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The Eurovelo 6 route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea:

Part 2: From Burgundy, France, by the Rhine River route in Switzerland, to the Danube in Germany

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate –two days Difficult
Bike Rating: Very Good to Excellent

To List of Best European Bike Tours
Last cycled May, 2016, from St. Nazaire to Chalons-sur-Saône
© 2015-2016

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By David May

Other Eurovèlo 6 Pages:

Part 1: France: The Loire à Vélo – Eurovélo 6 from the Atlantic as far as Burgundy

Part 3: Austria: The Eurovèlo 6 from Passau, Germany to Vienna.

Slovakia and Hungary: (To be added later.)

To the Black Sea: (To be added later.)

Some years ago, before there were Eurovélo routes, I cycled the portions of todays Eurovelo 6 that lie in Switzerland and Austria. See my pages on the Bodensee and Rhine, and on the Danube River Route in Austria for photos and more information on cycling these parts of Eurovélo 6.

When to Ride: Ride during the months of June, July and August to experience average daytime maximumtemperatures above 68º F (20ºC) and average nighttime minimum temperatures above 50ºF (10º C). During these months there are about ten days per months with rain in an average year, about three or four inches of rain total each month. Check with hotels and b&bs to see if reservations are necessary, or if they can be shifted in the event of heavy rain. Many of the most popular hotels book up months ahead. The Basel area costs many times as much during ArtBasel in mid-June. Certain other towns have festivals, or even large weddings, when it is very difficult to find a last minute room. Should you not wish to pedal, trains serve almost all of the route and along the Danube after Regensburg in Germany and in Austria and Hungary there are passanger-carrying ships.

Eurovèlo 6 signage (waymarking):

France (white with green bicycle):

French Eurovelo 6 signage

Switzerland (Burgundy color):

Swiss Eurovelo 6 sign

Germany (white with green lettering) (yellow signs are for walkers):

German Eurovelo 6 sign

Guidebooks: There are signs all along Eurovélo 6 indicating the way, but my experience is that one can occasionally get lost, and moreover, it is comforting to know where one is headed. The town maps in the guidebooks are useful. If you have been riding from the Atlantic Ocean, you may already have the Eurovelo 6 book published by Chamina. It is available for €12 at amazon.fr, or could be purchased at Au Vieux Campeur in Parsi, or for much more in the USA or Britain.The maps therein were comforting and particularly helpful in Basel (Bâle in French) and where we deviated from signed route to visit city centers or to reach hotels. By disassembling the book, I could easily fit a series of pages into the plastic viewarea of my handlebar bag. This book's map from Dijon to the link-up with the main Eurovèlo 6 route, however, was insufficient, and we had to ask for help several times to find our way on the vineyard lanes and through Nuits-st-Georges. I provide a map below. There are also map packs available that I have not had a chance to review.

Along the Rhine and sometimes along the Danube there are choices to be made as to which bank to cycle on. Guidebooks can help you make an informed choice. The books can be un-bound and the individual pages placed on a handlebar carrier.. For the Rhine there is Teil 1 (Part 1) of the Esterbauer book Rhein Radweg (Rhine Bikeroute €13.90 on Amazon.de - 2017 price). It is in German, and covers the Rhine from its headwaters to Basel. Maps (maps 17 -26 are useful for a Eurovèlo 6 trip). For the Danube Bike Route through Germany see the first of four Daube guidebooks in English by that name published by Esterbauer. For the Danube Bike Route in Austria, from Passau to Vienna, see the second of the Esterbauer books. There are a total of five volumes covering the entire route. These are price €13 to €15 each from Amazon.de, £15 to £17 from Amazon.co.uk, and $19 to $21each from Amazon.com. Maps of the route are available for sale, but I have not reviewed them. It is also possible to make screen copies of bikemap.net maps. Below I have shown some for key trouble spots, but getting the necessary detail and format for an entire trip, in my opinion, is not worth the effort, and the pages will not be waterproof.

