From the biker‘s paradise Münsterland to the Rhine Cycle Route to Cologne.
In between castles, nature and industrial culture
Cycle and boat trip: Münster – Cologne | 8 days / 7 nights | Ship: Quo Vadis | individual cycle tours
This bike tour combines the highlights of several very different routes. From the park landscape of the idyllic Münsterland region with its moated castles and palaces to a somewhat different culture in the Rhine-Ruhr region, which has undergone major changes in recent decades. Winding towers are now monuments to industrial culture, old colliery sites have become parks and cultural centers - all nestled in a surprisingly wide and green landscape in which the industrial relics develop a romantic charm.
On the cycle routes you will experience the beauty of castles and historic architecture, creative towns and idyllic nature areas. In many cases, the route leads along a river or canal, on the banks of which numerous cafés, beer gardens or picnic areas with a view invite you to take a break. In Münster, Düsseldorf and Cologne you will also discover three of the most beautiful old towns in North Rhine-Westphalia. Your floating hotel, the cozy 24-passenger ship MS Quo Vadis, will accompany you and provide you with a comfortable stay on board at the end of each cycle route.
Highlights of this bike and boat trip
✔ Historic “city of peace” Münster
✔ Nordkirchen Castle, the „Westphalian Versailles”
✔ Nature reserve Lippeauen on the Roman-Lippe cycle route
✔ UNESCO World Heritage Zollverein Coal Mine
✔ Lake Baldeney and Ruhr Valley Cycle Route
✔ Niederbergbahn panorama bike path
✔ Angertal nature reserve
✔ Museums and pub culture in the old town of Düsseldorf
✔ Zollfeste Zons on the Rhine
✔ Roman city of Cologne with the Cologne Cathedral (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Itinerary Münster – Cologne
Day 1 (Sat): approx. 16:00 Embarkation in the Historic “city of peace” Münster
Embarkation in the city harbor at the Kreativkai in the center of Münster. In the afternoon you will still have time to stroll around the Prinzipalmarkt in the historic old town of Münster, visit the Friedenssaal or have a coffee with an unobstructed view of the impressive cathedral. At 6 pm is Reception on board with sparkling wine followed by dinner at 6.30 pm.
Day 2 (Sun): Münster – Lüdinghausen – Datteln
Bike tour 61 km / 38 miles, 176 m uphill or 48 km / 30 miles, 152 m uphill
Rivers and castles in Münsterland
Along the beautiful river bank you cycle along the Werseradweg through the green park landscape of the Münsterland until you follow the 100 castles route from Albersloh. After the manor houses Haus Bisping and Haus Borg you can admire the Westphalian Versailles, Schloss Nordkirchen, in the middle of a large baroque park. Along the banks of the Stever River, you will cycle into Lüdinghausen. There you are going to reach Vischering Castle. Circumnavigate the stunning Gräftenring and nearby Lüdinghausen Castle before re-entering the ship in order to travel via the Dortmund-Ems Canal to Datteln.
Day 3 (Mon): Datteln – Lünen – Werne – Hamm
Bike tour 45–59 km / 28-37 miles, 190–227 m uphill
Between the Ruhr region and Münsterland
Along the Lippe River, the route leads to Lünen and the listed Victoria coal mine settlement. After a few kilometers through nature and forest, Cappenberg Castle appears. About halfway along the way, the historic old town of Werne invites to a stop at the market square with a view on the old town hall. On the Römer-Lippe route, you then cycle surrounded by waterways. A dam leads in between the Lippe and the Datteln-Hamm Canal to Maximilianpark in Hamm, the first renaturalized coal mine site in Germany. Here, a special adventure park has been created: with lakes, art, a butterfly house, the 40m high glass elephant and relics of the mining era. Alternatively, to Oberwerries Castle in the Lippe meadows north of Hamm. At the end of the day, you will go back from Hamm to Datteln by ship.
Day 4 (Tue): Datteln – Gelsenkirchen.
Bike tour 44 km / 27 miles, 210 m uphill (shorter route 35 km / 22 miles possible).
Route Industrial Culture
Today is all about to industrial culture. The old ship lift is the first spectacular structure you can visit. It was not until its completion in 1899 that the Dortmund-Ems Canal could be navigated all the way to Dortmund Harbor. From the ship lift, you will continue along the Industrial Culture Route to the heath and forest landscape of the Resser Mark. The Rhine-Herne Canal, the former Henrichenburg, Bladenhorst Castle, the Museum “Strom und Leben” and the former Recklinghausen II Colliery including its historic winding tower are on your route. The ship will be waiting for you in Gelsenkirchen harbor. The longer route includes a detour to Herten Castle and the idyllic old village of Westerholt. Here you can have another drink in the castle garden or on the village square surrounded by half-timbered houses before cycling to the city port of Gelsenkirchen.
