Neckar: from the source to Marbach
7 days along the river of poets
Neckar bike path from Villingen to Marbach.
Your romantic bike tour on the “River of Poets” begins at the source in Villingen-Schwenningen at the foot of the Baar, the watershed between the Rhine and the Danube. You roll comfortably along huge mountains on the edge of the Swabian Alb and the Black Forest. Marvel at the striking loops of the young Neckar, which are often towered over by castles and palaces. Discover medieval cities like Esslingen with winding old town streets, romantic squares and idyllic Neckar canals. Lovingly renovated shops, charming pubs and Swabian wine bars revitalize the spirit and the walls and ensure a good mood. Look forward to the state capital Stuttgart, to the baroque Ludwigsburg and to the idyllic specialist workshop Marbach, where you should definitely pay a visit to Schiller. The continuously signposted Neckar Cycle Path leads largely over quiet country roads or separate cycle paths, but also includes a few short, busy sections. Since the cycle route is not always close to the river in the valley, easier climbs are unavoidable, but you cycle mostly on paved paths.
1. day Villingen-Schwenningen arrival
Look forward to Villingen-Schwenningen, located on the edge of the Middle Black Forest, in the headwaters of the Neckar and Danube. Marvel at the historic atmosphere of the Zähringer city with its many churches and monasteries, the magnificent cathedral, the defiant city wall and the mighty defense and gate towers. Individual arrival with an overnight stay in Villingen-Schwenningen.
2. day Villingen-Schwenningen - Sulz/ Glatt 50 km
Directly from the source of the Neckar on the watershed between the Rhine and the Danube, you cycle through a dreamy and romantic landscape to the free imperial city of Rottweil, known for its wonderful urban ensemble. Stroll between town houses decorated with bay windows, fountains and old facades. In the beautiful Neckar Valley, marvel at stately castle ruins on the young river. Overnight in Sulz or Glatt.
3. day Sulz/ Glatt - Tübingen 50 - 60 km
Look forward to the fun-loving Swabian university town of Tübingen with its considerable “student density”. There is a lot to explore: Bebenhausen Castle, Hohentübingen Castle, the Hölderlin Tower, cozy half-timbered houses in narrow streets and rustic student bars. Overnight in Tübingen.
4. day Tübingen - Esslingen 55 km
Today you will experience a charming landscape, because the Neckar leads you on beautiful bike paths through gardens and small towns. Numerous swimming lakes, the picturesque town of Nürtingen and the Hundertwasser rain tower in Plochingen will inspire you. Overnight in Esslingen.
5. day Esslingen - Marbach/ Freiberg 40 - 45 km
The day has many highlights in store. A visit to the famous Mercedes-Benz Museum, the beautiful state capital Stuttgart with a first-class bicycle network, the beautiful residential palace in the baroque city of Ludwigsburg and, last but not least, the picturesque Marbach with the Schiller National Museum (including admission). Overnight in Marbach or Freiberg.
6. day Departure Marbach/ Freiberg
The time on the beautiful Neckar passed far too quickly. If you want, you can continue your bike tour to Heidelberg (see our 9-day trip Neckar Quelle - Heidelberg).
prices & services
Individual tours: Here you decide when and with whom you would like to travel. We provide you with detailed tour documents and practical planning tips, and you enjoy our all-in, worry-free package with separate luggage transport throughout your tour.
Guided tours: You can simply get on your bike and enjoy a group holiday (8–20 participants). Your tour guide will take care of everything, and your luggage will be transported separately.
This overview shows you the grade of difficulty for our tours:
In the case of our original Velociped tours, we are the tour operator. We organise and accompany these tours personally.
So that you have an even bigger selection to choose from, we also cover additional routes in collaboration with long-standing partners. With these Velociped partner tours, we are the tour broker.
Prices are per person.
