© Emsland Tourismus

As flat as it gets – cycling in Emsland in northern Germany

Bike Touring Collection by Westfalen Bahn

Emsland may be flat, but this district in northwestern Germany is far from boring. With varied landscapes and the crashing waves of the North Sea, Elmsland is a great place to explore by bike. In this Collection, we present eight wonderful rides in the flatland between the towns of Papenburg and Lingen. The routes will take you along the River Ems as it flows towards the sea. You can also make a small detour into the nearby Netherlands to learn more about the region’s cultural diversity.

We’ve planned these rides as relaxed day trips, with lots of opportunities to take a refreshing dip in a quarry pond, so don’t forget to pack your swim stuff in your panniers. Along the way, you ride through quaint villages and old towns where you can find plenty of places to stop for a break.

In between the towns, sprawling floodplains, rugged upland moors, and endless fields await. And the best part? You can reach the start of the routes easily and sustainably by train. All of the rides start and end at a train station connected to the WestfalenBahn, the regional train network. The Emsland Tour Ticket is a good, budget-friendly option; you can travel to and from the routes with your bike. If you plan to stay longer in the region, you could also make one of the pretty towns along the river your basecamp.

A network of beautiful cycling paths unravel the region’s subtle beauty. Emsland is made for cyclists – from mile crunchers to free-wheelers. Hop on your saddle, forget about life’s everyday stress, and get pedaling through this flat region!

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

    Intermediate
    02:01
    20.5 mi
    10.2 mph
    250 ft
    250 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This 30 kilometer bike tour takes you along the middle Ems. On the first half of the tour you follow the river on its winding course through the Emsland to the reservoir near Geeste. Then it goes back in a straight line along the Dortmund-Ems Canal to Meppen, the starting point of the route. If the whole lap is too long for you, you can take the train from Geeste back to Meppen and save yourself the last kilometers along the canal.From the train station in Meppen it is worthwhile to warm up a little round through the beautiful old town. Then you leave the place and soon cross the Ems for the first time. You cycle along a beautiful path, sometimes closer, sometimes a little further along the river. On the way you always come through cozy towns. At Dalum you turn left and drive to Geeste.You cycle through the town and straight to the reservoir, where you can make yourself comfortable on the 850-meter-long sandy beach and refresh yourself in the cool water. You really deserve this long break. If you are not lazing around, take a bike ride around the lake, which was built as a cooling water basin for the Emsland nuclear power plant, 12 kilometers away.The Dortmund-Ems Canal runs not far from the lake. There is a wonderful bike path along the canal, so you can roll back along the waterway to your starting point. Back in Meppen, you deserve a nice end to the tour in one of the cafés before cycling back to the train station.

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    Intermediate
    04:07
    38.2 mi
    9.3 mph
    300 ft
    300 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    This 65-kilometer circular tour takes you through the northern Emsland and via a swivel through the Netherlands back to your starting point in Aschendorf. A wonderful round with lots of water, historical highlights and of course wonderful bike paths.It starts at the train station in Aschendorf. Before you cycle out of town, you can take a short detour to Gut Altenkamp. Then you leave the Papenburg district to the south and drive into the picturesque Emstal. On the Emsradweg you roll along the banks of the river and enjoy a wonderful view of the beautiful landscape. On the way you will always pass nice rest areas. After almost 20 kilometers you can treat yourself to a longer break in Marina Park.Then you leave the banks of the Ems and continue cycling west. You pass the Herzogsee and shortly afterwards cross the border into the Netherlands. The Walchumer Schloot, a small watercourse, marks the transition. Then the Dutch side continues to the remarkable Fort Bourtange. The fortress is surrounded by a star-shaped canal and is absolutely worth seeing. Be sure to plan a longer break here.Then you cross the border again and drive back to Aschendorf via Rhede. There you will find several places to stop for a bite to eat before you finally cycle to the train station and start your journey home.

