The Ems cycle path — in 7 stages from its source to the North Sea

Bike Touring Collection by

From the Senne on the edge of the Teutoburg Forest, the Ems cycle path winds its way to the North Sea. It passes romantic forests stretching along the banks of the Ems, original nature reserves with picturesque lakes, wide fields and pastures that stretch to the horizon and the lush green Ems floodplains that line the river as far as the eye can see.

The approximately 380-kilometer (236-mile) long Ems cycle path starts in Hövelhof at the Emsquellen information center. The cycle path runs from the source in the Senne through the Münsterland, the Emsland to Emden in East Frisia, where the Ems flows into the North Sea. As you go, you will experience the fascinating nature and beautiful landscape through which the river flows.

Over seven stages averaging around 50 kilometers (30 miles) each, you will experience the best of this region. From Paderborn, the bicycle bus will take you to the start in Hövelhof from the beginning of May to the end of October. At all stages of the Ems Cycle Route, you have a large choice of accommodation, a statement that is reflected not only in the various accommodation options but also in the many rest areas, whether at self-catering campsites or in restaurants and cafés. The connection to public transport is also excellent, so you can easily shorten the ride if the weather turns.

Below, you will find the exact route of the Ems cycle path with distances and elevation profile. All that's left to do is to enjoy the ride!
The Ems cycle path is recommended in the brochure "Deutschland per Rad entdecken" by the ADFC (German Cyclist's Association).

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • Intermediate
    29.7 mi
    10.3 mph
    225 ft
    425 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The Ems cycle path starts in the nature reserve Moosheide at the Emsquellen information center. There, on the edge of the Teutoburg Forest, the water seeps out of the ground in a large source area. Thus, there are several sources Ems, which unite to the 371-kilometer-long river. The best way to get to the starting point of the EmsRadweg is by bike, which runs between Paderborn and Stukenbrock from the beginning of May to the beginning of October. From the bus stops "Stukenbrock, police school" or "Hövelhof, Unterems" it is about 2 kilometers to the Emsquellen information center where the cycle path starts. Alternatively, you can also take the train to Hövelhof.The first leg of the EmsRadweg takes you 47 kilometers from the Emsquellen in Hövelhof to Rheda. It usually goes downhill and along the Ems. After cycling through the Moosheide and Hövelhof, you will come to a beautiful section of the EmsRadweg, which leads you along smoothly paved paths along the still small river. Past wide fields and meadows you will reach the nature reserve Steinhorster Becken, where you may be lucky enough to observe birds. In addition, there are observation towers, which are also ideal for enjoying the beautiful view of the lakes of the nature reserve.After just over half of the way you reach Rietberg. As you cycled on the way there exclusively through fields and meadows, without coming through a village, Rietberg is ideal for a rest. In the place you can comfortably stop and enjoy the beautiful half-timbered houses of the old town.Strengthened then it goes on towards Rheda, today's stage destination. On the way to the Emssee you have the opportunity once again to enjoy pure nature and let the lake from above look at you from a lookout tower. Once in Rheda, you can end the day with a leisurely stroll through the city and pay a visit to the castle.

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  • Intermediate
    40.1 mi
    9.9 mph
    600 ft
    675 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    Today the longest stage of the EmsRadweg awaits you. It is 64 kilometers long and takes you from Rheda to Telgte. She leads you through magical avenues on the Ems, beautiful woodland and wide field and meadow landscape.Right in Rheda you cycle to the banks of the Ems and follow the tree-lined cycle path that takes you out of the city. Over beautiful fields, past the Bänisch lake and through cool woodland, the trail meanders first to the north and then to the west. On the way you will come through various places where you can stop in, if you get hungry. But there are not only in the places Rastmöglichkeiten, but also occasionally along the bike path. There are cozy beer gardens or rest areas waiting for you, where you can take a break and strengthen or refresh.Behind the small town Warendorf, which enchants above all with its charming marketplace, lie the Kottruper lakes. There you can not swim, but you can do various water sports like sailing, surfing or SUP. And if you are not looking for action on the water, it's worth taking a short break at the lake. Here you can enjoy nature, take a look from the observation deck and study the "time shelf", which briefly outlines the history of the region from the Neanderthal to the present day.From there it goes along along the Ems and through its beautiful floodplains to the intermediate destination Telgte, where you can enjoy the evening while strolling through the pretty streets of the old town.

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  • Intermediate
    29.6 mi
    9.6 mph
    525 ft
    550 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    At 47 kilometers, the EmsRadweg winds its way through this enchanting landscape from Telgte to Emsdetten. You cycle past lakes, through forests and of course along the Ems, which you cross several times today.Shortly after Telgte you will pass the former manor House Langen. The estate also includes a water mill, which is located on the Bever. The old walls offer you a sight as in a picture book and are therefore not only for cyclists a popular destination, but also for painters. At a rest, you can take a look around here and let the beauty of the place affect you. On weekends, the manor even has a beer garden open.Continue on the Bever, which is a tributary of the Ems. Passing through wide fields, lakes and small forests you always cycle near the Ems. In the nature reserve Bockholter Berge you plunge into an original landscape, which is characterized by heath and forests with gnarled trees. Through the beautiful Emsauen it then goes on a flat route over Greven to today's stage destination Emsdetten.