Below: major and minor German bikeroutes:
Bike routes through Germany

Germany is cris-crossed with signposted bike routes so it is possible to reach Passau without following the Danube. Many of these have guide-books from Esterbauer (in German)and all the relevant bikeroutes are shown clearly on bikemap.net and on the site of the Bavarian government: http://www.bayerninfo.de/bike. Depending upon the routes chosen, the total vertical elevation will not greatly exceed those of the Danube route, (considering the big climb to the Danube from the Rhine). If one choses to pass through Munich*** on bike routes (or using suburban train connections), the total distance cycled will be about 100 km less than than the Danube Route. One possible route would be to go from Stein-am-Rhein to Konstanz to Lindau** on the Bodensee and then by the Bodensee-Königsee Bike Route that skirts the Alps to mad king Ludwig's castle*** near Füssen, and then by Romantic Road branching onto the Ammer-Amper Bikeway and then via the Ammersee Biker Rute to Munich. From Munich there is the Issar river Bikepath to Ismaning, then the Sempt-Issen Bike Routeout and the Issental Way to the Inn River bike route to Passau. Many other choices are possible.

Sights:

Attractions on the Rhine (my ratings) are Basel**, Bad Säckingen*, Waldhut*, the falls of the Rhine (the largest falls by volume in Europe)** and Stein-am Rhein**. On the 520 kilometer long German Danube the three main tourist attractions are the cities of Ülm**, Regensburg**, and, on the Austrian border, Passau**. The scenery in the upper Danube valley is superb. The castle in Sigmaringen, the Abbey in Obermarchtal, and the Blautopf* in Blaubeuren are also well worth visiting. I have no personal experience with sights in Germany beyond Ulm, except for Passau.** The The Austrian Danube has many interesting sights, including, of course, Vienna***; see my page on the Danube River Route in Austria.

Commentary and helpful maps:

In 2017, I and my companion cycled from Dijon, Burgundy, France to Ülm, Germany. The alternative Eurovélo 6 route, starting from Dijon was more easily accessible for us that the main route coming from Chalon-sur-Saone. The ride through the vineyards and the possibility of a great meal and great wine in a Burgundy wine town make this alternative route well worth considering. The way from the Dijon rail station is poorly marked, and their is no signposting for the bike route through the vineyards. The way through Nuits-st-George is also not marked, nor the continuation along D114.. The maps below may help.

Red Dots mark the bike route frrom the Dijon-Ville train station:
Eurovelo 6 from the Dijon Railroad Station
The blue line shows the Eurovelo route out of Dijon
Eurovelo Route out of Dijon
Grand Cru grapevines near Gevrey-Chambertin on the Eurovèlo alternative route from Dijon:
Grand Cru grapevines near Chambertin
The Eurovelo Route from Marsannay-la-Cote to Vosgne-Romanée
Eurovelo alternate route
Eurovelo 6 route from Vosne-Romanée through Nuits-Saint-Georges. The way is slightly different if you are riding towards Dijon.
Eurovelo route through Nuits-St-Georges

From this point the Guidebook maps are clear. However, there is no waymarking so if you are riding without a guidebook, the following map may be helpful.

From Nuits-Saint-Georges to St-Jean-de-Losne:
Eurovelo 6 after Nuits -St-Georges

It is a huge short-cut, on to ride from The Abbaye de Ciseaux on highway D3 directly to Brazey-en-Plaine and then to St.-Jean-de-Losne. However this later road is filled with traffic - including big trucks – but it is sufficiently wide to be safe. The Eurovèlo 6, which does not use high-traffic roads unless absolutely necessary, follows a route that is 10 km longer.

Along the Saône River and the Doubs (pronounced "Doue") Rivers the way is almost entirely flat, though there are a couple of steep climbs and descents where the canal passes through a tunnel or their is a shortcut off the canal. The total elevation gain over some 200 kilometers is only 500 meters, and this gain is almost entirely lost as the canal from the Rhine to the Rhone descends rapidly in Alsace.

