Cycle path

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Signs for a cycle path in South Tyrol (Italy)
Start of the Danube Cycle Path in Passau

Cycle hiking trails are signposted routes that are primarily used for cycle tourism and are marked on cycle tour maps. Tourist cycle routes are also referred to as cycle routes, but mostly simply referred to as cycle paths . Longer tourist cycle routes are also referred to as long-distance cycle paths , long-distance cycle routes or long-distance cycle paths . The terms bicycle route and bicycle route rather denote contrast marked out paths for everyday cycling. In Switzerland, the long-distance cycle routes are also known as cycle routes.

About the designation

Although a large part of the tourist cycle routes have the word "cycle path" in their name, they should not be confused with "cycle paths" in the sense of the road traffic regulations, cycle facilities .

The designation of the tourist cycle routes differs regionally and nationally. In southern Germany, Austria and South Tyrol in particular, in addition to "cycle path", "cycle path" (analogous to the " long-distance path" of mountaineering and the " riding path") or "cycle route" are common, in Switzerland mainly "cycle route". The General German Bicycle Club (ADFC) recommends the use of the term “tourist cycle route” instead of “cycle path” for specialist discussions and literature, and the term “long distance cycle path” for cross-regional cycle routes instead of the commonly used term “long distance cycle path”.

The cycle superhighways are not designed for relaxation or gaining knowledge, but for better locomotion .

Leadership style

The term “tourist cycle route” is independent of its form of management . Mostly, attempts are made to lay the routes on independent cycle paths or side streets with little traffic, field and forest paths. If tourist cycle routes lead over main roads, cycle traffic facilities are usually available. Cycle routes on disused railway lines enable routes with low gradients away from car traffic.

Themed bike routes

Tourist cycle routes are often based on cultural, natural or geographic themes. Cycle routes along rivers and canals are particularly popular, as they can combine an experience of nature with a low-gradient route (e.g. Oder-Neisse cycle path ). Other routes combine cultural monuments (such as the Umbindehausradweg), historical places (such as Krabat-Radweg ) or particularly interesting natural areas (such as the Wolfsradweg). Themed bike routes are particularly suitable for marketing by tourism associations and tourist offices. There are also brochures, websites and advertisements designed to lure cyclists into the tourist region. The goal is not always the shortest or the least incline, but the most interesting route, which is why tourist cycle routes are not always attractive for everyday cycle traffic.


Bicycle signpost with route pictograms in Germany
Two-colored bike signs in Hamburg
Blue marked cycle highway in England

An important feature of tourist cycle routes is continuous signposting . In the past, simple signposts similar to hiking trail signs were used, today it is common to attach small signs with route pictograms to standardized main signposts.


Bett + Bike logo

The ADFC offers since 2006 to check Radfernwege after a rigorous scale and with a star number than premium route certify . The assessment includes signposting, width and drivability, gastronomic offers and rest areas, bed + bike overnight accommodations, traffic loads and safety considerations. After three years at the latest, it is necessary to drive on it again for recertification so that the long-distance cycle path can continue to be marketed as a quality cycle route. Since the criteria are very strict, 5 stars are rarely given. Good bike routes can already be found on routes with 3 and 4 stars.

Paths of the countries and regions

International long-distance cycle routes in Europe

There is the EuroVelo project of the European Cyclists' Association , according to which twelve European long-distance cycle routes with a length of over 60,000 kilometers are to be created. There are currently around a third of them, but only a fraction is actually signposted. A very extensive overview of long-distance cycle routes in Europe can be found in the portal cycle routes for multi-day cycle tours in Europe .

Long-distance cycle routes in Germany

Marking of the R1 cycle path in Berlin-Müggelheim at the intersection with Neu-Helgoländer Weg.

State and municipal tourism marketing companies are happy to set up cycle routes to promote regional tourism. The General German Bicycle Club recommends a number of minimum criteria for long-distance cycle routes.

