The Main Cycle Route
The almost 600-kilometre Main Cycle Route begins at the sources of the White and Red Main rivers near Kulmbach in Upper Franconia. In Mainz, the river flows into the Rhine. On this page you will find information on the length, topography and signposting of the trail, as well as tips on how to get there and the ideal time to travel. Of course, selected cycling holidays along the Main should not be missing either.
Among the river cycle paths, the Main Cycle Route is one of the classics in Germany. No wonder, you will find all the ingredients for a successful cycling holiday here. Visit towns worth seeing such as Aschaffenburg in Lower Franconia, the old bishop's town of Würzburg, the beer town of Bamberg and the home of the Wagner Festival in Bayreuth. In between, there are beautiful little towns such as Gemünden, Lohr am Main and the half-timbered idyll of Miltenberg. These lovely little towns are connected by a first-class cycle path that takes you through the wonderful, varied landscapes of Beer- and Wine-Franconia. The Main Cycle Route is considered first-class not only in terms of its signposting and trail quality. Look forward to the delicious Franconian cuisine, world-famous beer and full-bodied wines.Show more Show less
Short & simple: The Main Cycle Route
approx. 600 km
Altitude profile ●●○○○
The Main Cycle Route runs without any major climbs. Along the source rivers, the Red and White Main, the ride on the Main Cycle Route becomes more strenuous.
The cycle route is signposted throughout with the Main Cycle Route logo in both directions. Only one side of the river is signposted at any one time, although both banks are passable.
Most of the time you cycle along the Main on separate cycle paths or low-traffic country roads and service roads. Rarely do you cycle on unpaved forest or field paths.
On the way from the source to the mouth
The Red Main rises south of the festival city of Bayreuth and joins the White Main near the margraviate town of Kulmbach to form the Main. Officially, the Main Cycle Route begins in the middle of Bayreuth's old town. Passing Kulmbach, you reach the German basket town of Lichtenfels. At the next turn of the Main, the total work of art Bamberg awaits you. Thanks to the completely preserved old town ensemble and the lively beer tradition, this is one of the highlights on the Main Cycle Route. Our cycling tour tip: Bamberg is the starting point of the Main river cycling path!
From Bamberg you roll almost by yourself to Wine-Franconia. Passing vine-covered hills, you will gradually cycle to the towns of Haßfurth and Schweinfurth as well as the Volkacher Weinschleife in the heart of Franconian wine country. The old bishop's town of Würzburg, situated in the middle of the Main triangle, is just as much a part of your stops as the medieval Wertheim in the Tauber valley. By the way, a trip along the Main can be excellently combined with a side trip to the Tauber Valley.
You can also visit the small town of Miltenberg, the gateway to the Spessart and Odenwald, and the Bavarian Nice of Aschaffenburg. A few kilometres before the Main flows into the Rhine, you will catch sight of the skyline of the global metropolis Frankfurt. The Main Cycle Route ends in the cathedral city of Mainz. The cycle path can also be easily cycled in the opposite direction. Our travel tip: On the great cycling holiday on the Main, you will cycle almost the entire Main between Bayreuth and Aschaffenburg in 11 days.Show more Show less
As soon as the weather permits, usually between mid-April and mid-October, nothing stands in the way of a tour along the Main Cycle Route. The reawakened nature welcomes you in spring. In summer, shady trees accompany you as you cycle and the next beer garden is rarely far away. Summertime is the most popular time for cycling tours along the Main. Wine lovers especially enjoy the late summer and autumn, when the green shining vineyards turn golden and red and the winegrowers taste their young wines.
If you want to cycle along the Main Cycle Route with your own bike, we recommend travelling by car or train. All major towns on the Main are connected to the motorway and federal road network as well as to the regional and long-distance services of Deutsche Bahn. If you are travelling by train, please enquire in advance whether your chosen connection allows you to take your bicycle with you. If you are travelling a long way and have booked a rental bike, we recommend using the airports in Nuremberg and Frankfurt am Main in addition to the car and train. From here you can easily reach all the larger towns on the Main by train.
Several railway lines follow the Main Cycle Route almost parallel. If the weather doesn't cooperate, an unexpected breakdown occurs or you want to skip a day on your bike, you have the option of shortening the stage by train. In the summer months, you can also interrupt your stages with a short boat trip on the Main.
Who is the Main Cycle Route suitable for?
The Main Cycle Route is ideal for pleasure cyclists who are curious about Franconian cuisine and delicious wine. Nature lovers will be thrilled by the varied landscapes on both sides of the Main. Or do you, as a family with children, appreciate relaxed cycling away from the major roads? Garnished with countless historic towns, castles and palaces, culture and history enthusiasts will also get their money's worth. The Main Cycle Route is suitable for everyone!
The wide paths are well suited for the use of a child's trailer. Since you cycle on low-traffic routes, you can let your children cycle long sections by themselves. The almost gradient-free route and the manageable stages on the Main Cycle Route make a cycling holiday just as enjoyable for beginners as for sporty cyclists who plan their stages accordingly.
Between Bamberg and Gemünden am Main and between Wertheim and Aschaffenburg, the route is also suitable for racing cyclists.Show more Show less