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

Bike Touring Collection by
Fränkischer WasserRadweg

South of Nuremberg opens a wide, gentle hills, characterized by large and small lakes and criss-crossed by countless streams, streams and rivers: the Franconian Lake District. Since May 2019, the Fränkische WasserRadweg has been running here, taking you through the picturesque landscape in eight stages. On your bike tour you will visit the idyllic waters as well as cozy old towns that take you on a journey of discovery into the Middle Ages. If you roll through the streets here, many a tavern attracts with Franconian specialties, home-brewed beers and excellent wines. Not only do you get to know the idyllic landscape on your bike tour, you also dive into the diverse culture and history of Middle Franconia.

The Fränkische WasserRadweg, recommended in the ADFC brochure "Discovering Germany by Bike", consists of eight daily stages and leads through the Franconian Lake District in a round trip of around 240-miles (390-kilometers). With distances between 25 and 35 miles (40 and 55 kilometers) and only gentle climbs over the hills of Central Franconia, the tour is perfect for connoisseurs. In addition, there are three intermediate stages, which shorten the round. So you can do part of the tour, for example, on a long weekend. The bike ride is on cycle paths and quiet roads, where you can enjoy nature away from traffic. The route alternates with the many streams and rivers that splash through wide meadows: Roth, Wörnitz, Altmühl, Franconian Rezat and Ludwig-Donau-Main-Kanal. Along the way, you will also visit picturesque bathing lakes, which offer a refreshing resting place on hot summer days.

We have put together the Fränkische WasserRadweg for you so that your round trip begins in Roth. The start of your tour you can easily reach from Nuremberg with the S-Bahn line 2. As it is for a round trip, but you can of course also start with any other stage. In all stages along the Fränkische WasserRadwegs you will find cozy guesthouses, hotels and holiday apartments with typical Franconian charm. Since many of the waypoints also have their own train station, you can also put together a shorter tour or plan individual stages as day trips. Just rummage in our tours and let yourself be inspired to your discovery journey through Middle Franconia.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • Intermediate
    03:55
    33.6 mi
    8.6 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
    03:43
    32.2 mi
    8.7 mph
    625 ft
    750 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
    03:35
    33.3 mi
    9.3 mph
    1,625 ft
    1,500 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
    03:46
    35.1 mi
    9.3 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
    600 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
    03:28
    25.6 mi
    7.4 mph
    825 ft
    925 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    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
    03:00
    27.4 mi
    9.1 mph
    1,125 ft
    1,125 ft
    Expert bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push 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
    03:57
    35.0 mi
    8.9 mph
    1,325 ft
    1,575 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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  • Intermediate
    02:07
    20.6 mi
    9.7 mph
    575 ft
    575 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The first intermediate tour along the water cycle path leads you from Dennenlohe through a beautiful forest, meadow and lake area. It starts right at the Mühlweiher in Dennenlohe. It is located directly below the beautiful Dennenloher See. Before you start properly, you can stroll a bit through the impressive castle park.The tour takes you through a recreational area in beautiful nature. On the slightly hilly stage, you will pass countless small ponds and lakes. In some you can even take a bath, for example at the pretty Krummweiher.Many quiet villages are on your way. In some, unexpected peculiarities await you, such as in Sommersdorf, where a mighty moated castle stands in the middle of the village.You will find a medieval gem in Merkendorf. The old town with its rustic half-timbered houses is completely surrounded by a castle wall and the remains of the moat are still visible.The tour ends in Wolframs-Eschenbach, whose old town is also surrounded by an impressive defensive system. The wall is completely preserved and you can even ride around in the former moat with your bike.

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  • Intermediate
    02:22
    21.9 mi
    9.3 mph
    875 ft
    1,100 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The second intermediate tour starts at the westernmost point of the Brombachse. The lake actually consists of three lakes separated by narrow dams. They originated only in the 1970s as a water reservoir for the Main-Danube Canal and were created from the beginning as a recreational area.You drive on small, gravel riverside paths around the northwestern part of the lake, the Igelbachsee. On your way there are several beaches, a wakeboarding facility and several works of art. The path is anything but boring and leads you through a picturesque natural landscape.After leaving the lake, head up a bit before heading down a long descent. Once at the bottom you can take a break in the medieval city of Spalt. Lovingly renovated houses, small streets and the Bürgergarten invite you to linger. In the Hopfenhaus, a particularly successful beer museum, you can experience in an impressive way how beer turns into beer.Until Georgensgmünd you drive on the planet path. Along the way are sculptures of the planets of our solar system and you are heading for the sun, which stands in Georgensgmünd. A well-maintained bike path will take you always near the Rednitz to Roth, where the second intermediate tour ends.

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  • Easy
    00:33
    2.59 mi
    4.7 mph
    125 ft
    100 ft
    Easy bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This short intermediate tour connects the third stage with the second intermediate tour. So, if you only want to do the eastern part of the Franconian Water Cycle Path, for example on a long weekend, you can cut short here.The short Zwischenstückchen is so beautiful on the beautiful Brombachsee, that you will certainly feel like driving once around the lake. But, actually, it is about three lakes. The Small and Large Brombachsee and the Igelbachsee were created in the 1970s to provide the Main-Danube Canal with water. It was also planned as a recreational area, which is why you will find here the appropriate infrastructure, such as beaches, kiosks and a wakeboarding facility.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    11
  • Distance
    292 mi
  • Duration
    32:54 h
  • Elevation
    9,975 ft