On its way it passes a variety of landscapes and cities worth seeing. Hamelin and Bremen are particularly popular photo hotspots due to their architectural features such as half-timbered houses or the Weser Renaissance.
- Other highlights: Weserstein, old town of Hannoversch Münden, Kaiser Wilhelm Monument (Porta Westfalica)
- Most popular bike path: Weser Cycle Path (520 kilometers from Hannoversch Münden to the North Sea)
- hiking landscape: Mainly moderate routes
- Suitable for bathing: Yes – swimming in the Weser is generally not recommended, but there are official bathing areas such as the bathing beach at Café Sand in Bremen or the Weser bathing area Juliusplate in Bern, Lower Saxony
The Saale (413 kilometers in Germany)
The Saale flows 413 kilometers through Bavaria, Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt. The journey begins at the source of the Saale in Zell im Fichtelgebirge in Upper Franconia, before the river finally flows into the Elbe in Saxony-Anhalt.
On the way, the second longest tributary of the Elbe passes extensive mixed forests, meadow landscapes and local recreation areas as well as cities such as Jena, Halle an der Saale or Naumburg.
The Saale-Unstrut region is particularly well-known for its wineries, so you can combine historic towns with wine tasting. The Naumburg Cathedral, for example, is particularly worth seeing, but the town of Weißenfels also has a lot to offer.
- Other highlights: Halle Zoological Garden, Giebichenstein Castle and State Museum of Prehistory (Halle / Saale), Goseck Sun Observatory, Moritzburg Castle in Zeitz, rudelsburg and Saaleck as medieval destinations
- Most popular bike path: Saale cycle path (403 kilometers in Bavaria, Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt)
- hiking landscape: Easy to difficult routes
- Suitable for bathing: No – swimming in the Saale is not recommended for hygiene reasons
The Spree (382 kilometers in Germany)
The Spree rises from three springs in the Lusatian mountains near the Czech border. After 400 kilometers, during which it passes the canals of the Spreewald, among other things, it flows into the Havel near Berlin-Spandau.
If you decide to take a jaunt along the Spree, you will embark on a varied journey: whether it’s the Lusatian Lake District, the traditional Spree Forest or the vibrant capital of Berlin – there’s something for every taste here.
And there are also numerous possibilities directly on and on the Spree: You can explore Berlin from the water with stand-up paddling or book a classic Spreer tour. In the Spreewald, on the other hand, the best way to get around is by canoe.
- Other highlights: Farmer’s Museum (Schlepzig), Spreebogenpark (Berlin), Spreewaldmuseum Lübbenau, tank driving in Brandenburg, hiking in the Schlaubetal,
- Most popular bike path: Spree Cycle Path (380 kilometers from the Oberlausitzer Bergland to Berlin)
- hiking landscape: Some easy to moderately difficult routes
- Suitable for bathing: No – for safety reasons, swimming in the Spree is not recommended; however, the Flussbad Berlin project is planning to make a section of the Spree Canal in Berlin suitable for bathing
The Ems (371 kilometers in Germany)
The Ems has its source in the Moosheide nature reserve in Hövelhof in the Paderborn district. From here the river flows through a lot of nature before passing Münster and the Münsterland. It continues through the Teutoburg Forest to Emden, where the river flows into the North Sea.
Nature reserves, numerous vantage points and romantic hiking trails are just a few of the region’s highlights. Between Hövelhof and Emden there are also a large number of cozy farm cafés that invite you to linger with a view of the Ems.
The Emsland also offers numerous superlatives: The Meyer shipyard, where huge cruise ships are built, has one of the largest dry docks in the world. And in Emsbüren there is the largest pot and bedding plant nursery in Europe.
- Other highlights: Clemenswerth Castle (Sögel), Lake Dankern (west of Haren in Emsland), Bourtanger Moor-Bargerveen Nature Park (Meppen), Emsland Moor Museum, megalithic tombs
- Most popular bike path: Ems cycle path (375 kilometers from Hövelhof to Emden)
- hiking landscape: Mainly moderate routes
- Suitable for bathing: Yes – swimming in the Ems is generally not prohibited outside of nature reserves such as Telgte, but swimming is generally discouraged for safety reasons
The Neckar (362 kilometers in Germany)
The source of the Neckar is near Schwenningen in the southwest of Baden-Württemberg, in the Schwenninger Moos. In the direction of the Swabian Alb, it then goes past Rottweil through Tübingen, Heilbronn and Heidelberg.