22.04. – 28.04.2023
29.04. – 07.07.2023
02.09. – 30.09.2023
08.07. – 01.09.2023
bookable additional nights
bookable additional services
- Category B: good to very good inns and comfort hotels at 3 *** / 4 **** level
- Category A: comfortable, very good 4 **** hotels
- Entry into Schiller's birthplace house in Marbach
- accommodation incl. breakfast
- room with shower/bath/WC
- luggage transport
- map of bike trails with marked route
- detailed route description
- GPS tracks on request
- tips for tour preparation
- touristic information
- 7 days hotline service
Worth knowing about your bike trip Neckar-Radweg Quelle - Marbach
Please find more information about your bike trip below. If you have any further questions feel free to contact us by phone: 0049 - (0) 6421 - 886890.
Arrival by train
Villingen is easily accessible from all major cities in Germany by train. We recommend to take a taxi from the station to get to our partner hotels in Villingen. Current schedule information and price information can be found at:
DB train or
Parking facilities at the hotel
Some of the hotels have parking facilities directly at the building, these are subject to payment. There is a public parking garage (paying) and a public parking lot in the vicinity.
Condition of cycle paths
The route does not always run along the river, easier climbs are unavoidable, very few steep climbs. The steeper climbs are short. You cycle on well-signposted quiet cycle paths and farm roads with not always paved surfaces and in parts on relatively quiet country roads. Short sections on roads with more traffic, especially when driving through town.
Available rental bikes
If you would like a rental bike for the tour, we will bring it to your starting hotel and pick it up at your destination. You can choose from 24-speed unisex bicycles with free-wheeling and 8-speed unisex electric bicycles with hub gears and free-wheeling. The rental bikes are equipped with a waterproof, spacious saddlebag as well as a tool set, an air pump, an odometer and a lock. You will also receive a handlebar bag per room. On request, we will be happy to provide a second saddle bag for you. Simply state your bike requirements when booking.
Extra costs that are not included in the tour price
A certain applicable tourism tax is not included in the travel price and has to be paid at the hotel on site.
7 day hotline service
Just in case the bike chain breaks, flooding makes it impossible to continue your tour or any
other nasty surprise: You can reach us seven days a week and we will do anything to help
you as fast as possible.
Passport and visa requirements, health regulations
For EU citizens, there are no special passport or visa requirements and no health formalities to be considered for this trip.
Corona travel information:
Before booking your trip, please inform yourself about the measures in place to contain the Corona pandemic.
Information on current decisions of the German Federal Government can be found here:
Current information on entry requirements to Germany can be found here:
You can also find more information on our website at:
Corona virus and holiday planning
The tour price already includes the statutory insolvency insurance. In addition, we recommend that you take out travel cancellation insurance upon receipt of your travel confirmation in order to protect yourself against financial disadvantages in the event of travel cancellation, interruption of travel, illness or accident.
Villingen and Schwenningen trip simultaneously off the tongue, yet each town has its own flavour and history. Villingen once belonged to the Grand Duchy of Baden and Schwenningen to the duchy of Württemberg, conflicting allegiances that apparently can’t be reconciled. Encircled by impenetrable walls that look as though they were built by the mythical local giant, Romäus, Villingen’s Altstadt is a late-medieval time capsule, with cobbled streets and handsome patrician houses. Though locals nickname it the Städtle (little town), the name seems inappropriate during February’s mammoth weeklong Fasnet celebrations.
Museum of Clockmaking, Schwenningen
What were factories like 80 years ago? What was the state of technical advancement? How is an alarm made - and what makes a clock tick? At the oldest clock-making factory in Württemberg, volunteers still produce clocks in the style of the 1930s with old machines that are perfectly operational today. Anything but boring!
Museum of Clockmaking, Schwenningen
"Rottweil you walk like a hard" - the words of Kurt Georg Kiesinger sound like a eulogy to the oldest city in Baden-Wuerttemberg. And they invite you to experience this festival itself: on a tour of the historic city center with magnificent bay windows decorated town houses, quiet streets and dreamy impressive churches. The Roman period comes to life in the Dominican Museum, the City Museum documents the imperial city time. Art and culture are ubiquitous - from the past to the present day.
