Between Odenwald & vineyards – cycling along Kocher, Jagst & Neckar
© Touristikgemeinschaft HeilbronnerLand, T. Rathay
Mythical Odenwald in the north, sun-drenched vineyards in the south and in between gentle hills and picturesque river valleys — that is the Heilbronner Land. On well maintained and signposted cycle paths you can discover the peaceful landscape best from your bike and visit the small towns and villages with their Franconian traditions. Of all the cycle paths that this region has to offer, we have selected six particularly beautiful ones for you.
Each cycle path is dedicated to a specific topic. For cyclists with a special interest in art and culture, we recommend the Odenwald-Madonnas Cycle Path and the Sculpture Cycle Path. The former winds its way for almost 180 kilometres along the scenic foothills of the Odenwald — for long stretches it follows the former route of a narrow-gauge railway and therefore runs pleasantly flat. The second is a pretty circuit of almost 80 kilometres and leads from the edge of the Odenwald into the Heilbronn basin. In addition to the idyllic nature, the many contemporary works of art along the way are the focal point of this tour.
The four other tours are shorter and longer day trips around Heilbronn and Schwäbisch Hall. On the Wine-Land-River-Tour you will ride along the steep slopes of the Neckar, while on the Orchard Tour you will explore the orchard meadows and cultural treasures east of Heilbronn. On the LandhegTour you will get to know the historic Haller Landhege around Schwäbisch Hall and on the Forest Tour you will enjoy pure nature.
But the cuisine is not too short in southern Germany. Rustic inns, rustic wine taverns and cozy cafes can be found everywhere along the way. Between Baden, Württemberg and Franconia you are in the realm of the vines. You can try the delicious wine in a broom shop or even better at a tap directly in the vineyard, where you enjoy the beautiful view in addition to the glass of wine.
On the 47-kilometer wine-land-river tour, you will get to know the vineyards on the Neckar and the vine-rich Zabergäu. The tour is also suitable for families or beginners, as it is not too hilly and can be divided into two stages.Start of the tour is the Hölderlin and wine city Lauffen am Neckar, which you can easily reach by train. You start with the northern loop through the wine landscape of Zabergäu. Past the Hölderlin Museum we head towards the vineyards. Below the impressive steep-slope area "Lauffener Katzenbeißer", the cycle path first leads along the river Zaber.After a short stretch on the Neckar, the cycle path turns into the Schozachtal and follows the Zaber through a varied wine landscape back to Lauffen am Neckar. Here begins the southern loop. You follow the Neckarradweg and after two gradients through the vineyards you reach the Liebenstein Palace near Neckarwestheim. From the keep of the castle you can enjoy a magnificent view over the Neckar valley and the Zabergäu.Back to Lauffen you follow the Neckar below steep vineyards. On the entire route you will find some wine taverns in a beautiful panoramic position. Most also have small snacks on offer, making them ideal for a cozy rest. Especially recommended is the wine bar in the Roman estate, the Weinmobil am Neckar in Lauffen or the Weinterrasse Kirchheim.The trail is signposted "N1" throughout.
On this tour, we first follow the valley of the Sulm, through the vineyards up to the nature park Schwäbisch-Fränkischer Wald. Your round to orchards, through vineyards and past cultural treasures begins at Ellhofen station, which you reach from Heilbronn by suburban train in less than twenty minutes. You start with a very leisurely ride in the valley of the Sulm. If the weather is good, you can make a detour to the refreshing Lake Breitenauer from Affaltrach.You change from the Sulmtal to the Brettachtal and ride along beautiful orchard meadows. In Baden-Württemberg they are an epitome of special cultural landscapes. Here the trail gets a bit hilly and after a climb you reach the "Stone Table". From the 14th century on, the dishes of the surrounding villages were held there - today the stone table is an excellent resting place.It follows a hilly, beautiful path through the forest. At the highest point, a fabulous view over the vineyards and hills in the Weinsberg Valley awaits you. Between the vines you can see Eberstadt, famous for its excellent wine. After a rapid descent you will soon reach the valley of the Sulm and your starting point, the station of Ellhofen.The route is signposted throughout with "WT2".
