Vennbahn is one of the longest rail bike paths in Europe (125km). It stretches from Troisvierges (Luxembourg) to Aachen (Germany) crossing East Belgium. This post features a short bicycle trip (14 km one way) from Troisvierges to Oudler in Belgium with its highlight being the tunnel for bats. With a smooth asphalt all the way till Oudler and a few easy climbs, this section can make for a nice family ride or enjoyable workout. Signposting is perfect so you always know your whereabouts and drivers are alerted at junctions. Vennbahn crosses fields and forests, keeping cyclists away from road traffic and offering awesome tranquility and clean air. Along the path, there are catchy information boards with many interesting facts about local highlights and history.
Tunnel for bats
The highlight of the ride is the old railway tunnel (800 m) inhabited by a colony of bats. Being dark, quiet and humid, this tunnel is a key hibernation place for 13 species of bats in the north of Luxembourg. As bats in the European Union are protected (the 1994 Eurobats treaty), the tunnel stays closed to cyclists. It is crucial to ensure that bats can hibernate there undisturbed (bats hibernate from November till the beginning of March). Once disturbed by noise or light (for example, torch light), they need a lot of energy to wake up and they risk not surviving winter. The path leading to the tunnel offers really interesting facts and a fancy wind-up radio embedded in stone. For example, you can learn how they ‘see the world with their ears’, whether bats-vampires are a myth or a fact, about rare species or when bats are most active.
How to get there
By train – trains from Luxembourg to Troisvierges run every hour (ride: around 60 min. long). Vennbahn starts right next to the Troisvierges train station. You can’t miss it.
About Vennbahn: http://www.vennbahn.eu