LIFESTYLE - TRAVEL

Sporty summer

Round the Stauséi by bike



Clarissa is pictured from the Belvedere overlooking the Upper Sûre Lake kewl.lu

Clarissa is pictured from the Belvedere overlooking the Upper Sûre Lake kewl.lu

Each week, Delano invites a keen cyclist to share their favourite rides in Luxembourg. This week cycle addict Clarissa Carim shares a challenging 70 kilometre ride whose spectacular views more than make up for those tired legs.

Bike used

Gravel (potentially mountain) bike.

Favourite route

The steep hills around the Upper Sûre Lake make for a challenging ride, but reward you with spectacular views. I visit at least once a month. If you’ve been in the area, you’ll know this isn’t a relaxed ride. Just the loop around the lake has some 1,000 vertical metres over 40km. With the inevitable photo stops, this will likely take you all day.

My route starts at Goebelsmühle train station. On the way out, you will veer off-road a few times to ride along the Sûre river and its picturesque valley. (If you wish, you can skip the hilly hook just past Dirbach. There’s some nice views, but they are hard-won.)

The ascent after Esch-sur-Sûre, however, can’t be avoided and it is the toughest of the whole ride. You can take a breather in the sharp bend after crossing the river to admire the castle behind you, then again at the car park one kilometre further up for your first glimpse of the lake. Shortly after that, you will turn onto a track on your left and the real fun begins. Don’t skip the “dead end” hook at 25.3 kilometres! The views in almost every direction are simply incredible, with new perspectives every 50 metres you walk down the hill. I’ve been known to spend entire afternoons here.

Spectacular views, the soothing presence of the lake glistening below you, and gorgeous landscapes that transform before your eyes with the changing light
Clarissa Carim

Clarissa Carim

As you continue, you will want to walk the steep zigzag, then follow the “Bunker” sign to visit the hideout of four WW2 resistance fighters. If you’re tired by now, you will soon see the floating bridge on your left – this is your last chance to cross the lake before the end, so choose wisely!

Still with us? Great. After Liefrange Beach, you’ll follow a short bit of road before re-joining the tracks along the lake’s windy meanders. Get off your bike and step up to the elevated bench early on for a dramatic full view of the peninsula opposite. After this, you’ll have to brave the “Sentier des amputés” (amputee’s pathway), which I promise is not called that because you’ll lose a limb here, but is pretty tricky to navigate and ends with a very steep climb. Do be careful here. Then you’ll soon join a MTB trail which takes you to Boulaide. You can refill your water bottles at the cemetery. That’s the hardest part over but also the most picturesque.

You’ll ride down to Pont Misère, back up the other side and stay on the road until you reach Burfelt. The trail will take you to the Belvedere, the “official” viewpoint of the lake. It’s directly opposite the one you were at earlier. Burfelt also has a nice beach and the Forest Discovery Centre.

You can now continue along the shore on a fairly flat track, then re-join the road after Insenborn and ride back to Goebelsmühle all the way on the N27. You’ve still got nearly 20 kilometres to go, but they are the easiest! If you haven’t done so on the way out and you have energy left, climb up to the castle in Esch. Or have a coffee and a piece of cake at the café “Ëm de Séi a méi”.

Download the .gpx or .fit file here.

 Screenshot shows map and elevation of the “round the Stauséi from Goebelsmühle” bike route  Ride with GPS/screenshot

 Screenshot shows map and elevation of the “round the Stauséi from Goebelsmühle” bike route  Ride with GPS/screenshot

Alternatives:

1.     You can take the car (or bus) and start from Esch-sur-Sûre. This will shave off some 33 kilometres, but most of the elevation remains.

2.     You can cut across the floating bridge at Lutzhausen (at 27.5 kilometres), but then you’ll miss some of the prettiest bits!

Level of difficulty

Difficult. The full route has 70 kilometres and 1,440m elevation, but even with the shortcuts it’s still hard. You’ll push and even carry your bike on some (short) sections.

Highlights and comments

Spectacular views, the soothing presence of the lake glistening below you, and gorgeous landscapes that transform before your eyes with the changing light… I recommend experiencing this during every season!

Note: the N27 between Goebelsmühle and Insenborn is closed to car traffic on 21-22 August as part of the Vëlosummer. But traffic on that route is pretty mild, anyway. You’ll mostly encounter motorbikes.

Why I ride

Because a bike is where I feel happiest on earth. You can’t get closer to flying. The exhilaration of whizzing along a forest path… there is nothing like it. I also suffer from depression and anxiety, and vigorous exercise is an essential part of my mental health toolkit.

Cycling is undoubtedly the best way to explore. It’s fast enough to cover distances, but you still get to stop and smell the roses. It gives you a completely new feel for the geography of a place. I grew up here, but only really got to know the country once I moved back and started cycling all over.

What is missing from the cycle infrastructure in Luxembourg?

I’m going to be a contrarian here. I love cycling in traffic (especially at rush hour!) and claiming my space among the cars. I think every driver should have to spend a week cycling before getting their licence.

Enforcement of existing laws (overtaking distance, speeding etc.) should also take priority, and the official messaging should veer sharply from blaming cyclists towards driver responsibility. The supremacy of the car on the road must end.