The Franconian Water Bike Path – 8 days of creeks, lakes & rivers

Bike Touring Collection by
Fränkischer WasserRadweg

South of Nuremberg, a wide, gentle hilly landscape opens up, characterized by lakes of various sizes and countless gushing rivers. This is the Franconian Lake District, and in In May 2019, the Fränkische Wasser Radweg (Franconian Water Cycle Route) will be open for business. Taking you through the picturesque countryside on an eight-day bike tour, this brand-new bike path will take you on a journey of discovery into the Middle Ages. As you go, you'll roll through numerous cozy alleyways and be tempted to visit numerous quaint inns. And being home to countless Franconian specialties, home-brewed beers, and exquisite wines, you'd be a fool not to give into temptation every once in a while.

The Fränkische Wasser Radweg, recommended in the ADFC brochure "Discover Germany by Bike", consists of eight daily stages and leads through the Franconian Lake District on a 240-mile (390-kilometer) round trip. Each stage is between 25 and 35 miles (40 and 55 kilometers) in length and, with gentle climbs through the hills of Middle Franconia, is perfect for seasoned cyclists. The full ride runs along cycle paths and quiet roads, on which you can enjoy nature away from the traffic. For much of the route, you'll follow the many streams and rivers which splash through wide meadows: The Roth, The Wörnitz, The Altmühl, The Fränkische Rezat, and The Ludwig-Donau-Main Canal. As you go, you will also visit picturesque bathing lakes, which are perfect as a refreshing resting place on hot summer days.

In this Collection, we have planned your adventure on the Franconian Water Bike Path so that you start in Roth. That way, you can reach the start of your ride comfortably from Nuremberg with the S-Bahn line 2. As befits a round trip, you can of course also start with any other stage. In all the stages along the Fränkischer Wasser Bike Path, you will find cozy guesthouses, hotels and holiday apartments with typical Franconian charm. Since many of the stage destinations also have their own railway station, you can also put together a shorter ride or plan individual stages as day tours. Just browse through our rides below and let yourself be inspired to discover Middle Franconia.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • Intermediate
    03:50
    32.4 mi
    8.5 mph
    1,225 ft
    925 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    The starting point of your bike ride on the Franconian water cycle path is the town of Roth on the northern edge of the Franconian Lake District. From here you cycle along the course of the Roth, pass the Rothstausee and finally meander over wide fields to the stage destination Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz.You can easily reach the starting point of your bike tour from Nuremberg by S-Bahn line 2. Afterwards, the cycle path leads you in a loop through the old town, where the eponymous Roth opens into the Rednitz. From here it goes through a green area on the Roth upstream from the city out.Soon you cycle on a nice path a bit off the Roth through dense forest. The path bends towards the south and a little later you cross the Roth again. Here you cycle along fields and can let your eyes wander over the hilly landscape of Central Franconia. After passing the town of Hilpoltstein with its historic center, you will meet the Main-Danube Canal. You follow his course for a while and then reach the Rothsee.Here you can take a break on the shore and visit the Gasthaus Rothsee. Along the shore you cycle northwards and finally cross the well-kept old town of Allersberg. Again, ice cream parlors and restaurants invite for a break.From Allersberg the Fränkische WasserRadweg takes you across wide fields and past lush meadows to the stage destination Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz.Just like in Roth, there is also a train connection to Nuremberg in Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz. So you can plan this tour as a day tour.

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  • Intermediate
    03:48
    32.6 mi
    8.6 mph
    775 ft
    900 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The second stage is dedicated to the old and the new Main-Danube Canal. From Neumarkt in the Upper Palatinate, it goes first along the old and finally along the new canal to Beilngries. From there you turn off into the picturesque Altmühltal and cycle to the stage destination Greding.Your starting point, Neumarkt in the Upper Palatinate, is located directly on the now no longer used Ludwig-Danube-Main Canal. On the tree-lined shore, you pedal quite comfortably straight south and pass some of the 100 locks.Only at Berching do you leave the old channel. You cross the idyllic old town and reach after a few minutes the new Main-Danube Canal, which runs almost parallel to its predecessor at this point.On the comfortable bike path on its shore, head south. Behind the lock Berching you change the shore. A few meters away from the canal, the cycle path leads you through wide fields and through small, tranquil villages.Soon you will reach Beilngries. The small town is perfect for a longer break with its beautiful town center and many restaurants. Afterwards you leave the canal and follow the Altmühl through its picturesque valley to the stage destination Greding.If you want to end your cycling tour after this stage, you should drive from Greding about eight kilometers to Kinding. There is a rail connection to Nuremberg.

