Stage 4, From Karlsruhe to Bingen, through the vineyards.
The Rhine cycle trail leads cyclists through some of the most beautiful natural and cultural landscapes in Europe: the Upper Rhine Plain, surrounded to the east by the Black Forest, the Kraichgau region and the Odenwald, and the the west by the Vosges, the Palatinate Forest and the Highlands of the Rhine and the Hesse.
Running through picturesque villages and famous vineyards, the EV15 follows a rich and varied route full of scenic, cultural and culinary interest. The old wooden cranes that loaded and unloaded shipments of wine on the cargo ships sailing the Rhine form part of the river’s cultural heritage. An example of one of these structures can be seen at Oestrich-Winkel, a few kilometres upstream of Bingen. On the right bank of the river, the EV15 goes past Mannheim and its famous Wasserturm – an emblem of the city notable for its “Art Nouveau” stylistic influence. In Hesse, between Rüdesheim and Wiesbaden, the Rhine cycle trail takes you through the Rheingau cultural and winegrowing landscape, with its castles and monasteries. The trail offers a fantastic view over the Rhine peeking through the vineyards. An absolute must-see is Biebrich Castle, former residence of the Dukes of Nassau, as well as the wineries and the “Strausswirtschaften” – seasonal restaurants set up by winemakers, offering cyclists the chance to take a break and enjoy some food and drink. You will then travel through the marshland of the Hessisches Ried, alongside the Knoblochsaue and Kühkopf nature reserves.
On the left bank, the Rhine cycle trail continues its crossing of the Palatinate. Cyclists get an unobstructed view over the vast Rhine Plain, framed by the branches of the Old Rhine. This region boasts a wide variety of flora and fauna, as well as the gently rising mountainous regions of the Haardt and the Wasgau. The world-renowned Speyer Cathedral was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1982. You then arrive at Worms, one of the oldest towns in Germany, known across the globe as the city of the Nibelungen – the dwarfs of German legend that inspired Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle – also famous for its Romanesque Kaiserdom Cathedral. The route continues through the heart of the countryside, going towards Mainz across the Rhine alluvial plain, crossing vine-covered hillsides and alluvial meadows. At Mainz, capital of the Hesse Rhineland, take time out to stroll around the alleyways of the Old Town. And why not take a boat trip on the Rhine before you carry on your journey?
190 MILLION TONNES
AVERAGE AMOUNT OF
TRANSPORT ON THE RHINE
Speyer is dominated by the Speyer Cathedral, a number of churches and the Altportal (old gate). In the cathedral, beneath the high altar, are the tombs of eight Holy Roman emperors and German kings. The Old Gate (Altpoertel) is the medieval west city gate of Speyer. One of an original total of 68 towers in the old walls and gates. Today it is one of the largest (55 metres high) and most architecturally significant of the remaining city gates in Germany.
German Wine Road
The German Wine Road is the oldest of Germany’s wine routes and is located in the Rhineland-Palatinate region. Established in 1935 due to record wine harvests the villages came together to boost wine sales and the title “an der Weinstrasse” was added to village names which were on this route. The German wine road is the oldest wine route in the world
Opposite the town of Bingen-am-Rhein, the monumental statue of Germania, built above the village of Rüdesheim, dominates the Rhine and the upper vineyards, almost 50 metres high. This monument celebrates the foundation of the new German empire following the Franco-German war of 1870. In one hand is the emperor’s crown, while the other hand holds the imperial sword.
Mainz is home to a Carnival, the Mainzer Fassenacht orFassnacht, which has developed since the early 19th century. Carnival in Mainz has its roots in the criticism of social and political injustices under the shelter of cap and bells. Today, the uniforms of many traditional Carnival clubs still imitate and caricature the uniforms of the French and Prussian troops of the past. The height of the carnival season is on Rosenmontag (“rose Monday”), when there is a large parade in Mainz, with more than 500,000 people celebrating in the streets.
Bingen is situated just southeast of the Rhine knee at the Bingen Forest (Binger Wald – actually a low mountain range), which rises west of the town. Rising to the north on the other side of the Rhine is theRheingau range, the Taunus’s southwesternmost outcrop. In Bingen the river Nahe empties into the Rhine Gorge. Bingen forms the southern limit of the UNESCO Rhine Gorge World Heritage Site. The Rochusberg (mountain) is nearly completely surrounded by the town site.
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