Germany’s 920km leg of the Central Europe route follows two great rivers, the Rhine and the Main. After the commercial bustle of Düsseldorf, historic Cologne and the former capital of Bonn, you ride through the fabulous Rhine Gorge between Koblenz and Bingen with its fairytale castles and steep valley sides. Most of the route is traffic-free, and accommodation and other services for cyclists are plentiful – increasingly including e-bike charging.
At Mainz the route strikes off along the river Main, passing the international financial centre of Frankfurt. The Main becomes more interesting the further upstream you ride, heading into rural Franconia on a looping course studded with little riverside towns. There’s more on-road riding here and increasingly frequently the route departs from the riverbank, but the secluded woodland scenery is a delight in itself. Generally the surface remains excellent, but a few of the off-road sections are better suited for touring bikes than road bikes.
Bamberg’s old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Bayreuth, of course, was the home of Richard Wagner; the annual Wagner festival has a waiting list of up to ten years, so perhaps don’t plan on dropping in by bike.