  • unique name
  • Conception as a route, circuit or network
  • Minimum length 150 kilometers or the recommended necessity of two overnight stays
  • Continuous passability by bike, also with a tandem or trailer
  • at least two meters wide
  • Passable in any weather
  • uniform and consistent signposting
  • natural routing
  • the least possible exposure to motor vehicle traffic
  • tourist infrastructure along the route (restaurants, hotels, hostels, campsites)
  • Connection to local public transport
  • regular inspection and maintenance

Even within these criteria, the quality of the long-distance cycle paths can be very different, due to different road surfaces, local inclines and occasional stretches on or on roads with high vehicle loads. A database or map material with references to such shortcomings as so-called “unavoidable supplementary gaps” has not yet been established, but corresponding maps are available for some regions.

With this in mind, the ADFC has proposed a cycling network in Germany that should consist of 12 premium routes . There is also a network of routes primarily connecting cities. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia has been showing cycle paths on disused railway lines since 2013 under the title Alleen-Radwegeprogramm ; currently 364 km.

Bike trails in Austria

In Austria , the cycle paths are developed by the provincial governments in cooperation with the municipalities in whose area of ​​competence they fall structurally, the national tourism organization Österreich Werbung (ÖW) and the provincial tourism organizations. These cycle paths are accessible through the geographic information systems of the federal states (on special maps of the map servers of the federal states, also summarized under ), accessible down to the cadastral level, and published as map material.

The international connection is made in cooperation with the EuroVelo cycling organization and as part of EU projects ( INTERREG ). In addition to the classic long-distance routes, the network of mountain bike tracks in the alpine terrain is naturally well developed in Austria . Here, the federal states work in particular with the Austrian Alpine Association (ÖAV) and the other Alpine associations that look after mountain paths and huts. The cooperation with ÖBB and ÖBB-Postbus , which concerns the simple transport and rental of bikes for long-distance tours, is also being promoted.

In Austria, the official maps and country tourism information show.

  • The Burgenland has expanded a comprehensive network of 2,500 kilometers (mostly paved) marked cycle paths and 433 km of mountain bike trails. Detailed map material is offered in the form of online documents
  • The 1,300 km of marked cycle paths in Carinthia lead mostly along rivers or around lakes. The most famous cycle tour is the Drau Cycle Path , which begins at the source of the Drava in Italy , runs across Carinthia and ends in Varaždin in Croatia . Well-known cycle paths are also around the Wörther See , Millstätter See and the South Carinthian 6-lake circuit. For mountain bikers, the Nockberge region offers 700 km of signposted tours for all ability levels.
  • Lower Austria has around 4000 km of cycle path network and has launched a RADLand campaign to expand it. Among the numerous tours in the family-friendly, sporty, enjoyable and bike classes , 7 major tours are designated as top cycle routes. Four maps have been published ( Radkarte Weinviertel Ost , Radatlas Mostviertel , Radatlas Waldviertel and bikeline Kamp-Thaya-March bicycle tour book ).
  • 5000 km of cycle paths exist in Upper Austria , 2200 km of which are described as "touristic particularly interesting cycle route highlights " (30  main routes , 7 connecting paths between the individual routes), which form the focus of the Upper Austrian regional cycle path concept. The focus is on family friendliness and alignment "away from traffic, along rivers and lakes."
  • In Styria there is a 1,000 km network of cycle routes, over which 64  cycle routes extend, 13 of which are  main cycle routes . The routes are divided into the categories of river cycling, pleasure cycling, family cycling and mountain biking. The free cycle map of Styria is issued
  • The state of Salzburg has so far expanded 630 km of cycle paths (760 km are planned to be expanded across the board by 2015), and 6,000 signposted cycle and mountain bike paths with a total of 2000 km. Since the UCI Road World Championships were held in 2006 , the area around the city of Salzburg in particular has been developed with road routes, 6 cycle paths are designated as top cycle routes, three of which are multi-day routes . The Salzburg state government has set up its own bicycle traffic information system called LAS WEGAS.
  • The Tyrolean provincial government has 1,000 km of cycle paths all over Tyrol (there is close cooperation with the South Tyrolean state government) and summarizes 29 supraregional cycle paths .
  • Vorarlberg primarily offers a short-distance network within the 250 km of cycle paths, around ten cycle tours are specially marked, some of which are integrated into the international long-distance network.
  • Of the 1,100 kilometers of cycling network (as of 2006) in Vienna , 7 cycle routes are designated as themed cycle paths - unless they are part of or an alternative to the Lower Austrian long-distance routes, they are naturally also short distances. A map series is also published here as the Vienna cycle map.