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  • Difficult
    03:23
    32.2 mi
    9.5 mph
    1,550 ft
    1,400 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    As the name implies, on the third day of the Franconian water cycle path, large and small bodies of water are also on the program. From Greding it goes upstream on the Schwarzach and then along the Thalach. After leaving the creek, you will cycle across wide meadows and through quiet forests to the Swabian Rezat. At the end of the stage Ramsberg awaits you on the shore of the Great Brombach.Greding, starting point of the third stage, lies on the course of the Schwarzach, which is a tributary of the Altmühl. Parallel to the course of the river, the cycle path leads you to the north. At Großhöbing you leave the river and a little later you reach the narrow brook Thalach, a tributary of the Schwarzach.Contrary to its direction of flow you cycle through a picturesque and hilly meadow landscape. After crossing the village of Thalmassing the bike path bends to the north and you leave the Thalach behind you.On a perfectly maintained bike path, you can enjoy the sweeping views of the idyllic landscape. After a while, the path leads you through small woodland before you reach Heideck. Various inns and cafes invite you along with the medieval old town for an extended break and a stroll through the small streets.From here you cycle through woods and across fields to the north bank of the Brombach. At Allmannsdorf, directly on the lakeshore, you will find a cozy beer garden, a beach and the pier of MS Brombach. If you want to save the last kilometers to the stage destination Ramsberg, then you can translate from here with your bike on the excursion ship. Alternatively, the bike path leads you in a small loop to today's stage destination.Ramsberg has its own train station and so you could end your bike tour here or plan the stage as a day trip.

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  • Intermediate
    03:53
    34.5 mi
    8.9 mph
    1,000 ft
    1,025 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The fourth stage of the Fränkische WasserRadwegs takes you from Brombachsee to the neighboring Altmühlsee. Here you circle the reservoir on a comfortable bike path, before continuing through the wide landscape from Mittelfranken to Wassertrüdingen. Here at the finish line, you will meet the Wörnitz, the next river of your tour.In Ramsberg begins today's stage. The cycle path leads from here directly along the wooded banks of the Great Bromb axis. Soon you leave the lake and follow the Altmühlüberleiter into the forest. The narrow channel serves as a drain during floods in the Altmühlsee, so that excess water can be discharged into the larger Brombachsee.The bike path winds its way leisurely through the dense forest. Soon you will reach its edge and a little later the Altmühlsee. Here, the Fränkische WasserRadweg leads you completely around the lake. So you can enjoy the picturesque nature of all its pages. Before going further in the direction of the final destination, it's worth making a long stop in cozy Gunzenhausen, just a few hundred meters from the lakeshore.Freshly rested, you then cycle across wide fields and, with a marvelous view, on to Lake Dennenlohe. Here you can swim in the water or - if you are botanically interested - visit the lovely castle park with its rhododendron garden.From Dennenlohe it is only a few kilometers to the destination Wassertrüdingen.

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  • Intermediate
    02:29
    25.3 mi
    10.2 mph
    700 ft
    625 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    On the fifth stage, the Wörnitz accompanies you on your bike ride to Feuchtwangen. You cycle along the meandering course of the river and along idyllic meadows. Shortly before the stage destination you leave the river and cycle over a gentle hilly landscape to Feuchtwangen.Starting point of today's stage is the contemplative old town of Wassertrüdingen. You leave the small town and cycle along a quiet road along the meadows of the Wörnitz. Your gaze glides over the rolling hills and meandering river as you glide across the street.On sunny days, you can look forward to the small bathing lake between Aufkirchen and Ruffenhofen. Since the path today offers only a few shadows, a jump into the cold water is a welcome change. At the Wörnitz we continue upstream and through some idyllic and sleepy villages.About half of the way awaits you Dinkelsbühl. The beautiful old town is the perfect place for a long break. It's best to leave your bike behind, walk a bit through the streets and pick one of the cafes or restaurants for a break.Afterwards you follow the course of the river Wörnitz through the wide, open hilly landscape. Most of the time you drive here on quiet roads along meadows and fields. Leave the Wörnitzufer at the village of Larrieden and follow the Fränkische WasserRadweg to the stage destination Feuchtwangen.If you want to end your cycling tour after this stage, you cycle from Feuchtwangen just about eleven kilometers further to Dombühl. From here you can take the S-Bahn to Nuremberg and start the journey home from there.

