EuroVelo 15: From the source of the Rhine to its mouth in the North Sea
Open to cyclists of all capabilities, the Rhine cycle route runs along one of the largest rivers in Europe. From the Swiss Alps to the North Sea, the Rhine has fostered cultural and economic dialogue between the Alpine arc and Northern Europe for over 2000 years. Explore the beauty of this river landscape and the picturesque towns and villages lining its banks, a number of which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Take a stroll or a bike ride along this cycling route running along the Rhine. Welcome to the Eurovélo 15 website - the Rhine Cycle Route! more
Easy rides for
- Natural heritage
- Art along the Rhine
- World Heritage by UNESCO
- The Europe
- Cultural heritage
- Culinary delights along the Rhine
- The Rhine
Nature reserve of the Rhinau island / Taubergiessen
The nature reserve of the Rhinau island is the most representative site in Alsace of the Rhine alluvial forest, with species born on the materials deposited by the river’s high waters and continually evolving. Directly linked to the river, the persistent seasonal floods have maintained the alluvial nature of the forest. A multitude of extremely diversified and very characteristic forest, herbaceous and aquatic environments, often of small surface areas, are juxtaposed and overlap each other.
the dragons' mountain, Königswinter.
Full of legend - in the era of the Nibelungen, the summit of this mountain was where Siegfried vanquished the dragon Fafnir - the dragons' mountain has attracted visitors since the early 19th century, enjoying an unobstructed view over the Rhine, the city of Bonn and its surroundings. Visitors rode up this small 31 metre mountain on donkeys, until a rack-and-pinion service was installed. In 2011, a panoramic terrace was built to add to the visitor experience.
Located to the far south of Germany, at the border with Austria and Switzerland, Lake Constance, the third largest lake in Europe, is a must on the EuroVelo 15 route. In a natural setting of gentle verdant valleys and benefiting from a mild climate, it has two lakes, the “Obersee” (Upper Lake) and the “Untersee” (Lower Lake), joined together by the River Rhine which continues its journey towards the West. Holiday-makers particularly appreciate the large number of cruises available.
Vineyards in the South-West of Germany.
With 300 days of sun per year, the Baden region, to the South-West of Germany, is the sunniest and warmest area of the country. Internationally-renowned vineyards are planted there, following the example of the wines of the Ortenau region, where the Riesling wine is produced, or the Kaiserstuhl region, a volcanic land located close to Freiburg im Breisgau.
The North Sea and the dunes
And so you arrive at the end of Eurovélo 15, paddling in the North Sea in the small area known as the Hook of Holland. Take the opportunity to go for a walk along the long beaches - go to the end of the pier or lose yourself in the dunes. But take care not to trample over the fragile vegetation! Hiking, bike rides, sand-yachting, windsurfing and more. There's so much to do once you reach the North Sea.
Region of Betuwe
The region of Betuwe - farming country. Situated between the two main branches of the Rhine, the Waal to the south and the Lower Rhine to the North, the region of Betuwe is known for its fruit, especially pears and cherries. The rich alluvial deposits of the delta region make ideal ground for this type of agriculture.
Nature reserve of the Offendorf forest
Located on a former Rhine gravel bank, the nature reserve protects 60 hectares of alluvial forest. The whole of the natural site, deprived since 1977 of the Rhine’s floods and their contributions in nutritious sediment, is flooded, at the start of the summer, by the rising of the water table during the period of the Rhine’s high waters. Gigantic trees, mysterious reed beds and a large variety of water birds make up the attractions of this Alsace jungle.
Kühkopf-Knoblochsaue nature reserve in Riedstadt.
Covering an area of 24 square kilometres, Kühkopf-Knoblochsaue is the largest nature reserve in the State of Hesse. It is home to exceptional flora and fauna, including bush willow, reed beds and Kühkopf island, surrounded by an ancient branch of the Rhine. This nature reserve gives us a good idea of what the Rhine area looked like before its banks were developed by Man.
The nature reservate of Lampertheim
The Lampertheimer nature reserve is one of the most outstanding meadow protection areas located on the northern Upper-Rhine. Up to today the area of 530 hectares including the peninsula Biedensand and the shallow lake Welsch-Loch – originally a cut off with a depth of more than 10 m – is influenced by the natural flood dynamic of the Rhine River.
