The most beloved racing track for cyclists at Kassel, Germany, seems to be the one from Kassel to Hann. Münden along river Fulda. It is one of the few tracks that is rather flat and long, it leads to a beautiful town with a city centre full of half-timbered houses and you will pass a valley with nice forests next to the water. One way the length is about 25 kilometres which you can do within 1.5 hours if you’re going fast or about 2 hours if you’re riding more relaxed or have a break in between. It is a good option to easily spend a day on tour.
The route is also good as you won’t get hungry or thirsty – along the way you will find different beer gardens, restaurants and eateries (that serve you if it is not Coronavirus time). The first step is to get to river Fulda at Kassel, a rather easy task. Along the river, you will find a continuous bicycle path that is sometimes a bit hidden and sometimes you have to drive around a building – but you will definitely find your way if you follow the river downstream.
What to find along the road
A good starting point is the river mouth of river Ahne at the city quarter Wesertor. Following the Schützenstraße (where the first beer garden, ‘Zum Schützenplatz‘ is located) you can get to the river and follow it. Sometimes the route takes a detour through the fields – if the weather is nice you will enjoy the beautiful scenery that you won’t expect so close to the city. The next good stop is the hotel and restaurant Roter Kater & Graue Katze (red tomcat & grey cat). It is an outdoor terrace and a good self-service restaurant.
Following the river further on you will underpass two train bridges – one for high-speed trains and one for regional trains. On the other side of the river, you will then see the Gut Kragenhof, an exclave of Kassel. Afterwards, you will reach Wahnhausen (belonging to Fuldatal) with a watergate and the restaurant Zum Fuldablick. On the other side of the Fulda, hidden in the forest, you can sometimes spot trains. When you see a white horse on a half-peninsula: it is the Niedersachsen-Eck at Staufenberg-Speele belonging to the federal state of Lower Saxony.
The next village is Wilhelmshausen (also Fuldatal) where you will find again a watergate and a rather improvised eatery (Grill im Fuldatal). I would go on a little bit and check out the beer garden at the watergate. It is a cosy place and you can discuss a little bit with the owners from Alabama. Sometime you will see a sign telling you that you left Hesse and are now at Lower Saxony, the path shifts directly next to the water and then you will already enter Hann. Münden. You will see the Hochbad (an elevated outdoor pool), the soccer stadium at the Rattwerder and then the route passes a lot of gardens.
What to do at the destination?
When you see a bridge you should turn left and leave the route. Here you can turn left again and visit the Eiscafé Renata or turn right to pass over the Pionierbrücke to the city centre (don’t go further on to pass the small blue bridge, it is open again after two years of closure but you would have to carry your bike up and down). When you passed the Pionierbrücke you can either go left and visit the Weserstein or go straight ahead to park your bike next to the Rotunde. What to do while you are there? Climb up to the Tillyschanze? Visit the Weserliedanlage? Get some food from the knight of the black pudding? Search for the grave of Dr. Eisenbarth?
Trust me. I was living there for a while. You can do the same way upstream again (which is as flat and relaxed as your way downstream) or return by train. The train station can be found southeast of the city centre. Abellio trains go to Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe, Cantus trains to Kassel Hauptbahnhof / Kulturbahnhof.
Extension I: ferry ride on the Weser
If you feel that 50 kilometres isn’t enough you can extend your trip. Leave the city centre via the old bridge over the river Werra and turn left towards the police academy and pass through the city quarter Gimte close to the river Weser. After some time during which you can see the beautiful landscape, you will reach Hemeln – hard to believe but still a part of Hann. Münden. Hemeln is known for two things: the restaurant and beer garden ‘Zur Fähre‘ (try their “Strammer Max’ – bread with sausage and egg) and the ferry boat taking you to the other side of the river Weser. Get on board and pay the ferryman (currently, it is 1.20 € per person). After reaching Reinhardshagen turn left and follow the bicycle path back to Hann. Münden. If you need some supplies, there is a good Esso gas station not too far away from the Pionierbrücke. If you just go straight ahead when coming from Reinhardshagen you can’t miss it.
Extension II: detour to the Netherlands
An alternative extension of the ride is to follow the river Werra upstream (on the right-hand side). When leaving the city centre of Hann. Münden you need to pass through a tunnel in the old Werrabrücke (the train track on top isn’t existing anymore) and then the Werraradweg guides you along the river. It is mostly unpaved but easy to ride. On the way, you will see the restaurant and hotel Flux (which also has a fantastic menu and is known for great brunch) and need to pass under a road bridge. When you’ve passed under another railway bridge you will see the camping area and restaurant Spiegelburg. The owners are from the Netherlands and serve some simple but very delicious Dutch food (try their ‘Frikandel Spezial‘!) while you sit on the terrace and enjoy good views on the river. If you like you can also go for a hike to the Spiegelburg ruin up the mountain (but only the ground structures are visible).
If you’re rather thinking about doing some sports you can extent your tour in different ways: one of the best ideas is to continue from Hann. Münden along the river Weser to Bad Karlshafen – a wonderful ancient small town with good tourist infrastructure. On a good cycle path, you’ll have to do an additional 42 kilometres. An alternative is to continue along river Werra to Witzenhausen (20 kilometres) or Eschwege (50 kilometres).
Kassel – Hann. Münden