Starting point of this tour is Rinteln, former university town, which is characterised by half-timbered houses. Around the town square you can feel the unique historic atmosphere of Rinteln. Various buildings in the typical Renaissance style surround the square as well as the church St. Nicolai from the 13th century.
The tour first leads alongside river Weser across a small road to lake Doktorsee. In earlier times, scholars would meet here to swim, which is how the lake got its name.
After approximately 4km/2.5mi you reach an impressive building, monastery Möllenbeck. Founded in 896, this monastery was remodeled to its present shape in 1500. Nowadays a youth center is run in the interior of the building. A break underneath the trees of the beer gardens is a special highlight.
From Möllenbeck, the most western point of the tour, continue past meadows back to Rinteln and further to Exten. In Exten you will find the church St. Cosmae et Damiani. Built in the early 13th century, this church is the oldest still standing church of the Weser valley.
While you bike closer to river Weser, the trail will lead you past a quarry pond to the next church, namely church Petri and Andreae in Hohenrode. Built in 1172, the church was part of the monastery Möllenbeck until the reformation.
After another 4km/2.5mi you will reach the river crossing to Großenwieden, where the churches and monasteries trail crosses the Weser biking trail. For over 400 years now the so-called ferry Gierseilfähre transfers people and vehicles over the river.
Right behind you will find Großenweiden, a hamlet older than 1000 years and known for witch-hunting in the 17th century. Graphics of witches and devils within church St. Matthaei's vault show the conditions of that time.
Afterwards, you bike via Hessisch Oldendorf through agricultural based landscape to Fischbeck. This part of Hessisch Oldendorf offers an impressive abbey church. Abbey Fischbeck was founded in 955 and is therefore one of the oldest monasteries in the region. The Romanesque design and the closed facility are perfect examples for church design of the Middle Ages. Until today it remained a covent. Tours through the covent are being offerd as well.
From Fischbeck you return to Rinteln biking along the east bank of river Weser for around 20 kilometers via Großen- and Kleinenwieden, Ahe, and Engen.
Where to eat
Various places to get food can be found in Rinteln, Möllenbeck (e.g. Hofgarten am Kloster, with products from the adjoining farms), Exten, Hohenrode (e.g. Landbistro), Großenwieden, Hessisch Oldendorf and Fischbeck.
- You're traveling a distance of 33 miles on this moderate trail. This makes it a relatively long bike trail. Average length of all bike Trails in Lower Saxony is 58 miles.
- If you get hungry along the way, there are places to rest and get food. Nevertheless it’s recommended to also have enough water and food in your backpack when hiking or biking.
Highlights of the tour
Starting in Rinteln, the churches and monasteries trail leads through picturesque landscape alongside river Weser, past impressive and well-kept churches, for over 53km/32.9mi. The trail is not only culturally and scenically impressive, but also spiritually appealing. The towns you will pass are rich of tradition and faith. Furthermore, the trail is well-signposted and runs from monastery Möllenbeck to Covent Fischbeck, both of them among the oldest churches in the Weser valley.
Churches and monasteries
Since the 8th century churches and monasteries were not only transmitters of the Christian faith, but also role models for the people of the Christian community at Weser valley. This tour shows how people's lifestyle changed through Reformation. Nowadays, most of these churches and monasteries belong to Lutheran confessions.
A clear highlight of the tour is monastery Möllenbeck, the best kept late medieval monastery in Germany. Another must-see is covent Fischbeck with its 1050 year old history. Also church St. Nicolai in the historic part of Rinteln and the church St. Matthaei in Großweiden impress with their unique architecture and history.
Right behind Großenweide you will be able to spot Castle Schaumburg, which has been the region's landmark for over 900 years. The castle is located up high on Nesselberg (225m). If you want to visit you need to leave the trail and keep left towards Schaumburg. To bike up there you will need to be in good shape since the ascent is challenging. Eventually, at the castle's courtyard you'll get rewarded with a beautiful view across the entire Weser valley.
Coming from Hannover, take motorway A2 and exit in Bad Eilsen Ost to continue on B83 towards Rinteln. After 3km/1.9mi take exit Rinteln Nord and take B238 to Rinteln.
Coming from Dortmund/Bielefeld take A2 and exit in Bad Eilsen West to take B83 and B238 to Rinteln.
Parking: Am Weseranger, 31737 Rinteln
Rinteln is located about 60km/37.3mi from Hannover and Bielefeld. To get to Rinteln take the train running through Braunschweig and Ruhrgebiet.