The Rhine Cycle Route
From source to sea through Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands
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A guidebook for the Rhine Cycle Route with stage-by-stage descriptions, from its source high in the Swiss Alps to its mouth at the Netherlands' North Sea coast. In 2 weeks and 27 stages, you will cycle through 6 countries including France and Germany, visiting cities, towns and villages and passing locations of great historical interest.
- except for stage 1 (in the high Alps, where snow may lie until May), the route can be cycled at any time of year; the best months are May to September
- basically a downhill route on well made (mostly surfaced) tracks the route is suitable for any competent cyclist; the only limiting factor is stamina required to cycle 1380km; ideal equipment is a hybrid cycle (mountain bike/touring cycle cross), but a touring cycle could be used following alternate routes to avoid two poorly surfaced stages
- Must See
- Oberalppass, Ruinaulta gorge, Bodensee (Bregenz, Lindau, Konstanz), Rhine falls, Basel, Neuf-Brisach, Maginot line, Strasbourg, Karlsruhe, Speyer (cathedral), Mannheim, Worms (cathedral, Nibelungen museum, Luther monument), Mainz (cathedral, Gutenburg museum), Rheingau vineyards, Rhine gorge (castles, vineyards, Loreley rock), Koblenz, Andernach (geyser), Drachenfels, Bonn, Koln (cathedral, Roman museum), Dusseldorf, Xanten, Arnhem (airborne museum), Kinderdijk, Rotterdam
This comprehensive cycle touring guidebook to the Rhine Cycle Route. This guide offers a detailed stage-by-stage description of this epic 1380km route along the Rhine, one of Europe's great rivers, which travels through six countries on its way from Switzerland to the North Sea. On its way, the Rhine Cycle Route passes the remains of Roman cities, medieval towns, castles, cathedrals, palaces, great cities of the industrial revolution and relics of 20th-century warfare. And it travels through a great range of stunning scenery.
On this 1378km route you will cycle 27 stages through six countries; Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France and the Netherlands, to end at Hoek van Holland (Hook of Holland). Each stages averages just over 50km, and itineraries can be adjusted according to each cyclist's needs.
Starting in the Swiss Alps with high mountains, deep glacial valleys and gorges it soon reaches Europe's third largest lake, the Bodensee, and its greatest mainland waterfall. After Basel, the Rhine becomes a broad river, where straightening, flood dykes, locks and dams have created the world's busiest river trading artery. The middle Rhine, between Bingen and Koblenz, forces its way through the narrow rocky Rhine gorge lined by romantic castles perched above Germany's finest vineyards. The cycling is easy, downhill and along dedicated cycle routes. The countries visited are very cycle-friendly and the waymarking is excellent. And the whole trip can be completed in two weeks by a fit cyclist.
- practical information on cycling the route; from traveling to and from the Rhine with your bike, to accommodation and preparation before you go
- all the countries the route passes through are cycle-friendly, and have plenty of way-marking
- while not technically challenging, but very varied. Fit cyclists whould be able to complete the route in two-weeks
Getting there and back
Food and drink
Amenities and services
What to take
Safety and emergencies
About this guide
Alpenrhein (Alpine Rhine)
Stage 1 Oberalppass to Ilanz
Stage 2 Ilanz to Chur
Stage 3 Chur to Buchs
Stage 4 Buchs to Bregenz
Hochrhein (Higher Rhine)
Stage 5 Bregenz to Konstanz
Stage 6 Konstanz to Schaffhausen
Stage 7 Schaffhausen to Waldshut
Stage 8 Waldshut to Basel
Oberrhein (Upper Rhine)
Stage 9 Basel to Neuf-Brisach
Stage 10 Neuf-Brisach to Strasbourg
Stage 11 Strasbourg to Drusenheim
Stage 12 Drusenheim to Karlsruhe
Stage 13 Karlsruhe to Speyer
Stage 14 Speyer to Worms
Stage 15 Worms to Mainz
Mittelrhein (Middle Rhine)
Stage 16 Mainz to Bacharach
Stage 17 Bacharach to Koblenz
Stage 18 Koblenz to Königswinter
Niederrhein (Lower Rhine)
Stage 19 Königswinter to Köln
Stage 20 Köln to Düsseldorf
Stage 21 Düsseldorf to Duisburg
Stage 22 Duisburg to Xanten
Stage 23 Xanten to Arnhem
Delta Rijn (Rhine Delta)
Stage 24 Arnhem to Wijk bij Duurstede
Stage 25 Wijk bij Duurstede to Schoonhoven
Stage 26 Schoonhoven to Rotterdam
Stage 27 Rotterdam to Hoek van Holland
Alternative routes across the Netherlands
Appendix A Route summary table
Appendix B Glossary
Appendix C Useful contacts
Appendix D Principal tourist offices
Appendix E Youth hostels
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Be notified by email when this book receives an update or correction
A full set of GPX files for the route described in this guide is now available free to download to owners of the book.
You can download them by following this link: www.cicerone.co.uk/797/gpx
p124 After turning L at Gambsheim dam and crossing drainage canal, next instruction should be turn sharply R (not sharply L) at roundabout (sp Offendorf).
There is no longer camping availablel at Marckolsheim
Friends and I cycled the Rhine last September and we consulted Mike Wells' book "The Rhine Cycle Book" the whole way. It was a wonderful companion and we followed Mike's advice and did some of the historical side trips. We took a lot longer than Mike would - we were a mixed group of ages and experience so had a wonderful rest day every third day. In the end we cycled over 1400 kms to the North Sea - a joyous occasion when dipped our toes!
Please thank Mike and let him know that since our return, one friend already has already purchased - how to cycle the Danube and Rhone!"
Bernadette, by email.
"These guides are fantastic and I have yet to find anything in English which does a better job. eBook versions are also available (which may be a more practical solution when you are riding the route, have a bike mount for your phone and don’t have three hands…)."
Read the full review on the Cycling Europe website.
"mike wells, in keeping with his companion cicerone guides, provides not only exemplary pedal by pedal instructions on how you too might enjoy the Rhine cycleway, but impeccable advice on how to prepare prior to commencing your journey...
the detailing and directions accompanying each stage of riding, along with remarkably informative maps do not make for a book that you'd read in the bath, but this may be an intrinsic part of its strategy. these guides are for those who actively participate, rather than the armchair cyclo-tourist, and is all the better for it.
cicerone appear to have modernised the appearance of their excellent guidebooks, the covers now looking less like forgotten items from the late 19th century and now sporting a more impressive contemporary look."
Read more on thewashingmachinepost
Imagine a 1400km journey along one of Europe's great rivers that's almost entirely on well-surfaced cycle tracks - and the sections that touch roads all have marked bike lanes. That two-wheeled nirvana exists as the Rhine Cycle Route and this guide holds your hand from the source to the sea, from Switzerland to the Netherlands. The good news is that it's easy graded and downhill, so what's keeping you?
Mike Wells has been a keen long-distance walker and cyclist for over 20 years. He has walked all the major British trails, the GR5 through the Alps from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean and has explored the Italian Dolomites' Alta Via routes. He has also walked in Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Norway and Chilean Patagonia.
Mike has cycled the C2C route across northern England as well as the Camino and Ruta de la Plata to Santiago de la Compostela. He has completed an end to end traverse of Cuba, a circumnavigation of Iceland and a trip across Lapland to the North Cape.
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