This low-traffic scenic meander across Germany goes by several names: EuroVelo 2 (the Capitals route), national route D3 (the Europe route), or Euroroute R1, a precursor of the EuroVelo network. Lofty monickers aside, this is really a route of quiet countryside and small towns, an unhurried route for discovering the Germany less travelled.
For its first 250km, the route is beautifully flat, following tiny agricultural roads through the park-like landscape of Münsterland. Münster itself is sometimes said to be Germany’s most bike-friendly city.
The route skirts the wooded northern foothills of the Harz mountains. It’s here that it reaches its highest point, although it doesn’t extend into the heart of the Harz.
As the mountains recede, the route resumes its pastoral character for an easy amble to Berlin. The approach to the capital is superb, following lakeside tracks before taking to the famous Bismarckstraße and Unter den Linden. After Berlin, the quiet roads and flat landscapes of the former DDR take you to the Polish border.
Several sections are on forest tracks or (occasionally) cobbled roads. A touring/hybrid bike will be fine, but on a road bike you’ll need good tyres.