Cycling the Romantic Road - difficulty level?
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Mar 17, 2012 4:51 PM Last Post By: bigtyke
Feb 8, 2012 10:47 PM
Cycling the Romantic Road - difficulty level?Hi,
I am an Indian (and female) planning to travel alone in Europe this summer. I am very eager to cycle the Romantic road. To be honest I have not decided where I plan to start from but I do know I would like to end at Fussen (spelling?) and get into Austria from there. This would be somewhere between May or June '12.
I like to cycle but I am certainly not used to inclines & hence would prefer flat land. My luggage would include one backpack. Also I have a very very tight budget (of max 50 Euros a day all inclusive) which for me means I can not take a guided / semi-guided tour.
Please do help me out with:
1. how safe is it to cycle alone?
2. which parts of the Romantic Road are the easiest? (absolute flat land for a person who doesnt cycle on a very regular basis)
3. where can I rent a cycle? Again my r&d states its about €20 per day. Can I get it for cheaper?
4. Can I rent it in one city (say Heidelberg or Munich) and return it in an other city (say Fussen?)
5. how expensive are B&B / hostels? (from my little R&D nothing is less than €30!)
6. do I need to book in advance for accommodation?
7. I dont mind camping grounds. But will i find them easily?
8. Does one need to book in advance for camping site?
9. Will they provide tents?
10. I am vegetarian (but I do eat eggs), so how easy or difficult will it be for me to manage meals? should I mostly rely on supermarkets?
11. are there enough supermarkets?
12. what is the best way to lug my backpack?
13. I would also like to visit The King's House on Schachen. What is the best feasible way to get there? And how does one get there?
14. Any other practical advice that you can share with me?
15. What is the best way to combine Black Forest & Romantic Road?
16. Ooooh and also how cold is it during May June? (I cant handle too much cold since I am from Bombay a place which hardly witnesses any winters!)
Wow, that turned out to be a long list of questions! (and I have so many more to ask - but that would be later).
Anyways, any bit of advice is much appreciated!!!
Feb 9, 2012 12:36 AM
1Well, M. that´s a challenging but gorgeous enterprise.
As to your questions, partly better answers might be obtained on the On your bike Branch.
1. Yes, it's safe, certainly compared to Mumbai. Many cycle-paths. And other (touristy) cyclists.
2. I't's seldom absolutely flat, have a check with this tool: http://www.mapmyride.com/
3. Don't know where. But € 20 seems to be very much. Important is your renting period.
4. There's no drop-off systems like renting cars.
5. Have a look here about (cycle-friendly and often nicely located) hostels:
http://www.jugendherberge.de/de/jugendherbergen/visitenkarte/jh.jsp?IDJH=263 Average about € 23 for hostel with breakfast.
6.No, but if you use djh.de, ask the staff to book for you the next day destination.
7. Campingsites: me, not being focused on it: IMO not very much in this area. Given your lack of experience and limiting your luggage I should go for the hostels: also more interaction. And do the maths: about € 9 for a night.
9. ?? I don't expect they do, sometimes cabins.
10. Food/catering: no problem.
12. Divide your luggage in 2 panniers.
14. Just read some blogs on http://www.rad-forum.de or http://www.crazyguyonabike.com
15. You mean cycling? How many days will you spend?
16. For us in May-June are good temps for cycling. Possibly dress in some layers. You forget about a lower temp since you enjoy fresh air. Check weatheronline.com for averages. End May/beginning June 15 - 25 degrees C.
The best general advice IMO now is reading some blogs about cycling and specifically about the area, see above links.
Feb 9, 2012 6:14 AM
and welcome to the Thorn Tree. Sounds like a great trip you are planning! A few remarks in no particular order:
If you concerned about the weather, try to push your trip as far as possible into late May or even better into June, as there is often a brief cold spell (including night frosts) around mid-May in Germany, even if there was glorious spring weather in the weeks before.
I second the suggestion to stay in HI (or other) hostels and to not go camping - too much gear too lug around, not much fun if the weather is not dry.
For the Koenigshaus in Schachen, look up the page here, and note in particular this remark: "The King's House is located 1800 m above sea level and only accessible on foot. It is a walk of 3 to 4 hours."
I have not heard of one-way cycle rentals over such a long distance outside of guided/package tours, as most bicycle rental places just operate locally. You may have to backtrack at the end by train to take the bike back. You may get a discount, though, if you rent a bike for a full week or even longer period.
Also, search this Branch (and the "on your bike" branch) for older posts on the Romantic road; I seem to remember people posting that the road as such is not very interesting, rather the towns it links.
To find out about bicycle rental places, accommodation, sights etc in any given German town, look up its website (for instance www.wuerzburg.de - note the spelling with the umlaut converted into "ue") and look for the tourism section. Don't hesitate to call the tourist office staff with your questions, or drop into their physical office when you are in town - the will have lots of advice and free maps, brochures etc.
As regards accommodation being booked out, you will need to pay particular attention to the Pentecost weekend (26 to 28 May) and the Ascension day long weekend (7 to 10 June), and there are school holidays in southern Germany during this period.
Combining Romantic Road and the Black Forest really depends on your budget and time, and if both are limited...
However, for a nice gentle (all the way downhill!) bicycle ride in the Northern Black Forest, I can suggest the
Tour de Murg .
Feb 9, 2012 6:19 AM
Feb 9, 2012 4:19 PM
4Cycling in Germany
Cycling in Rhineland-Palatinate
Romantic Road Cycle Route
Tauber Valley Cycle Route - one of the best known ones, partly identical with the northern part of the Romantic Road.
Best combination of easy and scenic are the many riverside long distance routes. Like the Tauber Valley route. There are many excellent routes to choose from. Information in English is however rare.
