The question of how to best plan a bicycle route through Germany recently came up on our Facebook group.
At first, we were stuck for an answer but after a bit of reflection we remembered a couple good resources.
This website is relatively new but looks promising. The interface is easy to figure out and once you’ve entered a start point and an end point for your tour, it produces a GPS route that can be downloaded in a variety of formats. Naviki even has smartphone apps if you’re planning on touring with an iPhone or Android handset.
The only thing that’s not clear to us is exactly how Naviki chooses a route: do they include local bike paths or only smaller roads? It’s certainly a good starting point for planning your tour in any case and you can always refine the route as you go along.
This is a totally different kettle of fish from Naviki and takes more effort to figure out but www.Radweit.de is also incredibly rewarding, once you understand how it works. The website is entirely in German so use Google Translate if your German isn’t up to scratch.
When you first access www.Radweit.de you’ll find it’s not exactly an ‘online route planner’ in the modern sense. You can’t just plug in a starting point and an end point and expect a route to pop up. What you can do, however, is access and print bike routes and maps for all of Germany and many surrounding countries.
The maps are impressively detailed and the website creator has gone to a great deal of trouble to fit only the relevant sections on each map. In David’s case, he could find information for his trip from Kiel to Munich by going to the page on bike routes to and from Munich.
On that page, he’d find a link detailing options for Kiel to Hamburg and Hamburg to Munich (outlined in red in the image below), as well as an overview of routes in Germany running to and from Munich.
When he clicks on any of the links, he’d get a map like this. At first, it looks incomprehensible but look closely and you’ll see that on one neat sheet of A4 paper you have an entire 150km bike route. Just follow the sections in order. The end of section 1 lines up with the start of section 2 and so on…
You can print the maps in black and white or colour, in A4 size or on A3 paper. Handy! With a little time to go through the site, you can print maps for an entire bike tour across Germany and even into neighbouring countries such as the Netherlands. Best of all – it’s free!
There are, of course, other options for planning bike tours across Germany. Our friend Blanche from the World Cycle Videos group suggested these websites:
- Fietsrouteplanner – The interface is in Dutch but there’s an explanatory page in English. Note, you have to zoom in on the map a few times to see city names and if you’re typing a city name into the search box, try the Dutch spelling. It often doesn’t recognize the English spelling.
- Via Michelin – There is a bicycle option and we’ve used it in the past but as we were writing this post it wasn’t working. Let’s hope it’s back in service soon!
Do you have a website to suggest? Share it by leaving a comment!