The most famous transnational routes in Austria include the Danube Trail (Passau - Linz - Vienna - Preßburg, EuroVelo Route EV6, R1 Upper Austria, R6 Lower Austria; the busiest cycle route in Europe), the Via Bavarica Tyrolensis  - Inntal Cycle Path  - EV7 Sonnen Route ( Linz - Salzburg - Lienz) and the Baltic-Adriatic route (EV9 Brno - Vienna - Marburg).  

Cycling routes in Switzerland

Cyclists on the Swiss Rhine Route
Bike signpost in the Tägerwiler forest

The Veloland Switzerland Foundation distinguishes between national and regional cycle routes . The nine national cycle routes that are marked in red are:

Cycling trails in South Tyrol

National cycle routes in Denmark

In Denmark there are eleven national cycle routes in addition to many regional routes (No. 11 is not assigned).

  • (1) Vestkystruten , 560 km
  • (2) Hanstholm – København, 420 km
  • (3) Hærvejsruten , 450 km
  • (4) Søndervig – København, 310 km
  • (5) Østkystruten , 650 km
  • (6) Esbjerg – København, 330 km
  • (7) Sjællands Odde – Rødbyhavn, 240 km
  • (8) Sydhavsruten (Rudbøl – Møn), 360 km
  • (9) Helsingør – Gedser, 290 km
  • (10) Bornholm rounds, 105 km
  • (12) Limfjord Rods, 610 km

Cycling routes in France

In France there are cycle paths and signs for this under the name Véloroutes ; In addition, various cross-border bike trails within the framework of European cooperation, e.g. B. the Itinéraire cyclable européen (European cycle route) Molsheim – Strasbourg – Kehl – ​​Offenburg.

UK bike routes

The National Cycle Network (NCN) has 246 cycle routes (as of April 25, 2019). The first cycle route opened in 1984, the 15-mile Bristol and Bath Railway Path , which runs over a disused railway line (now a section of National Cycle Route 4). The total distance of all NCN cycle routes has grown to 16,575 kilometers (as of November 2018). However, 68% of the total distance of the cycle routes lead on roads also used by car traffic, including many main roads ( A roads and B roads ); only 32% run on cycle paths or on shared pedestrian and cycle paths ( shared use paths ).

Nationwide cycle routes in the Netherlands

Amsterdam: A sign on the lamppost points to junction 52.

The Netherlands maintains a dense network of long- distance cycle paths, the so-called Landelijke Fietsroutes ( LF routes for short ). In addition, the whole country is criss-crossed by a system of bicycle junctions (Dutch: knooppunt ), which results in very individual route design options. The 24 Knooppuntnetwerke take care of the numbering of the junctions and the signposting of the paths.

National cycling routes in Norway

In Norway there is a national cycle route network ( Nasjonal sykkelrute ) of ten routes, all of which (except for cycle routes No. 1 and 10) run in the southern part of the country.

Cycling routes in Spain

As part of the Vías Verdes (green paths) project, disused railway lines have been converted into cycle paths.

Bike trails in Canada

In Canada , there is the Trans Canada Trail .

Bike routes in the USA

In the USA , for a long time, due to the lack of a national cycle path network, there were only associations such as the Adventure Cycling Association (ACA), which offered recommendations and guided tours for themed and long-distance routes. The state limited itself to only two routes that have existed since 1982 and largely followed the recommendations of the ACA. It was not until 2003 that an AASHTO working group began to fundamentally revise the national cycle path network and presented the first results in 2008. In 2009 the Federal Highway Administration took the planning and finally presented in 2011 an enormously expanded and numbered cycle path network through the entire United States. According to the current status, however, these are mostly corridor recommendations in which a bike route is to run in the future - actual route guidance or signage initially only exists in a few places.

In addition, more and more unused railway lines are being converted into cycle paths (Rails to Trails) and regional cycle route networks exist in the vicinity of some cities.

