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Nahe River Cycle Path

This page describes the cycle path along the Naha River in Germany. The Nahe is one of Germany’s 13 wine growing regions or Anbaugebiete. This region is famous for its red wines. The cycle path follows the Naha River Valley between steep hills and sometimes red-rock cliffs until it reaches the Rhine near Bingen, just north of Mainz.

Tour Overview: This is a 2-day ride from Türkismühle to Bingen. The distance is 79 miles (128 km).Map of Naha Click to enlarge the map.

The Naha RiverHaving taken the train along the Nahe River on our way to Saarbrücken for the Saar-Mosel tour, we look forward to seeing this little valley up close from the seat of a bicycle instead of through a train window. We know a little about what to expect but all trains travel too fast to see with any detail. While this tour officially ends in Bingen, we found better train connections from Wiesbaden. Wiesbaden is just a hop, skip, and a jump up the Rhine (as they say in Montana). Moreover, since we have been on this part of the Rhine three times before, we have not yet seen Wiesbaden; so this time, we take the opportunity.

Signage: Path SignsThe path is marked with a yellow stickers saying Radweg Nahe and a pictograph of a bike. The path signage for the Nahe is one of the best of all the tours we have done. In almost every case, when we needed a sign, there was one. When we were sure we were on the correct path, the signs confirmed our feelings. From Hoppstädten to Birkenfeld, you will follow the Sirona Weg for a short distance but there are also Radweg Nahe signs occasionally too.

Accommodations: We had no trouble finding lodgings. There are plenty of hotels, Pensionen and Privat Zimmer. As a choice, we like Zimmer (advertised as Zimmer Frei) but there are also Gasthäuser (Guest Houses), Pensionen (pensions or bed and breakfasts), Jugendherbergen (Youth Hostels), and hotels. For a complete discussion of the different types of accommodations and tips on reservations, see our Overnight Accommodations page.

Stops: Idar-Oberstein, Bad Münster, Bad Kreuznach, and Bingen are my favorite stops. Bingen, perhaps only because it is the end of the tour, but it does have a nice castle, Burg Klopp.

bikeline Guidebook

Maps and Guidebooks: We use the 1:50,000 bikeline Radtourenbuch und Karte, Nahe-Radweg, von der Quelle zum Rhein mit 15 Ausflügen ins Naheland. That translates to “From the spring to the Rhine with 15 side trips in the Nahe Region.”

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Day 1: Türkismühle to Hochstetten-Dhaun

Day Overview: The path is gravelly and hilly at first until you get to Nohfelden, then relatively flat and paved to Kronweiler. After that, it is paved but quite hilly to Idar-Oberstein, then flat and paved all the way to Hocstetten-Dhaun.Bridge overlooking Türkismühle

Nohfelden grocery store

Mile 0 (0.0 km): Former German toll boothStarting at the Bahnhof in Türkismühle under cloudy skies, our first stop upon exiting the train is for a Milchkaffee in Türkismühle. In Seattle, we would say a latté. After crossing the tracks on the bridge southwest of the Bahnhof, we climb up a short hill through the woods. The path is gravel and we are riding towards Nohfelden, which is famous for its Edelstein or semiprecious stones found in the region such as those that are hollow and crystallized inside. In the US, we sometimes call them thunder stones. We stay in Nohfelden at a Zimmer called Buchwaldblick, Auf dem Schachen 25, telephone 06852/1348. The cost is €31 plus €6 because we only stay one night and plus €10 because in this instance (rare) breakfast is not included. We purchase our breakfast at the local grocery store where we also accumulate the necessities for a picnic lunch.Former French toll booth

Mile 6.6 (10.7 km): We do not bother resetting our cyclometers in the morning since we only rode 4.6 kilometers before taking a room for the night in Nohfelden. After we cross the border into Rhineland-Palatinate from Saarland, we enter Hoppstädten. That border between two present day German states used to be the border between Germany and France between WWI and WWII. We took a picture of each of the two toll houses (today both are restaurants). From here to Birkenfeld, you will ride along the Sirona Weg, a 106 kilometer walking path that has 24 stations informing the hiker of the history of the Celts and the Romans in the area. Supposedly, there are some Roman graves near here but it is raining and we don’t see any directional signs so we continue toward Birkenfeld.

Mile 9.7 (15.6 km): After climbing a long gradual hill along the Steinaubach creek, we enter Birkenfeld and it is raining buckets. We stop and shelter in the doorway of a commercial building waiting for a break in the storm. Half an hour later, we are on the way again.

Mile 10.3 (16.6 km): In Birkenfeld we follow the Nahe Radweg signs as well as the Sirona Weg to the left along B269 for a short distance before turning right toward Elchweiler. According to our 2006 published guidebook, this is the alternative route while the main route climbs a steep hill and runs through Rimsberg. We are happy not to have to climb the hill to the Burg Birkenfeld. Even though this way is longer, we would have taken it anyway, given Maxa’s abhorrence of hills. Birkenfeld has been a settled area for over 3,000 years. The Romans controlled it until their withdrawal in the first century after Christ. The construction of castle (Burg) commenced around 1330.