Day 5 (Wed): Gelsenkirchen – Mülheim an der Ruhr
Bicycle tour 49 km / 31 miles, 240 m uphill
From the Zollverein Coal Mine to the Ruhr Cycle Path
You cycle along the Rhine-Herne Canal on the 7-bridge cycle path to the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex (UNESCO World Heritage Site). A walk across the grounds offers ever new vantage points of the imposing steel and brick facilities in Bauhaus architecture. The RuhrMuseum and the Red Dot Design Museum with 2000 exhibits are located on the grounds. After the many impressions, the cycle path then leads you to the banks of the Ruhr and to Lake Baldeney, the largest of the 6 Ruhr reservoirs. Villa Hügel, the home of the Krupp family of industrialists, is worth a short detour. From here you follow the RuhrtalRadweg to Mülheim an der Ruhr. Alternatively (shorter route) from Stoppenberg via the Ruhr cycle path to Mülheim. Around the city harbor there is much to discover: among others, the Aquarius Water Museum, Styrum Castle Park and the MüGa State Garden Show Park.
Day 6 (Thu): Mülheim/Ruhr – Düsseldorf
Bike tour 50 km / 31 miles, 348 m uphill (flatter route possible)
Cycling along the river: Ruhr, Anger and Rhine.
Via the Ruhr cycle path and along the Ruhr floodplains, you will first reach the Kettwiger reservoir. Cycle a bit on the Niederbergbahn panoramic bike path, an old railroad track that climbs a bit in parts, but also rewards you with very beautiful views. Along the Anger River, floodplain forests alternate with green meadows. Haus Anger and Gräfgenstein Castle, visible from afar, still bear witness to the age of knights. During a break in the beer garden of the Auermühle, you can relax and recharge for the remaining last kilometers. For those interested, the Cromford Textile Factory Museum, located in an old English landscape park, offers insights into cotton spinning 200 years ago. Cycle through the green countryside past Kalkum Castle to the banks of the Rhine and after a few kilometers on the Rhine Cycle Path reach the Quo Vadis landing stage in Düsseldorf. End the evening on the Rhine promenade and soak up the atmosphere of the special pub culture of the Rhenish metropolis.
Day 7 (Fri): Düsseldorf – Rhine Cycle Route – Cologne
Bike tour 48 km / 30 miles, 159 m uphill
Through the Rhine meadows to the Roman city of Cologne
Along the Rhine, the route first leads to Benrath Palace, one of the most beautiful late Baroque garden palaces in Europe. After this ornate complex, the path through the floodplain landscape of the Urdenbacher Kämpe with pollarded willows and hundreds of apple and pear trees is an enchanting contrast. You change the banks of the Rhine and the customs fortress of Zons with its mill and city wall transports you unawares to the Middle Ages. After a leisurely stretch through the green meadows of the Rhine, the backdrop becomes industrial once again in view of the Ford factories on your right. The Rhine on your left leads you directly to the old Roman city of Cologne, where the Quo Vadis awaits you in the central Rheinauhafen.
Day 8 (Sat): After breakfast end of the trip.
Extension days possible.
Itinerary Cologne – Münster
Day 1 (Sat): approx. 16:00 start in Cologne
The Roman city on the Rhine Cycle Route
Embarkation in the ancient Roman city of Cologne, where the Quo Vadis awaits you in the central Rheinauhafen. Take a walk across the Domplatte and through the alleys of Cologne‘s old town. 18:00 Reception on board with sparkling wine followed by dinner at 18:30.
Day 2 (Sun): Cologne – Rhine Cycle Route – Düsseldorf
Cycle tour 48 km / 159 m uphill
Through the Rhine meadows to Düsseldorf
Today you cycle from the Cologne harbor through the industrial backdrop of the Ford factories directly into the green meadows of the Rhine. From here you will go to the customs fortress of Zons. It’s town wall and charm take you back to the Middle Age. You can relax on the riverbanks at the Rhine and follow the cycle path through the floodplain landscape of the Urdenbacher Kämpe with pollarded willows and hundreds of apple and pear trees. Shortly afterwards you reach Benrath Palace, one of the most beautiful late Baroque garden palaces in Europe. The last kilometres of the day‘s stage lead along the Rhine bends via Vollmerswerth to Düsseldorf harbor. End the evening on the Rhine promenade and soak up the atmosphere of the special pub culture of the Rhenish metropolis.
