November 6, 2013 at 20:05  •  Posted in Cycling Routes by  •  6 Comments

A step-by-step guide to a circular ride passing through the city and arching out to the east.

The Alzette

The Alzette

Ieweschte Syrdall

Ieweschte Syrdall

Total Distance : 57 km

Cycle Paths : 37.5 km

Cycle Path Alongside Road : 750 m

Dirt Track : 650 m

Roads : 21 km

Into the Syre Valley - route mapSee full route details

East of Luxembourg City lies the valley of the River Sir / Syre / Syr where some excellent cycling is to be had, much of it on traffic free routes. The Syndicat Intercommunal à Vocation Multiple (SIAS)  have created a network of local routes which arc from Senningerberg and Ernster in the north around to Hesperange in the south. It therefore links with the Nationale Piste Cyclable 2 to Echternach , the PC4 “de la Syre” to Mertert  and the PC1 Central Loop.

A free map of these local routes, known as “Vëlosroute Ieweschte Syrdall” or “Véloroute Haute Vallée de la Syre” is available at the Communes involved (Betzdorf, Contern, Niederanven, Sandweiler, Schuttrange and Weiler-la-Tour) or to download here.

Using these routes, along with parts of the PCs 1 and 2 I have put together a large circular route that takes us through the city and into the countryside around the valley. It incorporates roads, traffic-free bike paths, cobbles and a short section of unmetalled farm track.

As with any circular route it is of course possible to begin and end at any point and travel in either direction. For convenience I will commence these instructions in the city, and travel in a clockwise direction.

Starting at the bottom of the Grund lift we immediately cross the bridge over the Alzette and turn right down the cobbled path passed some bars and restaurants. We go under a small arch, and a much much higher rail bridge. At the moment there are a lot of works going on: extraordinarily this old rail bridge is being widened and this means that the bicycle path has been temporarily moved and constructed with a horrible surface to ride on – I would advise walking this part, especially when wet.

The Charly Gaul Information Post

The Charly Gaul Information Post

So crossing and re-crossing the river over this structure we continue on the cobbles, up and then sharply right and down, before crossing Avranches using the cycle specific traffic lights. This is possibly the best section of PC1, seven or eight kilometres paved and traffic-free along to Hesperange, with just a couple of roads to cross. It follows the river Alzette, where you may spot the mermaid, Melusina, as she appears from time to time. More likely you will spot the sign highlighting Charly Gaul’s cycling exploits.

Passing Alzingen

Leaving Alzingen by the Rue de Syren

Shortly after passing under the A1 there are allotments to be seen to the right, and we can now use the new underpass into Hesper Park, cutting out a previously difficult and annoying road crossing. Keep to the right in the park, but once near the camping do not cross the bridge signposted “PC1”, as we now leave the national route and turn left heading for a supplementary part of the Ieweschte Syrdall, namely the CR154. Be VERY careful crossing the road here, going straight across and up Rue de Syren. Staying on this road we go through Alzingen, pass the cemetery to our left and along the tree-line road. Entering the forest we climb above the railway tracks to cross them, and climb once more, with open country to the left and woodland to the right.

Looking Back to Alzingen

Looking Back to Alzingen

Haasselerbesch

At the highpoint there is a crossroads with bicycle routes to left and right: we turn left towards Contern. This route eventually heads sharply right and steeply downhill – Be warned! At the bottom we must turn fully 360o to our left and along the unpaved farm track. At the junction turn right, and a smooth surface is reached with 100 metres.

Cornfields in the Summer

Here we are now on the southern point of the main spine of the “Vëlosroute Ieweschte Syrdall”, upon which we will remain for its entire length, where it joins the PC2 at Ernster. We continue straight passed the farm and as soon as the very first house of Contern is reached take the right-hand bend uphill. At the top, follow it to the left, and right again at the end. At the junction with the main road, turn left then first right down a track, all of which is signposted with little green bikes and arrows.

Entering Contern

Entering Contern

A long a fast downhill is next, just make sure you take the left hand by the building – although if you miss it and go straight on just go under the railway and turn left onto the road, it will soon re-join the route.

The exhilarating downhill twists and turns brings us under the railway (line 30) and to the CR132 where we turn left. It is not long before we get our first glimpse of the Syre, here a tiny stream, and we cross over it immediately before once more turning left towards Moutfort.

Kiem

Monument on the Kiem

The Kiem in Autumn

The Kiem in Autumn

In Moutfort take the second right up “Gappenhiehl” and left at the top. Once across the main road we follow the cycle signs onto the historic “Kiem”. This was part of the Roman road linking Trier to Paris, and we follow it over a couple of junctions and past a war-time prisoner of war camp, now completely gone.