Main Valley Route (the other 5* besides the Tauber Valley which is a tributary of the Main)
A list of 4* classified routes.
You can transport a bicycle on regional trains (EUR 5,00 - free in some regions/federal states).
Westfrankenbahn which operates e.g. trains along the river Main and Tauber has even special cars for bicycle transport and this for free (you need however a ticket for yourself).
And there are also special bike buses in some areas. Here the website of the ones in Rhineland-Palatinate (even in English).
1. Really safe. From the cycling aspect. And from the aspect as a woman traveling alone.
2. Pick one (or two) of the river cycling routes.
3. Best source of knowledge: tourist offices of the towns. Send them an email.
4. Don't think such a service exist. And doubt that you will get the best rates in the bigger/more touristy places.
7./8./9. Camping will work only for some routes like the Moselle Valley route. You don't need to book in advance as a single (tent) camper. But they normally won't rent tents.
10. There are more and more vegetarians in Germany. Options vary however considerably between the regions and towns.
11. There are nearly as many supermarkets than castles;-) And there a are damn a lot castles in Germany.
Feb 9, 2012 11:34 PM
5Don't forget waterproof raingear. There is no guarantee it'll be dry all the time and once you've been soaked it takes a long time for your clothes to get dry again. Some of my family regularly go on bike trips for several days and this has often meant cycling 50,60 km in pouring rain. After the first time they all got proper rain gear.
Feb 10, 2012 12:28 AM
6I am vegetarian (but I do eat eggs), so how easy or difficult will it be for me to manage meals?
Eating meals in cheap restaurants in remote places can get pretty boring for vegetarians because of the limited and repetitive choices, where they exist at all. Eating omelettes can get a bit tedious after a while. (Yes, I speak from bitter experience.) Hostels are better at providing meals for vegetarians than village restaurants, but even then you might find the meal choices repetitive, and not especially appealing if you have (in European terms) unusual tastes.
should I mostly rely on supermarkets?
Shopping in food shops, not necessarily supermarkets, and cooking for yourself will make your meal times a lot easier and more interesting.
Feb 10, 2012 1:22 AM
Firstly, thank you so much for taking the time out and helping me with these very valuable feedback.
I did check on various discussions of cycling here (and other blogs) , but wanted to mostly know about the difficulty level and then i got carried away with my questions! (sleepy smile).
Arizona, Riesling, Abalada - thank you for all the sites you've mentioned. I will need to allocate more time on researching them now.
I think the general consensus is to stay in hostels. Camping can always be done in other parts of the country I guess.
I will also add the alternate cycling routes you've mentioned. I am open to that. The whole objective is to enjoy the country side clubbed with places on my wish list (in this case Black Forest & Romantic Road)
Riesling - good that you mentioned the school break dates. I'll keep a note of these. Also, you mentioned Koenigshaus in Schachen is a 3-4 hr walk. which is fine with me (i believe myself to be fairly fit). But being from India, and being a girl, we've been brought up to NEVER venture alone anywhere especially if its a an obscure location. Hence I am a litter uncertain now. Please advice.
Amsel07 - duly noted. I would hate to get soaked and be cold!
Tony_b - its should fairly easy then to manage vegetarian food. Phew! Do all hostels provide the option of self catering?
Feb 15, 2012 12:26 PM
8Hi Mallika (?),
re: self-catering in hostels - this is something you will need to check for each individual hostel you plan to stay in; many HI / DJH hostels do not have self-catering facilities, but provide a very decent breakfast and evening meal, often as buffets, and lunch packs. In the Garmisch-Partenkirchen hostel, for instance, a night in a 4-6 bed dorm including breakfast will cost 24 Euro, adding a lunch pack and evening meal will put the total cost at 33 Euro (plus a 4 Euro supplement in both cases if you are older than 27).
Privat hostels may offer self-catering facilities, but you will need to reasearch whether there are any along your route.
As regards safety, you will need to keep your wits about you and stay street smart, but there is no need for paranoia - lots of women travel or go about their daily lives in Germany on their own each day without coming to harm.
Also, you may not necessarily travel on your own all the time as staying in hostels, there's a good chance you may meet other travellers you can join for sight-seeing or the next day's leg of your journey. You could also check the Couchsurfing database for "locals to hang out with" to have some company.
Also, places which are of interest to you may be of interest for other people, too; for instance, I came across a website which described the walk up to the Koenigshaus as very busy with tourists, so at least this place is not really an obscure location...
However, you should cover some of the basics such as traffic rules or precautions to take if you plan to walk higher up in the mountains (i.e. bringing warm clothes and rain gear just in case, checking the weather forecast, letting other people know where you go, when you plan to be back etc.).
Feb 29, 2012 2:09 AM
Thank you so much! These points you've mentioned are really good. And you're right I do intend to check out local Couchsurfing meets and there will always be someone from the hostel I could hook up with for sight seeing.
Its good to know that hostels give lunchpacks. If I do find these places wherein for 37 Euros my stay & meal is covered then it brings down my per day cost to quite a bit. So more beer then! ;)
Mar 17, 2012 4:51 PM
10In addition to hostels, consider staying in privat zimmer - that is a room that is rented by a homeowner. They may have only one or several rooms that rent for as cheap or cheaper than a hostel. This is especially good advice when you just can't cycle far enough to the next hostel.
While the route is not perfectly flat as it would be in some places (in the US, Louisiana, in Canada, the central plains, in India, I don't know), but it is rolling small hills and in many places, such as along the Tauber, it is almost flat.
There is a bike path without traffic (except for the occasional farm vehicles) for most if not all of the Romantic Road.
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