Mile 13.60 (21.9 km): After a nice long drop from Elchweiler into Niederbrombach, we turn right on L173 toward Kronweiler.

Mile 21.9 (35.2.0 km): We have been going up and down several hills since Kronweiler, starting right outside that community. I snapped a picture of the river as we crossed it on a wooden bicycle bridge. From here we must climb steeply again, cross under the highway into Enzweiler and climb some more. Ugh!

Mile 24.8 (39.9 km): Naha near Idar-Oberstein Felskirchen in Idar-Oberstein Maxa steals ice cream from baby in Idar-ObersteinThe picture of Maxa stealing ice cream from a child (actually a statue of a child) is in the center of Idar-Oberstein. This community is best known for the Felsenkirche, a chapel built into a solid rock cliff. Burg Bosselstein, the stone tower on top of the Felsenkirche cliff, was built in 1196. Burg Oberstein on the mountain to the west was built after 1320. Take a short hike to either or both. There are maps at various places in the town center. The towns of Idar and Oberstein combined and are now known as a Kurstadt or a spa town where people come to take in natural salt air and luxuriate in spas. Idar-Oberstein is the site of the German Edelstein Museum where one can learn about crystal mining and polishing the rare stones into jewelry. Not only are there many choices to stay overnight but Idar-Oberstein is also the largest community we have come to so far.

Mile 25.7 (41.3 km): Ruine Naumburg is pleasantly downhill from Idar-Oberstein.Castle in Kirn

Mile 40.1 (65.0 km): Kirn Kirn We stop for the night at an establishment right on the bike path in Hochstetten-Dhaun called Café & Antik Extra. The cost per night is €50/per couple per night and the address is Binger Landstrasse 9, 55606 Hochstetten-Dhaun, telephone 06752-943194, cell phone 0171/4091841. This is a fantastic find right on the bike path. Back in Kirn, we had called ahead to Landeshaus Johannisberg to reserve a room (also at €50/per couple per night) but the gentleman we spoke with failed to mention that the Landeshaus was on top of a huge ‘pusher’ of a hill. He should have mentioned that because we told him we were on bicycles. From the bottom of the hill in Hochstetten-Dhaun, we pushed almost a kilometer uphill before speaking with a young couple in their yard. They told us that the Landeshaus was fully two more kilometers all uphill. However, they said we should investigate Café Extra. The owners specialize in Flammkuchen, an Alsatian dish of onions and things on a flat bread not too unlike a pizza but much tastier. We washed it down with locally made Kirner Bier – tasty, tasty. I cannot say enough about how nice this place is. The room is quite because it is in the back of the building away from the street. The people are accommodating and helpful, not to mention great cooks. That evening they left our breakfast in a refrigerator in our room because no one would be there in the morning.

Afternoon sun on red cliffsCafé ExtraCafé ExtraCafé Extra

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Day 2: Hochstetten-Dhaun to Bingen

Day Overview: Today we get into the wine growing region of Nahe with our first opportunity to taste wine coming at kilometer 9.6. Vineyards in the sunshine are beautiful. We encountered some hills after the village of Boos and again just before Bad Kreuznach. There is some well-packed gravel between Niederhausen and Bad Münster am Stein but otherwise excellent riding conditions.

Mile 0.0 (0.0 km): We lock the door behind us as we leave Café Extra. It was a nice quite night because not only did we have a room in the back but the polite Germans don’t drive much on the smaller roads after about 10:00PM.

Mile 6.0 (9.6 km): We ride past a Weinstube or wine tasting room just outside the cute old town of Meddersheim. A settlement since Roman times about 2,000 years ago, Meddersheim was named after a group of Franks during the 5th Century CE.Bad SobernheimBad Sobernheim

Mile 7.7 (12.4 km): Across the river in Bad Sobernheim, we discover a plaque and a fountain in the town square about a Pastor Erdmann Leopold Emanuel Felke, a preacher in the local Parish, who is one of the early leaders in natural homeopathic healing methods. His approach was a combination of fresh air, healthy food, exercise, water baths, and poultices made from earth. (I want to say “duh” here.) Herr Felke experienced such surprising success in saving his parishioners during an early 20th Century epidemic of diphtheria that people from the surrounding parishes came to help him and study his methods.Boos Archeological DigBoos Archeological DigBoos Archeological Dig

Mile 17.5 (28.1 km): Boos is also picturesque. Utilizing what they thought was a good foundation from just another old building, the town built its church atop a Roman Herrnhaus. It turns out that it was from around the time of Christ. Today, the ruins are a well displayed archeological site. A Herrnhaus is (or in this case was) a large structure consisting of a dwelling for an important landowner, a barn for animals and storage, servants quarters, all surrounding a center yard. Surrounding some, like this one, is a fence that could not only keep in animals but also serve as a defense against any unruly local inhabitants. Travelers should take the opportunity to see this museum and display. It is in the center of town under the church and admission is free.Schlossböckelheim Schlossböckelheim View from Schlossböckelheim

Mile 18.6 (29.9 km): We arrive in Niederhausen after riding over a hilly stretch of path and passing Schlossböckelheim (Castle Boeckelheim). We have friends named Bockelmann: I wonder if their ancestors came from this area. One good thing about hills, perhaps the only good thing besides growing wine grapes, is that they afford one a good view of the surrounding villages and farmland. On this sunny day like today, the view is spectacular.

