Cycling along straight canals, over white folding bridges, past traditional cargo ships and windmills – the Fehn area is uniquely charming. The word “Fehn”, originating from old German, describes marshy meadow. In the 17th century, Fehn described a method of partially draining moorland to create navigable canals. This also meant that valuable peat could be excavated and used as fuel. Today, the Fehn landscape is marked by the traces of history. You can follow the Fehn route for 107 miles (173 km) through this exciting area of East Frisia in Germany.
In this Collection I have prepared the official Fehn route in four stages. You can also cut the circular route in half by choosing the alternative third stage. This makes the route perfect for a weekend getaway or a short trip, whichever suits you best. The adventure starts in the port city of Leer, where you will return at the end of the last stage. Each stage varies in length from around 18 to 37 miles (30 and 60 km) along flat terrain, making it the perfect first bike tour for beginners.
From Leer, you cycle past the beautiful Timmeler Meer lake landscape, where you can watch boats bobbing in the water and go for a swim. Afterwards, you ride along the Wieken and canals to the flower community of Wiesmoor. The Fehnroute leads you further through the East Frisian canal communities, past traditional Gulf Courts to Barßel, where you can discover the interesting Fehn Museum Elisabethfehn. Next traditional windmills and sailing ships await in Papenburg. The final leg from Papenburg back to Leer takes you along one of the largest dry docks in the world. If you choose the alternative route, you can look forward to a hand-operated ferry, which is the last one in Europe.
In the stage destinations Wiesmoor, Barßel and Papenburg you can find beautiful and inexpensive holiday apartments, campsites or farms where you can stay overnight. There are also plenty of places to stock up on supplies and treat yourself to East Frisian cuisine en route. Leer is easy to reach by train with direct links to Koblenz, Leipzig and Munster. If your adventure has given you a taste for water, you can also take the train to Norddeich and the sea.
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In Barßel you start your today's stage of a good 37 kilometers to the city of Papenburg, an exciting destination for the history and present of shipping. Passing the idyllic Barßeler Hafen, you drive straight along the canal until you get to the Elisabethfehn moor and Fehn museum. From here, the Fehnroute leads you three kilometers along the idyllic Elisabethfehn Canal. Then you cross the channel over a pretty, white bascule bridge and shortly afterwards the Sagter Ems.