Cycling along the Danube

Cycling between Ulm and Donauwörth has become quite popular. You can cycle along the mighty Danube most of the way. The Danube, or Donau in German, is the second longest river in Europe, after Volga.

Ulm is well known for two things, it has the tallest church tower in Germany and Albert Einstein was born in Ulm. You can climb the church tower, unfortunately no lift, so it can be quite a tough exercise, especially in the summer. But you have quite a few restaurants around the Cathedral, so you can get a beer afterwards. Einstein’s birth place is Bahnhofstrasse 20, but the house was destroyed by allied bombing in December 1944. Like many other German cities, Ulm has a lot of bike paths, so cycling in Ulm is quite easy. In Ulm, the Danube and Iller river merge. The Iller river is actually larger than the Danube, so the Danube should really be called Iller!

The Danube is the border between Baden-Würtemberg and Bavaria in Ulm. Neu-Ulm on the east side of the river belongs to Bavaria. But once you leave Ulm, the border goes north and you will be in Baveria if you follow the river. From Ulm you are heading for Günzberg, a town of 20,000 that was founded by the Romans in about 70 BC. There are quite a few smaller rivers around Günzberg, they all join the Danube. If you have time, it is well worth checking out the neighborhood.

From Günzberg, the next major stop is Dilligen. Bavaria is well known for its beer gardens, you are never far away from a beer garden. As long as the weather is reasonable, cycling around the beautiful Bavarian countryside is really nice. North of the Danube are the Schwäbische Alps, a popular place for mountain biking. South of the river, it is mostly forest and water. You can also find some ancient Roman ruins and a few castles along the route.

Our tour ends in Donauwörth, which is just 80 kilometers away from Ulm so it is a short tour. The route between Ulm and Donauwörth is very popular amongst cyclists and bike rentals are available. There are plenty of bike paths in the area between Ulm and Donauwörth, so it is possible to spend quite a few days on the short stretch between the two towns.

It is of course also possible to continue along the Danube. If you want you can continue to Kelheim, another 100 kilometers along the Danube and reach the Main Canal. The 171 kilometer long canal connects the Main with the Danube, creating a connection between the two main rivers in Europe, the Rhine and the Danube. The canal between Bamberg and Kelheim was completed in 1992 but already Emperor Charlemagne, back in the 8th century wanted a waterway between the Main and Danube. The canal created a connection between the Atlantic and the Black Sea.

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