Cycling at the North Sea - active holiday in a wonderful natural idyll
Cycling along the North Sea coast: a pleasant sea breeze, the sound of the waves, a cap full of wind and boundless natural idylls are the companions of those who decide to explore the North Sea by bike. The sight of bizarre coastal forms, the seemingly boundless expanse of the mudflats, lively harbour towns, lonely dunes, fairytale marsh and moor landscapes, small fishing villages and always the relaxing sound of the waves in the background make cycling along the North Sea a very special experience.
The best-known cycle route along the North German coast is the North Sea Cycle Route. The more than 6,000-kilometre-long cycle route runs along the roaring sea through eight European countries: Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Scotland, England, Belgium and the Netherlands. This also makes it the longest signposted cycle route in the world. A good stretch of the North Sea Coast Cycle Route runs through northern Germany, from Leer on the Dutch border via Hamburg to Klanxbüll in the north, along the dikes of the UNESCO Wadden Sea World Heritage Site. In addition to numerous sights presented to the cyclist along the route, an incomparable natural idyll characterises the picture and promises an active holiday with the greatest possible variety. If you cycle along here, you will enjoy a cycling experience that is second to none. There are hardly any gradients. Only the wind makes pedalling difficult from time to time. For the most part, however, it is a friendly companion that blows the salty air through your hair and makes you want to continue.
The route network is varied and can be individually adapted to your own needs by selecting sections. The North Sea Coast Cycle Route is just as suitable for beginners as it is for cycling professionals; the paths are mostly flat and excellently signposted. If you fancy exploring the North Sea by bike but don't have your own bike with you, you can hire one in every major town.
North Sea Coast Cycle Route: From Emden to Cuxhaven
The North Sea Coast Cycle Route can be divided wonderfully into sections. This is a great advantage for active holidaymakers who don't have much time but don't want to miss out on the Nordic cycling tour. A section of the route is also ideal for families with children. For example, the cycling route from Emden, via Norden, the island of Juist, Neuharlingersiel, Wilhelmshaven, Bremerhaven to Cuxhaven is a particularly enjoyable experience. The sporty, relaxed tour covers around 250 kilometres and offers not only the coast, mudflats, forests, meadows and moors, but also a wonderful island experience on Juist and entertaining ferry adventures.
The multi-day cycling tour, which can be divided into as many kilometres per day as you like depending on your mood and fitness level, starts in Emden, Germany's westernmost seaport and the largest city in East Frisia.
From Emden, the North Sea Coast Cycle Route leads to Norden, 60 kilometres away. On the way, the romantic fishing village of Greetsiel invites you to linger. Gourmets in particular will get their money's worth here - the historic crab cutter harbour in Greetsiel is over 600 years old and supplies the region with freshly caught delicacies. If you like, you can fortify yourself with a Greetsiel crab soup and East Frisian brown bread before continuing your journey north. Be sure to keep your eyes open at the Ley Bay: If you're lucky, you'll see seals cavorting in the North Sea waves. The picturesque town of Norden is the first major stop on this cycle route. Here you can relax with a smoky black tea in the East Frisian Tea Museum, or admire Norden's pretty historic buildings on a stroll through the town. The seal station in Norddeich, a district of Norden, is great fun for animal lovers of all ages. Here you can experience the sea creatures up close. Smaller North Sea animals such as the lugworm can be encountered on a guided mudflat hike in the Lower Saxony Wadden Sea National Park, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2009. With its first-class bathing and leisure facilities, Norden is a wonderful place to spend some time. Our Romantik Hotel Reichshof is the perfect place to stay for those who want to recharge their batteries and relax before continuing their journey. Not only tense muscles can be regenerated in the luxurious Meer & Moor Spa - the diverse sauna landscape, the swimming pool, the paradisiacal wellness garden, the fireplace room or the dune sand relaxation room are a Mecca of East Frisian all-round relaxation. If you wish, you can also rent a bicycle or an e-bike here.
The next stop on this bike tour is a detour to the island of Juist. It is not part of the classic North Sea coastal cycle route, but it is so beautiful that it should not be missed. The ferry takes pedestrians and cyclists (cars are not allowed on Juist) across to the island.
At just 17 kilometres, Juist is not a place for long-distance bikers. But it is a paradise for enjoyable cycling. Since cars are not allowed on the island, parents with smaller children can also relax and enjoy nature. Juist is an extremely bicycle-friendly place: bikes may be parked anywhere, there is no shortage of idyllic picnic spots and there is a bicycle parking area in the west of the island. Apart from that, the island is an extraordinary natural beauty. If you leave the pretty Juist town centre to the south, you will soon find yourself in the midst of magnificent salt marshes, small bog birch woods and paradisiacal beaches with impressive sandbanks. Juist is also home to the Hammersee, the largest freshwater lake on the East Frisian islands.
