EuroVelo 15: From the source of the Rhine to its mouth in the North Sea
Suitable for cyclists of all fitness levels and abilities, the Rhine Cycle Route runs along
one of the longest rivers in Europe. From the Swiss Alps to the North Sea, the Rhine has fostered a 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. Go for a stroll or a bike ride along the cycling route following the course of the Rhine. Welcome to the Eurovelo 15 website - the Rhine Cycle Route! more
Easy rides for
- The Rhine
- Art along the Rhine
- Natural heritage
- UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Culinary delights along the Rhine
- Cultural heritage
Historical Boat Mill in Ginsheim
In Ginsheim, boat mills had a long tradition. Up to 21 mills were operated on the river at the same time. The reconstruction of the last boat mill demonstrates how exhausting milling used to be, and also showcases how our ancestors, through the use of logic and simple means, arrived at astonishing solutions.
The Rhine Falls
Only a few hundred metres downstream from Schaffhausen is one of Europe's most powerful and impressive waterfalls. 150 metres wide and 23 metres high water flows over the falls at an average of 750 m3 per second. The wild spectacle of the Rhine hurtling over the rocks attracts hundres of thousands of sightseers every year. Boat rides enable visitors to get even closer to the falls.
Fish ladder in Gambsheim
Weirs, locks and a fish ladder at Gambsheim. To meet shipping, agricultural and power generation requirements, weirs and hydraulic plants have been built on the River Rhine. These often create obstacles difficult for migrating fish to overcome on their way to their spawning ground. To enable them to reach the Rhine basin, Germany and France signed an agreement in 1997 to construct fish ladders at the hydro-electric plants in Iffezheim and Gambsheim. The Gambsheim fish ladder, opened in 2006, is the largest in Europe. An observation room enables visitors to watch the salmon, eels, trout and river herrings on their way upstream.
Passerelle des Deux Rives
In conjunction with the first cross-border garden show in 2004, Kehl and Strasbourg linked the French and German banks of the Rhine with a "passerelle" - a bridge for the sole use of pedestrians and cyclists.
The port of Rotterdam
The second largest city in the Netherlands after Amsterdam, Rotterdam, is the industrial heart of the country. Located at the mouth of the Rhine and the Meuse, its strategic position provides an economic outlet for western Germany and makes the region one of the most dynamic in Europe. Its facilities stretch over 28 kilometres making it the fourth largest port in the world and the largest in Europe. Alongside Le Havre in France, Rotterdam's deep water "Europoort" is the only port in Europe capable of accommodating supertankers and their cargo of 400,000 tons of fuel. Refineries and petrochemical plants abound in the region.
Duisburg Inner Harbour
Where grain was once stored and milled, visitors will today find museums, restaurants and a marina - Mediterranean flair right in the centre of the city. The old harbour has been transformed into an ambitious urbanistically and architecturally attractive city quarter.
Located at the foot of Piz Baduz at an altitude of 2345 metres, Lake Toma is considered to be the source of the River Rhine. A one-hour walk away from the Oberalp Pass in Graubünden, it is the only place where the river can be crossed in one stride. With a surface area of 2.5 hectares, it is also the start of a 1230 kilometre journey through four European countries to the North Sea.
Strasbourg: Tomi Ungerer Museum
Artist and illustrator of books for readers of all ages, including the children's book “The Three Robbers”, Tomi Ungerer, who was born in Strasbourg in 1931, is considered to be one of the greatest illustrators of the last 50 years. The 700 square meter museum – the first public museum in France devoted to an artist during his lifetime – has been established in the Greiner Villa and houses more than 11000 drawings donated by the artist to his home city.
Basel: Its museums
Basel's museums and galleries house several important international works of art. Each year more than one million visitors visit 36 exhibition. Compared to other similarly-sized cities, Basel has one of the highest densities of museums and galleries in the world. Art aficionados should not miss “Art Basel”, the largest annual modern art show in Europe. It is held every year in mid-June.
Bonn: The Museum Mile
Attracting over one million visitors every year, Bonn's Museum Mile is a must for all lovers of art and culture. The Museum of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany (Haus der Geschichte) presents the country's contemporary history by means of photographs, documents and original objects from recent 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 top 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, from the magnetic rail ‘Transrapid' train to the Nobel Prize winning ion trap.
