Germany Route

Our route through Germany

Broadly speaking, we followed 3 rivers through Germany: The Rhine, Main and Danube, with a couple of sections to join them together. The Rhine route is particularly beautiful, and was the one with the most villages, cafes and amenities actually on the path. The other two long distance routes had sections which had large distances between towns and villages, so if you needed a cashpoint or shop, it often meant a divert to get to one.

Everything about cycling in Germany is top notch: The bike lanes, surfaces, signage and safety. On the rare occasion we needed to ride on the road it was very safe. It was confusing at first to be given priority when we had right of way, rather than a car pulling out in front of us from a side road, roundabout or junction just to get ahead of a cyclist. Drivers seemed happy and patient to wait behind and not pass until there was ample space. Other people will almost always acknowledge and greet each other. It really is a different world.

As we have banged on about in our blog, the only minor difficulty cycling (or travelling in general) is that shops entirely shut down on Sundays and public holidays. Cafes and restaurants do remain open though.

Campsites were quite plentiful and tended to be large. Facilities were always good. Clean toilet and shower blocks, with plenty of space to put your stuff, and always with toilet roll and soap in the toilets, plus dish and clothes washing sinks, and mostly with washing machines and tumble dryers (for an extra charge.) About half required buying a separate shower token, which goes in a coin slot inside the cubicle. One was always enough to have a proper shower, and they were cheap. Most sites had at least a cafe/bar on site and many had a basic shop or kiosk and/or a restaurant. Prices seemed to vary more by location than facilities. There were usually designated numbered pitches only for camper vans/caravans. The tent area was usually a free for all section. If that was full then it was full, even if there were camper van spaces available and we were willing to pay for the pitch, we couldn’t stay because it was very strictly designated. We happened to be in Germany over 2 holiday weekends and campsites were very busy, even in out of the way places. We were turned away when there was no tent space.

If you need any kind of medication at all, these are sold in an Apotheke (chemist/pharmacy.) Shops/Supermarkets do not sell things such as aspirin, only Apotheke do, and everything like that is over the counter rather than on the shelves, so you have to ask for it. All medication is very expensive. A pack of 16 non-branded ibuprofen tablets cost us about £5. This is because of how highly trained pharmacists are, combined with the philosophy of not commercialising the drug industry.

On the other hand, cigarettes are easy to get! We saw vending machines on the street, and most restaurants and bars also had them. They were also on the shelf by the till at supermarkets, rather than behind a counter. Supermarkets in Germany were quite expensive, particularly for toiletries.

Blog posts for Germany:

Going Deutsch

Going East