Crisp ascents, followed by breathtaking panoramas, and rapid descents into a valley along a wild riverbank – the Eifel Peak Route Cycle Path (Eifel-Höhen-Route) takes you up and down through the most beautiful landscapes of the Eifel. This low mountain range in the west of Germany is impressively versatile and beautiful all-year-around. Here, dense forests meet enormous reservoirs, juniper heaths meet daffodil meadows, and idyllic valleys meet lofty heights. The Eifel Peak Route Cycle Path doesn’t just offer stunning scenery. The region’s eventful history has also left its mark. You ride past traces of the past from the Middle Ages through to industrialisation and World War II.
Starting from the source of the River Ahr near the municipality of Blankenheim, you cycle through the ‘Tuscany of the Eifel’ to Hellenthal municipality, which has a birds of prey centre. Behind the picturesque Olef Dam, you ride past blooming wild daffodils and through the picturesque cloth making town of Monschau. The jagged rocks of the Rur Valley lead you to the Einruhr region, where the impressive water of the Rur Dam begins. Here, you can choose between two different length options along the dam. Both variants end in the pretty health resort of Gemünd. On the final stage, you visit Kall, Urft and Nettersheim, and explore historical remains from the Romans up until the last century.
This Collection summarises the official stages of the Eifel Peak Route Cycle Path for you. The route follows a 230-kilometre (143-mile) circuit around the Eifel National Park. It gets its name for good reason as you pedal up about 3,000 metres (9,850 feet) in altitude. But, what goes up must come down, remember! It’s guaranteed to be fun and filled with spectacular panoramas. The stages vary in length from 50 to a maximum of 70 kilometres (31 to 44 miles). If you are looking for a reasonable challenge then the Eifel Peak Route Cycle Path is ideal.
The route mainly runs over asphalt and roads, but it’s unpaved in places so a touring bike or gravel bike is best-suited. If you like to have a little help up the climbs, then you can also ride your e-bike or pedelec. If you prefer to use your road bike, then I recommend checking the surface types of the individual stages before setting off and adjusting them slightly if necessary.
There are several options to reach the route by train. The Regionalbahn 22, also known as the Eifel route, runs between Cologne, Kall, Urft, Nettersheim and Blankenheim (forest). You can also catch the train in Heimbach on the third stage. From Cologne, you can take the S-Bahn to Düren, where you can change to the Rurtalbahn. Thanks to its excellent connections to Cologne, sections of the route can be done as day trips. You can also travel easily from Koblenz, Bonn, or Aachen to take a nice short holiday or weekend trip.
In the respective stage destinations, you can find plenty of accommodation which you can book online in advance. There are also lots of idyllic places to pitch your tent, by the water or under fir trees. The Eifel National Park is also one of the few International Star Parks in Germany where the Milky Way can be seen with the naked eye. If that’s not a reason to spend the night under the starry sky, then I don’t know what is!
Your bike tour through the wonderful worlds of the Eifel landscape starts at the Blankenheim (Wald) train station in the Ahr valley. From Cologne you only need an hour with the RB 22 and don't even have to change. The journey from Aachen, Koblenz or Bonn is also worthwhile, as it doesn't take much more than two hours with just one change.
Today's tour takes you 70 kilometers to the Oleftalsperre and you almost complete the first 1,000 meters of altitude. I recommend that you cycle early so that you can take enough breaks to enjoy your sporty tour. The route mainly leads over asphalt or road surface, only about 17 kilometers of the way are unpaved. You can therefore consider whether you would also like to ride this tour by racing bike.
After you have swung into the saddle, you cross Blankenheimerdorf and after about six kilometers you have the opportunity to stock up on provisions for your tour in several supermarkets. Now you cycle in a varied up and down through the forests and fields, past the Freilinger See to the Ahr valley. Here the tour leads along the disused railway line of the Ahr Valley Railway, where you can stop off in a pretty restaurant.
Freshly strengthened, it goes uphill again and into the wondrous "Tuscany of the Eifel". The landscape here is shaped by juniper and you can expect grandiose valley views. Passing the remains of the Third Reich you reach your stage destination Hellenthal, which is located directly on the impressive Oleftalsperre.
The idyllic community awaits you with a wide range of holiday apartments, country houses and hotels. You can find more information at hellenthal.de. There are three campsites in Hellenthal. There are also exciting excursion destinations, such as the wildlife enclosure with a bird of prey station.
