Although the north of Germany is not known as a typical mountain biking area, it has a lot to offer bikers. Instead of strenuous mountain stages, alpine panoramas, and remote mountain huts, here you will discover North German charm in abundance. You ride through quaint villages with brick houses with thatched roofs where locals greet you with a friendly "Moin" at any time of the day. Instead of heading up mountains, the wind here creates a new challenge. However, what really makes Northern Germany special is its unique landscapes, untouched nature, and great trails. Ready for Adventure? Then let’s go!
The best way to experience the region is on an adventurous bikepacking trip on a mountain bike. In this Collection, we’ve worked out a four-day ride from Hamburg to Celle. You won’t need much more than a sleeping bag, roll mat, some provisions and, of course, your bike. So strap your bags to your bike and get ready for a natural, minimalist adventure to remember through the Lüneburg Heath.
The Lüneburg Heath, through which most of this bikepacking adventure leads, is like another world in the north east of Lower Saxony. Here you can visit ‘Heidschnucken’ (heathland sheep) and marvel at the unique plant life. Countless paths and trails wind between heather, junipers, and dense woodland, giving you a wonderful insight into this extraordinary habitat with a far-reaching history.
The rough course of our route is based on the well-known Heidschnuckenweg (Heathland Sheep Way) and winds its way south for a total of 167 miles (270 km) with 4,954 (1,510 m) of altitude difference. From time to time, you follow the Heidschnuckenweg but mostly you take alternative routes where you won’t meet many hikers.
Your adventure begins just outside of Hamburg with forest paths and the first challenging trails. The Nordheide beech forests mark your arrival into nature before you dive into the heart of Lüneburg Heath. Your first night is spent camping at the idyllic Seeve River. The next day, you ride through moorlands and past lakes where you can find plenty of pretty places to stop for a break. Meanwhile, great paths and trails will tempt you to really push yourself on the pedals. At times, the ground is quite sandy which burns a lot of energy, but is heaps of fun.
The focus of this very special bikepacking Tour is the beautiful heath landscape and its wonderful network of paths. Most of your adventure takes place on unpaved paths and trails. Due to the large number of shelters along the trails, you always have the possibility to vary the stage length and adapt it to your personal preferences. If you prefer some extra comfort, you can find accommodation or a campsite en route.
In general, you should plan a little more time for this Tour than usual as the surfaces can make for slow progress. Moreover, this gives you enough time to enjoy the typical North German flair along the route and the beautiful nature spots.
We’ve planned this Collection as a one-way route. Hamburg and Celle are connected by train, so you can easily return home afterward. By the way, it doesn't matter whether you start in Hamburg or Celle: this Tour works in both directions.
The first tour takes you from the Hanseatic metropolis of Hamburg directly to the Heide metropolis: the Lüneburg Heath nature reserve. After you have left the bustling city behind you, the bikepacking adventure begins with lots of nature, trails and the incomparable flora and fauna of the Lüneburg Heath.The journey begins on the typical bike paths of the city of Hamburg. You drive over the many canals and bays on some bridges. You always have beautiful views of the city's ports and docks. When you have passed the old Harburg Elbe Bridge, it is almost done: You drive out of the urban jungle. Because just beyond the city limits of Harburg, nature and adventure begin for you.Immediately after you have rolled down the highway bridge into the forest, you can look forward to smooth forest paths and trails. In the further course, this ingenious and varied combination of dynamic, small paths and forest highways will remain. In between, you also pass a few small, typical northern German villages from time to time.After a good 20 kilometers you will cruise in the state forest Rosengarten with its huge network of forest paths and flowing single trails. It's really fun, but it's also quite exhausting. So that you can take a deep breath in between, the route now leads to the village of Buchholz. Here you can replenish your reserves or treat yourself to a candy. Almost 40,000 inhabitants live in the town and therefore there is a wide range of different catering facilities. There is also the Buchholz city forest in the center, which in addition to an ideal break point also provides a few trails.After the short detour you leave the city and drive south along the railway line, where you will soon be back in nature. You drive through the Brunsberg nature reserve on some wavy, small slopes. Now it gets “heathier” with every kilometer. You see the typical heathland landscape more and more and drive more and more often over sandy soil until you finally arrive at your overnight stop: the well-hidden shelter is very close to a small stream and offers you a roof over your head, a few meters of seating and even a small table in the middle. Since the next towns are a bit away and the main path does not come directly here, you can enjoy a lot of peace here, but above all enjoy the beautiful nature.Tip: Remember to take provisions for breakfast the next morning.
