The extensive landscapes to the west bring with them a fresh breeze — something that can prove to be an occasional challenge as you skirt along the North Sea coast. In the east, lush meadows and beautiful hills offer great views of the surrounding countryside and over to the beaches of the Baltic Sea. And with green pastures all around — where cows, sheep and goats graze — the region presents the perfect backdrop for extensive road rides in Schleswig-Holstein, while our four-legged friends provide the raw material for a specialty of the far north: cheese.
Cheese production has a long tradition in Schleswig-Holstein. Milk has long since been processed in the numerous small dairies plotted around the landscape before being turned into cheese. In fact, more than 100 types of cheese are produced in Schleswig-Holstein. Many companies today still, or again, rely on traditional production with a lot of manual work, natural raw materials and according to organic principles. Cheese-makers are the winegrowers of the north, one could say. They conjure up a wonderful variety of flavors on the table, which you can discover on this culinary and sporty round trip. Around 30 artisanal cheese dairies have joined forces to form the "Cheese Route Schleswig-Holstein", which served as inspiration for this 456-mile (735-kilometer) round trip in eight stages. You will discover the whole variety of the beautiful north with your road bike. Again and again, you have the opportunity to look around idyllic farms, get to know the country and its people, learn a lot about cheese making and taste all its variations.
But above all, you'll enjoy eight magnificent road rides through breathtaking scenery. All stages are relatively short at around 60 miles (100 kilometers), so you can do them easily with average road cycling fitness and still have enough power left to discover the cheese dairies and exciting stage finishes for the rest of the day. There are many cozy hotels and guesthouses, all kinds of shopping facilities and sights for the evening programme in all the stage towns. In addition (except for Föhr) there is a connection to the German railway network at all stops so that you can shorten or cancel your ride at any time without any problems.
Our first stage along the Schleswig-Holstein cheese road starts at the Flensburg train station and entices you with a total of three delicious cheese stops.From Flensburg it goes first to the north, where you stop for a short while on the Baltic Sea beach and otherwise enjoy the wonderful view of the sea from the wonderfully secluded country road. After crossing a few idyllic villages, after about 25 kilometers you will find the first cheese farm, where you will find delicious cow's milk cheese and all sorts of other self-produced food. A short cheese tasting - and on we go!On quiet country roads, partly with cycle path, you now drive in a southerly direction until you reach the south lake near Sörup, where 60 goats live on the farm of the Jahnke family and deliver the milk for all kinds of goat cheese specialties. A good reason for another break.Via Kappeln, where we can recommend a short stop in the beautiful city center with its picturesque harbor, you reach the farm Ahmen. This time sheep are responsible for the delicious cheese variations, which you can also taste directly in the farm shop. Now, with your stomach full, you have about 25 kilometers to go to get rid of all the goodies and until you reach the finish line Eckernförde.Eckernförde is located directly on the Baltic Sea at Eckernförde Bay. The beautiful old town lures with its narrow streets and picturesque fisherman's houses and a trip to the beach is of course worthwhile. If you would like to come here, there is the following specialty: Eckernförder originates from the "Kieler Sprotte", which is named only because the fish specialty used to be marked with a freight stamp from the Kiel station. Also from here comes the famous coastal fog.Eckernförde is well developed touristy and offers plenty of accommodation. There is also a good rail connection with the route Kiel-Flensburg. No matter if you want to set up your camp here or end the tour - in Eckernförde you have the free choice.
After a relaxing night on the fresh Baltic air, we continue on the second leg of our cheese tour. Today, three cheese dairies are on the way, as well as the route leads through Kiel, the capital of Schleswig-Holstein. So it does not get boring.The tour starts right on the shore of the North Sea, where you can once again sniff a deep train sea air. After eleven kilometers, the first short break awaits you: In the "cheese box", the factory outlet of the Holtseer country cheese dairy, you can treat yourself to some fresh bread rolls with home-made cheese for breakfast. With full power you are now ready for the trip to Kiel. In the big city is really going on and there are plenty of opportunities for a bit of "sightseeing". Maybe you just stroll a bit through the streets of the beautiful city, make a short detour to the harbor and treat yourself to a snack in the picturesque old town. If you prefer to eat cheese, remember that the two upcoming cheese dairies have very limited opening hours or you should register in advance.After the varied city flair, it is quiet again. The route will take you through Holstein Switzerland and the Holsteiner Seenplatte. Here it is uniquely beautiful and at the stage destination in Bad Malente there are plenty of possibilities to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and to end the day in peace and quiet. For example, we can recommend a short detour to Dieksee or Kellersee. In Malente you can find many overnight accommodations, and there is also a good train connection with the route Kiel-Lübeck.
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The third stage of our tour along the Schleswig-Holstein cheese route is relatively short, but it surpasses itself at regular intervals itself, as far as the scenic beauty is concerned.Even the start could hardly be idyllic. After leaving the beautiful Bad Malente, you will follow the shore of the Kellersee for a while and, over the course of time, you will always have views of idyllic, small lakes in the Holsteiner Seenplatte. After this warmup, you will learn why the area here is also called Holstein Switzerland: a few real climbs are waiting for you - the hilly landscape here is a treat for all the senses!After leaving the "mountains" behind you, the cheese highlight of the day finally arrives. A short detour brings you to the farm Klostersee, where you can buy all sorts of organic food and of course the farm's own cheese in the farm shop. The culinary enjoyment then continues directly for the eyes. On the pier in Grömitz you have a fantastic view of the Baltic Sea, which you lose in the course to the finish in Timmendorfer beach no longer out of sight. You should treat yourself to this pleasure in peace. Especially in good weather, it can be a little bit more crowded - with new KOM's in mind you will not have much fun here. If you want to drive fast, you should rather avoid the old main road, which runs a few kilometers west parallel to the coast.In Timmendorfer Strand there are no end of stay possibilities and if you want to end the tour here, you come with the train well away. If you stay here, you can end the day in peace on the Baltic Sea beach.