The second stage takes you on wonderful waterways in just under 52 kilometers through the Rur Valley. Your tour begins with the Olef, which flows to the impressive dam of the Olef dam. Here you can pause for a moment and look down at the huge wall. Then you cycle along the serpentine lines of the north bank with a wonderful panorama.
Behind the dam, your tires are already touching the border with Belgium. You cycle through the Perlenbach and Fuhrtsbach valleys, where a sea of wild daffodils blooms in spring. Passing small communities you will soon reach the upper Rur valley.
The wild and romantic course of the Rur will accompany your tour from here on. Soon you will reach the picturesque town of Monschau, which is gently nestled on the banks of the Rur. The historic old town with traditional half-timbered houses, slate-clad houses and cobblestones invites you to get off your bike and stroll through the winding streets.
The tour takes you on car-free riverside paths through the Rur Valley. After about 15 kilometers you will reach the southernmost tip of the Rurstausees, one of the largest dams in Germany. Here is your stage destination Einruhr, where you can spend the night with a view of the Rursee. You can see the accommodation offer in the accommodation directory at rursee.de. Shortly before Einruhr you cycle past a campsite, where you can pitch your tent right on the bank of the river.
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The unique landscape of the Rurtalsperre characterizes your almost 52-kilometer tour today. You cycle through the Eifel National Park, a habitat for many rare species, including wild cats.
On the western side of the reservoir you drive off and for almost 30 kilometers all around to the smallest town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Heimbach. At the Rursee you will also pass benches again and again, where you can take a leisurely pause and enjoy the panorama of the dam landscape.
In Heimbach you can visit Hengebach Castle and the historic town center and treat yourself to a refreshment in one of the many cafés. After a longer ascent through the forest, you'll be full of energy. Behind the small village of Voißel, however, it only goes downhill and you can just let your bike roll for the last ten kilometers before your destination.
Gemünd is located in the Urft valley, belongs to the town of Schleiden and is a recognized Kneipp spa. Here you can treat your legs to a well-deserved break in the spa hotel or simply stroll through the public spa park and try out the Kneipp pools on your own. You can see more accommodations at schleiden.de/tourismus/gastgeber. At the Eifel Chalet there is also a rustic trekking hut with an adjoining small campground, where you can stay overnight and even have a sauna.
Many roads lead to Gemünd - including this alternative route, which takes you on a no less beautiful 20 kilometers to the Kneipp health resort of the Urft valley. On the comparatively short route you also have enough time to take advantage of the wide range of water sports on the Rursee, pay a visit to the “Vogelsang IP - Internationaler Platz”, or simply slow down and feel the beauty of the Eifel National Park with all your senses.
On the west side of the Rursee you cycle and after five kilometers cross the Paulushofdamm, which is at the confluence of Urft and Rursee. From here on, the route takes you along the Urft and Urft lakes, where you can enjoy the panorama on benches or expand your knowledge of hydropower at the Kermeter tunnel.
You cycle on along the Urft and are in no time at your stage destination Gemünd. Here you can treat your legs to a break in the spa hotel or simply stroll through the public spa park and try out the Kneipp pools on your own. You can see more accommodations at schleiden.de/tourismus/gastgeber. At the Eifel Chalet there is also a rustic trekking hut with an adjoining small campground, where you can stay overnight and even have a sauna.
Your last stage begins today and takes you 51 kilometers back to the starting point in Blankenheim. A rural idyll and the remains of a Roman viaduct await you.
First you cycle along the Urft, then over wide fields and through small towns like Kall and Mechernich. On the way you can catch a fresh trout in the fishing park Caster, or explore the historic buildings of the open-air museum near Kommern.
Behind Mechernich it goes slightly uphill, you cycle through the Weyrer Wald nature reserve and the rural region around Kall, where fresh cow's milk can be tapped directly at the farm shop. Now it goes back down into the valley and through the nature reserve of the meadows and slopes on the Urf. On this route you drive past the Roman well room "Grüner Pütz", where you can learn something about the history of antiquity.
On your drive through Nettersheim, idyllic inns attract with a stop. Here you can once again enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the natural communities. At the end of the tour you cycle for about ten kilometers on beautiful paths through the picturesque landscape of the Urft valley until you reach your starting point in Blankenheim. At the source of the Ahr, you can end your trip in a relaxed manner.
The stage ends in Blankenheim at the bus station. If you want to go back by train, you can end the stage about four kilometers earlier at the Blankenheim (Wald) station. From here you are very well connected to Cologne with the RB 22. The train also runs via Mechernich, Kall, Urft and Nettersheim. It takes about two hours to get to Aachen, Koblenz or Bonn.