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The Rhine cycle path has a total length of 1230 kilometres (970 km are in Germany). For me it was the start of my 5-month bicycle trip through Europe with my dog Zuri.
The Rhine cycle path is ideal for cycling. Especially for those who have little experience in cycling. It is very flat and runs mostly on asphalted roads along the Rhine far away from other motorways. Normally it is recommended to cycle from Switzerland to the Netherlands. However, I have noticed that going in the opposite direction is not a problem. Also with a trailer, whether with dog or child it is no problem to do it.
Stage 1: Mainz to Biblis 50 km
From Mainz to Biblis, the Rhine cycle path leads through beautiful paths, most of which are far away from motorways. There is a bridge on which the bike has to be pushed. With bikes with a lot of luggage like mine, this can be quite exhausting. A very small piece of normal country road follows on which a stork’s nest can be observed on the right side. At the end of the stage you pass the decommissioned nuclear power plant Biblis. For me it was one of the most beautiful stages on the Rhine cycle path.
The Freyzeit Campingpark in Biblis-Wattenheim is a good and inexpensive place to spend the night. The campsite is situated directly on a lake. The electricity is free and also the showers for the tent guests. However, these only warm up to 40 degrees. Those who prefer a hotter shower can take a shower for 1 Euro for 8 minutes at 60 degrees. The time stops when the water is switched off, so that two people can shower comfortably for this money. For bicycles, there is a bicycle stand directly at the campground.
Stage 2: Biblis to Mannheim 42 km
The stage from Biblis to Mannheim leads past the beautiful town of Worms. It is worth visiting it.
Worms is a lively and open city with 82,000 inhabitants and an exciting history. It was in Worms that the Lutheran Reformation began and is the only German city with a Romanesque imperial cathedral, along with Mainz and Speyer. It also houses the oldest Jewish cemetery in Europe and the largest Reformation monument in the world.
When it’s warm, I can also recommend the Vannini ice cream parlour. The ice cream is really delicious and with 40 varieties there is more than you can try.
Worms also has a very beautiful riverside promenade directly on the Rhine. There you can find the Hagen monument. As a local told me, Hagen is standing on the wrong foot. So he usually would fall into the water while trying to sink the treasure in the Rhine. It demonstrates the will of the artist to commit suicide…
On the way along the Rhine cycle path from Worms to Mannheim I was a little insecure, because suddenly the road ended and there was only one ferry connection left. However, it is completely correct to use this. The short crossing with the bicycle is with 1 € also not particularly expensive.
I didn’t like Mannheim so much as a city. But it is worth to have a look at the city castle.
We slept on the campsite Mannheim Strandbad. The place for the tents right next to the entrance is very narrow and small, but the toilets and the shower are very close. The shower counter also stops here as soon as the water is turned off, so that two people can shower in a row. For me, the owners here were the friendliest I met on the whole Rhine cycle path. There were free shower stamps for the overnight stay and the next morning even free coffee. The way to the camping site alone is worth the trip, as you cycle through a beautiful and very green forest.
Stage 3: From Mannheim to Lingenfeld 35 km
From Mannheim we went through a beautiful forest along the Rhine to the city of Speyer. Speyer is a beautiful city with about 51 000 inhabitants, where you can spend some hours.
Speyer, with its beautiful imperial cathedral, has the world’s largest remaining Romanesque church. There is an incredibly charming inner city, and several very interesting churches such as the Trinity Church.
After we had spent some time in Speyer we went a little further up the Rhine. We slept on the camping site Lingenfeld. This is also at a small lake. But I must confess that I have never seen so many pollen in my life as there. So it is absolutely unsuitable for allergy sufferers.
Stage 4: From Lingenfeld to Karlsruhe 49 km
From Lingenfeld the Rhine cycle path first went along the Rhine dam for a while and then along the Rhine itself. On this stage I saw the second stork’s nest, which was even better to see than the first one. Towards the end of the stage I decided to leave the Rhine cycle path and escape the thunderstorm in an apartment in Karlsruhe. Also in Karlsruhe it is worthwhile to visit the castle.
The storm was really strong. On your bike you are at the mercy of all weather conditions. I had the feeling to get all the dirt and dust of the streets of Karlsruhe blown into my face like a sandstorm. With some heights of wind I had to steer strongly so that I was not blown into a car. I see this as a real danger for cyclists if the cycle paths are only a part of the normal road.
