The Neckar Valley Cycle Path — in 7 days from the Black Forest to the Rhine
© Neckartal-Radweg | Adrian Weng
At the edge of the Black Forest begins the Neckar Valley cycle path, which accompanies the Neckar to the north. The river meanders in countless loops through Baden-Württemberg to the Rhine. On its way, it flows through picturesque valleys with wooded slopes, steep vineyards and rugged cliffs. On other passages, green meadows line the banks of wide fields and idyllic towns.
Along the river, the Neckar valley cycle path from Villingen-Schwenningen to Mannheim covers about 230 miles (370 kilometers). On the way from its origin to the mouth of the Rhine, it flows past not only beautiful countryside, but also beautiful cities such as Tübingen and Heidelberg.
We have divided the long-distance cycle path for you into seven stages each around 30 miles (50 kilometers) long. If you would like to spend more time on the Neckar, you can also divide the individual rides because there are plenty of big and small cities on the way, which are suitable as additional stopover destinations.
Accommodation options such as hotels, guesthouses, holiday apartments or camping sites are distributed along the entire Neckar valley cycle path. The cycle path on the Neckar is also very well equipped as far as catering facilities are concerned. In addition to rest areas for self-catering, you can look forward to many restaurants, cafés and casual beer gardens.
Arrival and departure is also very easy. To Villingen-Schwenningen, this trips starting point, you can comfortably take the train. And in Mannheim you can also connect to all local and long-distance trains from the main station.
All this awaits you on the Neckar valley cycle path as you cycle through the middle of nature. So, jump on your bike and get going.
The Neckar Valley Cycle Path is recommended in the brochure "Deutschland per Rad entdecken" by the ADFC (German Cyclist's Association) and is ranked as a quality cycle route with four stars. More information (in German): adfc.de/artikel/radurlaub-als-sternstunde
It starts with the Neckar Valley Cycle Path in Villingen-Schwenningen at the train station, so that you can travel comfortably by train. The origin of the Neckar is also located in Villingen-Schwenningen, which you will follow on this tour to the point where it flows into the Rhine.Right at the beginning of today's stage, which takes you almost 50 kilometers to Oberndorf am Neckar, you pass the source of the Neckar. From there you follow the river north and come through beautiful places like Rottweil, which are great for a rest.The Neckar Valley also has a lot to offer in terms of landscape on this first stage. The still quite small river is mostly natural near its origin and blends picturesquely into its surroundings, which are characterized by green meadows and forests.In the stage destination Oberndorf am Neckar you can choose from various overnight accommodations such as hotels, guesthouses and a campsite. If you only want to drive this one stage, you can also take the train back home from here.
Today it's 51 kilometers from Oberndorf am Neckar to Rottenburg am Neckar. The route has some inclines ready for you. But it tends to go downhill, especially at the end of the stage on the way to the day's destination.This tour takes you directly along the Neckar through beautiful green valleys and interesting cities, such as Horb am Neckar. On the way you will also pass comfortable rest areas, some of which are equipped with a hut and barbecue area. Another highlight of today's tour is the Pfahljochbrücke near Neckarhausen, which is one of the oldest surviving bridges of this type.In Rottenburg am Neckar, the stage destination, a pretty old town awaits you, which is worth exploring. Rottenburg also offers many places to stop for refreshments, various accommodations to stay overnight and also has a train station in case you want to leave or continue by train.
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The third stage of the Neckar Valley Cycle Path is also almost 50 kilometers long and brings you near Stuttgart to Wendlingen am Neckar. Thanks to the pleasant slope along the whole route, you can really enjoy the panorama of the Neckar valley today.Right at the beginning of the tour you come through the beautiful city of Tübingen. The university town enchants with its relaxed atmosphere, the beautiful old town with the impressive town hall and the punting boats on the Neckar. A short stop in the city is definitely worth it.Then it continues along the Neckar, always heading northeast. On the way you have several magnificent views of small places on the other side of the river and of course the Neckar itself.In the stage destination Wendlingen am Neckar you have many overnight accommodations as well as connections to regional trains and the S-Bahn to Stuttgart.
Today it's going to be urban, because the fourth stage of the Neckar Valley Cycle Path takes you from Wendlingen via Stuttgart to Marbach am Neckar. On the approximately 55 kilometers long path, some highlights await you that provide variety.From Wendlingen you follow the course of the Neckar and drive past Plochingen, in which the beautiful Hundertwasserhaus is located, and Esslingen, and then drive a good bit through Stuttgart. You don't come directly through the center, but through the districts that are on the Neckar.After Stuttgart it becomes more rural again and you can look forward to a lot of nature, small idyllic places and impressive steep vineyards that line the Neckar Valley.The stage destination is Marbach am Neckar, which is Friedrich Schiller's birthplace. The city lies high above the Neckar and enchants with a pretty old town. In Marbach you can either stay overnight or continue with the S-Bahn.
From Marbach, the Neckar and thus the Neckar Valley Cycle Path meander 50 kilometers to Heilbronn. The beautiful cycle path on this route is characterized primarily by steep vineyards that rise on both sides of the Neckar.On the way, for example, you will pass the impressive Hessigheim rock gardens, a rock formation that towers high above the Neckar. Steep vineyards extend under the rocks, rounding off this beautiful landscape. Not far from here, the Enz flows into the Neckar. The Enztal cycle path, another beautiful long-distance cycle path in the region, also ends at the mouth of the Enz.On the way to Heilbronn you will also drive through a number of small towns, such as Lauffen am Neckar, which invite you to take a break and stroll through the old town. In Heilbronn itself, today's stage destination, you have countless overnight accommodations as well as connections to the train service.
The penultimate stage of the Neckar Valley Cycle Path is a little longer than the others. 58 kilometers lead you from Heilbronn to Eberbach. On the relatively flat route, you can look forward to some small inclines and, above all, unique panoramas along the Neckar.Today's tour is all about castles and palaces, because on the way you can see some, such as Hornberg Castle and Zwingenberg Castle, both of which stand high on rocks and hills above the Neckar. The unique landscape that surrounds the buildings makes for a fantastic sight like in a postcard idyll.Today's stage destination Eberbach is also very idyllic and enchants with a beautiful old town. In the small town you have the opportunity to stay overnight or to travel on by train or S-Bahn.
Today is the last and longest stage of the Neckar Valley Cycle Path, which will take you from Eberbach to Mannheim at the mouth of the Neckar. The Neckar Valley shows itself again from its most beautiful side and presents you with wonderful cities like Heidelberg and Ladenburg, which are on the route.It starts with a few small inclines that provide action at the beginning of the tour. After that, the route usually leads leisurely downhill and you can enjoy cycling to Heidelberg, where you are welcome to take a break to take a closer look at this fairytale city.On the further way to Mannheim you come through other pretty towns, such as Ladenburg, which also have a very beautiful old town. Then it goes into the big city, always along the Neckar, up to its confluence with the Rhine. The Neckar Valley Cycle Path and the seven-day bike tour from Villingen-Schwenningen to Mannheim end here.In Mannheim you have access to both regional and long-distance rail services, so you can take the train back home comfortably and easily.