If you’re thinking of bike touring Germany, we say, great idea! With its well-developed network of bike paths and flat terrain in much of the country, Germany is the perfect place for your first cycle tour. Read on to find out if cycle touring Germany is right for you.
What’s in our guide to bike touring Germany?
We’ve bike toured in 22 countries around the world, including Germany, of course!
Our first time bike touring Germany, we just did a short trip, along the Berlin-Copenhagen Cycle Route from Rostock to Berlin. Later, I did a solo weekend ride from Berlin down to the wonderful town of Potsdam.
Most recently, we took 10 days to cycle from Berlin to Germany’s north coast, where we found Usedom Island, which has one of the most beautiful beaches we’ve ever seen!
On our bike tours in Germany we loved:
- The endless bike paths mean you hardly ever need to hit the road
- Flat routes, with hardly a hill in sight
- Gorgeous views of fields and meadows stretching as far as the eye can see
- Tons of campgrounds make it easy to bike tour on a budget
If you’re looking for the perfect place to do your first bike tour, here’s…
Everything You Need to Know Before Bike Touring Germany
Use our complete bike touring packing list to make sure you take the right stuff on your adventure!
Food & Drink in Germany
If you like wurst and schnitzel, getting fed while cycle touring in Germany is easy! Most small villages have at least one gasthaus that can satisfy your cycle tourist appetite.
For vegans and vegetarians, it’s a little bit tougher to find suitable meals in restaurants, though most places we tried at least had a vegetarian pasta dish. There’s usually a middle Eastern restaurant and a pizza restaurant in town, too, so look there if German food doesn’t work for you.
In Germany, we prefer to camp and cook our own food because groceries are cheap and plentiful. Look for bigger grocery stores to buy speciality veggie foods like tofu, mock meats, vegan cheese, and vegan yogurt.
For vegan cycle tourists in Germany, it is mandatory to see out the amazing vegan ice cream bars in Kaufland‘s bigger stores!
Beer is plentiful and cheap in Germany, so you’ll have to practice saying “no” or risk cycling with a sloshing belly-full of beer after lunch.
The one problem we had in Germany regarding beer is that the shops don’t tend to have much cold beer for sale — and we never saw cold craft beer, except in Berlin. Pretty annoying after a long, hot day of cycle touring!
Accommodation & Camping in Germany
German campgrounds are a little odd, especially for those of us used to camping in Canada!
They are geared towards the RV crowd and almost always house a range of semi-permanent mobile homes. The owners build things like wooden decks and even grow hedges around their spaces. Some of these places are like little villages — it can seem creepy when you first ride up to one.
Rest assured, the locals are harmless — if not particularly friendly — and cyclists with tents are almost always welcome.
Pro camping tip for Germany. Campgrounds tend to have locked bathrooms, so do your best to arrive during normal business hours when the reception office is open. If you don’t, look for other camping cycle tourists and ask to share their key for the night!
Wild camping in Germany
Wild camping is strictly forbidden in Germany. However, lots of people do it, and we even did it one night along the Oder River. Just follow the basic tips for wild camping — stay hidden, choose your spot carefully, set up near dark and leave early etc — and you shouldn’t have any problems. If someone does tell you to move along, don’t argue, just move along.
The good news is that campgrounds are usually $12–15 per night, so much cheaper than staying in German hotels.
Hotels and Guest Houses in Germany
Now the bad news. German guest houses and hotels are expensive! You’re looking at more than €50 per night (usually €70 and above) to stay in a decent hotel — so invest in a tent if you’re on a budget.
If you’re going to stay in hotels, grab the Bett+Bike app, which shows cyclist-friendly accommodation all over Germany. It’s most useful if you speak German, since you’ll likely have to phone for price and availability information.
Roads & Traffic in Germany
The biggest appeal of cycling in Germany is the amazing network of bike routes around the country. They tend to be well planned out, well connected, and well signed. Some of them, like the D12 along the Germany-Poland border, are heavenly, keeping you away from roads, cities, and towns for days on end.
Cycling through German cities tends to be safe and easy too, with excellent infrastructure for cyclists.
When you do end up on the road, cars are usually respectful and give you space. One warming, German roads are fast, and many drivers don’t slow down when they go by. It can be a scary experience if you’re not used to it.
Try to stick to L roads and smaller while cycling in Germany. B roads are OK in a pinch, but they can be narrow and the traffic moves quickly. Cyclists are not allow on German motorways and you’ll never need one, since there are so many bike routes and small roads to choose from.
Need some new bike touring gear? We use (and love!) these:
Dogs & Other Dangers in Germany
The only scary dogs we’ve encountered while bike touring Germany have been locked behind secure fences. There have also been a few cute furry friends at campgrounds.
The biggest danger we’ve encountered on the roads of Germany is other cyclists — like the time Stephen was pulled into a random bike accident with an elderly lady going about 2 kph!
Cycle Touring Budget for Germany
Your bike touring budget for Germany will look radically different if you’re staying in hotels and eating in restaurants or camping and cooking for yourself.
Camping costs about €15 per night and you can easily feed yourself for €10-15/day. You can even treat yourself to a few beers without adding more than a euro or two. This is extremely cheap for a cycle tour in Western Europe.
The bad news is that if you stay in hotels and eat at restaurants, you’re easily going to spend €100/day for a couple! Set aside a little cash for one or two nights in a hotel, since it’s easy to get caught in an unexpected downpour from which it could take days to dry out.
So, is bike touring Germany right for you? Are you planning a trip soon or just dreaming? Have you cycle toured in Germany before? Let us know in the comments!
♥ Happy mindful adventures, Jane & Stephen
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