Stage 5: From Karlsruhe to Oberbruch (one stage on the Rhine Valley cycle path) 55 km
Ettlingen, a cute place near Karlsruhe
So close to the Black Forest, this mountain range attracted me and I wanted to see a more mountainous landscape after the river landscape of the Rhine cycle path. So I decided to ride a stage of the Rhine Valley Cycle Route.
However, I must say that this stage has not been worthwhile. Most of the stage was along the road, the cars had a straight, flat road and you had to cycle up and down small hills all the time.
The city of Baden-Baden was very nice. However, it is no reason to leave the Rhine cycle path.
The knockout then represented the route from Baden-Baden to Oberbruch to the campsite. Here I relied on the bicycle navigation of Komoot and that was a huge mistake. It sent me straight over an endless, very steep mountain. Several kilometers it went on a country road, on which there was no extra bicycle way steeply uphill. Without an Ebike I would not have had a chance here. The reward at the top of the mountain were beautiful vineyards.
The campsite in Oberbruch is also beautifully situated next to a lake. We arrived there so late that the reception was already closed and nobody could be reached by phone. Fortunately for me the toilets were not locked, so it was still possible to freshen up a bit. According to the signs, dogs seem to be forbidden on the tent area and also for electricity you need an extra attachment that you have to rent.
Section 6: From Oberbruch to Strasbourg (back to the Rhine cycle path) 36 km
From Oberbruch we went back on cross-country bike paths to the Rhine bike path. The major part of this stage then went along the Rhine dam on unpaved roads. Especially when it rains a lot of mud and dirt is whirled up, which makes all things dirty.
Strasbourg itself is a beautiful and very diverse city, which is why I will write an extra article for it. The best place to spend the night nearby is the camping site in Kehl. Eat in the restaurant on the camping site. The food is very tasty and the portions are gigantic. Electricity has to be paid extra. The showers cost 50 cents for 4 minutes. There is no timer that stops as soon as the water is turned off.
If you want to sleep directly in Strasbourg, I can recommend the Hotel Esplanade. It is one of the cheapest hotels in Strasbourg. They have also given me the cheaper Internet price directly on the spot on request. The hotel has a bicycle rental, whereby the bicycles can be parked in the own cellar free of charge and also dogs can stay overnight free of charge in the room.
Section 7: From Strasbourg to Freiburg (via Kaiserstuhl) 100 km
On the stage from Strasbourg to Freiburg I had the fixed idea to make a detour over the mountain range Kaiserstuhl. This is also a wine region. I wanted to cycle up to the highest mountain called Totenkopf. But I had to capitulate 6 km before when I noticed that the 2nd battery almost flattened and I wanted to get to Freiburg. It is a very mountainous area and one has to cycle up and down several very steep mountains, which strains the muscles as well as the battery extremely. My dog Zuri sometimes had to get off on the country road and walk next to me so that I could get up the mountains on the highest step and lowest gear. So I would recommend to do such a tour only with not too much luggage. The area itself is beautiful and worth a detour.
Then I spontaneously decided to spend the night on the vineyards with a magnificent view and to cover the remaining 20 km to Freiburg the next morning.
The road from Kaiserstuhl towards Freiburg unfortunately went mostly directly next to the road.
There is a lot to see and explore in Freiburg itself. It is just as worthwhile to spend a complete day in the city as it is in Strasbourg.
Particularly worthwhile in Freiburg are of course the old town with the Freiburger Münster and the castle mountain tower. The view in good weather is magnificent. In the old town itself there are many small brooks. Many centuries ago they were used for drinking water for animals and for extinguishing fire. Some houses could not have been saved in earlier centuries without these brooks. Meanwhile the small brooks serve as recreation and refreshment in summer days. But be careful that you don’t accidentally step into one, because then you have to marry a “real” inhabitant of Freiburg.
Freiburg itself is a real bicycle city. There are a lot of cycle paths, which are often separated from the normal road.
Section 8: From Freiburg to Basel 73 km
From Freiburg to Basel we went along the Rhine cycle path again. Most of the route runs parallel to the A5 motorway. However, it is very exciting to see how different the worlds are that one gets to see as a cyclist and as a car driver. The Rhine cycle path runs directly along the water and one does not see much of the motorway as it is hidden behind green hedges. But the noises of the cars are strongly perceptible. Here, it is worth having music in your ears for the stage. Drivers who use the same road only 5 m further to the left do not see anything of the beauty that is right next to them.
The Rhine cycle path is not paved on several passages, so that the bicycle and the bags can get very dirty when the roads are wet.
For me it now goes further 500 km along the Switzerland. The signposted bicycle road network is very good as well.
If you have questions about the Rhine cycle path, then write me an email or use the comment function at the bottom of the page.