If you associate German wine and romantic scenery only with the Rhine and Moselle, you have obviously yet to discover the river Nahe. The Nahe Cycle Route is a wonderful way to see the beautiful old towns and scenic spots in this region of vineyards.
Starting at the source of the river in idyllic woodland near Selbach, the first section of the route passes Lake Bostalsee and the town of Nohfelden, best known for its castle and its annual medieval market, before continuing to Birkenfeld on the upper reaches of the river.
Whisky and gemstones
After Birkenfeld, the route proceeds to Idar-Oberstein, Germany's jewellery and gemstone capital. It is hard to resist the exquisite creations on display at the many workshops here. Further downriver, at the old copper mine near Fischbach, you can take a tour of the earth's geological history. Our next destination, the town of Kirn, is dominated by Kyrburg Castle. First documented in 1128, it hosts the summer opera festival and houses a whisky museum in the cellar – with the occasional whisky tasting thrown in.
Castles, vineyards and saltworks
After cycling past pretty wine villages you reach the spa town of Bad Sobernheim, where you can give your weary muscles a treat at Germany's first and longest barefoot trail. Or you could round off the evening with a wine tasting at a vineyard. The many attractions on offer in Bad Münster am Stein-Ebernburg make a visit here a real experience. They include the craggy massifs of the Rotenfels and Rheingrafenstein, the Rheingrafenstein castle ruins and Ebernburg Castle. Get ready to take deep breaths at the Bad Kreuznach saltworks, the largest open-air inhalatorium in Europe. Refreshed and relaxed, you can then cycle the last section towards the finishing line – where the Nahe flows into the Rhine in Bingen. This Rhine panorama that provides a fitting end to the tour features views of the town of Rüdesheim and the Germania monument on the opposite bank of the river.
Terrain: The route has only a few steep inclines and runs almost exclusively on paved cycle paths, woodland trails and farm tracks. Mostly traffic-free, only short sections on roads.
Scenery: Delightful and varied river scenery with vineyards and forests, following the course of the river Nahe from its headwaters to where it meets the Rhine in Bingen.
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