According to the results of the ADFC cycling holiday survey for 2018, four out of the ten most popular long-distance cycle routes in Germany run through NRW: the Weser cycle route, the Ruhrtal cycle route and the Rhine cycle route were ranked second, third and sixth. A new entry was the Ems cycle route at number five, which was not among the Top Ten last year. Top of the list is the Elbe cycle route once again, although the gap between this tour and the four-star ADFC quality cycle routes, the Weser and Ruhrtal routes, has lessened.
The Rhine cycle route is also a leader at European level: the 1,233 kilometre-long route, known as the EuroVelo 15, which follows the river from the Alps to the North Sea, and which includes a 200 kilometre section in NRW, was presented with the EuroVeloAward 2017 by the European Cycling Federation as the most popular cycling route in Europe.
According to those surveyed, North Rhine-Westphalia is right up near the top when it comes to the most popular cycling regions in Germany: as was the case last year, the Münsterland region is ranked second behind Bavaria, while the federal state of NRW as a whole is ranked third, two places higher than last year. The Ruhr area has moved one place up to number four. The ADFC Travelbike cycling holiday survey is a representative online questionnaire of 8,700 German citizens. The survey was conducted for the 19th time during the winter of 2017/2018.
The water palaces route (“Wasserburgen-Route”) is another long-distance cycle path to be awarded the ADFC quality route certificate. The circular route, which covers around 470 kilometres, and which travels along the edge of the Eifel and Kölner Bucht through one of the regions in Europe with the largest number of water palaces and castles, was awarded three stars. As well as over 120 palaces and castles, it also passes other historic places, monasteries and mills. Now, ten cycle routes from NRW in all are among the 38 quality routes throughout Germany.