Mile 22.1 (35.6 km): Nahe at EbernburgBurg or Castle EbernburgThis is the bridge crossing the Nahe at Ebernburg. The view in the sunshine of the vertical cliffs and the castle, Burg Ebernburg, is magical. So isn’t Bad Münster am Stein with the river bracketing the old town and the views of the red rock faces on the other side of the river. I don’t know why the tourist books call the cliffs ‘red rock’ cliffs because the look gray/brown to me; but what do I know.

Mile 29.3 (47.2 km): We take a break in Bad Kreuznach and admire the picturesque Bridge Houses built at the end of the 15th Century upon one of the bridges over the Nahe. There has been civilization here for the last 4,000 years, since Celtic time. This is also a spa town where German citizens can use their insurance benefits to recover from their maladies. They use the naturally occurring spring water that is high in radium. Radium sounds dangerous to me but if taken in moderation it is suppose to remedy some symptoms. Karl Marx (of Communist Manifesto fame) was married in St. Paul’s Church in Bad Kreuznach. There has been a US military base here since WWII but it closed in 2001. This town figures prominently in the beer scene. Eberhard Anheuser was born here. His son-in-law, Adolphus Busch, joined him in investing in a brewery in America. So, we have Bad Kreuznach to blame for Bud Lite.

Mile 33.9 (54.6 km): Just past Bad Kreuznach we ride by a large cross in a field along side the road. Reading the plaque, we learn that this is the site of a large prisoner of war camp in April through September of 1945. At its highest occupancy, it contained 100,000 German PoWs in an open field with no shelter from the weather. This intrigues me so later researching the Internet I learn that this is one of six PoW camp “Rheinwiesenlager” or Rhine Meadow CampsPoW camps that were hastily put together because the US and Allied armies were taking many prisoners in April of 1945 in the area around the Rhine River. (Recall the movie, The Bridge at Remagen? Remagen is somewhat north of here but we are within 15 miles of the Rhine as a crow flies.) The army housed as many as 500,000 German soldiers and a few other displaced people in such camps for weeks or months. Allegedly, their treatment by the US Army was atrocious or bordered on atrocious. Without shelter during a cold wet spring, many died of exposure and starvation. Keep in mind that the prisoners may not have been healthy when they were captured. There allegedly was an order from Supreme Allied Command (General Eisenhower?) saying that civilians providing food to prisoners was punishable by death so there are reports of local citizens being shot for trying to give food to the prisoners through the wire. I had heard of such camps from a friend who survived one in Bavaria. You can read much more about this at URL: http://www.cyberussr.com/hcunn/for/us-germany-pow.html.

Mile 39.1 (63.0 km): Telephoto of Niederwald Monument near RuedisheimWe end this tour of the Nahe at the Bingen Hauptbahnhof in Bingerbrück. Actually, Maxa and I are not finished yet. We plan to spend the night here then ride on to Wiesbaden in the morning. That travelogue follows today’s entry but for mileage, this is the end. We decide to stay at Hotel Rheingau with a view of the river, the vineyards on the far bank, and the Niederwald Monument above Rüdesheim. The address is Rheinkai 8, telephone 06721/17496 or 17497. The cost is €64 per couple per night including breakfast. This is a ‘Bett and Bike’ establishment caters to bicycle riders. We think we will have a nice view of the river, and we do. What we do not realize is the river with the barges and riverfront with its high level of activity are a noisy places. Nevertheless, we enjoy our stay.

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Extension Day 3: Bingen to Wiesbaden Bahnhof

Day Overview: Today is flat, paved, and anything but boring. We pass castles, churches, and stop for lunch at a nice, waterfront restaurant next to the Kurfursterliche castle ruins in Eltville. If it were not raining off and on, we’d have a glorious day. However, we have no complaints because rain makes the landscape green and the rivers flow.

BingenBingenBingenBingenBingenBingenBingen

On Rhine right bankHindenburger BrueckeOn Rhine right bankOn Rhine right bankBurg Ahrenfels with vineyardsvineyardsVineyards on Rhine right bankSomeone left the plug out

Mile 0 (0 km): walk-on pedestrian ferry to RüdesheimUs on the Walk-on FerryWe take the walk-on pedestrian ferry right in front of our hotel Rüdesheim. This ferry may be a bit more expensive for bikes and riders because we see other bikers lined up to take the car ferry a few blocks west of the pedestrian ferry.

Mile 2.5 (1.6 km): We notice an underpass next to a pile of rocks, stopping to investigate, we learn this was the ruins of the Hindenburger Brücke across the Rhine. It was built in 1915 (during WWI) and destroyed in 1945 (during WWII) by retreating German troops.

Mile 19.7 (31.7 km): We stay along the Rhine until we get to the sign directing us toward the center of Wiesbaden. Then we climb a gradual hill of 100 feet or so until we ride into the Wiesbaden Bahnhof. We end this short trip extension here.

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