The Elbe River Trail from Magdeburg to Cuxhaven is about 500 Kilometres in length, with an additional 200 Kilometres of Alternative routes and excursions covered in this guide. An alternative route is given on the opposite bank of the Elbe from Rogätz to Wittenberge, while two main routes, one on each bank, follow the river from Wittenberge to the North Sea, with the exception of the south bank by Hamburg Surface quality and traffic In Saxony-Anhalt you will mostly be riding along small, quiet roads and good quality bicycle paths, rarely having to use the rough, old concrete paths. The route in Lower Saxony and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern mostly runs on asphalt bicycle paths along the Elbe dikes, with only some short sections where you must ride with the traffic. After Hitzacker there is even a surprisingly steep section to master. The route from Hamburg to Cuxhaven runs almost exclusively along asphalt bicycle paths and small rural roads. Although this section is without any gradient, you will encounter increased headwind as you come to ride directly westwards. This west wind can become a significant factor, especially as there is otherwise little elevation change along the route, even less so in the coastal regions. It has therefore become popular to ride the route in the other direction, beginning in Cuxhaven and riding upstream to Wittenberge or Magdeburg, even continuing on to Prague. For this reason there is a route description in the opposite direction next to each map in this cycling guide, as well as in the guide Elbe River Trail 1, which covers the section between Prague and Magdeburg. This makes navigating the route in the other direection unproblematic.
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