The Kromme Rijn, or Crooked Rhine
The secondary branch of the Rhine is 17 miles long. Known as the Kromme Rijn, or Crooked Rhine, it was an important waterway until the construction of a dam in 1122 during the Middle Ages. Still flowing gently, the Kromme Rijn has maintained a pleasant landscape, with castles and private estates built alongside the river. Eurovélo 15 crosses the Kromme Rijn at the town of Wijk bij Duurstede.
Tomi Ungerer museum in Strasbourg
Artist and illustrator of books for adults and for children, including the famous work “The three robbers”, Tomi Ungerer, born in 1931 in Strasbourg, is considered as one of the greatest illustrators of the last 50 years. The museum – the first public museum in France devoted to an artist during his lifetime – is set up in the Greiner villa, and houses, over 700 square metres, more than 11000 drawings given by the Strasbourg artist to his hometown.
The museums in Basel
The museums in Basel house several important international works. Each year more than one million visitors attend the some thirty-six exhibition halls, which is a particularly high density compared to other similar-sized towns. Art aficionados should not miss “Art Basel”, the largest annual modern art fair in Europe. It is held every year in mid-June.
The Museum Mile in Bonn.
Bonn's Museum Mile is unmissable for all lovers of art and culture, attracting over a million visitors every year. The Museum of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany (Haus der Geschichte) presents the country's contemporary history through photographs, documents and original objects from German history. The Fine Art Museum (Kunstmuseum Bonn) exhibits Rhenish expressionist works and German art from the post-war period, while the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany (Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland) plays host to travelling exhibitions designed to show national and international cultural trends with the inclusion of science and technology. The Alexander Koenig Museum is one of the best zoological museums in Germany. Finally, the Bonn German Museum presents the milestones of scientific discovery over the past 50 years. It boasts around 100 original items on display, from the magnetic rail ‘Transrapid’ train to the Nobel Prize winning ion trap.
Rolandseck Contemporary Art Museum.
Rolandseck railway station has always been more than just a station. Since its inauguration in 1858, it has been a focal point for artists and intellectuals. Since September 2007, it has formed part of a new museum on the Rhine - the "Arp-Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck". Built right on the banks of the Rhine in the town of Remagen, Rolandseck Contemporary Art Museum has four floors of exhibition space devoted to the Alsation painter and sculptor Hans Arp and his wife Sophie Taeuber-Arp, who were involved in the rise of the Dada and surrealist movements in the early 20th century. Paintings from the Middle Ages right up to the modern day are also on display.
Gutenburg Museum, Mainz.
The reconstruction of the old workshop of the inventor of the printing press - a press that visitors can operate, along with a copy of the Gutenburg Bible - the first book to be printed in Europe using movable type - are some of the main attractions at the Gutenburg Museum in Mainz. Four millennia of written history and culture, and the most important prints of the 14th century up to the modern day are on display.
Museum of the Island of Hombroich and the Langen Foundation
Located a few miles south of Neuss, the Museum of the Island of Hombroich (Museum Insel Hombroich) opened in 1987, in the heart of an old park on the island of Hombroich. This museum embodies and enacts a famous quote said by Cézanne: "Art is a harmony parallel with nature". The exhibition building and the artistic workshop sink naturally into the vast landscape. Winding paths are punctuated by plastic art works. The island hosts a number of diverse events about every subject under the sun, with philosophers, poets, musicians and artists. Designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando, a new exhibition space was constructed in 2004 on a former missile launch site a stone's throw from Hombroich, combining lightness and transparency. The Langen Foundation displays works from the Langen collection, amounting to almost 500 Japanese artworks and 300 modern works.
Chur Art Museum
Housed in the Villa Planta, built in 1874-75 by the architect Johannes Ludwig, the Museum of Fine Art in Chur is home to the paintings and sculptures of the Grisons region from the 18th to the 20th century of artists Alberto Giacometti, Giovanni Segantini and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.
