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
Located between the towns of Arnhem, Nijmegen and Emmerich-am-Rhein, Gelderse Poort is a protected natural area, considered to be one of the twenty most beautiful landscapes in the Netherlands. This is the starting point for the vast Rhine delta.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
The alluvial areas between Rothenbrunnen and Reichenau constitute one of the last natural river-side landscapes of the Rhine upstream from Lake Constance. One characteristic of the alluvial landscape is its constant transformation. Subject to the whims of floods and droughts, it evolves each year. Alluvial deposits are taken away or left, new islands and new meanders are formed, providing a wide variety of habitats for the plants and animals.
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.
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.
"Biesbosch" National Park
"Biesbosch" national park - a meeting point for soft water and sea water. Located at the mouth of the Rhine and the Meuse, within easy access of the town of Dordrecht by bicycle, Biecosch protects a range of habitats: reed beds, meadowland, islands planted with willows and swampy forests, as existed in times past in the marshes in the west of the country. Created in 1994, Biesbosch national park is one of the biggest nature parks in the Netherlands.
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.
Twin towns in the south of the State of Baden-Württemberg, at the foot of the Black Forest, these lies close to the Swiss border. Don't miss Tiengen's castle and its famous "Storchenturm" (Stork Tower), which has become the symbol of the city. Take a stroll down the historic alleyways of Waldshut town centre.
Cathedral of St. Peter of Worms
Alongside the cathedrals of Mainz and Speyer, the Cathedral of St. Peter of Worms is one of the most remarkable Romanesque churches in the Rhine Valley. A must-see is the Gothic south portal, which was added in the 14th century.
Stein-am-Rhein, known for its old town dating from the Middle Ages with its wonderful half-timbered houses and painted facades, is located at the point where Lake Constance narrows to become the River Rhine again. As it leaves the lower lake, the river heads towards the West and runs through the valleys of the countryside towards Basel.
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.
Xanten Archaeological Park.
Created by the Romans in the 1st century AD, the Colonia Ulpia Traiana was situated on the banks of the Rhine and was geared towards trade. Since 1975, the largest open-air archaeological park in Germany, at Xanten, has been dedicated to revisiting the past by reconstructing certain buildings, such as the amphitheatre, the temple located near the port, a number of colonnades - giving an impression of daily life 2000 years ago. A great many cultural and historical events are also organised at this ancient Roman site.
Weil-am-Rhein, Three-Countries Bridge
Weil-am-Rhein is located in the place where Germany, France and Switzerland join. With the world record for being the longest bridge reserved for pedestrians and cyclists -238 metres, the Three Countries Bridge, joining the towns of Huningue in France and Weil-am-Rhein in Germany, enables to cross the River Rhine. Switzerland is just a few hundred metres away, on the German side.
Cologne as a "City of Museums" is among the most important and lively cultural centres in Germany. 36 museums are with their superb collections and fascinating exhibitions a magnet for art and culture lovers from all around the world. They offer a rich variety of exhibits from Antiquity to the present day and inform visitors about things as diverse as chocolate, modern art and the city's history.
Benrath Castle and Park in Düsseldorf
A rococo-style villa, Benrath Castle was erected towards the end of the 18th century by the Elector Palatin Charles-Theodore. With its huge park and pond, it is both an important cultural monument, and also an oasis in the urban sprawl of Düsseldorf. Very well preserved, the castle hosts three museums and is surrounded by a magnificent park measuring several hundred thousand square metres.
Schwanenburg Castle, in the town of Cleves.
Built in the 11th century, Schwanenburg Castle is symbolic of the town of Cleves. Sitting on a hilltop, it dominates the town. The view from the top of the Swan Tower looks out over the Netherlands, a short distance to the west. The castle currently plays host to a geological museum.
Versamer Tobel Bridge
The wild and eroded landscape of the Versam region, upstream from Bonaduz, is not at all easy to pass through. However, a mountain road, one of the most spectacular routes in the Swiss Alps, was built in the 1880s, with several tunnels, sharp bends, and retaining walls. The bridge spanning over the Versamer Tobel, a daring steel structure built in 1897, peaks at 70 metres above the Rabiusa, a tributary of the Rhine.
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.