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Legends and wine in Hesse – Hessian Long-distance Cycle Route R3


Legends and wine in Hesse – Hessian Long-distance Cycle Route R3

Bike Touring Collection by Jesko



4-4 h

/ day

143 mi

3,725 ft

2,950 ft

The Hessian Long-distance Cycle Route R3 takes you across the west German state of Hesse from the town of Rüdesheim on the River Rhine to the municipality of Tann in the Rhön Mountains. Along the way, you visit exciting cities such as Frankfurt, Hanau, Wächtersbach, Schlüchtern and Fulda, as well as wonderful nature. The Rhine Valley, the Spessart, the Vogelsberg and finally the Rhön are waiting to be discovered en route.

In this Collection, I have divided the 231-kilometer (143-mile) route into three daily stages, each of which ends in a town with several overnight accommodation options. You can also take more time which is made easier by the refreshment stops and ample accommodation along the route. You can always spontaneously reschedule if the stages are too long for you. Except for very short sections, the cycle path is paved and therefore ideal for a classic touring bike or road bike.

As you ride, you follow in the footsteps of the so-called ‘Spätlesereiter’, the protagonist of an old legend from the Rheingau region. With its sun-drenched slopes, the area is world-famous for wine growing. Legend has it that in 1775, the monks of Johannisberg Monastery needed permission from the prince abbot in Fulda to begin harvesting grapes. They entrusted a mounted messenger to carry a sample of the precious cargo to Fulda. However, the rider arrived several weeks late. In the meantime, the grapes had spoiled. The desperate monks pressed the grapes anyway, expecting them to be inedible. To their surprise, the grapes made an excellent wine, which is appreciated worldwide today as a late vintage. Thus, the messenger's delay turned into a stroke of luck. The Hessian Long-distance Cycle Route R3 traces the route that the ‘Spätlesereiter’ might have taken at the time.

Many roads lead to Rüdesheim to the starting point of the route. You can travel by train from Koblenz, Frankfurt or Mannheim. There’s also a direct ferry to Rüdesheim from Bingen am Rhine. You could also arrive by bike along the Rhine Cycle Path that leads through the beautiful Middle Rhine Valley. There are train stations dotted along the entire route so you can hop on or off at any point. This also makes it easy to do part of the route as a day trip or shorten your ride if things take a little longer than planned. You’ll find reasons to stop and take a break time and time again.

On The Map


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Hessischer Radfernweg R3

144 mi

3,800 ft

3,025 ft

Last updated: November 6, 2021

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

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  1. Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Etappe 1: Von Rüdesheim nach Offenbach – Hessischer Radfernweg R3

    48.5 mi
    10.3 mph
    650 ft
    600 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    The first stage is shaped by the two mighty rivers Rhine and Main. Accordingly, it is perfectly flat and, with very few exceptions, perfectly paved.


    Rüdesheim am Rhein is located in the Rheingau, the southern slope of the Taunus, across from Bingen. The picturesque place is extremely popular and worth

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  2. 04:40
    48.0 mi
    10.3 mph
    900 ft
    550 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    The second stage is almost entirely paved and rather flat, with a slight increase following the Kinzig into the Vogelsberg. But this happens so slowly that you can hardly feel it in your legs. Typical Hessian half-timbered towns and so some traces of old cultural history lie on your way.


    You leave Offenbach

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  4. 04:38
    46.4 mi
    10.0 mph
    2,200 ft
    1,800 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The third and last stage of the long-distance cycle route R3 is on. Right at the beginning, you leave Schlüchtern, the Kinzig and thus the plains behind you. It goes uphill for several kilometers. If you can see the freeway, you are almost there.


    You cross the motorway and soon reach the Fliede, which

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    143 mi
  • Duration
    14:01 h
  • Elevation
    3,725 ft2,950 ft

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