Rolandseck: Arp Museum
Rolandseck railway station has always been more than just a station. Right from its inauguration in 1858, it has always been a focal point for artists and intellectuals. Since September 2007, it has formed a part of a new museum on the Rhine - the "Arp-Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck". Built on the banks of the river in the town of Remagen, the museum of contemporary art has four floors of exhibition space devoted to the Alsatian 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.
Mainz: Gutenberg Museum
The reconstruction of the old workshop of the inventor of the printing press including a press that visitors can operate and a copy of the Gutenburg Bible - the first book to be printed in Europe using movable type - are just two of the main attractions in the Gutenburg Museum in Mainz. On display are four millennia of written history and culture and the most important prints from the 14th century right up to the present day.
Insel Museum Hombroich and the Langen Foundation
Located a few miles south of Neuss, the Museum Insel Hombroich opened in the heart of an old park on the island of Hombroich in 1987. The museum embodies and enacts a famous quote made by Cézanne: "Art is a harmony parallel with nature". The exhibition building and the artist's studio blend naturally into the vast landscape. Winding paths are punctuated by works of sculptural architecture. The island hosts a wide diversity of events involving philosophers, poets, musicians and artists. Designed by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando, a new exhibition hall combining lightness and transparency was constructed on a former missile launch site a stone's throw from Hombroich in 2004. The Langen Foundation displays works from the Langen collection that includes almost 500 Japanese artworks and 300 modern pieces.
Chur: Graubünden Museum of Fine Arts
Housed in Villa Planta, which was built in 1874-75 by the architect Johannes Ludwig, the Museum of Fine Arts in Chur is home to works of art predominantly by Swiss or Graubünden artists and sculptors from the 18th century to the present day. On display are works by, amongst others, Alberto Giacometti, Giovanni Segantini and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.
Weil am Rhein: Vitra Design Museum
The Vitra Design Museum is one of the biggest design museums in the world. The American architect Frank Gehry, known, in particular, for designing the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, has created an architectural masterpiece made up of towers, ramps and cubes. Permanent exhibitions showing the historical and contemporary developments in the world of design provide visitors with the opportunity of discovering the diversity and importance of design.
Sauer Delta Nature Reserve
The Sauer Delta Conservation Centre is located 100 metres from the River Rhine. It marks the entrance to the largest nature reserve in the Alsace basin, the Seltz Munchhausen reserve or better known as the Sauer Delta Nature Reserve. Located where the River Sauer, a 70-kilometre long river whose source is in the Palatinate, Germany, flows into the Rhine, the nature reserve is home to a biodiversity typical of alluvial plains. To be seen here is a jungle-like forest a phenomenal number of birds.
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.
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.
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.
Lampertheim Nature Reserve
The Lampertheimer Nature Reserve is one of the most important wildlife conservation areas in the northern part of the Upper Rhine. A dominant feature of the 525-hectare area, which includes the Biedensand peninsular and the shallow Lake Welsch Loch, is the natural flood dynamics of the Rhine.
Located between the towns of Arnhem, Nijmegen and Emmerich am Rhein, Gelderse Poort is a nature reserve that is considered to be one of the 20 most beautiful countryside areas in the Netherlands. It is the starting point for the vast Rhine Delta.
Biesbosch National Park
Biesbosch Natural Park lies in a brackwater zone in which freshwater and saltwater mix. Lying in the estuary of the Rhine and Maas in the North Sea, Biesbosch provides the ideal habitat for numerous kinds of animals and plants. Normal long ago for the western part of the Netherlands, large areas of reeds, meadows, islands full of willow trees and marshy woodland are still to be found in the national park. All the various forms of vegetation have been protected in Biesbosch, one of the biggest national parks in the Netherlands, since 1994.
Ile de Rhinau Nature Reserve
The Ile de Nature Reserve is one of the most impressive riverside woodland areas in the whole of Alsace. It is home to a wide diversity of species living on the materials deposited by the river's high waters. As a result of being directly linked to the Rhine, the woodland areas are regularly flooded throughout the year thus maintaining their alluvial character. A multitude of characteristic plant and animal species that are perfectly adapted to the environment all live close together here under widely differing conditions.
