Cycling Holiday in Europe: Eifel National Park & the Vennbahn Radweg
Starting a bike touring trip from your front door, the coolest way to travel!
With the world opening its borders step by step, this might be the right time to start planning your next cycling holiday in Europe. Why not choose for a sustainable trip by bike this time? While a heat wave was taking over Europe we did a 12 day bike trip through Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. The highlight of this trip? Eifel National Park! It was our first longer trip with our beloved, and packed, Surly bikes and we absolutely loved it. An abundance for off-grid itineraries, lovely cities and astonishing views along the way made us think about this trip. Why you should choose for a more sustainable way of traveling closer to home? You can read all about it here.
Cycling itinerary Eifel National Park
We loved cycling during this extreme heat, but it is important to point out you need to think about more details due to this. Shortening cycling days, taking more breaks, drinking plenty of water and choosing for a camping spot where you can enjoy a cold shower or lake. The itinerary you find below is definitely adaptable, but for our first longer touring trip by bike it was perfect.
Day 1: Kaulille - Schinnen // 55km // 180m altitude
Day 2: Schinnen - Epen // 47km // 610m altitude
Day 3: Epen - Vaals - Roetgen // 50km // 680m altitude
Day 4: Roetgen - Üdingen // 40km // 510m altitude
Day 5: Hiking day in Eifel National Park // 26km // 690m altitude
Day 6: Üdingen - Erkensruhr // 42km // 570m altitude
Day 7: Resting day Erkensruhr
Day 8: Erkensruhr - Monschau // 28km // 520m altitude
Day 9: Resting day Monschau
Day 10: Monschau - Blegny // 67km // 640m altitude
Day 11: Blegny - Zutendaal // 83km // 480m altitude
Day 12: Zutendaal - Kaulille // 49km // 170m altitude
We did not plan out the entire itinerary beforehand but we did have an idea about must-do's. Places like the triple frontier, the Vennbahn, Monschau and Eifel National Park where noted on the map. Everyone likes to travel in his/her own way and we absolutely advise to travel how you like it best. For ourselves, we like a little amount of certainties combined with flexibility. In that way, if we fall in love with a place, we have the possibility to spend more time if we want to. One of the perks to start a cycling holiday ratter soon then later!
A perfect cycling holiday for rookies!
There are numbers of possibilities while planning a cycling trip from Belgium to Eifel National Park. We will never proclaim our itinerary is the way to do it, but there are certain highlights along the road you just can't miss!
Highlight 1: The hills in South-Holland
If you, just like us, think the Netherlands are flat... you are wrong. Without having a clue, Niels' hometown is only 50km away from some nice hills in the Netherlands. We only cycled in 'Heuvelland' for about one day but we were very surprised with some wide views, cool gravel tracks and idyllic bars. In this area you can also find some climbs from the Amstel Gold Race, one of the absolute must-see races if you are a cycling fan.
We spent two nights in stunning surroundings and that area has a lot of nice camping spots to offer. Our first night was in Schinnen at Hoeve Krekelberg and for the second night we pitched our Hilleberg Tent between some cows. This was at the farm of Hoeve Helberg. At this camping spot you are only 7km away from the triple frontier Belgium - Holland - Germany.
Highlight 2: Eifel National Park
A cycling holiday through Eifel National Park in Germany is a perfect short getaway for all cyclists who love diversity. The National Park is around 110km² big and offers multiple cycling and hiking itineraries for all levels. The Wilderness Trail is a beautiful 4-day hike of around 85km and offers camping spots along the way. Following the hiking trail is very easy, you just have to look out for signs portraying a wild cat. There's a lot of altitude difference in the Wildness Trail and we wouldn't advise this hiking trail for first-time multiple day hikers. We ourselves did a little part of the trail and hiked around 26km in one day. The views are magnificent and you are constantly surround by silent woods, we loved it! Choosing a cycling itinerary in and around Eifel National Park is quite easy, there are numbers of places where you can find some local maps and brochures. We planned our itinerary with Komoot and opted for a lot of gravel/mtb routes combined with some easier parts. Cycling paths were maintained very nicely while we were there and getting lost is almost impossible. We would advise to ride a more sporty bike that's able to handle some offroad gravel pads, just like our Surly Bridge Clubs. It's def not a necessity but will make your rides more memorable and fun. At some time we didn't come across another living soul for a few hours.
Highlight 3: Cycling to Monschau
Reaching Monschau by bike is very easy, you just have to follow the Vennbahn Route. This cycling itinerary follows old rails through Luxembourg, Germany and Belgium and is around 125km long. It's very easy following the cycling path and the tracks are maintained perfectly most of the time, but we only followed it for a little while. The diversity is not very big and we are happy to have made our own itinerary to Monschau.
The beautiful Monschau is only 4kms away from the Belgian border and could be a very nice citytrip close to home. Except from the wooden houses and the impressive Monschau castle, the city offers plenty of cosy bars and restaurants, you can easy spend two days here. Because the city is situated in the valley of the Rur river, you are surrounded by beautiful nature and endless cycling and hiking possibilities.
A sustainable holiday close to home!
Of course we cannot wait to start our world trip by bike again and start cycling in Alaska and/or South-America. However, compared to previous times when we thought it was necessary to take a long flight for a short holiday, don't forget that there are endless possibilities for a holiday in Europe as well. Even more, there are probably plenty of beautiful holidays possible close from your front door you wouldn't even think about.
Why not assemble a touring bike yourself and invest in sustainable holidays closer to your home? A cycling holiday is amazing and you can go places you could never go before. If you love the outdours, are adventurous and love a challenge... don't book your next flight and contact us to start your cycling adventure rather soon that later. Cycling through Eifel National Park was an eye-opener for us and we would love to help you as well!
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