Bike Route: Frankfurt to Heidelberg (119 km)
When we first moved to Germany in 2011 we lived just outside of Mannheim. There was a small forest to the west and north of us and both made for a nice ride in the woods. We visited Heidelberg several times while we lived there from 2011-2014. We also visited Worms and drove along the Rhein River from Mannheim to Mainz.
After making the bike route from Frankfurt to Koblenz, I decided the next planned trip would be from Frankfurt to Heidelberg. Heidelberg is one of those cities that you really should see when visiting Germany. Since I live in Germany I will bike the route in short stages and make it a five day/leg trip on my Brompton folding bike. I can take a train to my starting points and catch a train back from my finish points.
So, this is the planned route that I will ride from Frankfurt International Airport Train Station to Heidelberg. I am starting from the airport train station because if someone wants to do this route they will most likely start from there.
Before you hop on the bike, make sure you do a quick Bicycle Warmup each day to help prevent injuries from starting out cold.
1st Leg – Frankfurt International Airport/Train Station to Das Brauhaus in Rüsselsheim – 21 km
The train station is connected to the airport by passageway that is clearly marked by signs with a metro icon and “Regionalbahnhof Regional trains” or “Fernbahnhof Long-distance trains”. I will need to add more detailed instructions on how to leave the airport after I have finished the first leg of this trip. However, until then you would exit at the P39 Terminal 1 Drop-off Area – Frankfurt Airport on Google Maps. It also looks like I need to invest in something to mount to my handlebars for my iPhone 7 Plus to use while navigating from the airport to the river. Otherwise, I will be stopping every 100 meters to see if I am on the right route. At a minimum I will post some Google Maps snippets as a reference here:
Frankfurt am Main is a metropolis on the Main River and is a metropolis and the largest city of the German federal state of Hesse. Frankfurt is the destination of many tourists and is the fifth-largest city of Germany after Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, and Cologne. Frankfurt was a city state, the Free City of Frankfurt, for nearly five centuries, and was one of the most important cities of the Holy Roman Empire. Tourist attractions include; Römer (city hall), the Frankfurt Cathedral, St. Paul’s Church (Paulslkirche), the Opera House (Alte Oper), and many others.
Since we will start at the airport we will actually start the ride following the Main River. We will cross the river at one of the dams on the northeast side of Eddersheim and get on the Main River Bike Path, aka MainRadweg. The MainRadweg is a total of 538 km or 557 km long depending on whether you start at the Weißen (White) Main (Bischofsgrün) or at the Roten (Red) Main (Creussen), respectively.
From where the White and Red Main meet near Kulmbach it is 498.5 km to the Rhein.
Along the Main River we will pass Flörsheim am Main.
On the other side of the river is Rüsselsheim. I am making this today’s final destination as I think the first day should be a shorter introduction to riding on bike trails in Germany. The destination in Rüsselsheim is the Brauhaus called [Das Brauhaus] (An der Wied 1, 65428 Rüsselsheim am Main). They make a very nice dunkel or dark beer and they serve excellent traditional German food. Admittedly, there is a shorter route from the airport to Das Brauhaus in Rüsselsheim but we want to enjoy the river ride. It is a good time to relax and enjoy the atmosphere in the beer garden (biergarten) while we think about the next day’s ride.
2nd Leg – Rüsselsheim to Oppenheim – 32 km
Leaving Rüsselsheim we will go across the Main River and continue on the MainRadweg until highway 671. We will cross the river and go into Gustavsburg. From there we will head south and cross the Rhein River along highway 60. We will then head south following along highway 9 and the Rhein.
Once we hit Nackenheim there are several restaurant and winery possibilities for a pause on the way to Oppenheim.
In Oppenheim, the Gothic St. Catherine’s Church watches over the city. St. Catherine Church is considered the most important work of Gothic architecture between Cologne Cathedral and Strasbourg Cathedral. Just up the hill are the Landskron castle ruins. Although the city and castle were destroyed in 1689 during the Palatine War of Succession, the surviving walls of the castle ruins give an idea of how powerful it once was.
Oppenheim can look back on a long history. As early as 765 Oppenheim was first mentioned in documents and 1225 raised to the free imperial city. Walking through the streets and winding lanes of Oppenheim you can feel the breath of history.
The well-being of Oppenheim has always been linked to wine. The vineyards can be explored on foot or accompanied by a winemaker on a tractor-trailer team. The entire Old Town has a cellar system that reaches up to five stories in some places.
