Vennbahn Cycle Route
A journey through three countries on old railway lines
The railway line that once transported coal and iron ore from Aachen to Luxembourg now provides a mainly flat route for leisurely cycling.
The Vennbahn Radweg (Vennbahn Cycle Route) leads from Aachen to Monschau and on to Belgium and Luxembourg. At 125 kilometres, it is one of Europe’s longest cycle paths that runs on disused railway lines. It crosses the borders between the three countries more than a dozen times.
In the 19th century the Vennbahn railway was used to transport coal and iron ore from Aachen to Luxembourg and back again. The disused railway line has now been transformed into a cycle path, with many towns, villages and sights to discover along the way.
Highlights include the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Aachen Cathedral and the cloth-making town of Monschau, as well as St. Vith with its museum of local history and Burg-Reuland, both of which are in Belgium. The diverse countryside along the route is equally appealing: the trail heads past hedgerows, across moorland and heath landscapes, through deep forests and along idyllic river valleys.
Those who want to learn more about the route can discover the Vennbahn Stories. These entertaining anecdotes explain the background to coffee smuggling, the beech hedgerows and the importance of the Vennbahn as a transport link up until the early 1960s.
The Vennbahn offers fun and variety for recreational cyclists, families and those with sporting ambitions. The stretch can easily be completed in two to three daily stages. Only the beginning of the cycle path has a few slight slopes to overcome, with easier terrain the rest of the way.