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  • Intermediate
    02:28
    24.1 mi
    9.8 mph
    250 ft
    250 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This almost 40 kilometer tour shows you the picturesque Lingener Land. You start your circuit at the train station in Geeste, cycle along the Dortmund-Ems Canal to Lingen and back on a varied route. If the entire route is too far for you, you can also take the train back from Lingen to Geeste.It is not far from your starting point in Geeste to the reservoir. Here you cycle a bit along the banks of the artificial water. Then it goes past Lake Bien and continues through the tranquil town of Holthausen. Shortly afterwards you reach the Dortmund-Ems Canal and cycle south along the water. As you roll along the banks on the beautifully designed bike path, you can watch the ships on their way to and from the North Sea.After a few kilometers you cross the canal and drive to the center of Lingen. It's best to connect your bike to the market square, so you can explore the historic city center on foot. In the meantime, you can fortify yourself in one of the restaurants or cafés for the further journey. If you want to learn more about the history of the region, then a visit to the Emsland Museum is worthwhile.Back on the saddle you cycle relaxed on extensive country roads to the natural area "Brögberner Teiche". The renatured, 1,000 hectare area is a popular destination for cyclists and walkers. From the observation tower you have a great view of the region. Via Bawinkel you finally cycle the last kilometers through the open area back to Geeste - but not without a short cake stop at the herb farm in Bramhar.

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    Difficult
    03:52
    33.2 mi
    8.6 mph
    425 ft
    400 ft
    Expert bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    This 50 kilometer bike tour takes you through the beautiful, unspoilt river landscape of the Hare and to the Haselünner Juniper Grove nature reserve. It starts in Meppen on the banks of the Ems. Your goal is the beautiful center of Lingen. There is a train station in both cities, so the arrival and departure is relaxed.To get you in the right mood for your bike tour, take a little round through Meppen and cycle past the Propsteikirche. You cross the Dortmund-Ems Canal over the Helter Bridge and then leave the village. The next few kilometers you ride on a wonderful bike path along the banks of the rabbit. The right tributary of the Ems meanders happily through the picturesque nature reserve.Finally, you will reach Haselünne and treat yourself to a well-deserved break in one of the restaurants or cafés in the town center. Notel of the center is the Haselünnersee and the neighboring juniper grove Haselünne. A detour through this beautiful piece of earth is definitely worth it. You can also cool off in the lake on a hot summer day.Refreshed and rested, it's back on the saddle. You cycle on country roads to Bawinkel. Here you can learn more about the traditional handicrafts of this region in the local museum. Now it is not far to Lingen, your destination today. The historic town center is perfect for completing your tour before you roll to the train station and start your journey home.

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    Intermediate
    02:54
    28.9 mi
    10.0 mph
    275 ft
    275 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The Emsland is home to Germany's largest oil fields and one of the largest raised bogs in Europe - a unique landscape that you can get to know on your bike along this almost 50-kilometer tour. After an educational tour through the moor, you can later relax on the banks of the reservoir in Geeste.The starting point of your bike tour is the train station in Meppen. You cycle out of the city in a westerly direction via Schullendamm. You drive through the open, flat landscape for a while until you finally reach the raised bog. The Bourtanger Moor today has a size of approximately 200 square kilometers and is distributed both on the German and the Dutch side. In the 1950s, almost the entire bog was drained under large-scale technical use and developed as pasture or arable land. Today the area is protected and is gradually being restored.There are several informative stops along the way: you can learn a lot about the history of this region on the Moor Energy Adventure Path and in the Moor Museum. Again and again you will come across historical evidence, such as the old pumping stations. So plan enough time for your bog round.Towards the end of your tour, you cross Autobahn 31 again and soon you will reach the artificial reservoir in Geeste. Here you can make yourself comfortable on the sandy beach and take a long bath break. It is not far to the Geeste train station.

