Lush green riverside paths, the idyllic expanse of the Geest landscape, the salty breeze of the North Sea, and local North German history await on your short holiday along the Oste. By the way, they are pronounced Oh-ste, not Osste.
The longest tributary of the Elbe, the Oste rises between the Lüneburg Heath and the Zeven Geest. The Oste cycle path takes you 145 kilometres (90 miles), from the source to the mouth of the Elbe. The cycle path runs through wonderful floodplain and meadow landscapes along the banks of the Oste as it travels through this particularly idyllic region of northern Germany. If you are looking for a short holiday with peace and nature, away from any crowds, the Oste will enchant you.
In this Collection, I have divided the East Cycle Route of 145 kilometres into four stages for you. The stages are between 25 and 40 kilometres (15.5 miles and 24.8 miles) long, so you can cycle at your own pace and discover fascinating places along the way. The floodplains, meadows and Geest landscapes are flat the whole way, making them suitable for all cyclists, young and old.
Your adventure begins in Tostedt, where the Oste River rises. From its source, the river splashes leisurely through the sparsely populated countryside via Heeslingen to Bremervörde, where it grows into a tidal "water of the first order", i.e. of considerable importance for water management. You cycle past fieldstone churches, traditional farmhouses, historic water and windmills, which are great places to take a rest or explore.
The further downriver you cycle, the more the tidal range will become noticeable. The route takes you to the floating ferry at Hemmoor and East, an impressive technical structure which dates back more than 100 years . From here, a short stretch takes you to the mouth of the Elbe, where you can enjoy the views over the meadows and mudflats of the Elbe Coastal Park and finish your adventure.
During your ride, you will cycle through numerous small villages where you can buy food and find a choice of nice holiday apartments or other accommodation. The route mostly follows paved roads, with the odd unpaved section. A touring bike would be your perfect companion for this ride.
The starting point in Tostedt is easily accessible by train from Hamburg or Bremen. From the mouth of the Elbe you can take the regional train from Cadenberge or Otterndorf in the direction of Cuxhaven or Hamburg. There are also many possibilities to continue your journey by bike along the Elbe. For example to Cuxhaven on the North Sea it is only 25 kilometres (15.5 miles) by bike along the Elbe.
Your tour starts today, which winds through the wonderfully quiet, rural region between the Elbe and Weser. It starts at Tostedter Bahnhof, which is well connected with the regional train from Bremen or Hamburg. You only have to cycle a good two kilometers until the Oste crosses your path. Here is their source area, a total of seven springs feed the small stream that initially runs here. Passing the Otterberg viewpoint, the path takes you along pretty orchards to the tranquil Wilsted community.
From here, the path leads you through the fields and you come to the Burgsittensen monastery, where you can experience farm education, cowshed cinema and much more. Next you cycle to Sittensen and cross the Oste at a particularly beautiful place, the mill pond fed by the Oste. In the immediate vicinity you will find the craft museum at the watermill, the St. Dionysius church and a local museum.
Behind Sittensen you cycle again over an east bridge and enjoy a wonderful panorama of the orchards. With a bit of luck you will pass the water buffalos on your way, which make an important contribution to the development of natural areas. The Oste cycle path now leads you, following the course of the Oste, past Groß Meckelsen in a curve. About five kilometers further you will reach the sparkling, small birch lake, which invites you to take a break by the water.It is only a stone's throw from here to your stage destination Heeslingen. There you can visit the approximately 1,000-year-old Feldsteinkirche St. Viti, which is also one of the churches on Mönchsweg. The community is part of the Zeven community. You can end your stage in Heeslingen, or drive about five kilometers to the charming small town of Zeven. Here you will find numerous beautiful holiday apartments, hotels and guest houses. If you camp, you will find the beautiful Ostetal campsite right on the Oste, where you can sleep in the shade of the forest belt and even bathe in the Oste. At Zeven you will find the Sonnenkamp campsite right next to the natural swimming pool.
Today you cycle from Heeslingen on about 35 kilometers to the resort of Bremervörde, through which the Oste flows. The route takes you on beautiful forest and field paths through the idyllic Zeevener Geest landscape. The area is very rural, sparsely populated and you cycle through wonderful farmland. So take some provisions with you if you have a picnic in the country on the banks of the Oste.
