Exploring Hanseatic Cities Elbe Cycle Route

The Elbe Cycle Route begins at the Kugelbake, Cuxhaven’s historic landmark that used to serve as an aid to navigation. Cycling through the Altes Land region along the Elbe, the route leads you to the Hanseatic town of Stade and all the way to the port City of Hamburg.

A young couple of cyclists with wide river in background The Elbe Cycle Route is one of Germany's most popular cycle routes. Stretching out to almost 1300 kilometres, it follows the river from source to sea. The section in the Hamburg metropolitan region feature picturesque towns and villages and scenic cultural landscapes all along the way.

Keeping Close to the Elbe

Twin ship lift and nature reserve

Once you are past Hamburg, you will find yourself in the Elbe marshes. For those interested in industrial design it is recommended taking a detour to the Old Salt Route and the Scharnebeck twin ship lift. Nature lovers will find exactly what they are looking for in the Elbe River Landscape – a UNESCO biosphere reserve.

Suggested route for a one-day tour: 61 km from Lauenburg to Hitzacker 

Your journey begins in Lauenburg, the beautiful town on the Elbe that is known for its half-timbered houses and historic old town. Accompanied by passing ships and pure nature, you follow the course of the Elbe to Boizenburg. From here, you follow the route to the town of Bleckede, where you can stop over at the Biosphaerium Elbtalaue with exhibitions on the Elbe region’s flora and fauna. Passing through Darchau, the final stretch of your journey takes you to Hitzacker, where you can visit the Archaeological Centre Hitzacker before taking the train back to Lauenburg.

In a nutshell 

  • Length of route: 1,260 kilometres in total
  • Sights: Cuxhaven • Glückstadt • Elbe island of Krautsand • Hanseatic City of Stade • Altes Land fruit orchards • Hanseatic City of Hamburg • Elbe marshes • Lauenburg • UNESCO Biosphere Reserve 'Elbe River Landscape' • Boizenburg • Bleckede • Hitzacker • Dömitz • Wittenberge • maritime landmarks
  • Trail conditions: The cycle path is mostly asphalted and on traffic-free lanes.
  • Signage: The entire trail is signposted with the 'Elberadweg' logo.
  • Special features: One of Germany’s most scenic and most popular river cycle routes. The Elbe-Radwanderbus (Altes Land region) and the Elb-Shuttle (Elbe River Landscape) are available to cyclists and their bikes.

GPX data, maps, information and free brochures: 

Koordinierungsstelle Elberadweg Nord
c/o Herzogtum Lauenburg Marketing und Service GmbH
Elbstr. 59 · 21481 Lauenburg/Elbe

Phone: +49 45 42 85 68 62
Elbe Cycle Route | Elbe-Radwanderbus (in German) | Elb-Shuttle (in German)

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Tanja Blätter

Tourismus, Zukunftsagenda - Tourismus und Internationales Marketing, IKM, EU Projekt Star Cities

Geschäftsstelle der Metropolregion Hamburg
Alter Steinweg 4
20459 Hamburg
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