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  • Intermediate
    36.5 mi
    9.5 mph
    600 ft
    675 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today's stage takes you on 58 kilometers from Emsdetten to Lingen. As in the previous stages, the track is quite flat and therefore very pleasant to drive.Immediately after Emsdetten you cross the Ems and from the bridge you can enjoy the wonderful view of the river and its wooded shores. Once on the other side of the river, you dive into this forest. There you cycle in the shade of the tall trees until they clear and you find yourself in wide fields again. As far as Rheine, you will be accompanied by these wonderful woods, alternating between fields, meadows and the green Emsauen.In Rheine you will meet the Ems directly and accompany them on their way through the city, which also offers a wonderful place to rest and stop. Behind Rheine, the Ems cycle path leads you back into the middle of nature. On your way to the stage goal Lingen you come again and again through smaller places and villages which offer themselves for breaks. There are also rest areas on the bike path, which you find in enchanted places in the middle of the forest and partly directly on the Ems.On the home stretch you will get to know the Dortmund Ems Canal and the Vechte Canal, which merge with the Ems shortly before Lingen. After crossing both canals and the Ems, the Dortmund-Ems-Kanal takes you to the stage destination Lingen.

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  • Intermediate
    34.4 mi
    10.0 mph
    400 ft
    450 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    55 flat kilometers are waiting for you today to take you from Lingen to Haren. From Lingen you cycle between the Dortmund-Ems-Kanal, which straightens straight to your right towards the north, and the Ems, which playfully winds its way to the left in the same direction, to the reservoir Geeste. There you can take a break right away and in good weather jump into the water to refresh yourself. After the swimming break in the lake, you always drive near the Ems in the north.On the way you can look forward to the beautiful landscape in which fields, meadows and forests alternate. The Alte Ems is also an enchanting spot where you can experience nature up close and from a lookout tower you can see the beautiful surroundings from above.For resting there are always along the bike path beautiful opportunities, such as a milk pump station, the city of Meppen with its cozy restaurants and cafes or the one or the other lock, near which there is often a restaurant to stop.Shortly before the Haren stage destination, the Ems unites again with the Dortmund-Ems Canal and flows into the city. Once you have reached the stage destination, you can enjoy the pretty, small harbor of Haren and end the day in peace at the water.

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  • Intermediate
    30.4 mi
    9.9 mph
    300 ft
    325 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The penultimate stage takes you 48 kilometers from Haren to Papenburg. The flat route leads along large parts directly along the banks of the Ems.For horse lovers, there is a huge highlight right at the beginning of the stage with the Junkers riding stable. There they can change from the bicycle saddle to the horse saddle and prove their riding skills. But even if you are not a rider or horse fan, the sight of the huge horse herds will certainly impress you.Shortly behind the horse farm you cross the Ems at the Hilter lock. It is one of many locks on the Ems that you pass on this stage. At almost every lock you can not only admire the technology, but also take a leisurely break in the lock cafés or inns.On the way to the north, you cycle mainly along the banks of the Ems and the Danube-Ems Canal, where the cycle path leads through beautiful avenues. Now and then he makes a detour through small places and brings you at the end of the stage, finally, without much detours to Papenburg, today's stage destination. To round off the day, you can stroll along the main canal in Papenburg, watch boats and stop by one of the many cafés or restaurants lining the canal.

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  • Intermediate
    36.4 mi
    10.8 mph
    275 ft
    250 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels. The tour includes crossing by ferry.

    Today, on the 58 kilometer long, completely flat seventh stage, you will reach Emden, the destination of the EmsRadweg. It starts in Papenburg direction Ems. On the way there you drive past the Meyer shipyard, for which Papenburg is known. Here huge cruise ships are built, which you can admire in passing as you drive by. It is particularly spectacular when ships are launched or baptized.At the Meyer Werft, you usually cross the Ems and follow their western shore. But as the bridge at Weener is closed by a damage for an indefinite period and you can not drive over the Ems there, we take you alternatively along the not less beautiful east bank along the north. The charming town of Leer, through which you come, offers itself for a rest, because the place enchants with its city harbor, the narrow streets and cozy restaurants and cafes.From Leer you then cycle along the Ems through its green meadows until shortly before Emden, where you cross the river one last time and follow the remaining kilometers up the Ems-Seitenkanal to the final destination. In Emden, the 375-kilometer bike tour ends on the Ems cycle path. Here you can enjoy the flair of the North Frisian town on a city tour, admire the beautiful ships in the harbor, visit "dat Otto Hus" and let the beautiful tour recap again with a good fish. Then you can easily return home by train.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    237 mi
  • Duration
    23:44 h
  • Elevation
    2,950 ft
    3,350 ft

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