Pleasant and alive - historical and contemporary - Rottweil is always an experience. Not only at the carnival when thousands of spectators line the streets to experience first hand the famous Rottweiler fools jump, one of the highlights of the Swabian-Alemannic carnival.
Rottweil, Test Tower for Elevator Innovations
The 246-metre-high tower is used to test as well as certify lift innovations, helping to significantly shorten the development time of future skyscrapers and those already in the construction phase around the world With 12 shafts and driving speeds of up to 18 m / s provides the tower ways to solve upcoming challenges. 3 shafts are provided for the ropeless MULTI elevator. At 232 metres, the highest public visitor platform in Germany offers a 360° panoramic view and is thus an spectacular attraction. Despite the imposing height of a light and filigree appearance is maintained. The architect Helmut Jahn and Werner Sobek disguise the concrete shaft with a cover made from glass fiber fabric. The tissue begins at the foot closely, are more and more towards the top of the tower award and reflects the light at different day and seasons different - by the tower gets depending on weather conditions and time a different appearance.
Rottweil, Test Tower for Elevator Innovations
Horb am Neckar is often referred to as the Gateway to the Black Forest. It sits right on the edge of the legendary wood, where the Neckar and Grabenbach rivers come together. The rivers slice through the landscape, providing hills and valleys which with a little imagination can become the nooks and crannies of the Grimm Brother’s tales. Hiking around Horb am Neckar it is easy to mentally escape. You look down at the town and see the tops of the buildings, their peaked roofs and old stonework like something from another age. This is, of course, because they have been saved from another age.
Small steps, narrow alleys and pointed gables shape the silhouette of old Tübingen on the way up to its castle. The Swabian university town of 86,000 inhabitants and 27,000 students combines the flair of a lovingly restored medieval centre of town with the colorful bustle and typical atmosphere of a young and cosmopolitan students' town. Numerous sidewalk cafes, wine taverns and cozy students' pubs, special shops, restaurants and taverns invite visitors to stroll around and to pause here and there. Taking a boat trip in a famous „Stocherkahn“ – the boat exclusive to Tübingen navigated by a long wooden pole – offers a scenic view of the picturesque Neckar waterfront with the famous Hölderlin Tower.
Stuttgart, capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany, lies in a basin enclosed by orchards and forest-covered hills. In the valley bottom, you'll find the River Neckar and the older part of the city with its lovely historic buildings and homes climbing gently up the surrounding slopes. In places where the hills rise a little too steeply, flights of steps or stepped lanes predominate, offering endless opportunities for adventurous travelers to explore. In addition to being an important fruit-growing center, the city districts of Berg and Bad Cannstatt are where you'll find the most productive mineral springs in Europe after those of Budapest. Stuttgart is also famous as the cradle of Germany's automobile industry, and is home to the headquarters of Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.
Stuttgart, Mercedes-Benz Museum
Take a journey through more than 130 years of fascinating automotive history – and on into the future.
Visit the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart and you will be entering the only place in the world capable of documenting the unbroken history of the automobile from its very beginning. Transporting you to a height of 34 metres, the museum lift will take you on a journey back in time – to the year 1886. For this is where the legend begins, with the pioneering invention of Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz – the automobile. Few inventions have made such an impact on the human world.
Stuttgart, Mercedes-Benz Museum
German Literature Archive Marbach
The Schiller National Museum was intended as a memorial to Friedrich Schiller, who was born in Marbach, and other poets from Swabia, and was built from 1901 according to the plans of the Stuttgart architects Ludwig Eisenlohr and Carl Weigle. The focus of the permanent exhibition is on the life and work of Schiller as well as German literature of the 18th and 19th centuries. The focus of the exhibition at the Modernist Literature Museum is German-language literature from the 20th century to the present day.