweg, or the cycle route around the Uckermark region, was our next target during our cycling trips in the cyclist-friendly Brandenburg. A huge advantage of this trail is that almost half of the route passes through natural, protected areas - first through the German Lower Oder Valley National Park, then through the Schorfheide-Chorin biosphere reserve. Among the highlights of our trip were all the cities of the Uckermark district - Schwedt (Oder), Prenzlau, Templin, Angermünde and the tiny Lychen, and cycling the route around Uckermark at a tourist pace took us four days.

More: Cycle Route around Uckermark - Brandenburg

 

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Bicycle route around Chiemsee Lake
Cycle Route around Chiemsee Lake - Bavaria
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Cycle Route around Chiemsee Lake (Chiemsee Rundweg) - Bavaria

The bicycle route around Lake Chiemsee in Germany is a picturesque route that offers exceptional views and pleasant experiences for cyclists of all levels. Covering about 60 kilometers, the trail winds through charming villages and provides magnificent views of the Alps and the lake. Additionally, the route offers numerous stops where one can rest and enjoy tourist attractions such as castles, museums, and beautiful beaches. A great attraction of a one-day trip around Chiemsee are the two islands and the ferry, which can wonderfully diversify the cycling activity.

More: Cycle Route around Chiemsee Lake - Bavaria

 

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Hohenzollern cycling route in Franconia
Hohenzollern Experience Bicycle Route in Franconia
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Hohenzollern Experience Bicycle Route (Erlebnisradweg Hohenzollern) - Franconia

The roughly 100-kilometer-long Hohenzollern Route is an excellent example of a bike route that capitalizes on local historical themes. This bike route winds through locations associated with the Hohenzollern dynasty settled around Nuremberg in Franconia, specifically its Franconian line. It starts in Ansbach and ends in the most famous city of Franconia. This is a quiet, serene bike path through the German countryside, away from the loud attractions featured on the front pages of tourist brochures. It mostly follows comfortable asphalt bike roads, but a significant portion also comprises hard, comfortable gravel paths.

More: Hohenzollern Experience - Franconia

 

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Cycling route near Leipzig
Leipzig New Lakeland Cycle Route in Saxony
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Leipzig New Lakeland Cycle Route (Neuseenland-Radroute) - Saxony

The Neuseenland-Radroute is an almost hundred-kilometer-long bike route encircling the Leipzig New Lakeland - a revitalized mining industrial area south of Leipzig in Saxony. It starts and ends in Markkleeberg, near Leipzig. Throughout its course, it offers views into the transformation processes from a mining-degraded area to an attractive recreational zone. It is suitable for day trips from Leipzig as well as for cycling weekends. The route can also be easily modified using the post-industrial "Coal-Steam-Light-Lakes" bike route.

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