On the Odenwald-Madonnen-Radweg, variety is a top priority. In just four days, you will visit the Madonnenländle with its numerous chapels and Madonna portraits, follow the Wanderbahntrasse (the hiking train route) through the southern Odenwald forest, cycle along the banks of the river through the Neckar valley and enjoy the vastness of the Rhine plain. Along the way, very special cultural Highlights await you, such as the Chapel of the Holy Blood, the Heidelberg Castle, the old half-timbered towns in the Neckar Valley and, at the very end, the impressive Speyer Cathedral. So it's no wonder that the magnificent cycle path was awarded four stars by the ADFC.
On the four stages of the Odenwald-Madonnen-Radweg, you'll cover a total distance of 105 miles (170 kilometers) from Tauberbischofsheim via Heidelberg to Speyer. The individual stages are between around 25 and 30 miles (40 and 50 kilometers) long, leaving enough time for a stroll through the small towns and visits to the venerable churches and chapels. As you'll ride, you'll cycle along quiet roads and along well-kept cycle paths through the picturesque nature of the southern Odenwald. The landscape is quite hilly, but since the ascents and descents are evenly distributed over the entire route, no strenuous mountain sections await you. The stage destinations are small, cozy towns where you can find nice accommodation and easily buy provisions for the next day. Since all the stages have a train station, you can also plan your journey easily by bus and train. You can also shorten your ride if bad weather surprises you.
If you would like to include a real mountain stage in your ride, then the alternative of the second stage over the Katzenbuckel is just right for you. This ride is one for ambitious cyclists, taking you uphill from Mudau and steeply back down into the Neckar valley. Here, the ride meets the third stage and runs along the banks of the river to the third stage destination Neckargemünd. As this alternative combines the second with the third stage, your full ride will be shortened to a total of three days.
From the tranquil Tauberbischofsheim the Odenwald-Madonnen-Radweg takes you through the Madonnenländle. This bears his name, because here are particularly many wayside chapels, picture and, of course, Madonna portraits to admire. In the period of the Counter-Reformation, the area was an important center of the newly emerging Catholic faith. On your way to Buchen you cycle through small villages and towns and enjoy the view of the vast fields of the southern foothills of the Odenwald.From Tauberbischofsheim you cycle gently uphill through the Brehmbachtal. Behind Königheim, your paths separate and the Odenwald-Madonnen-Radweg continues uphill to Schweinberg. On the outskirts is worth a stop at the Sacred Heart Chapel. From here you can then roll your bike quite comfortably downhill to Hardheim.In Hardheim you can visit the St. Albank Church, which is also affectionately called "Erfataldom" due to its imposing size. If you like, make another round of Hardheim and head to one of the cafes or restaurants.Afterwards, the last climb of the day awaits you. The path leads you over wide fields off the roads and with a beautiful view, you slowly gain height. Shortly after you passed Höpfingen you reach Walldürn. The small town is an important place of pilgrimage, which took place here in 1330 the so-called blood miracle. You can learn more about the miracle by visiting the impressive pilgrimage basilica.From Walldürn you finally cycle comfortably and without major differences in altitude until the stage destination Buchen.
On the second leg of the Odenwald-Madonnen-Radweg the nature experience is in the foreground. First it goes from Buchen through the forest to Mudau. From here you cycle on the reconstructed route of an old narrow-gauge railway off the roads through small villages and picturesque nature. Along the route to the stage destination Mosbach, beautiful views of the wooded mountains of the Odenwald open up again and again.Starting from Buchen starting at first it passes the forest outdoor pool and then through the middle of the forest to Mudau. At the old Mudau station you can admire one of the small steam locomotives that used to be on the route from here to Mosbach in the Neckar valley. Today, the route is paved, carries the name Wanderbahn and is thus a wonderful cycling route.The hiking trail leads you across wide meadows, through dense forest and along small villages and farms. Time and again banks and rest areas invite you for a break and information boards tell you the story of the narrow-gauge railway, which at the time was nicknamed "Odenwald Express".About half way you will reach Limbach, which is perfect for a long break with several restaurants. Strengthened you then follow the trail again, which meanders slowly through the landscape of the Odenwald downhill to the stage destination Mosbach.