Canal linking the Saône and the Doubs Rivers, with Eurovelo 6 bikepath in packed earth:
Canal from Saone to Doubs
Canalboat on the Doubs River on Eurovèlo 6 before Besançon:
Canal boat on the Doubs River

It is very difficult to lose one's way, unless one has selected a hotel that is far off the bike path or is visiting a central city. Besançon is one such confusing place. The old city and forts are hundreds of feet up a very high hill that the Doubs River loops around. The canal, and the main bike path, pass through a tunnel. Both the old town and the new town are worth visits.

How to visit Besancon:
:Eurovelo 6 in Besançon
The bikeroute before Montbéliard is somewhat confusing, and close attention should be paid to signs. The following map may help
. The center of town is in the little circle, and access is over the bridge on a low traffic road just after the dashed line.
Bike paths at Montbéliard

The next problem spot is when arriving from France into Switzerland and Central Basel (my red dots mark the main bike route): At the end of the Hunnige Canal bike path (not paved and a mess in heavy rain) coming from the upper left in France, it is very easy to get lost. There is a sign saying to make a u-turn but no sign evident as to where to go after that: You must cross the little bridge and continue north several blocks to the Three-countries pedestrian bridge. (The way straight ahead is possible on weekends; on weekdays you arrived at a locked gate.)
Bike route through Basel

Basel seen from the 3-Nations pedestrian and bicycle bridge:
Basel seen from 3-Nations bridge

Leaving Basel, along the Rhine, the decision must be taken multiplle times as to which side of the Rhine to ride on. There are bike routes on both sides.. The north side is shorter, the south side (which is the Swiss National Route 2) goes by some Roman ruins. I have no opinion about this choice, as we took the train to Waldshut. In either case, the first 30 km out of Basel is in industrial landscapes.

From Waldshut, Germany and Koblenz, Switzerland, I advise the south side of the Rhine, as it is shorter and easier. At Kaiserstohl – Hohentengen, I highly recommend crossing to the north side of the Rhine. The bike route to the Rhinefalls and Schaffhausen is much shorter and easier.

Boats before the Rhinefalls:
Boats before the Rhinefalls

Be sure and ride down to the viewpoint for the Rhinefalls (a small version of Niagra Falls). Afterwards, it is a steep climb up from the falls. There is a bike-pedestrian path part way up that runs to Schaffhausen, saving some of the climb.

Bikepaths at the Rhine Falls and Schlaffhausen:
Bikepaths for Eurovelo 6 at the Rhine Falls and Schlaffhausen
Stein-am-Rhein, on the Eurovelo 6 just before lake Constance:
Stein-am-Rhein
it is about 22 km from Stein a. Rhein to Radolfzell at the right of the map. One departs Radofzell to the north.
Bodensee
Cyclists viewing Lake Constance (the Bodensee):
Cyclists on Eurovelo  6 viewing Lake Constance
Eurovelo route out of Radolfzell:
Eurovelo 6 north from Radolfzell
Continuation north of Eurovelo 6:
Eurovelo 6 north
Quiet road climbing towards the summit:
Eurovelo 6 on a quiet road
View back from the summit to Lake Constance. Percipitation, in this direction, flows to the North Sea. In the opposite direction it flows to the Black Sea.
Continuation of Eurovelo 6 north to Tuttlingen. Be sure to stop at the view ring at the "continental divide" between the Atlantic and the Back Sea, for a wonderful view back to Lake Constance.
Eurovelo 6 continues to Tuttlingen
Ülm Rathaus (city hall), the end of our rideon the Eurovèlo 6 this year:
Ulm Rathaus

The guidebooks and the signage for Eurovèlo 6 along the Danube, as far as Ulm, is very good. We only lost our way on the Blautal detour, but the first mistake, when we missed a sign, quickly became obvious and the second one used a bikepath to Ülm that was faster than the official route, though it followed a major road. There is no need for maps.

 

Next year I hope to add some further information about Eurovèlo 6 along the Danube past Ulm, and perhaps some additional information on the Eurovèlo 6 route in Austria. For information on the Eurovèlo 6 in Austria, cycled in 1999, please see this page of my site.

Good cycling!!!