The Elbe is Germany's second-longest river, and a great place for cycling tours. The Elbe Cycle Route that follows it has been voted the most popular in the country 8. 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 along the way include Dresden's Semper Opera House and Church of Our Lady. As you cycle onwards in a northerly direction, the route passes through a succession of fascinating towns such as Torgau, Wittenberg and Dessau. Even if you have no interest in engineering, the largest canal bridge in the world 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, and is largely traffic-free. Be prepared for headwinds when cycling downstream. Scenery: sandstone outcrops in the Saxon Switzerland National Park, vineyards, Elbe Riverside UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with the largest unbroken expanse of riverside woodland in Central Europe, sandy heathland and marshland, Altes Land orchards, North Sea coast.
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