Weil am Rhein. Vitra Design Museum.
he Vitra Design Museum is one of the largest design museums in the world. The American architect Frank Gehry, known, in particular, for the creation of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, has created an architectural work here made up of towers, ramps and cubes. Permanent exhibitions on the historical and contemporary developments of design provide visitors with the opportunity of discovering the diversity and meaning of design.
Augustusburg and Falkenlust Castles in Brühl.
Listed as Unesco World Heritage Sites in 1984, Augustusburg Castle - the sumptuous residence of the prince-archbishops of Cologne - and the Falkenlust hunting lodge (a small rural folly) are among the earliest examples of Rococo architecture in 18th century Germany. For over a hundred years, these two castles surrounded by landscaped gardens served as the model for most princely courts. Now converted into museums, they are open to the public.
Convent of Saint Gall
Located a few kilometres to the south of the Rhine, the Saint Gallen convent, founded in 613, was one of the largest Benedictine monasteries in Europe. The cathedral and library are the main components of this remarkable architectural structure, which reflects twelve centuries of activity. The Saint Gallen library, with its 160 000 books, including 2 200 handwritten works and 500 that are more than 1 000 years old, houses one of the most complete collection of books of the high Middle Ages of the German-speaking part of Europe.
Town of Strasbourg
Set within two arms of the River Ill, the “Grande Ile” (Grand Island) is the historical centre of the Alsace capital. Added to the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1988, it has several historical buildings dating back to medieval times: the cathedral, the four ancient churches, the Kammerzell house, the Rohan palace, former residence of the prince-bishops, covered bridges …
Windmills of Kinderdijk
Since the 15th century, the Netherlands has owed its international reputation to its windmills. Located nine miles east of Rotterdam, Kinderdijk is one of the best known tourist destinations in the Netherlands. It has all the typical elements of the hydraulic works practised in the country since the Middle Ages, the aim of which was to dry out the land for agriculture and set up villages. Sea walls, reservoirs, pumping stations, administrative buildings, along with a set of nineteen beautifully preserved windmills make up Kinderdijk, listed as a World Heritage Site by Unesco since 1997.
Vauban fortifications in Neuf-Brisach
A unique site in Europe, built in 1699 by Vauban according to orders received from Louis XIV, Neuf-Brisach became the new stronghold in the Alsace plain, after the loss of Breisach beyond the River Rhine in 1697. An octagonal town, protected by star-shaped fortifications, the site is one of the jewels of Vauban’s work. On the EuroVelo 15 route, the canal is visible outside Niffer, in the Haut-Rhin department.
Speyer Cathedral, begun in 1030, is the largest Romanesque cathedral in the world. The basilica, with its four towers and two domes, is one of the most important examples of the art of the Holy Roman Empire in Germany, and was listed as a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1981.
Upper Middle Rhine Valley
Between Bingen and Koblenz, 65 straight kilometres (40 miles) of territory has been classified as a Unesco World Heritage Site - the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, also known as the Romantic Rhine. With close ties to history and the legend of Lorelei, this landscape has always had a strong influence on writers, painters and composers. A cultural landscape shaped by man over the centuries, the Romantic Rhine is made up of narrow, deep gorges carved into the schistous Rhineland rock, punctuated by around sixty small villages surrounded by sloping vineyards and the ruins of castles that defended river trade in times past.
The Rock of Lorelei.
Situated around twenty kilometres downstream of Bongen and thirty kilometres upstream of Koblenz, the schistose rock of Lorelei rises 132 metres above the river - the point where the Rhine starts to narrow. Legend has it that this place, deemed dangerous because of its swirling waters, a mermaid with long golden hair charmed sailors, leading them to their doom, sinking beneath the turbulent waters. A large number of artists across the world have drawn inspiration from this legend, not least with the famous poem by Heinrich Heine - Die Loreleï.