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The good 63-kilometer LandhegTour Ost takes you along the historic Haller Landhege. It is an extensive territory, which Schwäbisch Hall acquired in the 14th and 15th centuries. On the route you overcome several, sometimes elongated slopes, which is why you should bring a good basic condition.It starts in the medieval city of Schwäbisch Hall. The city enchants with its beautiful half-timbered houses. After a short drive through the city, you will cross the first slope onto the Hohenlohe plain. Continue over the open landscape until you reach the Kocher valley via a descent. You leave the valley on a long and winding climb. About small villages you drive on in the direction of Gailenkirchen. How about a short trip to the Freilichtmuseum Wackershofen?After that, you will once again drive up to the ridges of the forested Waldenburg mountains, before you expect the Neumühlsee after a steep descent. In summer, the lake invites you to swim and cool down. Continue through the idyllic Biberstal, where the next lake, the Starkholzbacher See, provides cooling.Hilly continue until you finally reach the stove again just before Schwäbisch Hall. The Kochersteg, a technical cultural monument, offers a short stop. In Schwäbisch Hall, numerous cafés and restaurants await you for a refreshment after the steeply-packed tour through the Haller Landhege.The route is signposted throughout with "LandhegTour".
The WälderTour awaits you for a wonderful round of shady forests and medieval highlights. With 67 kilometers and 760 vertical meters, the route is certainly a bit more exhausting, but you can also complete the tour on two days.The starting point of the tour is in the carnival stronghold Bühlerzell. If you arrive by train, Schwäbisch Hall is the starting point. From Bühlerzell it goes right at the beginning of a short steep up to the Ellwanger mountains. Then you will reach an idyllic section in the midst of a vast forest area. The path leads you through wonderful, natural brook landscapes along the valley of the blind red.On the top of the Hohenberg you can see the Jakobuskirche, a pilgrimage site of the Franconian-Swabian Way of St. James, on the edge of the forest. Here it is worthwhile to make a detour. Continue through forests and open countryside with always great views.The medieval town of Vellberg is ideal for a breather. A Swedish café, an ice cream parlor and several restaurants invite you to linger. The next stage on your way is Schwäbisch Hall, where you can enjoy a beautiful panorama of the Großcomburg monastery complex.The further route leads you through the beautiful forest area in the Limpurger mountains. On the dead straight coal road you drive through the shady forest to Geifertshofen. There you can taste delicious cheese in the village cheese dairy. Then it is only two kilometers to your starting point.
On the nearly 180 kilometer long Odenwald-Madonnen-Radweg you will experience an enchanting atmosphere of religious history. It's best to spend three to four days exploring this extremely varied long-distance cycle path through a beautiful cycling region.The route begins in Tauberbischofsheim and runs through a landscape that is affectionately referred to as the "Madonnenländchen". In the border triangle between Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Hesse you will discover many shrines, crosses and sacral buildings.You drive through the wooded low mountain range landscape of the nature park Neckartal Odenwald. After a demanding stage over the heights of the beautiful low mountain range you follow the rivers Neckar and Rhine. At the end of the Odenwald-Madonnen-Radweg, Speyer is home to the world's largest surviving Romanesque church.The bike path is signposted "Odenwald-Madonnen-Radweg". On the way you will find accommodation in many places, so that the tour can easily be divided into several stages.
At the Sculpture Cycle Path, the cycle track becomes an original exhibition of contemporary sculptures and depictions. The motto "Sculptures on the Cycle Path - Art in the Countryside" emphasizes the focus of the tour, which, however, also offers cultural and scenic highlights. The route leads you through a hilly landscape again and again through small forests, open fields and pretty villages.The sculpture cycle path starts in Buchen (Odenwald), where you can easily travel by train. The bike path consists of two laps that cross in Osterburken. Thus, you can easily subdivide the tour into two stages. The hilly tour takes you through the former border area of the Romans and Teutons. Here once ran the Limes. In the Roman Museum Osterburken you will learn many interesting facts about the history of the Romans.There are a total of 18 contemporary sculptures along the way. Signs draw attention to the exhibits and tell you the idea behind the artwork. In addition, a detour to the sculpture park in Seckach is worthwhile.The entire cycle path is signposted with the "Sculpture Cycle Path".