Discover German Cities by Bike

St. Gallus Church in Ladenburg Credit: S. Finner

St. Gallus Church in Ladenburg Credit: S. Finner

Bicycle Tour in the Triangle Formed by the Rhine and Neckar

Sightseeing by bike is the cheapest and healthiest way to discover German cities. There are signposted bikeways all over in the country.

One of the most beautiful and memorable bike tours in the triangle formed by the Neckar and Rhine Rivers in Germany is a ride along the Neckar from Mannheim to Heidelberg. Both cities are known for their castles: The Mannheim Castle is the largest construction of that kind in Southern Germany, and the Heidelberg Castle is arguably the most famous ruined castle in the world.

Halfway between the Electoral Palatinate cities of Mannheim and Heidelberg lies Ladenburg, one of the oldest Roman settlements on the right bank of the Rhine. This classic bike tour without an incline is a pleasurable event for the whole family. Bike maps may be obtained at the Mannheim Tourist Office near the main train station in the city.

On Signposted Bikeways from Mannheim to Heidelberg
Carl Benz Museum in Ladenburg Credit: Enslin

Carl Benz Museum in Ladenburg Credit: Enslin

The bike tour starts at the Kurpfalzbrücke (Palatinian Bridge) in Mannheim. The distance by bike to Heidelberg is 48 kilometers along signposted bikeways. Sights to see along the way include the Mannheim city “Quadrate” (chess board city) with the Planken and Breite Strasse, the castle, the Jesuit Church and the Wasserturm (water tower).

Sightseeing in Ladenburg includes the entire old city and the Bishop’s court, and in Heidelberg the old city, the Old Bridge, the Holy Ghost Church and the castle.

A lunchtime stop can be made at the “Schwabenheimer Hof”, a garden restaurant by the river between Ladenburg and Heidelberg.

Cycling Out of Mannheim
Market Square in Ladenburg Credit: S. Finner

Market Square in Ladenburg Credit: S. Finner

At the OEG station (the OEG is the streetcar that runs between Mannheim and Heidelberg), the tour continues upstream on the Neckardamm between the river and the streetcar tracks. Riding under the bridge of the Collini Center and the Friedrich-Ebert-Bridge, passing the Theresienkrankenhaus (“Krankenhaus” means hospital) and the telecommunications tower, the Kastanienallee (“chestnut alley”) along the Paul-Martin-Ufer (“Ufer” means river bank) leads out of the city.

Also the railway and the highway “overbridge” the river. At the camping site the road turns to the left and, after the Autobahn bridge of the A6 to the left, again towards the Neckar meadow. Behind the sports ground along the floodwall, one enters the Mannheim district of Seckenheim. From there, the bikeway leads to Ilvesheim, to the Ladenburger Strasse along the river, and from there into the Bahnhofstrasse that leads into Ladenburg.

Ladenburg, One of the Oldest German Cities

The first Celtic settlements in Ladenburg date back to 3000 B.C. It became a Roman settlement in the first century and is the oldest of its kind on the right bank of the Rhine. Today, 12.000 people live in Ladenburg, a city that is known for its many timbered houses from the 15th to the 17th century. One of the most beautiful buildings is the St. Gallus Church with a crypt dating from the 11th century. The church dominates the townscape of Ladenburg as seen from afar.

The most famous honorary citizen of Ladenburg was Carl Benz who invented the Mercedes automobile. His house, the “Carl-Benz-Wohnhaus” may be visited by the public. Not far from this house is the Carl Benz Museum, the “Automuseum Dr. Carl Benz”, located in the old factory halls of “C. Benz Söhne”.

Along a former Roman road the tour continues into the Tiergartenstrasse along the river that leads directly into Heidelberg.

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