||This article uses second-person ("you") inappropriately. (April 2013)|
|Length||600 km (373 mi)|
|Location||Main (river), Franconia, Hessen, Germany|
|Trailheads||Creußen, Weidenberg, Bayreuth, Neuenmarkt, Kulmbach, Lichtenfels, Bad Staffelstein, Bamberg, Zeil am Main, Haßfurt, Schweinfurt, Volkach, Kitzingen, Ochsenfurt, Würzburg, Karlstadt am Main, Lohr am Main, Wertheim am Main, Miltenberg, Aschaffenburg, Seligenstadt, Frankfurt am Main, Mainz|
|Use||Cycling, Walking, Nordic Walking, Jogging, Inline Skating|
|Trail difficulty||Easy to Moderate|
The Main-Radweg (English: Main [River] Bike Path) is a major German bicycle path running about 600 km along the Main River in Germany. It starts from either Creußen or Bischofsgrün and ends in Mainz. The General German Bicycle Club (ADFC) rated the trail five stars in 2008, the first path in Germany to receive this award. Approximately 90% of the path is paved and 77% of the route is at least 2.5 meters wide.
From east to west (generally), the bike path passes through the below notable locations (with UNESCO World Heritage Sites listed):
- Bischofsgrün (starting point on the White Main)
- Creußen (starting point on the Red Main)
- Bad Staffelstein
- Bamberg Altstadt
- Zeil am Main
- Karlstadt am Main
- Lohr am Main
- Wertheim am Main
- Frankfurt am Main
Connections with other prominent cycling paths
- Rheinradweg between Mainz-Kostheim and Mainz-Kastel
- Hessischer Radfernweg R3 between Rheinmündung and Hanau
- Hessischer Radfernweg R4 in Maintal (Rumpenheim—Bischofsheim Ferry)
- Hessischer Radfernweg R6 in Mainz Kostheim (Mainbrücke)
- Hessischer Radfernweg R8 in Frankfurt-Höchst (Mainbrücke)
- Deutscher Limes-Radweg between Großkrotzenburg and Miltenberg
River and its culture
The Main River is the force behind it all: Magnificent churches, imposing castles, poets and musicians, famous museums, and a unique lifestyle. Franconia and the Hessian Lower Main Region are influenced by the river and make this area a treasure trove for travellers looking to experience culture.
Three of the cultural highlights along the Main River are the cities of Würzburg, Bamberg and Bayreuth. They are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In Würzburg, the honor goes to the Residenz Castle, the former residence of the city’s prince-bishops. The castle was built and furnished between 1720 and 1780 and is regarded as one of the most important castles in all of Europe. The grand staircase with the single largest ceiling fresco in the world is the most unique part of the castle. In Bamberg, the entire old town is a world heritage. Founded over 1.000 years ago, the city combines the magic of the Middle Ages and the Baroque era. Nowhere else in Germany can a better preserved and more congruent downtown be found. The Imperial Cathedral, the New Residence, the Town Hall, the Alte Hofhaltung Estate, and half-timbered architecture provide a journey through the centuries. In Bayreuth the world heritage “Margravial Opera House” is considered to be the most beautifully preserved baroque opera house in Europe. Margravine Wilhelmine commissioned one of the most famous families of theatre architects, the Bolognese Giuseppe Galli Bibiena, and his son, Carlo, to design its interior. With a depth of 27 metres, the stage of this opera house was the largest one in Germany until 1871 - a superlative, which also drew Richard Wagner's attention to Bayreuth.
The Cathedral in Bamberg is one of the most outstanding places of worship along the Main River. More great cathedrals can be found in Mainz, Würzburg, and Frankfurt. Deeply devout Christians have made the journey to Franconia’s pilgrimage churches for centuries. An especially magnificent example is the Basilica Vierzehnheiligen near the town of Bad Staffelstein. The area the basilica is located in has been labeled by poets as “God’s Garden along the Upper Main River”. Poets have been busy practicing one of the “beautiful arts” along the Main River for centuries. In 1749, the renowned German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born in Frankfurt am Main. The city honors its famous son with the Goethe House and the Goethe Museum. In 1785 Jacob Grimm and a year later his brother Wilhelm Grimm were born in the town of Hanau. They are known worldwide as the “Brothers Grimm” and are famous for their fairy tales.
The Main River is also closely related to music, just as Bayreuth is related to Richard Wagner. Every year, music lovers flock to Bayreuth for the annual Richard Wagner Music Festival. But there is more to music along the Main River: Different varieties of music can be enjoyed at the “Old Opera House” in Frankfurt am Main, in the Baroque-era “Margravial Opera House” in Bayreuth, in parks, castles, and courtyards all along the river.
Franconia and the Hessian Lower Main Region are also rich in castles and fortresses. In times gone by, Germany consisted of many petty states, principalities and counties. Each individual ruler tried to impress by building magnificent structures. Many superb examples of this trying to outdo the others are found along the Main River. There are the Isenburg Castle in Offenbach, the Johannisburg Castle in Aschaffenburg, the New Castle in Bayreuth, the Plassenburg Castle in Kulmbach, and the Marienberg Fortress in Würzburg. Many of the most imposing structures along the Main River today house a wide variety of museums and exhibits. There are State Galleries in Aschaffenburg, Bamberg, Kulmbach, and Bayreuth featuring many works by famous artists. The Museum Georg Schäfer in Schweinfurt has a wonderful collection of 19th century German art. In Bayreuth a lot of modern art can be found. Gambling is also possible along the Main River: The Wiesbaden Casino is located in the beautiful, historical resort facility. Of great European significance are the museums along the riverfront in Frankfurt: Here sculptures, architecture, movies, and art – all can be found in one place.
- bikeline-Radtourenbuch Main-Radweg, 1:75.000, Verlag Esterbauer, Rodingersdorf 2000, ISBN 978-3-85000-023-9, in German.
- BVA Kompaktspiralo Main-Radweg, 1:75.000, Bielefelder Verlag, Bielefeld 2011, ISBN 978-3-87073-498-5, in German.
- Radwanderkarte Main-Radweg 1 – Creußen/Ochsenkopf—Würzburg, 1:50.000, Publicpress-Verlag, Geseke 2006, ISBN 978-3-89920-267-0, in German.
- Radwanderkarte Main-Radweg 2 – Würzburg—Mainz, 1:50.000, Publicpress-Verlag, Geseke 2007, ISBN 978-3-89920-319-6, in German.
- "Main-Radweg". Retrieved 23 April 2013.
- "Main-Radweg ausgezeichnet". ADFC. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
- "Margravial Opera House Bayreuth - UNESCO World Heritage Centre". Whc.unesco.org. Retrieved 2013-09-22.
- "Town of Bamberg - UNESCO World Heritage Centre". Whc.unesco.org. Retrieved 2013-09-22.
- "Würzburg Residence with the Court Gardens and Residence Square - UNESCO World Heritage Centre". Whc.unesco.org. 2013-06-27. Retrieved 2013-09-22.