The Elbe is Germany’s second-longest river, but is number one for cycling tours. The Elbe Cycle Route that follows it has been voted the most popular in the country eight years in a row by members of the German Cyclists’ Federation.
From out of the Czech Republic, the Elbe flows into the sandstone outcrops of the Saxon Switzerland National Park in Germany. The route runs through the Elbe valley with views of the dramatic rock formations. Other highlights include Dresden’s Semper Opera House and Church of Our Lady. Heading northwards, the route passes through fascinating towns such as Torgau, Wittenberg and Dessau. The canal bridge just outside Magdeburg is a true sight to behold. Hamburg alone would be ample reward for the journey so far, but it’s really just a landmark on your way to the coast where you can wave to the ocean liners as they enter the North Sea from the Elbe estuary at Cuxhaven.
Terrain: the route mostly runs on dedicated, asphalt cycle paths, often on or alongside the Elbe embankment. Mostly traffic-free. Asphalt is the predominant surface. Be prepared for headwinds when cycling downstream.
Scenery: sandstone outcrops in Saxon Switzerland, vineyards, Elbe UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with its riverside woodland, sandy heathland and marshland, Altes Land orchards, North Sea coast.