In German the name Bergisches Land literally means 'mountainous land', but this region isn't actually all that hilly. At least not on the four panorama routes that traverse the Bergisches Land, the southern Ruhr region and the Sauerland on disused railway tracks, linking these areas with the popular cycleways along the Rhine, Ruhr and Sieg rivers.
The Bergisches Land region is the new hotspot for touring cyclists. More precisely in the places where steam trains once chugged between the Ruhr and the Sauerland, paving the way for industrialisation. The steam railway doesn't operate any more, but its tracks have remained and now link train stations, viaducts and historical trackside buildings, tunnels that are now home to bats, and beautiful and varied natural landscapes.
Four routes. Each an experience in itself.
Hills where you can see far into the distance quickly give way to places of historical interest and lovely little towns such as Wüpperfürth and Hückeswagen. Altogether the Panorama Cycle Routes cover 300 kilometres, around 175 kilometres of which follow disused railway tracks that are mostly flat. And on the connecting paths too there are only a few strenuous sections.
There are four Panorama Cycle Routes: the Bergisches Land route affords fantastic views of the river Wupper and two reservoir lakes, the Genkeltalsperre and Aggertalsperre. And from the Unnenberg observation tower, if it's a clear day, you can see the Siebengebirge hills and sometimes even the towers of Cologne Cathedral. The main feature of the Niederbergbahn route are the many viaduct crossings. Anyone with an interest in trains will love the Balkantrasse route, which harks back to the heyday of the railways and leads as far as the Rhineland plain. On the Ruhr-Sieg route you head straight across the Sauerland.
Terrain: The routes run on disused railway tracks and on quiet side roads, woodland trails and farm tracks.
Scenery: Industrial heritage, historical railway lines and train stations, viaducts, tunnels, forests, lakes, reservoirs, Bergisches Land Nature Park
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