Mountain bike routes

Occasionally pushing or carrying stretches are unavoidable on alpine mountain bike routes

In the European Alpine region , “Transalp routes” are used by mountain bikers. As long-distance cycle paths, these routes are also European Alpine crossings that lead to high-alpine regions. They are designed for several days and occasionally require surefootedness. And pushing and carrying routes on steep scree sections may also be added. Much published, they are only passable in summer and are not specially signposted. These cycle routes use the alpine infrastructure that was created by alpine associations such as DAV , SAC , AVS and ÖAV . They are constantly preserved with high alpine shelters , mountain trails , path networks , modern hiking maps and clear path markings .

These European mountain bike routes include

Web links

Commons : Cycle Trails  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Bicycle  Travel Guide

Individual evidence

  1. Brief Routenkunde , on, accessed on April 22, 2019
  2. Cycle paths for multi-day cycle tours in Europe
  3. Discover Germany by bike , accessed on April 22, 2019
  4. ↑ Long-distance cycle routes - What are long-distance cycle routes? General German Bicycle Club, July 11, 2009, archived from the original on February 1, 2014 ; accessed on January 28, 2014 .
  5. DNetz-Roten on
  6. ↑ City direct connections by bike in Germany, without tourist detours
  7. Press release of the MBWSV NRW , accessed on September 30, 2013
  8. Radlerland. Office of the Burgenland State Government - State Office Public Relations, accessed on April 21, 2019 . , on
  9. Cycling through Burgenland by bike. Burgenland Tourismus, accessed on April 21, 2019 (route maps pdf with the individual directions).
  10. Tourism portal of the Province of Carinthia, "Genussrad". Retrieved January 18, 2019 .
  11. ^ Österreich Werbung, Raderlebnisland Carinthia. Retrieved January 18, 2019 .
  12. ^ Tourism portal of the Province of Carinthia, mountain bike. Retrieved January 18, 2019 .
  13. Weinviertel : 1600 km, Mostviertel : 900 km, Waldviertel : 1,000 km, industrial district : k. A.
  14. ↑ Bicycle traffic in Styria. In: Tourism and culture portal of the Province of Lower Austria. Niederösterreichische Landesregierung, Niederösterreich-Werbung, accessed in 2009 ( RADLand , Top Cycle Routes , Bike Tours ).
  15. cycle paths. In: DORIS. State of Upper Austria, accessed in 2009 .
  16. Cycling & Mountain Biking in Styria , on, accessed on April 21, 2019
  17. Cycling in Styria , on, accessed on April 21, 2019
  18. Cycle paths for enjoyment - The current Styria cycle map is back! ( Memento from October 28, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  19. Welcome to GIS-Styria! , from, accessed on April 21, 2019
  20. "LasWegas" - information system for rural roads and bridges in the province of Salzburg , on, accessed on April 22, 2019
  21. The Salzburg state cycle network. State of Salzburg - Traffic Planning Department, archived from the original on September 24, 2015 ; accessed in 2009 .
  22. Biking and cycling: uphill - downhill - straight ahead. SalzburgerLand, accessed on April 22, 2019 .
  23. SAGISonline - Tourism , accessed on April 22, 2019
  24. On the right track with Radrouting Tirol , at, accessed on April 21, 2019
  25. Recreation & Adventure Space Forest - Funding Measures Summer Themes , at, accessed on April 21, 2019
  26. Download GPS - Map Overlays - Google Earth. Retrieved April 21, 2019 . , on
  27. tiris - Tiroler Rauminformationssystem , on, accessed on April 21, 2019
  28. Vorarlberg mountain bike network. State of Vorarlberg - State Surveying Office, archived from the original on February 19, 2014 ; accessed in 2009 .
  29. Digital cycle path and mountain bike map ( Memento from February 1, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  30. Cycling in Vienna. In: Web service of the City of Vienna. Magistrat der Stadt Wien - Department of Transport Organization and Technical Transport Matters (MA 46), accessed in 2009 .
  31. ↑ Themed cycle paths through the city
  32. MA 18 - Urban Development and Urban Planning (Ed.): Radkarte Wien . Vienna 2009, ISBN 978-3-902576-16-3 .
  33. The cycling routes in Austria ( Memento from September 27, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  34. Switzerland's cycling routes
  35. ^ Sustrans announces plan for first UK-wide network of traffic-free walking and cycling paths for everyone , November 12, 2018, accessed April 25, 2019.
  36. ↑ Long-distance cycle routes in the Netherlands