Two cyclists on the banks of the Ems
© Naturpark Hümmling / Holger Leue

Hiking, cycling and exploring nature by the river


The river that gives its name to the region, the Ems, has a few special features. It is the longest river that both originates and flows into the sea in Germany, never changing its name from beginning to end. Always proceeding north, it is accompanied by small sand dunes before succumbing to the influence of the tides in East Frisia. People settled on the Ems at a very early date and use the waterway as a transport route, a source of water and to power the mills. Today, the Ems and the flood plain landscape offer excellent nature experiences: the extensive nature preservation areas are a unique habitat for numerous birds, where you can already feel the ebb and flow of the tide.

The Emsland is one of the most popular cycle touring regions in Germany

No mountains, over 3000 km of cycle routes and seamless signposting – the Emsland seems to be made for a journey by bike. Would you like to cycle to all the highlights? The Emsland-Route will take you there. On the tour, you can visit the river towns of Meppen, Lingen, Haren and Papenburg, the Baroque castle of Clemenswerth, and the old grain and Hanseatic League town of Haselünne.

The EmsRadweg, on the other hand, takes you along the complete course of the river from the source to the North Sea estuary. The initially sandy, slightly hilly landscape of the Teutoburg Forest gradually gives way to flat landscapes. Here, the Ems grows from a small river into a considerable one. Papenburg has a definite maritime flair when the large tubs are transferred from the Meyer Werft into the sea.

How about exchanging your pedals for hiking boots?

Hiking in the Emsland – what a treat! Particularly for unpractised hikers, the treasures are at your feet. Gently rolling landscapes, moors, heathlands and forests all feature on the hiking routes, such as the Hümmlinger Pilgerweg (pilgrim trail) or the Hünenweg. Only a step away, you begin a journey into the Stone Age, discovering prehistoric megalithic tombs along the way.