POW Camp

The old P.O.W Camp on the Kiem

Shortly after the second crossing we could take the first left then right towards Schuttrange, but I prefer to carry straight on. This is a lovely ride across the fields (left then right on the road – still following the green bike signs), with the Widdebierg rising in front of you.

Widdebierg

The Widdebierg Rising in the Rain

At the final T-Junction we turn left towards Schuttrange and then right again towards Ubersyren. We are back on roads here, but there is a road-side cycle path as far as Ubersyren to use. Straight across at the cross-roads, along the CR187 over the motorway and all the way to Mensdorf. In the village we stay on this road, a hard left followed by another left at the end. Along this section we once more cross the Syre, and bid it farewell: we are now moving away from the river and will not see it again on this trip.

Syre at Schrassig

The River Syre at Schrassig

Immediately after crossing the railway turn left again to once more find ourselves on traffic-free roads. Continue straight until we reach Niederanven where we turn right (effectively straight on) and then at the main junction right again followed by the first left onto Rue de Bois. And indeed we pass through delightful woods, always continuing straight on, until we climb up to Ernster. Turn left onto the CR132 and now we have completed the “Vëlosroute Ieweschte Syrdall”, and we turn right onto the PC2, the Piste Cyclable d’Echternach. When given the option take the route avoiding the village of Hostert – the right hand option.

Ubersyren

Ubersyren

This is well signposted towards Kirchberg and takes you through more forests until meandering through the residential area of Senningerberg, crossing the road at “Charlys Gare”, going through the bus turning spot and past the water-tower.

This forested path also includes a cycle bridge over a large motorway interchange. Keep to the right in Kirchberg, taking the first right down Boulevard Pierre Frieden. Look out carefully here for a non-signposted cycle path on the right. Hopefully you will get this and shortly hit a T-junction, go left and then first right and enjoy a long safe downhill. At the junction on the vicious bend go right, and then first right – ignore the no-entry sign, this is for motorised traffic only, bicycles can go against the flow legally. Now turn left for a vertiginous downhill – make sure your brakes are in good order for this section!

Signage

The Signage is Very Good on Most of This Ride

Right at the bottom onto the road, sweep round under the railway and first left into the park, rejoing the PC1. Riding carefully in the park, we are back on the banks of the Alzette. Past the football pitch, turn right over the bridge, then left and under the high Pont Grande-Duchesse Charlotte – “the red bridge” – and then straight on over the cobbles and under the arch.

The cycle signs here are a little confusing, but bear left-ish along Rue Sosthene Weis (the middle option), upwards, which eventually leads you under the Pont du Chateau, and the Bock fortifications. Down the hill, onto the cobbles once more and we arrive at the starting point after an invigorating ride.

Bock

Looking Towards the Bock and the Pont de Château

6 Comments

  1. Guillaume / November 7, 2013 at 01:36 / Reply

    We did that route in the other direction in September, and it was indeed gorgeous like this all the way, especially around Contern. What’s really nice is that there are train stations all along the Syre valley, so you can easily get back home if you’re tired. Are those pictures from the late summer too?

  2. David Thomas / November 7, 2013 at 15:10 / Reply

    As always, I really wish I could have come on that ride with you all (although wasn’t it raining that day?)

    I have ridden all the way along the Valley to Mertert (and onto Wasserbillig)several times and I agree, its a lovely ride.

    The photos are from different times over the last year or so, so some are spring, some summer, and some autumn. The dark foreboding picture of the Widdebierg was on a stormy day just this week.

    Thanks

  3. Laura / May 24, 2015 at 01:14 / Reply

    Hi there,

    I am currently trying to figure out a route that includes mostly traffic-free bike paths. I would love to be able to ditch my car and get a cargo bike. I would like to transport my three year old to his creche in Moutfort from Alzingen. Any suggestions would be highly appreciated. Some of the roads here are quite scary as far as people’s driving habits and being with a cargo bike and kids I need to find a good route, if possible… Thanks so much!

  4. David Thomas / June 6, 2015 at 02:30 / Reply

    Hi, I think 100% traffic-free on that route might be tricky, but if you don’t mind the odd forest/farm track there could be solutions.

    I personally often use the 154 from Alzingen, until you get to the top and take the path down to Contern – the road Is normally OK, but I’ve never done it in rush-hour. Or you could take the road from Hesper to Itzig and pick up paths there, through Contern and on to Moutfort.

    If you cant get this leaflet http://www.sias.lu/dl/Karte%20Veloswee.pdf I can let you have mine, and if you want to meet up one day to explore routes I live around here, in Sandweiler, drop me a line

    David

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