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  • Intermediate
    03:34
    26.3 mi
    7.4 mph
    875 ft
    975 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    On the sixth stage you cycle from Feuchtwangen along the course of the Sulzach to Schillingsfürst, where the river rises. It is worth visiting the impressive castle before continuing your tour. The last kilometers run in direct proximity to the Tauber and bring you into the famous Rothenburg ob der Tauber.After a farewell round through the picturesque Feuchtwangen already begins the sixth stage. You still cycle a bit on the streets, but shortly after the city limits, you cycle along comfortable cycle paths along the banks of the Sulzach. The river meanders quaintly through an open meadow landscape and upstream it goes to Schillingsfürst.Shortly before Schillingsfürst you leave the river and cycle over a wooded hill into the village. Here you should definitely make a detour to the castle of the same name. In addition to an extensive castle museum you will also find the Falkenhof with bird of prey show and the castle café.Afterwards, it goes gently downhill until you come to Die Tauber at Diebach. You follow the river until you reach Rothenburg ob der Tauber together. The city with its unique, unadulterated city center and the intact city wall is one of the absolute highlights of your bike ride on the Franconian water cycle path.Rothenburg ob der Tauber has a connection to the local and long-distance network of Deutsche Bahn. So this stage is also suitable as the final stage of your tour.

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  • Difficult
    02:58
    27.4 mi
    9.2 mph
    1,125 ft
    1,125 ft
    Expert bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to carry your bike.

    From Rothenburg ob der Tauber on the seventh stage with some ups and downs over the hilly landscape of the Franconian Lake District. On your tour to Ansbach you can expect wide, beautiful views, the impressive castle Colmberg and small, romantic villages.From the Old Town of Rothenburg, the Franconian Water Cycle Route leads you leisurely out of the city. Soon you cycle on a well-maintained bike path over wide fields and after crossing the A7 motorway follows a gentle climb over a wooded ridge.Once you have crossed the forest, you can enjoy a magnificent view over the wide, open hills. After another, short section of forest you follow quiet roads through small, sleepy villages. At Lauterbach worth a break at the small village pond. Here you can not only swim, but also eat delicious in the lakeside pub.Along wide fields and along various small streams you continue your tour. The next worthwhile stop is Colmberg. Here, the castle of the same name sits enthroned above the small town and entices you with a restaurant and a beautiful view of the landscape.A little later, you will meet the Zailacher Bach, which will accompany you to Lehrberg, where it will flow into the Franconian Rezat. Along its shore, it then continues to the stage destination Ansbach.The Ansbach station is well connected to the network of Deutsche Bahn. Here you can easily finish your tour and start the return journey, for example, when the weather no longer plays in your planning.

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  • Intermediate
    03:52
    34.9 mi
    9.0 mph
    1,300 ft
    1,550 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    On the eighth and last stage of the Franconian Water Cycle Path, Middle Franconia is again showing its best side. On your tour from Ansbach to Roth you follow the meandering course of the Franconian Rezat for many kilometers and visit small towns with enchanting old towns and exciting castles.Starting from Ansbach, the Fränkische WasserRadweg will lead you westwards along the course of the Franconian Rezat. The river accompanies you to Lichtenau. If you are a friend of old castles then you should definitely visit the fortress Lichtenau. Today, the Nuremberg State Archives are housed in the buildings, but the courtyard and the defensive wall are freely accessible and very impressive.At Lichtenau, the cycle path branches off from the Franconian Rezat and leads you through small forests and over open pastures and fields to Wolframs-Eschenbach. The medieval town center is definitely worth a stroll and if you like, you can also stop by one of the cafés or inns.Afterwards it goes along quiet roads along fields back to the Franconian Rezat. Together you cross Windsbach, whose old town is also worth a visit. Only after another six kilometers separate your ways in Wassermungenau. Here, the Rezat flows further south, you, however, follow the bike path to the northeast.On your further journey you will reach Abenberg. Here, too, you will find a perfectly preserved castle, which now houses a museum and a hotel and restaurant - the perfect place for a longer break.The last section up to the destination Roth leads on cycle paths and quiet roads through larger forest areas. Arrived in Roth, a final walk through the beautiful old town and a view of the rivers Rednitz and Roth is the perfect end to your bike ride.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    8
  • Distance
    246 mi
  • Duration
    27:46 h
  • Elevation
    8,525 ft