River Ems Cycle Path
By bike from the source of the Ems to the North Sea
From source to estuary: the River Ems Cycle Path passes through idyllic landscapes, cities, castles and forests before it reaches the sea.
Only the lower half of the Ems can be navigated by ships. Cyclists, on the other hand, can follow the watercourse for around 380 kilometres (189km in Northrhine-Westfalia) from source to estuary along quiet, tarmacked paths. A bicycle saddle is the ideal vantage point to follow the Ems as it grows from a small stream to the mighty river that enters the North Sea.
The river cycle path is almost entirely flat as it heads through idyllic countryside, far from busy roads. While always following the river, it also dips into the historic towns on the right and left banks of the Ems. This makes the route suitable for cyclists with varying levels of fitness, as well as for leisure cyclists and young families.
It begins in Hövelhof on the doorstep of the Teutoburg Forest and heads through the Paderborn and Gütersloh regions. Sand dunes, pine forests and wetland meadows shape the landscape upstream, together with historic cities and rustic half-timbered houses. The route runs along the picturesque Ems floodplains, through Münsterland’s park landscape with its many moated castles. The horse-riding town of Warendorf with the NRW state stud farm and Telgte, a place of pilgrimage, are also along the route. A detour to Münster, the city of the Peace of Westphalia, promises a diverse programme of culture and history. Observation towers, walkways and information boards provide new insights along the way.
The Ems then reaches the green expanse of the Emsland, a region that combines nature and shipping tradition. East Frisia is where things become truly maritime. Cyclists can already sense the sea here and almost smell the brisk, salty sea air. This is an area of harbours, locks and weirs. Impressive cruise ships leave from the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg to sail the oceans of the world. Finally, near Emden the river flows into the Dollart and the North Sea – the crowning glory of a journey along and with the idyllic Ems.