In 7 days to the Elbe – the Leine-Heide cycle route

Bike Touring Collection by
komoot

The Leine-Heide cycle path gives you the opportunity to discover the entire diversity of Lower Saxony's landscapes: wooded mountains, green valleys, wide meadows and hilly heathland landscapes. From its source in the Thuringian Eichsfeld, you accompany the Leine through its wide valleys and lush lowlands. After 173 miles (280 kilometers), it flows into the Aller river, and you continue your ride through the Lüneburger Heide until you cross the Elbe river with pride and reach your destination in the Hanseatic city of Hamburg.

Over 250 miles (416 kilometers) —and seven days in the saddle — you'll discover the incredibly varied landscape of Lower Saxony. You'll cycle past bustling villages and picturesque half-timbered towns, through the low mountain ranges of Thuringia and Lower Saxony, directly through wide meadows, the Lüneburg Heath and along moors and lakes. When you finally arrive in Hamburg, you will have traversed Lower Saxony from north to south — and all on your own two wheels.

Thanks to excellent cycle paths, good signage and low gradients, the Leine-Heide-Radweg is a real pleasure ride. As the route leads through numerous small villages and towns, you can divide the longer stages into two days and thus allow yourself more time at each individual stage destinations. Along the cycle path, there is also some great cycling infrastructure with bike-friendly hotels, numerous restaurants and cafés, and even bicycle repair shops. All the stops are easily reached by train, so you can choose individual stages as day trips or divide the whole ride into several weekends.

On The Map

The stages of the Leine-Heide cycle route

  • Intermediate
    03:05
    54.7 km
    17.8 km/h
    110 m
    300 m
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    You start your bike tour in the tranquil village of Leinefelde in the north of Thuringia. The leash, which will accompany you along a long distance on your long-distance bike path, will come from several sources here.You leave the small town and cycle along small villages through the hilly landscape of Eichsfeld. After about 17 kilometers you reach Bad Heiligenstadt. The capital of the district Eichsfeld impresses with its historic old town and its large churches.You continue to follow the course of the leash and pass other small villages with beautiful town centers and shortly after the border of Thuringia to Lower Saxony you can take a rest at the manor Besenhausen.After your well-deserved break, the Leine-Heide-Radweg leads you across wide fields to the north. Sometimes the well-developed bike path runs right on the shore, sometimes over wide meadows and fields.After about 55 kilometers, you cycle along the shore meadows along the leash to the university town of Göttingen, your current destination. If you still have enough energy, you can still see the picturesque old town with its innumerable half-timbered houses before you go to your accommodation.In the villages and towns along the way you will find numerous rest stops, so you can plan your breaks exactly to your liking.

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  • Intermediate
    04:21
    71.1 km
    16.3 km/h
    230 m
    290 m
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    On your second day, you will travel through the tranquil landscape of Leine-Bergland. You leave Göttingen heading north and cycle with beautiful views over the Leine meadows. The leash flows here through a wide, green valley and on both sides you can see in the distance wooded hills.You pass the baroque building ensemble of the monastery estate Marienstein near Nörten-Hardenberg and afterwards the Leine-Heide-cycle path leads you directly along the riverbank.At Northeim you leave the leash and after crossing the Rhume, a tributary of the leash, you reach the Northeim Lake District. The former dredging lakes are today an important bird sanctuary and home to countless waterfowl. Especially migratory birds stop here on their long journeys, before they continue to fly. The path leads you along the edge of the large nature reserve and through small villages on to Einbeck.Here it is worth a detour into the well-preserved old town with its numerous half-timbered houses. After strolling the narrow streets, you can choose a café or restaurant for a leisurely break.From Einbeck, the Leinetal becomes narrower and below wooded mountains, it continues on the Leine shore to the stage destination Alfeld.

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  • Intermediate
    04:29
    63.7 km
    14.2 km/h
    150 m
    190 m
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    Your third stage starts in the city of Alfeld with its historic downtown. Here you can explore the city for a while before starting your tour today.You leave the city and cross the leash. On the other bank you follow the Leine-Heide-Radweg in a northerly direction. First, wooded hills still rise up on both sides of the Leinetal, but soon the landscape becomes flatter. Here it goes over the wide and juicy meadows of the leash. In spring and early summer, the meadows are regularly flooded. To counteract this, dikes and overflow ponds along the course of the river were created.After passing Gronau and Elze, the bike path winds its way between the line and numerous ponds and lakes. Many of these ponds are former gravel extraction areas that have been extensively renatured after their decommissioning. The largest excavator holes are the Kolding lakes. These are now under conservation and from a lookout tower you can watch waterfowl in their new home.From the Koldinger Seen, the cycle path winds its way along the Leineufer over green meadows and along the Maschsee into downtown Hanover.In Alfeld, you can provide you with provisions for your stage in the morning, or you can plan a rest in Gronau, Elze or Sarstedt. The cities are along the current route and on a small detour you will find there various inns, bakeries or cafes.