Next, you cross the one-hundred-soul community of Godenstedt and arrive at the idyllic Eitzer mill, where you can take a break in the café. From here you cycle through the Zeven Geest and reach Ober Ochtenhausen. On site you can marvel at the traditional Lower Saxony houses, also called hall houses, which were widespread until the 19th century and combined agricultural functions with living. The small horse head decorations on the gable tips are a particular eye-catcher.For the remaining 15 kilometers you drive along an interesting orchard with insect hotel, nesting boxes and information board. The path continues to Sandbostel, where there is a memorial and documentation center for a prison camp from the Nazi era that you can visit. Then you cycle past the charming Sabine windmill and on about ten kilometers through the wide fields and small forests to your destination in Bremervörde.
The Bremervörde resort is an exciting destination for various reasons. The Oste, which you have so far seen as a cute meadow river, meets the Ostewehr. From here, the Oste turns into a ferry route that is now dependent on the ebb and flow. The North Sea is no longer far away. Your tour ends at the Bremervörder Hafen, where you can already see the first boats that are now sailing on the Oste. There is still a lot to discover in Bremervörde, such as the Bachmann Museum with exhibits on the geology and archeology of the region. Here you will find numerous pretty holiday apartments as well as the youth hotel “Ostel” with a forest in the middle of the city.
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On your third stage you drive a good 40 kilometers up to the over 100-year-old suspension bridge between Hemmoor and east, where you can already smell the salty North Sea air. The tour begins with a loop around Lake Vörder, which you can of course hop into. There is a lot to discover on the shore, because you cycle through the free nature and adventure park Bremervörde. Here you can enjoy magnificent themed gardens, and children will also get their money's worth and can romp around in the play areas.Then you drive on wonderful dike paths through lush green meadows along the banks of the Oste and follow their gentle loops for the next 30 kilometers. If you are after a picnic on the dike, then you should best equip yourself with enough provisions in Bremervörde. The route leads you away from large roads and guarantees without engine noise through the wonderfully quiet Osteland. You will cycle past several passages, this is the name of the north German ponds that were created during dike construction. Shortly before Hechthausen, you turn off the eastern banks and have the opportunity to cool off in a cute quarry pond with a sandy beach.From Hechthausen there are still about ten kilometers to Hemmoor. Here you can use the transporter bridge to translate the other side of the east into the small community of east. Which side you want to end the stage on is up to you. In both towns you will find interesting and unusual destinations.
At Hemmoor there is a diving base on the crystal-clear chalk lake, which is a highly recommended detour for all divers and those who want to become one. You will also find an early history museum and the German cement museum in Hemmoor. On the other side of the Oste, the Buddelmuseum awaits you with a unique collection of bottles from all over the world, as well as a charming, historic town center, where historical tours are offered for a donation. In both places you will find cheap apartments, but you have a much larger selection in Hemmoor.
Today you start your fourth and last stage of the Oste cycle path. On the remaining 25 kilometers to the mouth of the Elbe, the influence of the tides on the Oste is becoming increasingly clear. The route always leads you along dyke paths along the shore so that you can watch the water as it rises and falls.In the small community of Oberndorf an der Oste you can admire many listed buildings. You cycle on idyllic dike paths through the lush green Osteland and let the North Sea breeze blow your nose. About ten kilometers further you cross the Oste near Geversdorf and cycle through the small patch of Neuhaus, which is already in the estuary to the Elbe. Neuhaus was an important trading center in the Middle Ages. You can find out more about its exciting history in the local museum there. Then you drive past the idyllic, small harbor and you will soon be at the mouth of the Elbe.
You will find the Niederelbe Natureum right at the barrier, where you can learn about the ecology of the coastal region in a playful way. The Oste cycle path ends at the bird watching point. Here you can review your journey along the Oste, from the source to the full-fledged river, in the middle of the meadows and wadden world of the Elbe coast.
From here you have great options to continue your journey by bike. For example, the Elberadweg takes you only 25 kilometers west to the North Sea pearl Cuxhaven. On the other hand, if you cross the Ostesperrwerk and drive southeast along the Elbe, then the endless expanses of the Elbe dyke wave and you reach the Elbe ferry between Wischhafen and Glückstadt after about 30 kilometers. If you want to end your bike tour here, you will find the nearest regional train station in Cadenberge or Otterndorf, here trains go towards Cuxhaven and Hamburg.