Where the wind still drives the sails: Westphalian Mills Route

All the romance and nostalgia of the mills tradition. Let the well-signposted 320km Mills Route be your guide to the hidden treasures of the mills region in the far north-east of Westphalia.

The Westphalian Mills Route is a remarkable 'mills museum' that links 43 windmills, watermills and horse treadmills, most of them still operational, as well as Germany' only functional ship mill on the river Weser near Minden. These delightful mills, which offer a real trip down memory lane, blend harmoniously into the idyllic landscape. The popular milling and baking days are the perfect way to experience the traditional craft of milling, as skilled amateur millers and heritage-minded countryfolk demonstrate to city dwellers how grain is milled to make flour and then baked into nourishing bread in stone ovens. These mills did not only produce flour for bread, however, but also barley malt for Minden beer, highly prized since Hanseatic times.Besides historical mills and bakehouses the region offers many other cultural attractions, from fascinating museums and artists' studios to attractive farms with distinctive gardens. It also has a 250-year-old bathing tradition, based around what used to be known as the 'rustic spas'. The Mills Route is ideal for combining a cycle tour with rail travel, for 'mill hopping' by motor scooter, leisurely covered wagon rides, a river cruise or a trip on a nostalgic railway. But don't be tempted to try and rush through all of the destinations as if you were on a 'mills rally'. A route that covers more than 1,000 years of history deserves a bit more time than that.

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