3rd Leg – Oppenheim to Worms – 33 km
From Oppenheim we will head south-southeast toward the Rhein River. Be prepared to bike a ways before being able to buy any food or drink. There are not many people living around this bend in the river. However, it looks like Hamm am Rhein has several restaurants and a couple of grocery stores.
After you get to Rheindürkheim it is a short jaunt south to Worms along highway 9.
Worms has many beautiful sights to see: the Romanesque Cathedral (Dom St. Peter), Europe’s oldest Jewish cemetery (Jüdishcer Friedhof “Heiliger Sand”), the synagogue in the old town, the world’s biggest Reformation monument (Luther Memorial-Lutherdenkmal), the multimedia Nibelungen Museum, the Hagen statue on the Rhein Promenade, Herrnsheim Palace (Schloss Herrnsheim) and Park, and more. You can download this tourist information map of Worms [here].
4th Leg – Worms to Mannheim – 29 km
When we come out of Worms we will head east across highway 47 bridge, then head south towards Mannheim. We will drive around the nature preserve Lampertheimer Altrhein then parallel the Rhein River south. Be sure to have some food and drinks with you as there do not seem to be many places to stop along this route.
After driving through an industrial area, you will arrive at the Mannheim Quadrate.
Mannheim was granted town privileges in January 1607 after Elector Friedrich IV of the Palatinate laid the foundation stone for Friedrichsburg fortress. The grid-like arrangement of streets, which at the time linked the town with the fortress, remains unchanged to this day. Each square of the city’s ‘chessboard’ layout has its own letter and number: the address of the Artquadrat Gallery, for example, is ‘L4,10’, while the Armory Museum is to be found at C5 and the Schillerhaus Museum at B5.
The three main museum attractions are the Reiss-Engelhorn Museums, the Technoseum, and the Kunsthalle Art Gallery.
Mannheim Palace is one of the largest palaces in Europe and also one of the most well-conserved ones.
The Wasserturm, built in 1889, is 60 meters high and has a capacity of 2000 cubic meters. Together with the basin, the rose gardens and the adjacent festival hall, the Wasserturm ensemble is the most scenic region in Mannheim and one of the most popular tourist attractions.
5th Leg – Mannheim to Heidelberg – 24 km
Heading east-northeast out of Mannheim, we will follow the Neckar River to Heidelberg. Once we reach Neckarhausen, we will cross the Neckar river alongside the railroad bridge. After crossing the bridge you will arrive at Ladenburg.
Ladenburg is well worth the time to stop and look around the old town. There is St. Martin’s Gate, several churches, and the Dr. Carl Benz Automobile Museum to see. I have included a Ladenburg Tourist Map you can download from [here].
Once you have left Ladenburg it is pretty much a straight shot to Heidelberg. You will pass the University of Heidelberg and the Heidelberg Zoo before crossing the river on Berliner Strasse.
Heidelberg Alstadt (Old Town) is a great place to relax, get a drink, and something to eat at one of the outdoor tables of a cafe after your ride from Mannheim.
Neckar River and Alte Brucke (aka Karl Theodore Bridge)
The Neckar River is a nice place to ride along and enjoy the view at a relaxed pace on your bike after recharging your battery in old town. Cross over the Alte Brucke (Old Bridge) and enjoy the view up and down the river from its midpoint. If your bike can climb packed dirt trails up a hill or if you just want a nice walk, then go up to the Heiligenbergenlage (amphitheater). Once you have looked at that come back a little ways and stop at the Waldschenke Heidelberg Gaasthaus mit Biergarten (Beer Garden) and quench your thirst with a good ole German beer.
Philosopher’s Walk (Philosophenweg)
If you do not have the energy or time to go up to the amphitheater you could always just go along Philosopher’s Walk (Philosophenweg)
From there come back down to the river and cross back over where the highway 3 crosses west of the old bridge then follow the bike/walking path along the river back to the old bridge. It is a nice scenic and relaxing ride.
You can get to Heidelberg Castle by the Bergbahn, a mountain railroad running from the Kornmarkt, or by riding up about 335 feet for 10 minutes using Neue Schlosstrasse from old town. The castle is made of red Neckar sandstone. This 16th century castle is extraordinary compared to other examples of German Renaissance engineering. After its destruction by the French, who decimated the Palatinate in the 17th century, it has remained the biggest and most scenic ruin in Germany.
Return trip by Train from Heidelberg Hbf to Frankfurt (M) Flughafen Fernbf.