Mountains and medieval town centres with well-preserved half-timbered houses await you as you journey across North Hesse from the Sauerland on the border with North Rhine-Westphalia to Thuringia. On the way, you discover the mighty Edersee Lake, the Kellerwald Forest, the Knüll Mountains, and the Fulda Valley as well as more fascinating nature spots. This well-signposted cycle route is also known as the ‘Nordhessenroute Eder-Fulda-Werra’ after the rivers en route. It takes you through untouched nature, blooming fields and deep forests. As you regularly pass through picturesque villages, you don’t have to worry about food or drink.
239 kilometres (148 miles) lie between the starting point near Willingen and the destination town of Wanfried. I’ve divided the route into four daily stages for you that are between 50 and 70 kilometres (31 and 43 miles) long. All stages end in towns that have various accommodation options. This means you can enjoy a carefree journey through North Hesse over a long weekend.
The R5 is more hilly than most other long-distance cycle routes in Hesse and therefore demands a lot from you and your bike. You ride on roads and along tarmacked stretches, but there are some gravel forest paths too. A classic touring bike or a gravel bike are ideal for this Tour. You also climb a few metres in altitude, so a certain level of basic fitness will come in handy. Of course, you can flexibly ride only parts of the route or shorten the stage length. There are several train stations along the route.
Hesse has an extensive network of cycle paths, including nine different official long-distance cycle routes. These numbered routes link together at various points so you can combine them together freely. Some of them also overlap with other cycle paths. You can easily reach the starting point in Willingen by train from Brilon or Marburg. The destination, Wanfried, doesn’t have a train connection, but it’s only 10 kilometres (6 miles) to the station in Eschwege which also lies en route.
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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.
It starts in the Hessian Upland on the border with North Rhine-Westphalia. You are here in the Sauerland. It tends to go downhill, even if there are always smaller counter-climbs on your way. So there are at least 500 meters in altitude over a good 50 kilometers.
After a few meters you will reach the…
After seeing a bit of the Edersee at the end of the first stage, the full program is on today. You follow its entire south bank for almost 30 kilometers. You will always have spectacular views of the water. Although you are always close to the shore, it is anything but flat here. When the water level…
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You leave the Kellerwald behind and move towards the Fulda. The sparsely populated and wooded Knüll Mountains want to be crossed. But first you follow the Schwalm to Borken. The place is framed by several idyllic lakes.
Over the first smaller climbs of the day you will reach the Efze and shortly afterwards…
On the last stage of the Hessian long-distance cycle route R5, things get down to business again. Two longer climbs are waiting on your way today. After passing through Schwarzenhasel, things get serious. The percentage of gradient skyrocketed and was noticeably in the double-digit range. The second…
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