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.
The alluvial areas between Rothenbrunnen and Reichenau constitute one of the Rhine's last natural river-side landscapes upstream from Lake Constance. One characteristic of the alluvial landscape is its constant transformation. Subject to the whims of floods and droughts, it evolves every year. Alluvial deposits are taken away or left, new islands and new meanders are formed, providing a wide variety of habitats for plants and animals.
Brühl: Schloss Augustusburg and Schloss Falkenlust
The UNESCO World Heritage Schloss Augustusburg and Schloss Falkenlust palace complex is one of the first important Rococo masterpieces in Germany. Schloss Augustusburg, the favourite residency of the archbishop-elector of Cologne, Clemens August, is linked to the Falkenlust hunting lodge by a large park.
Abbey of St Gall
Located a few kilometres to the south of the Rhine is the former Saint Gallen Monastery. After the city was founded in 612, the first Benedictine Monastery was founded on the site in about 719. Switzerland's second oldest monastery and one of the biggest Benedictine monasteries in Europe, it was highly influential cuturally for over 1200 years. Distinguishing features are the late Baroque collegiate church and the 160.000-book Baroque library with rococo furnishings. 2.200 codices of which 500 are over 1000 years old. The library therefore houses one of the richtest collections of medieval books belonging to the German-speaking part of Europe.
City of Strasbourg
Set within two arms of the River Ill, the “Grande Ile” (Grand Island) is the historical centre of Alsace's main city. Added to the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1988, it has several historical buildings dating back to medieval times. Particularly worth mentioning are the minster, the four ancient churches, the Kammerzell house, the Palais Rohan the former residence of the cardinal, covered bridges ...
Windmills have been a synonym for Holland ever since the 15th century. The Kinderdijk Windmills lying 15 kilometres to the east of Rotterdam are one of the country's most popular tourist attractions. Visitors can marvel at the centuries-old hydraulic structures which served to drain the landscape, reclaim land and build towns and villages. Sea dykes, reservoirs and pumping stations are, together with the 19 restored windmills, all a part of the special attraction of Kinderdijk which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
Neuf-Brisach: Vauban's fortifications
Commissioned by Louis XIV, Vauban began building the Neuf Brisach fortifications, which are unique in the whole of Europe, in 1699. It turned the town into the new stronghold in the Alsace lowlands after Breisach, which lies on the other side of the Rhine, was lost in 1697. Protected by star-shaped bastions, the eight-sided town is one of the show-pieces of Vauban's work. When riding along the EuroVelo 15 Route, one can see the moat belonging to the fortifications by Niffer in the Haut-Rhin department.
Begun in 1030, Speyer Cathedral is the largest Romanesque cathedral in the world. The basilica with its four towers and two domes was highly influential in the development of Romanesque architecture. It was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1981.
Upper Middle Rhine Valley
The whole 65-kilometre stretch of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley between Bingen and Koblenz is, together with numerous separate elements, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also known as the "Romantic Rhine", the section has historical, natural and shrouded-in-legend surprises for visitors at a multitude of places. The Middle Rhine Valley has influenced poets, painters and composers and is a magnificent example of a natural landscape that has also been shaped by man. A dominant feature of the impressive cultural landscape are the gorges cut into the Rhenisch slate hills that are lined by about 60 towns and villages and surrounded by vineyards and numerous ruins of castles that once controlled shipping on the river.
Located in the Upper Middle Rhine UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site, the 132-metre high Lorelei is a slate rock that rises up out of the river on its eastern bank. Legend has it that the Lorelei mermaid combed her long golden hair and lured boatmen with her song into the dangerous current of the Rhine and then onto the rock where they broke up.
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.
Asparagus from Lampertheim
The market garden area in and around Ried in Hesse is famed for its asparagus, strawberries, onions and other fruit and vegetables. Hence it is affectionately known as “the biggest vegetable garden in Hesse”. Between mid-April and end of June, the asparagus season dominates life in the region. The traditional Lampertheim Asparagus Festival of Lampertheim is the ideal opportunity to savour the region's speciality, but it's not the only one.