From the Timmendorfer beach it is not far to the Hanseatic city of Lübeck, which is the first major intermediate destination of the fourth stage of our cheese tour. Before you discover, however, the beautiful old town of Lübeck, we lead you to a cheese dairy of a special kind. On the outskirts of Lübeck operates namely the Diakonie various craft businesses, in which even disabled people are integrated. In the "Vorwerk Passage" you can discover all the products and of course buy. Afterwards, take a break in Lübeck, where you can lie down for a while on the meadow in front of the Holstentor in the sun.Then it gets quiet again. Along the Ratzeburg lake you will reach the island town of Ratzeburg and shortly afterwards the organic domain Fredeburg with a really impressive farm shop, where you will not only get the cheese from your own dairy far and wide. This communal farm is really worth a stop and if you are hungry, you can plan on taking a long break, because hot food is also available.On beautiful, slightly wavy side roads you finally cycle to Ahrensburg, a small town northeast of Hamburg. Here you can find some hotels and pensions and have access to the network of the railway. If you still want to explore the area, we can recommend the "Cyclocross Land Hamburg" and the Stellmoor - both are located just outside the city and can be reached quickly by bike.
Today's route is like a short break - away from the action and in perfect dysentery. But that's what makes the appeal of the rather short fifth stage.After the start in Ahrensburg you drive in a large arc on the northern edge of the Hamburg suburb, then continue towards the northwest. As a rule, you leave the big roads to the left. Instead, we take you on quiet side and agricultural roads, which are not always the faster, but definitely the nicer alternative.Scenic today awaits you a beautiful mix of meadows and forests, while the route is mostly completely flat: At just 80 kilometers you expect just 200 meters. About 20 kilometers before the stage goal in Itzehoe waits then the cheesy daily highlight on you. On the large farm Dannwisch live cows, pigs and chickens and there is even an ecological beekeeping. In the farm shop, you can buy all the home-made products, from vegetables to cheese, and you can be sure that everything on the organic farm has been created without pesticides, genetic engineering or artificial fertilizers.Itzehoe is a nice destination. In the city there are many shops, all sorts of accommodation and enough attractions to end the day well entertained. Like the other waypoints, Itzehoe is connected to the rail network, so you can end the tour here if you can not anymore or the weather does not play along.
Today's sixth stage of the tour along the cheese road is a bit longer than the previous day, but a bit flatter. You are now in the middle of Nordfriesland and if you encounter resistance while driving today, then the stiff wind that blows over from the sea.Today's trip is very rural, but the small towns that are on the way, the more beautiful. A refreshing change is the ferry trip across the Northeast Sea Canal, for which you do not even have to have change at hand: all ferries across the canal are free.Two cheese factories await you today. The dairy in Dithmarschen is relatively large. Here, the milk is processed by 35 farmers from the region into cheese, which you can buy at the small cheese counter on the premises of the cooperative. Quite a contrast is the Frisian sheep cheese dairy in the middle of the countryside near Tetenbüll. Here, the family business produces sheep's cheese specialties in a very traditional way and according to strict ecological guidelines and offers you a glimpse into life and work in the farm. Here you can take some time. It is not far to the finish line, the "Dutch town" Friedrichstadt.Friedrichstadt is a stage destination as from the picture book. The picturesque town with its brick houses and canals is almost like a little trip to Holland! There are plenty of accommodations and a train connection.
Today, a true North Sea adventure tour is on. It leads you to the "Gray City by the Sea", in the county seat of Nordfriesland Husum. Then you drive to the peninsula Nordstrand and about Kooge and dams almost "middle" through the water. It can not be fresher, the sea air that you are tempting here.Highlights are, of course, again the cheese specialties, which you can taste and buy on the way. But today's milestone is also very exciting. Because today we take you to the island of Föhr. A short ferry ride will take you over to Wyk, the beautiful seaside town perfect for letting the day fade away. Before that, we recommend a visit to the small farm shop "Föhrer Inselkäse", which provides you with delicious cheese for the evening.Today's stage destination is the only one without train connection back to the starting point in Flensburg. If you can not help it, you will still come back with buses. However, should you be thinking about canceling the tour today, we recommend that you make this decision in Husum. From there you can get to Flensburg quickly and easily.
An idyllic start to the day is absolutely guaranteed - after all, you are on the island of Föhr. Surrounded by the rough North Sea, beautiful meadows, picturesque brick houses and a fresh breeze you should quietly fulfill the desire to stay here for a while. The last stage back to Flensburg is a good 84 kilometers, so you have enough time to look around Föhr for a while.If you have enough, the ferry will take you from Wyk back to the mainland. From now on it goes inland - the sea you see again only at the destination of the journey in Flensburg. Then it is no longer the North Sea, but again the Baltic Sea.On the way you come through idyllic small villages, you can replenish your cheese supplies in the last cheese dairy of the journey and have a last chance to look at a cheese farm up close. The Meierei Nordweide even offers guided tours, but you should only register in advance.In Ladelund you can cool off in the natural outdoor pool and then dedicate yourself to the final spurt to Flensburg. If you have not looked at the city in peace, we can warmly recommend it to you. Especially the historic harbor and the old town in parallel are really worth seeing. Afterwards you can rest in one of the beautiful city parks, review the great tour of the past week, snack on a piece of cheese and then make your way home.