Three cyclists pass an art object, © TMN / Thorsten Brönner
© TMN / Thorsten Brönner

“Kunstwegen” art trails: Vechtetalroute

502 m
601 m
227 km
highest point
106 m
This Tour is suitable for
Touring bike
Type of tour
Suitable for

The "Mond von Capri" (Capri Moon) work of art, a Westphalian artistic community, a Dutch Hanseatic city, moors, forests, canals and ever-changing scenery: cyclists can experience all of this in addition to spectacular art on the 225 km Vechtetalroute from Darfeld through the County of Bentheim to Zwolle in the Netherlands.

Route and sights

The Vechtetalroute is a quiet, relaxed, adventurous and varied tour. It takes four or five days and has been rated 3 stars by the ADFC cyclists' association.

Cyclists start this route in the Baumberge hills at the source of the Vechte river near Darfeld. They pass Darfeld Castle and the mill in Burloh before heading to the pilgrimage site of Eggerode. They then ride through the artistic community of Schöppingen on quiet streets and through meadows and fields to Metelen. Metelen Abbey and Plagemann’s Mühle (Plagemann’s mill) lie along the route. Once they pass the Haus Welbergen moated castle and head through Langenhorst, they reach the rail bike path to Wettringen.

They then cycle through the car-free zone between Haddorf and Ohne in the County of Bentheim. This is where the “raumsichten” (“spacespectives”) sculpture project with the spectacular Laßnitz installation, a railway bridge over the Vechte river and the German border, begin. In Schüttorf, after a short stint along the banks of the Vechte, it is worth making a detour to Bad Bentheim and taking a look around its impressive castle grounds. Cyclists then continue to journey along the raumsichten stations through the Vechtetal valley to Nordhorn, where visitors can go on boat trips, shop on the Vechteinsel (Vechte Island) or visit the zoo – there is so much to see and do here! The journey then continues along the “kunstwegen” art trails, which originated in Nordhorn. Cyclists cross the Vechtetal valley from Frenswegen Abbey to Neuenhaus and ride across the Spöllberg barrow, until they reach the southern edge of the Bourtanger Moor. Here they go through Neugnadenfeld, the former prisoner-of-war camp, and arrive in Emlichheim.

The Vechte river leads cyclists past the windmill and Vechtezomp flat-bottomed boat in Laar to Gramsbergen, a small Dutch town on the border with Germany.

In the vibrant municipality of Hardenberg, cyclists now ride at a leisurely pace through the farms to Marienberg, and then through the forests between Beerze and Ommen. Once cyclists pass the Vilsteren Estate (Landgoed Vilsteren), the route is mainly car-free and meanders through nature reserves along the Vechte river to Dalfsen. From here, cyclists can relax as they pedal along the Vechte dyke to Zwolle. Urban life, street cafés and, of course, plenty of art can be enjoyed as cyclists finish on the Vechtetalroute.

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“Kunstwegen” art trails with “raumsichten” (spacespectives)

Perhaps no longer an insider tip, but this is a must-see for tourists to the region.

The “kunstwegen” art trails are Europe’s largest open museum of contemporary art, and an international phenomenon. From Nordhorn in Germany to Zwolle in the Netherlands, more than 80 installations and exhibits were installed between 1998 and 2000 in the great outdoors along the Vechtetalroute for visitors to discover. In 2012, the “kunstwegen” art trails were extended from the village of Ohne on the border to North Rhine-Westphalia up to Nordhorn, and around 20 “raumsichten” (spacespectives) projects were added.

A cycle ride with an outdoor cultural adventure – perhaps it is an insider tip after all!

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Sonja Scherder, County of Bentheim Tourismus, GBT

Logo Kunstwegen Vechtetal


The Tour is continuously signposted with this standardised logo.


Arrival and departure

We recommend starting and ending this cycle route by taking the train to Billerbeck Central Station or the train station in Zwolle in the Netherlands.
For those who are interested, we are happy to recommend a fascinating return journey by bike. It starts in Zwolle, heads across the Sallandse Heuvelrug National Park with one or two overnight stays and ends in Bad Bentheim, where cyclists can take the train home.

The specifics of the tour

Alternative routes at high tides are signposted around Schüttorf and Nordhorn, where the route runs along the banks of the Vechte river.

From May to October, cyclists and their bikes can be transported from one bank of the Dinkel river to the other with the “Haal over” hand-cranked ferry in Neuenhaus. The ferry has no motor: your muscle power is needed for the ferry to glide the 72 metre distance across the water.    

The exact same thing happens in Laar, where you can get from one bank of the river to the other on the “Fähr Harm” hand-cranked ferry.

At high tide, an alternative route is signposted for both ferries.

your contact

Grafschaft Bentheim Tourismus e.v.

NINO-Allee 2
48529 Nordhorn
Phone: +49 (0) 5921 / 961196