Sauerkraut with smoked pork, frankfurters and potatoes is probably the best-known Alsatian dish and one of the best-loved traditional dishes in France. Thinly sliced 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 empty stomachs after a long day in the saddle.
Capuns is a speciality of the Graubünden canton in Switzerland. They are meatballs made using dried meat and sausage and then wrapped in a chard leaf. They are often served in restaurants in and around Chur.
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.
Marckolsheim: Maginot line Museum
Defence line built between the World Wars along the French-German border, the Maginot line stretched some 200 kilometres north to south through Alsace from Luxembourg to the Swiss border. Established in a casemate on the edge of Marckolsheim, the memorial recalls the terrible battles from 15 to 17 June 1940 when more than 80% of the town of Marckolsheim was destroyed. The fortification has been preserved as they were in 1940: gun positions, dormitory, headquarters, drinking-water source, etc. They are equipped with weapons of the time, such as anti-tank guns, machine guns, mortars, light machine guns...
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.
Airborne Museum, Oosterbeek
Arnhem Airborne Museum retraces the "Garden Market" military operation, launched by the allied forces during the Second World War. On 17 September 1944, thousands of British parachutists were released above the town of Ede. Their aim was to secure the bridges spanning the Dutch rivers in order to cross the German defensive lines and reach the economic heart of the Third Reich - the Ruhr. But the operation ended in failure. The allied forces never reached Arnhem bridge.
The Niederwalddenkmal of Rüdesheim - monument to the glory of Germany.
Opposite the town of Bingen-am-Rhein, the monumental statue of Germania, built above the village of Rüdesheim, dominates the Rhine and the upper vineyards, almost 50 metres high. This monument celebrates the foundation of the new German empire following the Franco-German war of 1870. In one hand is the emperor's crown, while the other hand holds the imperial sword.
Kleve: Schwanenburg Castle
Sitting on a hilltop, Schwanenburg Castle dominates the silhouette of the town of Kleve. The view from the top of the Swan Tower looks out over the Netherlands which is a short distance to the west. Originally built in the 11th century, the castle currently houses a geological museum.
Village/Monastery of Disentis
Founded by the monk Sigisbert in 720, the monastery village of Disentis has extended its name to the whole region of the Surselva. Around the monastery, 14 churches and chapels in various architectural styles illustrate the importance of religion in this region. The Glacier-Express train from St. Moritz to Zermatt stops at the station in Disentis.
Occupying a strategic position at the confluence of the Meuse and the Waal, the medieval castle of Loevestein was built in 1368, near the town of Gorinchem, in order to receive taxes from river-going vessels. It was also used as a State prison, and has now been converted into a medieval museum.
The Oestrich-Winkel crane is symbolic of the small town, located around ten miles upstream of Bingen, on winegrowing land on the right bank of the Rhine. Constructed in 1744, the crane was used to load an unload shipments of wine on cargo ships right up to 1926. The main customers for the wines produced in the Bingen region were in Cologne, Bremen and even Amsterdam. All the wine was transported by boat.
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.
Strasbourg : the capital of Europe
A symbol of French-German reconciliation and European unity, Strasbourg is considered to be the capital of Europe due to the presence of several European Union and other institutions in the city. With it being the home in particular of the European Parliament, the European Council and the European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg is one of the rare cities, together with New York and Geneva, to house international institutions without it actually being the capital of a state itself.
Lörrach, Germany: THREE COUNTRIES MUSEUM
The award-winning building in Lörrach is home to the only Three Countries Museum in Europe. On show in the permanent exhibition is life past and present in the Upper Rhine where Germany, Switzerland and France meet. "Get involved" stations, audio stations and media terminals turn the tour of the interactive exhibition into an experience to remember.
The River Rhine joins France and Germany over a distance of 180 kilometres. Following the course of the EuroVelo 15 on the French side from Basel, one passes through some wonderfully varied Alsatian countryside in the Haut Rhin and Bas Rhin departments.http://en.francevelotourisme.com/base-1/itineraires/l-eurovelo-15-en-alsace