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  • Expert
    04:31
    64.7 km
    14.3 km/h
    180 m
    210 m
    Expert bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to carry your bike.

    The fourth day on the Leine-Heide-Radweg starts for you in Hannover. The bike path leads you out of the city along the leash. The river meanders along green meadows between the houses. Although you have not yet crossed the city limits, you are already cycling through peaceful nature.Soon you will leave the sounds of the city completely behind you and you will walk across the vast meadows of the North German Plain. As the leash winds leisurely through the landscape, you pass through small villages and enjoy the wide view. Along the leash, there are always moory meadows on this section, which remain moist even in summer - the linen meshes. These moorland meadows are an important habitat for amphibians and insects. Since the ground is permanently wet, the Leine-Heide-Radweg runs here usually with some distance from the riverbank.Along the wet meadows it finally goes to your milestone Schwarmstedt.The villages along the current route are quite small, correspondingly scarce is the selection of inns or restaurants. The best chance you have in Wulfelade after about 40 kilometers. Otherwise, it is best to provide yourself with sufficient provisions before you leave and take a break along the way.

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  • Intermediate
    03:32
    53.3 km
    15.1 km/h
    200 m
    160 m
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The fifth day on your bike tour is a first farewell. Shortly after your start in Schwarmstedt the leash flows into the Aller. For a while, the Leine-Heide-Radweg still runs along the river, but from the small patch of Ahlden, it eventually goes (or drives) separate ways.From Ahlden the cycle path takes you to the southernmost part of the Lüneburg Heath, the Heidmark. Even though there are only a few typical heath areas left, a special landscape awaits you. The cycle paths lead you today through a peaceful hilly landscape, small woodland and wide fields alternate.After about 30 kilometers, you will reach the small town of Bad Fallingbostel. Here you can visit the farm of Heidmark, a typical moorland, and then take a break in one of the restaurants or cafes.Over the low hills of the Südheide, we continue towards the final destination. From the small village Dorfmark the bike path runs parallel to the Böhme through a sparse forest. On good cycle paths you reach your stage goal Soltau satisfied. Here you can indulge yourself in the Soltau Therme for your distance traveled before you go to your overnight camp.

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  • Intermediate
    04:46
    66.0 km
    13.8 km/h
    350 m
    340 m
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    The sixth stage is all about heathland. On today's tour, you will cross the picturesque landscape of the Lüneburg Heath Nature Reserve in a large loop.You start your day's tour in Soltau and you drive across meadows, through forests and along fields. You pass Neuenkirchen and on the border to the nature reserve you reach the impressive Pietzmoor. If you are lucky, you can even spot a rare black grouse or a resting short-eared owl in the impressive moorland.After the Pietzmoor the famous hilly landscape of the heath awaits you. The bike path takes you through rustic forests and over wide juniper heaths in the small heath villages Niederhaverbeck, Wilsede, Undeloh and Wesel. Each of the villages has its own charm and you should definitely plan on spending some time exploring the little places.North of Wesel you continue on the heath and finally leave the nature reserve again. Here, the heath land again smaller and the bike path takes you across wide fields up to your milestone goal Buchholz in the North Heath.

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  • Intermediate
    02:51
    44.6 km
    15.6 km/h
    230 m
    300 m
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    On the seventh day the grand finale is scheduled. At 43 kilometers, the last is also the shortest stage. But after the six days in the idyllic landscape of Lower Saxony a little culture shock awaits you in the big city.The first 15 kilometers lead you through peaceful nature. Shortly after your start in Buchholz, the Leine-Heide-Radweg takes you into the Regionalpark Rosengarten. The park is a large wooded area with beech, spruce and oak trees. On narrow forest trails you can cycle through the trees in peace. It goes again a little uphill, because the rose garden belongs to the ridge Harburger mountains, which rise about 150 meters above the flat countryside.In front of the Hamburg city limit, you can still stop in the small Ehestorf to say goodbye to the heath villages. Then you cross the A7 motorway and reach the Hamburg district of Harburg. You meander through to the Harburg inland port and then cycle on perfectly developed bike paths over the Elbbrücken into the huge Hanseatic city. Thanks to the bike path 'Hamburger Loop' you will hardly get in contact with the traffic.After crossing the Neuer Elbbrücke, the last section takes you to the impressive Hamburger Bahnhof. If you stand here on the busy station forecourt and reminisce about the last days, then you can justifiably be proud of yourself. 400 kilometers from Thuringia to the Hanseatic city of Hamburg, that's a great achievement.

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