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    Intermediate
    02:34
    24.8 mi
    9.7 mph
    450 ft
    450 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    On this 40-kilometer circuit you cycle through the Lingen region, discover mystical stone tombs and idyllic landscapes, including an extensive break at Lake Sall. The route starts at the train station in Lingen. You leave the city in a westerly direction and soon cycle through the flat, open landscape.After almost seven kilometers you can take a break in Baccum. In the village is the so-called "Ecumenical Center", a large space between the Catholic and the Evangelical Church, which is used by the community for joint events.You continue cycling, sometimes through the forest, sometimes through a cozy village. In Freren you turn left and reach the megalithic grave with its more than 20 meter long burial chamber. Of the probably eleven capstones, only four are still intact. A little further you can take a break on the shore of Lake Saller. Make yourself comfortable in the café or find a quiet place on the banks of the water.With a new impetus you will then head back again. You drive through an idyllic landscape and let your gaze wander over the flat country. So you cover the last kilometers of the route in a relaxed manner and will soon roll back into Lingen. At the end of the day, a round through the beautiful old town of the village, which lies west of the train station, is worthwhile.

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    Intermediate
    02:10
    22.4 mi
    10.3 mph
    175 ft
    175 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    The city of Papenburg an der Ems is world famous for its shipyard. Along this 35 km long circuit you cycle along the grounds of the Mayer shipyard and may be able to take a look at a future cruiser. You can expect a varied tour with further evidence of the history of shipbuilding in the village and wonderful passages through the idyllic landscape.It starts at the train station in Papenburg. Not far away is the Alte Werft - today a restaurant with historical charm. A little further you can see the impressive halls of the Mayer shipyard. It was founded in 1795 and today the company is one of the most modern shipyards in the world. For example, several cruise ships from the Aida fleet were built here.After a look at the huge shipyard area, you continue cycling through the idyllic Emstal. A beautiful bike path leads you through the Emsauen and lets you forget your everyday stress. Enjoy the great view of the river that meanders through the green landscape. Shortly before Rhede you cross the Ems and drive to Aschendorf. If it is enough for you today, you will find a train station in the village from which you can drive back to your starting point.It continues through the flat landscape, over a canal and up to the Aschendorfermoor. Along the moor path you will learn more about the flora and fauna in the local nature reserve. Shortly afterwards you will reach the demonstration forest, in which you will be shown different forest types and forest development phases in northwest Germany. You can also take a break on the banks of the small lake.You will soon reach Papenburg again and cycle along the main canal back to the center. A short detour to the museum ship Katharina von Papenburg is still worthwhile before you look for a cozy café in town to end your tour.

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    Intermediate
    02:24
    24.5 mi
    10.2 mph
    300 ft
    300 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This almost 40 km long route takes you from Lathen to Haren and back again. Pack your swimming trunks on a beautiful summer day, because you can take a refreshing break at Dankernsee. Start is at the train station in Lathen.You cycle out of the village and start the tour on a flat route through quiet countryside. You roll through small towns and open spaces. A little later you pass the thousand step moor. Now it is not far to the crystal-clear Dankernsee. Find a nice place on the shore for your break and roll out your towel on the sandy beach. If you prefer something more action, you can also let off steam in the adjacent leisure and holiday center around Dankern Castle.Then you cycle on to Haren. In the village you will find some places to stop for a bite to eat as well as the shipping museum. You now cross the Ems and leave the city again. You will soon reach the Tinner Dose nature reserve, where you will cycle for the next six kilometers. Numerous animals and plants feel at home in the bog. The site has also been used for military purposes since 1877. The area counts as one of the largest contiguous raised bogs in Lower Saxony. Agricultural wet meadows are located in the peripheral areas. In 2018, the nature reserve came to dubious fame due to reports in the news: After rocket tests by the German Armed Forces, a conflagration of over twelve square kilometers spread over the moor.Shortly after the nature reserve you will reach your starting point in Lathen. How about an ice break before you get back on the train?

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    8
  • Distance
    217 mi
  • Duration
    22:30 h
  • Elevation
    2,425 ft

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