Cologne Cathedral is the town of Cologne's landmark as well as the heart of the city. Situated directly beneath the bank of the Rhine in neighbourhood of the Hohenzollernbridge and the Central station, it is easy to reach all major points of interest of the city from here. Be it one of the many museums or the shopping district with Hohe Strasse and Schildergasse. The "High Cathedral of St. Peter" with its five naves has been completed in 1880 after 632 years of construction. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne and is able to bear about 4.000 believers during mass services. Due to its spiritual and cultural historic importance it has become UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
Strasbourg : the European capital
A symbol of French-German reconciliation and of European unity, Strasbourg is considered as the European capital due to the presence of several European Union and Continental Europe institutions. With the headquarters in particular of the European Parliament, the European Council and the European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg is one of the rare towns, along with New York and Geneva, to house international institutions without being the capital of a State.
THREE-COUNTRIES-MUSEUM, LÖRRACH, GERMANY
Along your way through Switzerland, Germany and France, discover the "Three-Countries-Museum" located in Lörrach (Germany), less than 10 kilometers to Basel southward and less than 10 kilometers to the French border westward. Leave your bike some minutes and learn (in German and French of course) about the history and the current situation of the Upper Rhine region, where Germany, France and Switzerland meet.
Troisdorf Fishing Museum.
Since the Middle Ages, the ancestors of modern-day fishermen fished with nets, baskets and lines. Since 1987, the extraordinary history of the fishermen's work has been presented at a new Fishing Museum in Troisdorf.
The Church of Saint Catherine of Oppenheim
Believed to be the most beautiful Gothic church between Strasbourg and Cologne, the Church of Saint Catherine of Oppenheim is of particular interest due its its location overlooking the old imperial city.
Munot Fortress, Schaffhouse
Overlooking the town of Schaffhausen, the Munot fortress, built in the 16th century by the citizens of the town during feudal chores, is one of the emblems of the medieval town. At the top of the tower, there is a magnificent view over the old town and the river area of the Rhine. An exceptional moment: the Munot guard, a role that has been held continuously since 1589, rings the bells every evening at 9:00 p.m.
Rees, historic town centre
The oldest town in the Lower Rhine still holds some of the attractions of its powerful past in its historic town centre. The 700 year-old ramparts, with watchtowers and an underground fortress can be visited by the public.
Königsallee in Düsseldorf.
Nicknamed the "Kö" by its fans, the Königsallee is considered to be the most beautiful avenue in Düsseldorf. Stretching from one end to the other, the biggest international brands all converge on this street.
Speyer Technology Museum
Where can you both visit a Boeing 747 and get inside a submarine? At the Speyer Technology Museum, which also boasts the largest space flight exhibition in Europe - "Apollo and Beyond" - where visitors can visit the Buran space shuttle. Fire engines, musical instruments, locomotives and motorbikes also feature in the museum, which also has an IMAX theatre to give visitors a tremendous experience.
Zons medieval stronghold
A journey to medieval times can be made in the city of Zons. The stronghold has been fortified in the Middle Ages to collect the customs duty from all ships heading towards Cologne on the Rhine. Nowadays the city's historic district provides an impressive walk along the city wall - fortified with basalt rocks and dominated by its mighty towers.
Town of Dordrecht
The oldest town in Holland, Dordrecht enjoyed an important role in trade until the night of 18-19 November 1421 - St. Elizabeth's Night - when a violent storm blew in from the North Sea, destroying the coastal sea walls. A huge flood then overcame Dordrecht, drowning up to 100,000 people. The land submerged by that event is still mostly underwater. For Dordrecht, this climate disaster meant the end of its commercial hegemony over the country. New sailing routes opened by the flood were taken. The town of Dordrecht still recalls this episode in its history, with the Flood of St. Elizabeth depicted in the cathedral's windows!
Dyck Castle, Neuss
Dyck Castle in Jüchen is one of the most important castles in the Rhineland from an historical and cultural point of view. Surrounded by an historic countryside park with an invaluable collection of wooded plants, the imposing castle ringed by water has stood proud for over 900 years. It was the seat of the former count and then Prince of Salm-Reifferscheidt-Dyck, and the residence of a small independent territory for several centuries. The continuity of the succession of owners and the faithful conservation work of the entire building emphasise the exceptional status held by Dyck.
