The Elbe Route starts in Germany, where it is known as Elberadweg and is one of the country’s busiest cycle routes. It is part of the EuroVelo European network. In the Czech Republic it offers cyclists around 370km of routes leading through fertile lowlands and mountain valleys all the way to the source of the Elbe in the Krkonoše Mountains. It also takes in historical towns such as Hradec Králové, Nymburk and Stará Boleslav.
The Elbe Cycle Route follows the profile of the river and is therefore suitable for all types of cyclists, including families with children. It is undemanding in terms of inclines and is particularly attractive to long-distance cyclists. The route is suitable for road and trekking bikes.
Rambling through the rocks by bike
A great place to start your wanderings by bike is in the fairytale landscape of rocks and pine forests in Czech-Saxon Switzerland and the Elbe sandstone highlands. There are also other cycle routes in this area that form part of a National Park. On some of them you can go all the way to Bad Schandau, a spa town on the German side of the border. And whether you stay the night or only for a short while, you certainly shouldn’t neglect to continue on to Děčín.
In Děčín you can follow the Long Ride all the way to the chateau, where you can reward yourself with a rest in the Rose Garden. You will be welcomed to Ústí nad Labem by the Marián Bridge, which has become the modern architectural gem of the town. Passing through the so-called Bohemian Gate, the Porta Bohemica, is also something to remember. Meanwhile, the 4km canyon section of the route will put your experience as a rider to the test.
Wandering through the landscape of the Central Bohemian Highlands
Another town on the Elbe is Litoměřice. It is one of the oldest and most beautiful of Czech towns and lies at the confluence of the Elbe and the Ohře. If you don’t take a detour to the fortress town of Terezín, you can continue along the Elbe all the way to Vědomice, where you can cross the river by bridge to the town of Roudnice nad Labem. It is just a short distance from Mount Říp, which has an important place in Czech mythology and offers a Romanesque rotunda and amazing views of the region. You can then reach Štětí by means of a comfortable route around the Račice rowing centre.
Follow the signs and you won’t get lost
Following the signs is important if you want to successfully complete the entire route. On Czech territory, the Elbe Route is only identified by ordinary national cycling tourism markings, featuring black numerals on yellow metal signs. The section from the German border to Mělník is marked by the number 2, the section from Mělník to Vrchlabí is marked by the number 24, and the section from Vrchlabí to Špindlerův Mlýn is not marked. There, however, all you need to do is follow the local signs and you will reach the source of the Elbe.