The Pilgrim’s Route is the most fascinatingly varied of any of Germany’s EuroVelo routes. Doing double duty as EuroVelo 3 and (for the most part) national route D7, this is a mix of city and country, mountain and river, industrial west and agricultural north.
The route broadly follows the Jakobsweg pilgrim routes, where ‘Jakob’ is, of course, the St James of Santiago de Compostelo. EuroVelo 3 will lead you there if you follow it all the way to Spain. Here in Germany, Aachen Cathedral is the main destination of pilgrimage: it’s the south-western end of the route, right on the Belgian border.
The major climbing through the Eifel mountains is dispensed with after a day’s riding. From there, the Rhine valley takes you down through Bonn, Cologne, Düsseldorf and Duisburg – an area of some industry, of course, but also one with immense historical interest. The route here follows well developed, mostly traffic-free cycleways.
At Wesel, EV3 strikes out north-east on a 500km course to Hamburg. After the cycling haven of Münster come the great trading cities of Bremen and Osnabrück, stalwarts of the Hanseatic League. But other than these urban interludes, it’s a rural, level route through the undemanding pastures of northern Germany. Well signposted and almost entirely on asphalt, it could hardly be easier riding.
The fleshpots of Hamburg need no introduction. It’s worth planning some time into your tour to explore Germany’s greatest port, a city of bridges and canals, warehouses and taverns. From here, it’s back onto quiet roads through Schleswig-Holstein to the Danish border.