The second day of your bikepacking trip should start with a hearty breakfast, because today there is a lot on the program. You will whiz through the entire Lüneburg Heath and hardly be on the asphalt.The wonderful nature in which you wake up offers you the right ambience for a meal in the green. After you have filled your stomach and packed the bike again, you can continue. Since you slept in the middle of the Lüneburg Heath and now start there, you will find your flow again very quickly.The single trail starts immediately and you dash through the beautiful landscape of the heath. Again and again you drive briefly into the forest to glide over open areas with heather and juniper. Sometimes you roll very relaxed, other times you have to pedal harder because the path is very sandy. The small wooden footbridge in Totengrund leads you over a bog and you're on the next trail.Afterwards it can be a little more sociable on the route. Depending on the time of year and day, many tourists and day trippers are drawn to the region around Haverbeck. However, you are still mainly on small paths and trails, so you won't encounter too many hikers. The entire route is rather wavy and you always get a good overview from every hill.After almost 50 kilometers you will pass Lake Brunau near Behringen. Here is the ideal opportunity to take a little break again. Either you visit the Seecafé or you simply set up your small camp directly on the shore. If you feel like cooling off, you can also jump straight into the cool water and refresh yourself for the last 20 kilometers.We continue on a trail that leads you along the small stream Brunau. Subsequently, wide commercial roads and small quiet streets alternate. After passing through Hützel there is another really fast and flowing trail that takes you to the outskirts of Bispingen. There you can drive to the center if necessary and get provisions for dinner and the next morning. It is now not far to the stage goal.Along the railway line you drive the last kilometers of this stage until the route leads over the motorway and you quickly dive back into the wilderness. Here you can breathe in a breath of prairie. Shortly before the city of Soltau you reach your night camp. It is not in the middle of nature, but a few meters away from the road or a hiking parking lot, but the shelter offers you enough space to relax and sleep. The street is hardly used at night. Big plus: There is a toilet house with toilets and wash basins.
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Is there anything better than being woken up early in the morning by chirping birds and a mysterious crackle in the undergrowth - perhaps by a bunny? After a peaceful night, your day starts with a real wildlife breakfast - provided you have thought about getting food the night before. Otherwise you can just get on your bike and ride the five kilometers to Soltau. There is a large selection of "culinary" offerings from the café to the bakery to the supermarket.After you have left the city limits behind, you drive over the motorway again and land in no time in the heath. At the beginning it mainly goes on economic and forest trails, but the route is always peppered with small, fun trails. You make very good progress and land after about thirty kilometers in the large bog near Becklingen. It is not for nothing that this special landscape is a nature reserve and invites you to discover all kinds of interesting animals and plants. A viewpoint located in the middle of the moor provides a good overview. Of course, this natural spot also invites you to take a break.After you have left the moor, you pedal east again after a small change of direction. Via forest and meadow paths you come to the typical north German, charismatic city of Hermannsburg. Here is another opportunity to replenish your reserves. After all, there are still over 30 kilometers ahead of you, so a small snack can't hurt. The path leads you over a bridge out of the small town idyll and back into nature. First you roll along the small river Örtze. There are many trail kilometers here again. Then you land at the old watermill, which has been driven by the Örtze for many years. You can refresh your feet at the adjacent Kneipp bath.At the end of the day, a ride through the authentic heathland with a few sandy paths and the incredibly beautiful nature is waiting for you. If you would prefer to use a shower and a real toilet again, you can set up your night at the Gerdehaus campsite. If you also want to spend the last night adventurous and for yourself, then just drive a few kilometers further on the Heidschnuckenweg. Next to the Gauss stone on the Hausselberg is a small refuge in the middle of nowhere. Here you hear neither cars nor people, only the sounds of nature. The perfect backdrop for your last night out.
On the last day of your bikepacking adventure in the Lüneburg Heath you can relive the concentrated beauty of nature. You will be off-road almost exclusively before you can start your way back from Celle.Start your last day with a relaxed breakfast right in the heath. In the meantime, it has definitely become a ritual to do a little shopping the night before. Recognize consciously all the things that surround you here: nature, tranquility and the anticipation for the coming hours in the saddle. Then you can start with a good portion of sand. You plow your way through the heathways, always looking for the best line so that you don't dive too deep into the sand. It is exhausting but above all it is great fun. From time to time you have to take your eyes off the track and enjoy the wonderful view over the heath, which opens up in some places.Then you can look forward to a few relaxed kilometers. You glide along a few forest and meadow paths along the northern German steppe and now and then through a small village. After immersing yourself in nature over a small picturesque wooden bridge, a few kilometers of the finest trail await you. It is really flowy and depending on how you feel, you can really accelerate here or cruise relaxed in front of you.In any case, you can take a short break at the blue lagoon and let your soul dangle in nature as well as your feet in the lake. It will be difficult to tear yourself away from this idyllic place, but at least you can work really nice paths on the last 30 kilometers. Forest paths and trails alternate. Sometimes curvy and sometimes a long straight and before you know it, you've already landed in Celle at the train station. Only in the last few meters you will be in the middle of the city. And then your four-day bikepacking adventure through the Lüneburg Heath is unfortunately already over. Behind you are around 270 kilometers of breathtakingly beautiful nature, lots of fun and unforgettable impressions that you can review in peace on the return trip.Speaking of the return trip: from Celle you can easily be transported back to Hamburg by train. The IC (E) drives through and takes a little over an hour. But even with the Metronom Regionalbahn you don't need more than two hours and only have to change once. A big advantage: You do not have to reserve a bicycle parking space in advance for the regional train.