The route remains flat at first. The landscape along the Lower Rhine, through which the E8 passes after crossing the border, is predominantly characterized by meadows and wide fields.
The town of Kleve is visible from afar due to the former castle of the Dukes of Kleve on a hill. Passing the moated castle of Moyland, with a large collection of artworks by Josef Beuys, the route leads to Kalkar.
The townscape of Xanten on the Lower Rhine, founded by the Romans in 15 BC, is now dominated by the Gothic cathedral of St. Victor. The next towns are Alpen, Rheurdt and Hinsbeck (town of Nettetal) on the Nette. In this slightly undulating landscape, the European Long-Distance Trail very often follows asphalted field paths. At Kaldenkirchen, the E8 comes to the Dutch border again. The route leads through the German-Dutch Maas-Schwalm-Nette Nature Park to Wassenburg and Heinsberg. The small towns of Geilenkirchen and Herzogenrath are touched on the way to Aachen.
Aachen, the westernmost city in Germany, is historically one of the most important cities on the Old Continent. From the city of Charlemagne, where more than 30 German kings were crowned over a period of 600 years, the long-distance trail climbs up into the northern foothills of the Eifel.
The village of Schmidt (430 m), like many villages and farms in this region, is characterized by the typical beech hedges. These hedges, some as tall as a house, protect the buildings from the west wind that blows constantly here. Along the shore paths of the Rur reservoir, then through lonely Eifel forests and past Mariawald Abbey, the route continues to Gemünd in the Eifel. The route takes you to Bad Münstereifel in the valley of the Erft River via scenic mountain paths. From the valley, a long climb leads into the surrounding forests and arrives on the plateau at Effelsberg with the world’s largest radio telescope. In the Kottenforst Ville nature park that follows, the actual Eifel is then already left behind. It is not far from Rheinbach to Bad Godesberg on the Rhine.
Through the Drachenländchen to the south of the city, the long-distance trail reaches the Rhine. The next stops on the way south are Remagen, Sinzig, where the Ahr is crossed, Bad Breisig and Brohl-Lützingen at the exit of the Brohl Valley. The ascent from the Brohl Valley to the Celtic Fliehburg high above the Rhine is reminiscent of alpine trails. The long descent to Andernach on the Rhine begins at the Hochkreuz. The subsequent stage to Koblenz leads through the orchards that are very common in this area. In Güls, the route crosses the Moselle to Koblenz to the Deutsches Eck with the mouth of the Moselle into the Rhine.
From the banks of the Rhine, the E8 climbs to the Kühkopf. At the old Roman temple of Mercury, the long-distance trail is finally in Hunsrück. Behind Waldesch, there is a slow descent to Boppard am Rhein. Once again, the route leads in a wide arc away from the Rhine into the Hunsrück. It is not until Oberwesel that the river comes into view again. Immediately, the route climbs again to the heights of the Rhine. Until Stromberg, the route remains in the forests of the surrounding mountains. In Wallhausen, the E8 crosses the vineyards of the surrounding region. At the Nahe, the route changes to the south. The new destination is the Donnersberg in the Palatinate. In the Palatinate, the E8 divides into a northern and a southern variant. Both routes reunite in Tauberbischofsheim to form a main route.
The northern route leads from the Palatinate through the vineyards to Worms on the Rhine. From the Rhine, the trail climbs up into the Odenwald in Auerbach an der Bergstraße. In Lautertal-Reichenbach, the E1 (Sweden – Italy) crosses the path of the E8. Together with the Hessenweg 7, it goes through the forests of the northern Odenwald to Michelstadt. Now the route turns north again. In Obernburg am Main, the Odenwald is left behind. As it continues to Miltenberg and on to Wertheim, the European Long-Distance Trail follows the course of the Main. From the confluence of the Tauber and the Main, the route then leads to Tauberbischofsheim.
The southern section of the E8 from the Donnersberg initially remains in the Palatinate Forest. In Edenkoben, this low mountain range landscape is then left behind. This variant also passes through vineyards – to Speyer on the left bank of the Rhine. Past the cathedral, which houses eight Salian imperial and royal tombs in its crypt, you leave the old imperial city via the Rhine. The next destination is the university town of Heidelberg on the Neckar. Via Schlierbach am Neckar, where the E1 crosses, the route continues through the southern Odenwald to Tauberbischofsheim.
Up to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the wide Tauber Valley sets the course. The route continues to Dinkelsbühl and over the Hahnenkamm into the Altmühl Valley. Along the Altmühl, the route takes you along riverside paths and panoramic trails to Eichstätt with its Catholic University. Then through Köschinger Forst to Kelheim on the Danube. The patrician houses and churches characterize the cityscape of Regensburg on the Danube. In Wörth, the southern foothills of the Bavarian Forest are reached. Up to the border town of Passau, the E8 follows the numerous forest paths of this region. From here it is not far to the border crossing to Austria.
At the border to Netherland close Nijmegen
At the border to Austria close Oberkappel
Which cities and towns does the E-path pass through?
Heinsberg, Aachen, Bad Münstereifel, Bonn, Koblenz, Bad Kreuznach, Worms, Erbach, Wertheim, Rothenburg, Crailsheim, Eichstätt, Regensburg, Passau
Main route 1458 km
Alternative South route in Pfalz 300 km
Ground path of the E-path
Which trails does the E-path follow:
E8 and X – Wyler – Aachen
Krönungsweg – Aachen – Bonn
E8 – Bonn – Koblenz
Koblenz – Niederhausen (Nahe)
White cross on black – Niederhausen (Nahe) – Waldhaus Donnersberg
Yellow square – HW18 Vier Länder Weg – Waldhaus Donnersberg – Am Kaiserturm Neunkirchner Höhe
Red square – HW15 – Am Kaiserturm – Lindenfels
Green diamond on white – HW22 – Lindenfels – Mossauer Höhe
Yellow triangle on white – HW20 – Mossauer Höhe – Michelstadt
Yellow square – HW18 Vier Länder Weg – Michelstadt – Vielbrunn
Grünes L auf weiß – HW29 westl. Limesweg – Vielbrunn – Elsenfeld
Red X on white – in Elsenfeld
Mainwanderweg – Elsenfeld (Ortsrand) – Großheubach
Red diagonal – Großheubach – Kirschfurt
Fränk. Marienweg – Kirschfurt – Faulbach
Red diagonal – Faulbach – Kreuzwertheim
Heunweg – Kreuzwertheim – Brücke
Mainwanderweg – Brücke – Wertheim
Main-Donau-Weg – Wertheim – Beckstein
Main-Donau-Weg Beckstein – Rothenburg o.d.T
Main-Donau-Bodensee-Weg – Rothenburg – Crailsheim
Jagst Steig – Crailsheim – Wildenstein
E8 – Wildenstein – Dinkelsbühl
Dr. Fritz-Linnert-Weg – Dinkelsbühl – Spielberg
Main-Donau-Weg – Spielberg – Treuchtlingen
Altmühltal Panoramaweg – Treuchtlingen – Kipfenberg
Limesweg – Kipfenberg – Weltenburg
Jakobsweg – Weltenburg – Konzell
Goldsteig – Konzell – Riedelswald
div. signs – Riedelswald – Am Hirschstein
Main-Donau-Weg – Am Hirschenstein – Passau
E8 – Passau – Oberkappel
Publications and maps
Kompass has several maps that cover the route
Crossing other E-paths
Accommodations, supermarkets and train or bus stations can be found within a day’s distance
No specific gear required.
Images on this page are published with the kind permission of Rolf Gerstendorf https://www.eldp8.de