If you think the Ruhr region is grey and industrial then you should definitely visit the Ruhr Circuit. This 360-kilometre (223 mi) route showcases the area’s greenest sides. Germany’s largest conurbation, between the Lippe, Ruhr, Rhine and Wesel-Datteln Canal, has plenty to explore. Rivers, lakes and beautiful landscapes alternate with industrial monuments and castles. The Ruhr Circuit is a ‘Route of Industrial Culture’, organised by the Ruhr Regional Association.
I have divided the circuit into six stages which are all unique. The daily distances are between 45 and 75 kilometres (28 and 46 mi). Aside from the last stage, there aren’t any notable climbs. Each day ends in a town with hotels and guesthouses, as well as a train station if you only want to ride part of the circuit. I’ve deliberately chosen to start in the city of Hamm as the train station is easy to reach from many places.
From Hamm, you cycle north in the direction of the Rhine. You’ll get a feel for the Ruhr’s foothills straight away and, on the third day, you really dive into the landscapes. The scenery changes along the Rhine between the towns of Dinslaken and Duisburg. In addition to the beautiful Rheinaue park, you discover large industrial complexes and the huge port of Duisburg.
For the next two and a half days, the Ruhr River, after which the region is named, is your constant companion. You may be surprised to hear that mines and collieries aren’t the focus here. Industry always plays a role, of course, but you also visit beautiful parks, castles and floodplains. After the town of Schwerte, you leave the Ruhr and pedal back towards your starting point in Hamm.
On your Tour, you can mostly navigate by following the signs of a green coal mine with ‘rundkurs ruhrgebiet’ written above and ‘route industriekultur’ beneath. On some sections, especially in the northern part, the signs are a bit more scarce – that’s why you have your komoot app with you. I hope you have a lot of fun as you discover the green sides of the Ruhr area!
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Last updated: April 13, 2023
The first stage on the Ruhrgebiet circuit takes you almost 63 kilometers from Hamm to Recklinghausen. The start is right at Hammer Hauptbahnhof, so you can travel comfortably by train.
Shipping was and is very important here in the region. Therefore, there are many channels to get from A to B quickly…
The second stage on the Ruhrgebiet circuit takes you over almost 70 mostly flat kilometers from Recklinghausen to Wesel. Wesel is on the Lower Rhine and not in the Ruhr area, but you are not driving through the Ruhr area, you are driving around it.
You leave Recklinghausen to the north and pass Oer-Erkenschwick…
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The third stage on the Ruhr Area circuit is short and flat. So on the almost 44 kilometers between Wesel and Duisburg you can take your time and take in the transformation of the landscape from the Lower Rhine to the Ruhr area.
After starting in Wesel, you will cross your companions from the past two…
The fourth stage on the Ruhrgebiet circuit takes you over 50 kilometers from Duisburg to Essen. You will spend a lot of time in the Ruhr and discover how green the Ruhr area actually is.
You leave Duisburg towards the north and cross the Ruhr for the first time for today near the port. Through the green…
Today you cycle from Essen to Hagen on the almost 60 kilometers of the fifth stage on the Ruhr area circuit. Most of the route runs along the Ruhr with beautiful places to relax in nature, but also sites of industrial culture.
You can reach the Ruhr from the train station in just under five kilometers…
The sixth and last stage on the Ruhr Area circuit lies ahead of you, the “king's stage”. Because on the almost 73 kilometers between Hagen and Hamm you have to climb a real climb for the first time to reach an exciting sight.
You start in Hagen and cycle directly towards the Ruhr. And after you have taken…
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