The All-German Cycling Club (ADFC) is a German public organization with about 160,000 members. Each year, this club conducts a study to determine the most popular multi-day cycling routes in the country – based on the number of trips and the results of a special survey.
In 2021, about 3.9 million of these multi-day tours were made in Germany, which is about 500,000 more than in the previous year. However, the numbers remain lower than before the start of the pandemic: 5.4 million in 2019. At the same time, according to the ADFC, there has been a significant increase in the number of one-day tourist bike rides in Germany, with 41 million people making at least one such short trip in 2021, which is 11 million more than in the first year of the pandemic.
Most popular routes – by number of trips
In 2021, the most popular multi-day cycling routes along the rivers Weser, Elbe and Main (Weser-Radweg, Elbe-Radweg, Main-Radweg) turned out to be the most popular in terms of the number of tourists. Further, this ten included the Baltic route (Ostseeküsten-Radweg), the Ruhr route (Ruhrtal-Radweg), the Altmühltal route (Altmühltal-Radweg), the Danube route (Donau-Radweg), the Rhine route (Rhein-Radweg), the Moselle route (Mosel- Radweg) and Five Rivers Route (Fünf-Flüsse-Radweg).
With the exception of the last route, all of them also entered the second rating, but in a different sequence. The 320-kilometer Five Rivers Route is laid across Bavaria between the cities of Nuremberg and Regensburg and partly runs along the Danube, Altmühl, Pegnitz, Fils and Nab rivers.
The most favorite routes – according to the results of the survey
Let’s take a closer look at the second rating – the top ten favorite multi-day routes. Survey participants, among other things, evaluate the attractiveness of the route in terms of sights, landscapes, quality of paths, the presence of special signs and information boards, equipped places to rest, an overnight search system with places to park bicycles, and so on.
In 2021, in this ranking, the routes in first and second places were reversed, the third place was divided between two routes – moreover, one of them is new in this ten: the Ruhr route. Didn’t make the top ten Altmühltal-Radweg route between the Bavarian cities of Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Regensburg, which occupied the ninth position in 2020.
1. Weser route
Weser route (Weser-Radweg). Length: 515 km. It begins in Lower Saxony in the city of Hannoversch-Münden at the confluence of the Werra and Fulda rivers, forming the Weser. It leads to the place where it flows into the North Sea near Bremerhaven and then goes to Cuxhaven. Sights and cities: architectural monuments of the Weser Renaissance; HamelnBad Oeynhausen, Porta Westfalica, Minden, Bremen.
2. Elbe route
Elbe route (Elbe-Radweg). Length: 1220 km. It starts in the resort of Spindleruv Mlyn in the Czech Republic. It ends in the German city of Cuxhaven, where the Elbe flows into the North Sea. Landmarks and cities: Saxon Switzerland; Dresden, Meissen, Torgau, Wittenberg, DessauMagdeburg, Hamburg.
3. Danube route
Danube route (Donau-Radweg). Length: 2850 km, of which in Germany – about 600 km. It starts in the German city of Donaueschingen in Baden-Württemberg, also passes through Bavaria, and ends in the Danube Delta in Romania. Sights and cities in Germany: Sigmaringen castle, Swabian Alb biosphere reserve; Donauwörth, Ingolstadt, RegensburgPassau.
3. Ruhr route
Ruhr route (Ruhrtal-Radweg). Length: 240 km. It starts near the source of the Ruhr River near the city of Winterberg in North Rhine – Westphalia, ends in the same German land – in Duisburg at the confluence of the Ruhr into the Rhine. Landmarks and cities: Villa Hügel, mine “Zolverein”, Gas holder in Oberhausen, numerous other industrial monuments of the Ruhr area; Dortmund, Bochum, Essen, Oberhausen.
4. Baltic route
Baltic Route (Ostseeküsten-Radweg), also known as the Hanseatic route. Length: 7980 km through nine countries on the Baltic Sea, in Germany – 1095 km. In Germany, the route starts in Flensburg on the Danish border and leads to the Polish border – the resort of Ahlbeck on Usedom. Sights and Cities: World Heritage Sites in Wismar and Stralsund, Rügen; Kiel, Travemünde, Greifswald.
5. Main route
Main route (Main-Radweg). Length: about 600 km. It begins in the Bavarian Bischofsgrün near the source of the Weiser Main River – the right component of the Main. It ends in Mainz, where this river flows into the Rhine. Sights and Cities: World Heritage Sites in Bayreuth, Bamberg and Würzburg; Aschaffenburg, Hanau, Frankfurt am Main.
6. Constance route
Constance route (Bodensee-Radweg). Length: about 260 km. Laid around Lake Constance in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. It starts and ends in Constanta. Landmarks and cities in Germany: World Heritage sites in Unteruhldingen and on the island Reichenau, flower island Mainau, numerous baroque monuments; Lindau, Friedrichshafen, Moersburg.
7. Mosel route
Mosel route (Mosel-Radweg). Length: 239 km. Part of the international route Velo Tour Moselle. It starts at the French border in the commune of Perl. It ends in Koblenz at the confluence of the Moselle with the Rhine. Sights and Cities: World Heritage Sites in Trier, wine-growing villages, castle in Cochem; Bernkastel-Kues – the birthplace of the philosopher Nicholas of Cusa, Traben-Trarbach.
8. Bavarian Lake Route
Bavarian Lake Route (Bodensee-Königssee-Radweg). Length: 418 km. Starts in Lindau on Lake Constance. It ends in Berchtesgaden on Lake Königssee. It passes lakes along the foothills of the Alps. Landmarks, cities and communities: castles Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau, the Church of St. Bartholomew on Königssee, the house-museum of Kandinsky and Münter in Murnau; Füssen, Bernau am Chiemse, Traunstein.
9. Rhine Route
Rhine route (Rheinradweg). Length: about 1230 km. This transcontinental cycling route starts near the source of the Rhine in Switzerland and passes through several European states – Austria, Germany and France – to the mouth in the Netherlands. Landmarks and cities in Germany: Speyer, WormsKarlsruhe, Koblenz, Bonn, KolnDüsseldorf, Xanten.