Elberadweg 01 Header


Upstream from Hamburg to Dresden

A bike tour along the Elbe takes you to timber-framed villages, Hanseatic cities and fairytale castles. We travelled the famous Elberadweg from Hamburg to Dresden to find the most beautiful stops along this route. Ready for a sporty trip?

On your bikes and go!
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The Elbe river

The Elbe is one of the most important rivers in Europe. It emerges high in the Krkonoše Mountains (Giant Mountains) in the Czech Republic and flows 1164 kilometres to the North Sea near the German town of Cuxhaven. Those who wish, can cycle the entire length of the river. The Elberadweg (Elbe bike route) gently meanders through fields and forests, through picturesque timber-framed villages and historic cities such as Hamburg, Havelberg, Magdeburg, Meißen and Dresden. Almost every year, the German Cycle Association picks this as their favourite bike route. This time we ‘only’ explore 640 kilometres and follow the river from Hamburg in northern Germany to beautiful Dresden in Saxony.

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Elberadweg 03 Kilometers Bg
Elberadweg 03 Kilometers Bg Mob

Going the distance

The Elberadweg has high quality paved bike lanes so you don't need a special bike. Experienced cyclists will easily cover 60 to 70 kilometres a day. If you schedule the occasional day off, it will take you around 14 days to bike from Hamburg to Dresden.

Against the current?

The route along the Elbe is flat, so you can either bike upstream or downstream. The advantage of going upstream in a southeastern direction is that your chances for a tailwind are much better.

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Metropolis on the Elbe

We begin our bike ride in Hamburg. With 2 million inhabitants, this is Germany's second largest city. The port of this metropolis on the Elbe was founded on 7 May 1189 and propelled Hamburg to grow into a sizeable Hanseatic city.

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Island town

Sometimes you bike ride right next to the water and sometimes over the summer dyke. In the “Elbtalaue” - the Elbe's marshlands - the river happily meanders through Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg Vorpommern and Sachsen-Anhalt. The medieval town of Havelberg, set on an island in a tributary of the Elbe, makes for a great stop. Stop to admire the 12th century cathedral with its gothic interior.

Among the orchards

Against a backdrop of blue and red cranes, container ships and the sparkling Elbphilharmonie of Hamburg, you will soon ride through the apple and cherry orchards of Altes Land. It's no coincidence that the farm gables look surprisingly Dutch: Altes Land comes from the Lower Saxon word “Olland”, a reference to the Dutch settlers who reclaimed the land in the middle ages. The 750 year old town of Lauenburg with its cafés and restaurants along the quay is a great place to spend the night.

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Medieval remnants

The Elbe takes a sharp turn to the south as we ride through a green landscape towards Tangermünde. The timber-framed houses and city walls that enclose the historic city centre have been so beautifully preserved that it feels like going back to the middle ages. To complete your time travel, visit the restaurant Zecherei St. Nikolai housed in an old church. Seated among stained-glass windows, confessional chairs and antique candelabras, you can feast on chunks of breads and juicy meat, washed down with mugs of beer.

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Elberadweg 08 Magdeburg Bg Mob

Hundertwasser in Magdeburg

You can't miss the two towers of the cathedral of Magdeburg, the capital of Saksen-Anhalt. The Elbe flows through the heart of the city, which is a good thing because we don’t want to skip this 1000 year old town. Take the time for a leisurely lunch, go shopping or wonder at the Grüne Zitadelle: a stunning pink residential building that became the final masterpiece of architect, Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

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English style

Treat yourself to a well-deserved break at Schloss Wörlitz, an elegant 18th century castle built in the English style. Inside awaits a spectacular collection of paintings from the Low Countries and sculptures from Rome, Pompeï and Herculaneum. The park that surrounds the castle is just as beautiful. This green oasis with English gardens, canals and romantic bridges is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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City of Porcelain

After a visit to Lutherstadt Wittenberg - where in 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the castle church - we continue our bike ride to Saxony. Here the flat river landscape transforms into rocky limestone creating the most unique rock formations. Meißen, known as the City of Porcelain, is a perfect stop along this stretch before we reach the end of our ride. As the name suggests, the city is not only famous for its fairytale Albrechtsburg castle, but also for housing Europe's first porcelain factory, Meissen Porselein (founded in 1710).

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After about 640 kilometres, Dresden is the final destination of our bike ride along the Elbe. If you can’t pedal another metre, you will be happy to know that this historic city is a delight to explore on foot. After your physical endeavour, you can replenish your energy with a visit to Pfunds Molkerei. This historic cheese shop from 1880 is beautifully decorated with hand-painted tiles and sells traditional cheeses, marmalade and liqueurs.

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Elberadweg 11 Dresden Bg Mob
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  • Elberadweg 12 Bottom Bg


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