The routes that follow the Fulda, Werra, Diemel and Eder rivers are fantastic experiences for individual cyclists, groups and families.
The low mountain ranges that cross the region provide a stunning backdrop and Nordhessen's wide rivers and reservoirs provide plenty of opportunities for water sports or a relaxing swim. Cyclists will find well-maintained long distance biking routes as well as shorter paths that take in scenic stretches of Nordhessen's rolling hills. Mountain bikers will enjoy both the scenery and the bike park in Willingen (Upland) in the Rothaar Mountains. Be sure to stop off and try some local specialties along the way - Nordhessen is famous in particular for Ahle Wurscht, a traditionally-made air-dried pork sausage.
Eight cycling paths for exploring Nordhessen
Werra Valley Cycle Path (Werratal Radweg)
The Werra Valley Cycle Path takes cyclists from the source of the Werra in Thuringia, across the Rhön with its many summits and through North Hessen, the home of the Brothers Grimm, to Hannoversch Münden. The route is home to one of the most picturesque sections of the German Timber-Framed Road, in Eschwege and Witzenhausen, with plenty of charming half-timbered buildings to admire along the way. It also runs along the former border between East and West Germany, which visitors can learn more about at the Documentation Centre in Wanfried. The family-friendly Werra Valley cycle route is especially beautiful during cherry blossom season.
Further information about the Werra Valley Cycle Path is available on the Werratal Radweg website (in German only).
Diemel Cycle Path (Diemelradweg)
This lovely tour through the home of the Brothers Grimm begins at the source of the river Diemel. It leads cyclists through gorgeous timber-framed villages, the climatic health resort of Trendelburg and the Hanseatic city of Warburg, first mentioned in the year 1010. The well signposted, family-friendly Diemel Cycle Path mainly runs along quiet roads until you reach the confluence of the Diemel and Weser rivers, close to Bad Karlshafen. Despite the densely forested peaks that you pass on your journey, the route itself only includes a few minor climbs. The route has been certified as a 4-star quality route by the ADFC.
More information about the Diemel Cycle Path can be found on the Diemel Radweg website (in German only).
Red Riding Country Railway Cycle Path (Bahnradweg Rotkäppchenland)
Travelling along the family-friendly Red Riding Hood Country Railway Cycle Route is like finding yourself in a fairytale. The path connects Schwalmstadt-Treysa and Bad Hersfeld, beginning and ending at the towns' respective train stations. Half of the 70-kilometre cycle route takes you along the tracks of the former Knüllwald railway line, through meadows and forests, villages and timber-framed towns. There are also plenty of historical railway buildings, iron bridges and railway signs as well as works of art and gorgeous views along the way. Picnic areas, beer gardens and restaurants are all en route to provide cyclists with pleasing locations for a well-earned break.
More information about the Red Riding Country Railway Cycle Path can be found on the Bahnradweg Rotkäppchenland website (in German only).
Fulda Cycle Path R1 (Fulda-Radweg R1)
An idyllic 255km tour along the River Fulda from its source in the Rhön region to where it meets the River Werra, and along the River Weser to Bad Karlshafen. Along the way, cyclists will pass through meadows and forests and should keep their eyes out for shaggy Rhön sheep, the cathedral city of Fulda, and the charming half-timbered town of Melsungen. The journey to Kassel lets you enjoy riverside views of the documenta city. This long-distance cycle path is integrated into a dense network of regional cycle paths and thus offers a multitude of options for day trips. With only a few gentle inclines, it's an ideal route for families and leisure cyclists, though more ambitious cyclists can find themselves a challenge by linking the path to the Eder-Weser-Werratal Cycle Path.
More information about the Fulda Cycle Path can be found on the Fulda Radweg R1 website (in German only).
Hessian Long-Distance Cycle Path R4 (Hessischer Fernradweg)
Totaling 395km, Hessen's longest cycle route takes cyclists from the home of the Brothers Grimm in Nordhessen to the Bergstrasse wine region in the south. Cyclists will pass sights that inspired legends and fairytales, from Sleeping Beauty's Sababurg Castle in the Reinhard Forest to Little Red Riding Hood country in the Schwalm region. The route is challenging in places but offers very varied scenery: Ulrichstein, the highest town in Hessen (614m above sea level) provides stunning views of the volcanic Vogelsberg region; the green belt on the edge of the metropolitan region of Frankfurt/Rhine-Main is remarkably rural; and the scattered orchards of the Odenwald are covered in blossom come spring.
Hessian Long-Distance Cycle Path R5 (Hessischer Radfernweg R5)
Running a total course of 220km, this long-distance cycle path starts in the winter sports resort of Willingen (Upland). Leading cyclists through thick forested areas, including the ancient beech woods of the UNESCO World Heritage Kellerwald-Edersee National Park, there are also moderately steep hills to climb. Continuing along the southern banks of Lake Edersee to the Werra River and the historic town of Wanfried, the R5 passes through the spa resort of Bad Wildungen and the charming half-timbered towns of Homberg (Efze) and Rotenburg an der Fulda.
Hessian Long-Distance Cycle Path R7 (Hessische Radfernweg R7)
Covering a total length of 215km through the Lahn and Fulda Valleys and the Vogelsberg region, the R7 begins as a gentle path along the banks of the Lahn. The climb to Hessen's highest town, Ulrichstein (614 m above sea level), is more demanding - but it's worth it for the magnificent panoramic views at the top. Along the way, there's well preserved historical architecture to admire, from important cathedrals in Limburg and Wetzlar to Weilburg and Runkel Castles. From Lauterbach you can also choose an alternative route via the castle town of Schlitz - just follow signposts to the R7a, which adds 35km to the cycle path.
Hessian Long-Distance Cycle Path R8 (Hessischer Radfernweg R8)
This 300km route first runs through varied landscapes through the west of Hessen, from Frankenberg (Eder) all the way south to Heppenheim. Cyclists will pass through varied landscapes, from the green belt of metropolitan Frankfurt am Main to the forests of the Odenwald. There are moderate climbs and descents along the way with short, challenging stretches in the low mountain ranges of the Westerwald and Taunus regions, but they're worth it for the stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.