North Rhine-Westphalia is diverse: From modern metropolises to former industrial cities to half-timbered houses. And in-between: idyllic nature filled with deep forests, wide landscapes and magical lakes. Here and there a castles shines upon the hill. All these highlights are well-connected with beautiful bike paths, leading you across the province. You’ll be spoilt for choices – we’ll show you the best bike rides in Western Germany.
Up and Down (Bergisches Land)
It’ll get wild and wet in the region of Bergisches Land. Here, bikers can find splendid views over the hills, a dozen lakes and huge dams shimmering between expanses of green land. Explore five idyllic watery locations on the one-day bike tour, “Wasserquintett”.
Small villages with topsy-turvey, half-timbered houses are hiding in the valleys of this hilly landscape. Verdant meadows left and right, populated by grazing cows. You’ll meet farmers on their tractors – nature, tradition and friendly folk come together in Bergisches Land.
But its true beauty are the massive reservoir dams – there’s no other place in Europe with so many of them in such a density. This wonderful nature is best explored by bike. The most beautiful route is the perfectly signposted “Wasserquintett”, where you’ll pass by five of these pristine lakes.
TIP: Make sure to try the “Bergische Kaffeetafel” on the way! Cafés in this area usually offer this traditional coffee break with waffles, savoury snacks and – of course – hot coffee, typically served from a giant pot called a “Dröppelminna”. We recommend Hofcafé Kaffeekännchen in Marienheide.
SIGNS: Green signs with five blue dots and a line symbolizing the dams and the river.
Nostalgia Calling (Bergisches Trio)
Industrial culture and the beauty of nature – welcome to the Bergisches Trio. The three cities of Wuppertal, Remscheid and Solingen couldn’t be more different, but they all share a common history. They are the birthplace of continental Europe’s industrialization. Come and bike on the old trails.
High viaducts span over the deep valleys, tunnels lead you through the hills and multiple bridges seem to strike a pose. There are plenty of unexpected encounters along the way – like the “Müngstener Brücke”, Germanys highest railway bridge, or historic structures like the former train station at “Miker Bahnhof”, which has been turned into one of the coolest cafés and hotspots for local creatives thanks to a citizens’ initiative.
The paths through the Bergisches Land follow the former trails, making this ride as flat and easy as it can get. But the surroundings, however, are really diverse. The views over the many Wilheminian houses and the world-renowned suspension railway tell of the rich history of the area, with many industrial sights along the way.
Visit one of the historic blacksmiths or museums to find out more. If you love zoos, don’t miss out on the zoo in Wuppertal, which lies right along the track and is one of the greenest and largest zoos in Germany. You can even peak into the tigers’ enclosure right from the bike path.
There is no single route to follow, but the various old trails can be combined for the perfect trip for everyone. Very easy and with great views: “Nordbahntrasse”, leading you through all of Wuppertal. In Vohwinkel, you can change to the “Korkenziehertrasse” and ride on to Solingen. Follow the “Balkantrasse” for a ride along the idyllic Wupper Valley before finally reaching the amazing castle at Burg.
TIP: Take the cable car up to the castle at Burg (you can take your bike!). The views from up here are great and the castle itself is a true gem.
ROUTE: Whether you just want to ride for a couple of kilometres or make it a whole day trip, there are numerous tour options. Thanks to the routes along old train tracks, it will stay flat most of the ride, regardless of the surrounding hills.
SIGNS: Some routes are signposted better than others. It is best to build your individual route with an online map service like komoot or Ourdooractive.