The Neckar Cycle Route


Neckar-Radweg, Mundelsheim


Neckar-Radweg, Heidelberg


Neckar-Radweg, Nürtingen

Bad Wimpfen

Neckar-Radweg, Bad Wimpfen

Out and about on the Neckar cycle path



Neckar-Radweg, Hessigheim

Wonderfully relaxed, you cycle once through Baden-Württemberg on the Neckar Cycle Route. You start in the southwest of the Swabian Alb, follow the Württemberg Wine Route, and finally reach the Odenwald. You will cycle a few kilometers before reaching the destination of your bike tour on Hessian soil. The route measures about 420 kilometers from the source in Villingen-Schwenningen to where the Neckar flows into the Rhine in Mannheim. 

You will find the most important information about the Neckar Cycle Route on this page. Travel tips, information on topography and signposting as well as possible shortcuts. Along the Neckar, you cycle once through Baden-Württemberg, almost in the entire north-south extension. Experience the diversity of southern Germany! 

And if you don't have time to organize your tour on the Neckar Cycle Route yourself, take a look at our cycling holidays along the Neckar. You cycle and we take care of the rest - route planning, hotel bookings, and, of course, luggage transport. 

Show more Show less

Short & simple: The Neckar Cycle Route

  • Length
    approx. 420 km
  • Topography
    Altitude profile Villingen – Mannheim ●●○○○
    Altitude profile Donaueschingen – Villingen ●●●○○ 
    Largely flat trails with occasional climbs as you don't always ride directly along the riverbank. If you start in Donaueschingen, you will master the most strenuous climb right at the beginning of your tour.
  • Signposting
    The Neckar Cycle Route is continuously signposted from Villingen to Mannheim with a stylized cyclist on a blue background. Individual sections coincide with other long-distance cycle paths. If you cannot recognize the Neckar Cycle Route sign, it is best to take a look at your map material.
  • Quality
    For the most part, you will be traveling on quiet country roads and separate bike paths on the stages. However, when you ride through towns and cities, you will usually have to share the road with other road users. 
    The routes are mostly asphalted or have been covered with fine gravel.
Short & sweet: The Neckar cycle path

The source of the Neckar was symbolically marked in Schwenningen about 450 years ago. However, the actual origin of the Neckar is rather a spring catchment area - because the river is formed from the confluence of several watercourses in the Schwenninger Moos. On the first kilometers along the still-young Neckar, you can almost watch the river grow. While it first gurgles and bubbles happily, it quickly develops into a mighty river. 
The most popular route on the Neckar Cycle Route connects two venerable university towns – Tübingen and Heidelberg. Via Esslingen, Stuttgart, and Ludwigsburg, you follow the river through the vineyards of the Württemberg Wine Route. Medieval half-timbered towns, castles that stand guard high above the river, and beautiful scenery line the Neckar. Before you reach the cultural highlight and final point of your tour in Heidelberg, you cycle surprisingly flat through the forests of the Odenwald.

Map Neckar cycle path

Travel time

The Neckar flows over long distances through the warm regions of Germany. This means that when it is still or already getting uncomfortable along the other long-distance cycle routes, the chances of a sunny bike tour on the Neckar Cycle Route are very high! It is especially beautiful in spring at the time of the apple blossom – depending on the weather already in April and May. The forests provide cool shade during the summer months. 
During the grape harvest in late summer and early autumn, wine lovers look forward to the so-called broom taverns (Besenwirtschaften). Winegrowers serve their young drops directly at their wineries and mark this with a broom above the farm gate.

Neckar cycle path, Tübingen

How long will I be on the route?

If you want to cycle at a leisurely pace, you can cover the distance between Donaueschingen and Heidelberg in about ten days.
This gives you plenty of time to visit the sights along the way, sample a glass of wine and simply unwind. The most popular route on the Neckar Cycle Route, the tour from Tübingen to Heidelberg, can also be completed by inexperienced cyclists in one week. Are you looking for a sporting challenge? Then we recommend the sporty tour once through Baden-Württemberg: from Constance to Heidelberg, cyclists who do not shy away from 80 km stages will be on the road for eight wonderful days!

Neckar cycle path, Bad Wimpfen
Bad Wimpfen

Arrival and departure

The towns along the Neckar Cycle Route are connected by regional and long-distance railway lines. Getting there by public transport can therefore be mastered without any major problems, no matter where you want to start your cycle tour. And once you have arrived at the destination of your cycle tour on the Neckar Cycle Route, you can return to your starting point by train. A popular option is to start your cycle tour along the Neckar not in Villingen at the source, but in Donaueschingen. The town has good transport connections and the stage to the source of the Neckar is worthwhile! Most cycle tourists start in Tübingen, which is easily accessible by public transport. Heidelberg, a frequently chosen destination, is an ICE stop, just like Mannheim, which makes for a direct, convenient departure. Just always remember to enquire in advance about the possibility of taking bicycles with you, should you be traveling on the train with your own wheels.

Neckar cycle path, Lauffen


Should the weather play tricks on you or an unforeseen bicycle breakdown occur, you can usually quite comfortably shorten the stage with the regional train and thus reach your next stage destination on the Neckar Cycle Route. With a few exceptions, all towns along the Neckar are connected by a railway line.


Who is the Neckar Cycle Path suitable for?

Whether you want to cycle at a leisurely pace or at a brisk pace - it is a popular destination for all our cycle tourists. The good quality of the cycle paths, on which you will hardly ever meet a car on the way, allows families with children to have just as much fun as cyclists who want to make good kilometers. The numerous accommodation options along the Neckar allow for a wide variety of stage layouts.
It is up to you whether you prefer to plan more time for the sights located on the edge of the cycle path or whether you are looking for a sporting challenge. The Neckar Cycle Route is suitable for pleasure cyclists, culture lovers, wine connoisseurs, and cyclists alike. And since it is not (yet) one of the top 10 most popular cycle paths in Germany, it is our insider tip!

Neckar cycle path, Esslingen