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German Football Route NRW — history meets modernity

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German Football Route NRW — history meets modernity

Bike Touring Collection by Sebastian Gliem

7-16

days

3-6 h

/ day

475 mi

12,625 ft

12,850 ft

North Rhine-Westphalia has a great football tradition and is home to many significant places in German football history and culture. This is precisely why the German Football Route NRW was put together a few years ago as an adventure cycle route covering 825 kilometres (513 mi) from Aachen to Bielefeld.

My version of the Football Route passes through all the towns with football history that are on the original route. But since there are other exciting places with lots of relevant history along the way, I took a little artistic license and made some alterations. The football highlights are all there, but I have shortened the stages in Münsterland. This route leads from Münster directly to Bielefeld and does not take a diversion via Emsdetten, to avoid a long section without stadiums. Therefore, this adventure totals 765 kilometres (475 mi), divided over 12 stages.

The original NRW Football Route connects 15 cities and has 11 themed sights per city. However, I’ve switched some for stops that I think are even better and you can find out which ones in the Tour descriptions. The German Football Route NRW is signposted with a brown sign with the name of the route and an arrow. However, as you’ll leave the original route a few times, don’t rely on the signs and instead use this Collection.

As you’re in the most densely populated area of Germany, you’ll find a good selection of places to sleep at the end of each stage. Towns like Düren and Cologne or the Ruhr area make this fairly easy. But if you only want to ride parts of the route or choose the stages that are most interesting for you, it’s easy to do. I've made sure that you can reach and leave each destination by train, so you won't be stranded in the middle of nowhere.

The adventure starts in Aachen, where you’ll find the first stadium, the Tivoli. You’ll zigzag through the Rhineland, the Bergisches Land, the Ruhr and the Münsterland until you find the last stadium, the Alm, in Bielefeld in the final stage. On the way, you’ll come across the Müngersdorfer Stadium in Cologne, the Borussia Park in Mönchengladbach or the Schalker Arena. The historic Grotenburg-Kampfbahn stadium is also on the route. History meets modernity every step of the way, for example in Dortmund, with the Rote Erde stadium – built in the 1920s – standing in the shadow of the monumental 1970s Westfalenstadion.

If you have time, you can take a rest day and explore a specific area in greater depth or maybe take in a match. None of the stages, apart from the first day in the northern Eifel, are either very long or particularly physically demanding. Have fun!

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    Difficult
    03:57
    37.3 mi
    9.4 mph
    1,975 ft
    2,175 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    And off you go, the first stage of the German Football Route NRW is ahead of you. For almost 61 kilometers you drive from Aachen to Düren and have to cope with a few climbs to "break in". They're not tough, but you don't get this stage for free. So pack enough provisions and fill your drinking bottles before you start!

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  • Intermediate
    03:58
    37.0 mi
    9.3 mph
    725 ft
    950 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    Your second stage on the journey through the football history of North Rhine-Westphalia along the German Football Route NRW begins after a good breakfast in Düren. If you arrive to the stage by train, at the train station there. Today, among other things, the Müngersdorfer Stadium is on the menu. In contrast to yesterday, the 60 kilometers are almost as flat as a rock.

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  • Intermediate
    04:13
    38.1 mi
    9.1 mph
    675 ft
    675 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    On the third stage of the German Football Route NRW there is only one stadium hidden, but you will find one or the other beautiful park over the 62 kilometers and get closer to the Lower Rhine and the home of the former national coach Berti Vogts.But first you cycle a little through Cologne, whereby the route mainly leads …

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  • Intermediate
    03:14
    34.2 mi
    10.6 mph
    550 ft
    625 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The fourth section of the German Football Route NRW from Kapellen to Anrath sounds unspectacular at first glance. But if you take a closer look, you will see that you will undertake a little journey through time on the flat 55 kilometers.But first of all you can plan a little detour to Dycker Ländchen. You will pass there anyway …

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  • Intermediate
    03:45
    37.5 mi
    10.0 mph
    650 ft
    625 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    The fifth day of your journey through the history of NRW football is coming up. Today you have almost 60 kilometers on the German Football Route NRW in front of you. After two nights in Kapellen and Anrath you will arrive in a big city again today, because the state capital Düsseldorf is today's destination. And along the way, visits to a venerable and ailing arena and a modern multifunctional arena are on the program.

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  • Difficult
    03:53
    35.0 mi
    9.0 mph
    1,650 ft
    1,100 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Your sixth day on the NRW soccer route from Aachen to Bielefeld and today it's up again! After a few days without any notable climbs, a stage in the direction of Bergisches Land lies ahead of you, but the route is only 56 kilometers. And of course there is also a stadium right at the start of the journey.Because …

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  • Difficult
    04:47
    47.6 mi
    10.0 mph
    1,725 ft
    2,300 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The seventh stage of the German Football Route NRW is ahead of you. But oops, there is no stadium on the way! You drive once through the footballing diaspora, so to speak, but the El Dorado is in front of you. I just say "Ruhr area". See this day as a “transfer stage” with other highlights, enjoy the ride towards …

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  • Intermediate
    04:33
    43.8 mi
    9.6 mph
    1,225 ft
    1,050 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    70 kilometers, several stadiums, Ruhr area. The eighth stage of the NRW football route promises pure football nostalgia. Look forward to football, industrial culture and wonderful bike paths through the Kohlenpott.


    First you graze on the Oberhausen stage before you reach Duisburg. But what is it? Indeed, a forest. Yes, the Ruhr area also has forests to offer and so …

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  • Intermediate
    04:15
    43.0 mi
    10.1 mph
    1,100 ft
    1,125 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    You are in the Ruhr area, so there is one thing that you have a hard time getting past football: mining. Sure, the times are over, but you will find a lot about the history that has shaped the "Pott" for decades. Therefore, in the 70 kilometers of the ninth stage on the German football route NRW from Essen to …

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  • Intermediate
    02:37
    25.4 mi
    9.7 mph
    550 ft
    575 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today the tenth stage of the German Football Route NRW is on your plan and this could also be called “Borussia Day”. Although the stage is short and very flat at just over 40 kilometers, it takes you to three important places in Dortmund's football history.It is not far from the train station or your accommodation to the first …

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  • Intermediate
    04:32
    47.0 mi
    10.4 mph
    850 ft
    850 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    You are slowly getting closer to your destination Bielefeld, the eleventh stage of the German Football Route NRW brings you at least once to the Münsterland. On 75 flat kilometers, mainly through fields and forests, you connect Werne with Münster today, where the only stadium is on the stage.Flat and many fields, this is how one imagines the Münsterland. …

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  • Intermediate
    04:50
    48.9 mi
    10.1 mph
    1,000 ft
    825 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The twelfth and last day on the NRW football route is coming up and with it you can visit the last stadium on your tour, the Bielefelder Alm. Until then you still have almost 80 kilometers and thus the longest stage ahead of you. But then you can rest and I promise you: There will be no extension!Most of …

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    12
  • Distance
    475 mi
  • Duration
    48:32 h
  • Elevation
    12,625 ft12,850 ft

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German Football Route NRW — history meets modernity