The redevelopment of the old port of Rheinhafen in Düsseldorf has breathed new architectural life into this old trading port. Classified as historic monuments, the warehouses have been renovated and a great many companies have moved in to this now "trendy" and very high-tech area. A showcase of modern architecture, some of the buildings were built by very famous architects such as Frank Gehry, Steven Holl and Claude Vasconi. If you stop off in Düsseldorf, don't miss this fantastic new quarter!
Asparagus from Lampertheim
The area of the Ried is widely known as a special growing area for asparagus, strawberries, onions and other special crops. Hence it is affectionately called “the biggest vegetable garden of Hesse”. Between mid of April and end of June the asparagus season determines the festival life of the region. The traditional asparagus festival of Lampertheim would just be one place to feast then.
A sauerkraut with smoked pork, frankfurters and potatoes is definitely the most well-known Alsace dish and is among the most appreciated traditional dishes in France. Thin slices of cabbage fermented in brine, simmered in white wine with potatoes, Montbéliard and Strasbourg sausages, streaky bacon, smoked pork breast and shoulder, flavoured with juniper berries and cloves, a good sauerkraut is ideal for filling an empty stomach after a long day spent cycling.
Capuns are a speciality of the Grisons district. They are meatballs made with dried meat and sausage, wrapped in Swiss chard leaves. They are often available in restaurants in Chur and its surroundings.
The Rhine falls
Ranked among the highest waterfalls in Europe, the Rhine falls are located a few hundred metres downstream from Schaffhausen. 150 metres wide, 23 metres high, they have an average flow of 750 m3/s. The wild and spectacular nature of the River Rhine hurtling over the rocks attracts several hundreds of thousands of onlookers each year. Boat rides enable to get even closer to the falls.
Fish ladder in Gambsheim
Dams, locks and fish ladder at Gambsheim. In order to meet with requirements in terms of navigation, agriculture or electricity, dams and hydraulic works have been built on the River Rhine. These often create obstacles for migrating fish that find it difficult to get through them on their way to their spawning area. In order to restore their free access in the Rhine basin, Germany and France signed an agreement in 1997 regarding the construction of fish ladders for the hydroelectric developments in Iffezheim and Gambsheim. The Gambsheim fish ladder, opened in 2006, is the largest in Europe. An observation room enables to watch the salmon, eels, sea trout and river herrings as they swim upstream.
The Garden of Two Banks
The Garden of Two Banks was created in 2004 as a symbol of French-German friendship. Between Strasbourg and Kehl, a footbridge reserved for pedestrians and cyclists joins the two banks of the River Rhine. 650 trees planted, almost 8000 shrubs and 16 hectares of grass make this 60-hectare area an ideal place for the populations to meet up or take a stroll. Made up of two parallel trails which join together on a platform in the middle of the river, the footbridge is a connecting link between the two countries.
Port city of Rotterdam
The second city of the Netherlands after Amsterdam, Rotterdam is where the industrial heart of the country beats. Located at the mouth of the Rhine and the Meuse, its strategic position provides an economic outlet for western Germany and makes the region the most dynamic in Europe. Its facilities stretch for over 18 miles, making it the fourth largest port in the world and the largest in Europe. Alongside Le Havre in France, the deep water "Europoort" of Rotterdam is the only port in Europe capable of accommodating supertankers and their cargo of 400,000 tonnes of fuel. Refineries and petrochemical industrial facilities are set up around the region.
Duisburg, largest river port in Europe
Perfectly situated at the confluence of the Rhine and the Ruhr, the port of Duisberg offers the best possible conditions for serving the European market through its 22 docks, 25 miles of platforms and through its excellent connection to river, rail and road transport links. A "multimodal" hub for the hinterland, located upstream of three of the four largest ports in the North Sea (Rotterdam, Anvers and Amsterdam), Duisburg is the nerve centre of transportation in Europe.
Located at an altitude of 2345 metres, at the foot of the Piz Baduz, Lake Toma is considered as the source of the River Rhine. A surface area of 25 hectares, located in the Grisons district and accessible after a one-hour walk from the Oberalp pass, it is the only place where the River Rhine can be crossed in just one stride, and is the start of a very long journey of more than 1320 kilometres towards the North Sea, across 4 European countries.