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From Mosbach the Neckar meanders in a picturesque river valley through the Odenwald to Heidelberg. Today's leg of the Odenwald-Madonnen cycle path takes you right on the banks of the river through the impressive valley landscape. While a main road always runs through the valley on the right bank of the Neckar, the cycle path runs along almost the entire length of the left bank - so you can rest here and admire the idyllic nature.Along the river Elz you cycle through Mosbach and Neckarelz, until the small stream flows into the Neckar. A little later you cross the Neckar on a bridge and cycle along the left bank over a wide meadow. Here you are on the southern edge of the Odenwald and the Neckar valley is still wide and open - only further downstream the valley narrows and the slopes become steeper and steeper.Just a few miles later you get a taste of the impressive valley landscape. From now on, the Neckar meanders in countless loops along the densely wooded slopes of the Odenwald and past small timber-framed towns. At Neckargerach you change for a few miles to the other shore, but already at Zwingenberg it goes back over the Neckar. From here, both sides of the valley tower high above the river and offer a magnificent panorama.After about 28 kilometers, the Odenwald-Madonnen-Radweg takes you past Eberbach, which lies on the other side of the river. Here it is definitely worth a visit, because in the well-kept old town lure many cafes and restaurants. Then it continues on the left bank of the Neckar. The well-developed bike path offers you again and again great views of the river and the surrounding countryside, until you finally reach your stage destination Neckargemünd.
The fourth stage of the Odenwald-Madonnen-Radweg takes you from the Neckar valley to Heidelberg. Here you should definitely plan enough time to visit the old town and the castle. Afterwards you leave the Odenwald and cycle across the wide Rhine plain to the stage destination Speyer, where the world-famous cathedral awaits you.From Neckargerach the main road changes to the less steep left bank of the river, while you cycle off the road along the promising right bank. From here, the impressive city panorama of Heidelberg opens up to you: Directly across the river, the Old Bridge is made of red sandstone, behind it lies the picturesque Old Town, and above it sits the mighty ruin of the castle.To enter the city, cross the Old Bridge. On weekends and in the summer it can get crowded, because tourists from all over the world want to marvel at the building. Before you continue your bike ride, you can stroll through the streets of the old town and visit the Heiliggeistkirche.Afterwards, the Odenwald-Madonnen-Radweg takes you along the banks of the Neckar and from the Bismarckplatz southwards out of the city. On quiet roads and beautiful bike paths it goes for you through the vast Rhine plain. Here you can let your eyes wander over the fields and meadows. As a stopover with lunch break then Walldorf offers. Here you will find a good selection of refreshments where you can fortify yourself for the final piece.On open fields and meadows you cycle to the bridge over the Rhine near Speyer. Already from the bridge you can see the four distinctive towers of the Speyerer Dom. A detour to the huge church is a must in Speyer: It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage and is considered the largest surviving Romanesque church in the world. A visit to the cathedral and a stroll through the old town will be the culmination of your cycling tour on the Odenwald-Madonnen-Radweg.
This stage is for enduring and experienced cyclists. Because instead of the flat route of the train it goes from Mudau briskly uphill to Waldbrunn and then in some turns steeply downhill to the banks of the Neckar near Zwingenberg. Here you meet the third stage, which leads you to Neckargemünd. If you decide for this stage, then your bike trip will be shortened to a total of three days. Due to the nature of the route, the slope conditions and the longer route, this stage is only suitable for experienced cyclists.From Buchen you first cycle through the forest to Mudau. From here, continue for a few hundred meters along the hiking track, until the professional ramie branches off to the right and gently climbs towards Waldbrunn. First it goes along the course of the Elzbach, then the bike path winds on forest roads through the forest.Soon you pass the small Mülbener See and a little later you reach Waldbrunn. Take a break here in one of the inns or cafes. After that, the Odenwald-Madonnen-Radweg leads you flat over a few fields until it finally goes down steeply to Zwingenberg in some hairpin bends. Here you cross the Neckar and follow from here the third stage of the Odenwald-Madonnen-Radweg along the river to Neckargemünd.