The Ostsee–Oberbayern (Baltic Sea—Upper Bavaria) cycle route is the longest of Germany’s D-routes, at over 1600km. We’ve split it into two halves here: this is the southern part through Bavaria.
There’s a lot to see in this half of the route. It begins in the suburbs of Salzburg, with Munich following in short order – two cities which each deserve an extended stay. After a looping tour through quiet Bavarian countryside, D11 joins the Altmühl river which also serves as part of the Main–Danube navigation. It’s an intriguing mix of transport history, riverside castles and typical Bavarian architecture.
A stretch beside an artificial canal navigation takes you through Nürnberg (Nuremberg), Bavaria’s second city and a popular tourist destination. The old town was extensively reconstructed after WWII.
By contrast, Bamberg’s medieval town survives largely untouched, making it a must-see. This is where the canal finally reaches the river Main, but rather than heading downriver with the commercial barges, we turn upstream – and uphill – on the rapidly narrowing river into the Bavarian hills.
Eventually, quiet lanes take us over the top to the magical valley of the Saale. This offers the best vistas of the entire route, and you’ll see them from high above as the looping route climbs up and down the valley sides. It’s far from an easy ride as river routes go, but comfort yourself with the knowledge that on average it’s downhill!