Cycling the Vennbahn, an easy ride on one of Europe’s longest rail trails.
The Vennbahn is a 125km rail trail that runs through Luxembourg, Belgium and Germany. It’s one of Europe’s longest rail trails and is quickly becoming known as one of the nicest bike paths in the region.
We’re going to see what all the hype is about. Our plan is to take the train from our home to Luxembourg City and then to use the Vennbahn plus other local bike trails to ride back home.
Below we’ve listed some helpful information, in case you’re planning a similar trip. You can also check the official Vennbahn website.
1. Get A Free Map – Download a free map of the Vennbahn rail trail (complete with accommodation and sightseeing information) in English / German or in French / Dutch. You can also order a free paper copy in English by emailing [email protected] or online from the “Tourist Shop” of the regional tourism office (in German, Dutch or French only).
Order a free copy of the Vennbahn Map from the East Belgium tourism office.
2. Use Bike Paths To Connect Luxembourg City With The Vennbahn - Luxembourg City is 60-90km from the start of the Vennbahn (depending on which route you take). You can take local bike trails much of the way there. We found two main options:
- Option A: Take PC2 (a rail trail) east out of Luxembourg City to Echternacht, then PC3 (the Trois Rivières bike path) and PC22 (the cycle path Des Ardennes) north, along the border with Germany. This leaves you with roughly 30km to cycle on local roads before you hook up with the Vennbahn. PC22 is listed as “difficulty: Exigent” on the Luxembourg tourism site.
- Option B: Take PC15 (the Alzette rail trail) straight north out of Luxembourg City and then connect with PC16 (the Moyenne Sûre bike path). Again, there’s a gap between the end of the bike paths and the start of the Vennbahn. You’ll have to improvise on local roads.
You can use the Waymarked Trails site to get a good overview of the various options.
3. Make Life Easy. Take The Train. If you don’t want to ride between Luxembourg City and the Vennbahn trail, you can easily take the train. This will save you some route planning, some hill climbing and 1-2 days of riding. Tickets cost just €2 and your bike rides for free. Trains leave once an hour (look up schedules on the Luxembourg Railway site). We picked up this tip from the European Cycling website.
4. Bring Your Tent. There are plenty of great campgrounds in the area. We’ve plotted a few on this map.
View our VennBahn map in a larger size.
We also found this list on the website of the Wereldfietsers (a Dutch bike touring club). For those who don’t speak Dutch, we’ve translated it.
Aachen Camping (1.5km from the start of the Vennbahn, can be busy in the summer)
Branderhofer Weg 11
Tel. 0049-(0)0241-60880 57
B – 4710 Lontzen
Tel. 0032-(0)87-78 31 26
*To reach this one, you have to leave the Vennbahn when you get to Raeren. It’s just before Hergenrath, near the big train bridge over the Geul river. It could be a bit difficult to find.
Camping Perlenau (nice tenting field but can be very full in high season or soaked with water after a hard rain)
Tel. 0049-(0)52156 Monschau
Tel. 0049-(0)2472-41 36
Camping La Belle Vallée (just over the border, by the former station of Kalterherberg)
Küchelscheid, Rickshelderweg, 6
Tel 0032-(0)80 44 60 57
Camping La Plage*
Route des Bains 33
Tel 0032- (0)80-44 66 58
*To reach this one, you have to leave the Vennbahn at Sourbrodt.
Camping Oos Heem (on the Vennbahn itself, near the former Montenau station)
Tel 0032-(0)80-34 97 41
Camping Wiesenbach (on the Vennbahn, near a swimming pool)
B-4780 Sankt Vith
Tel. 0032-(0)80-22 61 37
Email: [email protected]
Tel. 0032 (0)80-329 291
*You have to cycle about 8km off the Vennbahn to reach this one but it’s an easy ride along the Our.
Rue de Binsfeld
5. Cafes & Supermarkets Are Few And Far Between - According to the same thread on the Wereldfietser website, cafes and supermarkets aren’t very common along the Vennbahn. Therefore it’s good to know where they are so that you can plan for a tea break!
There are food shops in: Kornelimünster, Roetgen (just over the Belgian border), Monschau, Waimes, Sankt Vith and Troisvierges.
There are cafes in: Kornelimünster (former train station with patio terrace), Roetgen, Monschau, Küchelscheid (just over the border near Karterherberg in an old railway carriage), Waimes (Konditorei Heinrichs), Montenau, Sankt Vith, Burg-Reuland (just off the route and down into the town, follow the main road and to the right you’ll see a bakery).
We hope you find this helpful. We’ll update this page when we’re back from our trip!