After a sporty exploration of the island with picnics, wave jumping and discovering rare birds in the nature reserve, the day ends wonderfully at the 4-star Romantik Hotel Achterdiek, where exhausted holidaymakers are welcomed with warm hospitality. Guests can expect award-winning gourmet cuisine and comfortable rooms with a view of the UNESCO Wadden Sea World Heritage Site. Those who wish can extend their stay on Juist, relax in the light-flooded bathing and sauna area of the Hotel Achterdiek, take a guided mudflat hike or a boat trip to the bird island Memmert or to the seal banks.
Others get back on their bikes after an opulent East Frisian breakfast buffet, take the ferry back to the mainland and ride from Norden to Neuharlingersiel, a wonderfully picturesque fishing village with a 300-year-old harbour at its heart. The route is about 50 kilometres long and rewards you with picture-perfect panoramic views of the islands of Baltrum and Langeoog.
The next destination is Wilhelmshaven, 57 kilometres away, passing numerous lively coastal and seaside resorts, such as Horumersiel-Schillig, one of Germany's most popular holiday resorts and affectionately known as the Cape of Good Rest.
In Wilhelmshaven there are various options for continuing on to Bremerhaven. Either you cycle over the famous Kaiser Wilhelm Bridge to the harbour and take a ferry to Eckwardehören, and from there, after a nice stretch along the dyke, another ferry to Bremerhaven. Or you can extend the cycle route and tour your bike around the Jadebusen, past the idyllic harbour of Varel, where you can fortify yourself with fish from in-house smokehouses and fish sandwiches. Refreshment is promised by a cool Frisian beer in the Varel brewery. The Sehestedt National Park Experience Station, located between the dyke and the Wadden Sea, is an ideal place to visit. Here you can visit the Floating Moor, the last raised bog on the Jade Bay. From Bremerhaven, the journey continues with a flourish: to Cuxhaven, about 50 kilometres away. The route to your destination leads along the "Lower Saxony Wadden Sea National Park" and provides wonderful views of the enchanting natural surroundings. In Cuxhaven, the destination of this section, you can park your bike and visit the city's cultural wealth, with a great variety of museums and historical buildings. Highlights include Fort Kugelbake, a historic naval fortress from the second half of the 19th century, and the Hamburg lighthouse.
Endless North Sea cycling fun
If you don't feel like dismounting yet, you don't have to part with your bike. The North Sea Coast Cycle Route goes on for hundreds of kilometres. So if you want, you can pedal harder. How about continuing the route to Friedrichskoog? There you can visit an important seal breeding station. Every year, up to 250 seal pups land here. Most of them are young animals that have been separated from their mother or injured seals that could be rescued on the Schleswig-Holstein North Sea beaches. Through a large underwater window, visitors are allowed to watch the young animals compete with their comrades in the seawater pools. The Nolde Museum is also worth a detour. The famous painter worked here during the Second World War. After Nolde's death in 1956, Seebüll became part of a foundation and has been open to its guests as a museum ever since. Also worth a visit: the Schleswig-Holstein National Park! This wonder of nature stretches from Sylt to the mouth of the Elbe, and exploring it is a must on this cycle route.
Attractive detour from the North Sea Coast Cycle Route: The Elbe-Weser Cycle Route
A delightful 190-kilometre cycle tour through the Cuxland region. The Elbe-Weser Cycle Route links the Weser Cycle Route and the Elbe Cycle Route, two popular cycle routes. The tour starts in the North Sea resort of Otterndorf, a historic old town with flair, and leads through picturesque moor and heath landscapes, past quaint inns, to Bad Bederkesa. Here, the healing moor spa and a magnificent castle on the lake await you. If you wish, you can spend the night in our Romantik Hotel Bösehof, where you can pamper your tired bones in the greatest comfort and loving luxury. The next destination of the cycle tour is Beverstedt, with its famous graves from the Bronze Age. From here the route continues on the circular cycle path "From the Devil's Moor to the Wadden Sea" via Lilienthal, Worpswede to the main station in Bremen.
Relaxation in excellent Romantik Hotels along the cycle route
If you want to combine an active cycling holiday with wellness and soothing relaxation, you can take a break in one of our Romantik Hotels along the route. Our family-run, comfortable accommodations are geared to cycling tourists and welcome their exhausted guests in the usual excellent manner. Freshly strengthened and pleasantly refreshed, you can continue the next day, or even a few days later, through a landscape that is worth every pedal stroke.
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