Day 3 (Mon): Düsseldorf – Mülheim/Ruhr
Cycle 50 km / 348 m uphill (flatter route possible)
Cycling along the river: Rhine, Anger and Ruhr
The first few kilometers are a relaxed cycle along the Rhine to Kaiserswerth and Kalkum Castle. Passing the Angermunder See lake, you cycle through the green countryside towards the Angertal valley. The Cromford Textile Factory Museum, located in an old English landscape park, offers interested visitors an insight into cotton spinning 200 years ago. Along the river Anger, floodplain forests alternate with green meadows. Haus Anger and Gräfgenstein Castle, visible from afar, still bear witness to the age of chivalry. The beer garden of the Auermühle, one of many along the Anger, is ideal for a break at the water. Later on, you cycle along the Niederbergbahn panoramic cycle path, an old railway line. There are small slopes, but it also offers you exceptionally beautiful views. Soon you reach the Kettwiger reservoir and the Ruhr. Always close to the riverbank, the route leads to Mülheim an der Ruhr. There is much to discover around the city harbor, including the Aquarius Water Museum, Styrum Castle Park and the MüGa State Garden Show Park.
Day 4 (Tue): Mülheim an der Ruhr – Gelsenkirchen
Cycle tour 49 km / 260 m uphill
From the Ruhr Cycle Route to the Zollverein Coal Mine
The Ruhr Valley Cycle Route takes you to Lake Baldeney, the largest of the 6 Ruhr reservoirs. Villa Hügel, the home of the Krupp family of industrialists, is worth a short detour. Follow the river through the Heisinger Ruhraue nature reserve, an old arm of the Ruhr, to Essen. A highlight of industrial culture awaits you in the north of the city in the form of the Zollverein Coal Mine (UNESCO World Heritage Site). A walk through the grounds offers you new perspectives of the imposing steel and brick Bauhaus architecture. The RuhrMuseum and the Red Dot Design Museum with 2000 exhibits are located on the grounds. Continue cycling along the Rhine-Herne Canal via the 7-bridges cycle path to the ship‘s berth in Gelsenkirchen. Alternatively, you can go (shorter route) from Mülheim to Stoppenberg via the Ruhr cycle path.
Day 5 (Tue): Gelsenkirchen – Datteln
Cycle 44 km / 200 m uphill (shorter route 35 km possible)
Industrial Culture Route
Today is again a day of contrasts between exciting industrial culture and nature. From the port of Gelsenkirchen you cycle into the forest landscape of the Resser Mark, past the Ewaldsee lake to the Rhine-Herne Canal. You follow the route of Industrial Culture with the former Recklinghausen II Colliery with its historic winding tower, the Museum Strom und Leben, Bladenhorst Castle and the former Henrichenburg. The old ship lift is one of the most spectacular structures on the Route of Industrial Heritage. It was not until it was completed in 1899 that the Dortmund-Ems Canal could be navigated all the way to Dortmund harbour. From here it is not far to the ship that awaits you in the port of Datteln.
The longer route includes a detour to Herten Castle and the idyllic old village of Westerholt. Here you can enjoy a drink in the castle garden or on the village square surrounded by half-timbered houses.
Day 6 (Mon): Datteln – Lünen – Werne – Hamm
(this day is identical to the MS Cologne route)
Cycle tour 45–59 km / 190–227 m uphill
Between the Ruhr district and Münsterland
Along the re-naturalized river Lippe, the route leads to Lünen and the listed coal-mining settlement of Victoria. After a few kilometres through a forest, Cappenberg Castle soon appears. About halfway along the route, the historic old town of Werne offers a stop at the market square with a view of the old town hall. On the Römer-Lippe route you then cycle to the right and left of waterways.
Day 7 (Sun): Datteln– Lüdinghausen – Münster
Cycle tour 61 km / 156 m uphill or 48 km / 152 m uphill.
Rivers and castles in Münsterland
During breakfast the ship departs and sails along the Dortmund-Ems Canal to Lüdinghausen, known as the 3-castle town. Vischering Castle exudes medieval flair and can be reached quickly from the pier. Cycle around the picturesque Gräftenring and the nearby Lüdinghausen Castle before getting back on the bike for the last stage of the trip. Along the banks of the Stever you cycle out of the town into the Westphalian countryside with fields, ramparts and farms. Soon the Westphalian Versailles, the magnificent Nordkirchen Castle, is in sight. Admire the large baroque park with moats and sculptures. Continue on the 100 castles route: After the manor houses Haus Borg and Haus Bisping, you will reach the enchanting riverbank of the Werse behind Rinkerode. Follow the Werseradweg cycle path through the green park landscape to the city of peace, Münster. The ship is moored in the city harbour at the Kreativkai in the centre of Münster. A visit to the historic old town is worthwhile: visit the historic Friedenssaal (Peace Hall) or enjoy the view of the impressive cathedral, the gabled houses on Prinzipalmarkt and the old town hall in one of the street cafés.
Day 8 (Sat): End of the tour after breakfast.
Extension days possible.
All kilometres and metres in altitude are approximate. On the shorter routes, it is not possible to visit all of the mentioned stopovers.