Liefrange dam
© Alfonso Salgueiro

Transforming Experiences Border to border: a bike tour along the Sûre River

5 minutes

Go with the flow

Story summary

  • Happiness on two wheels: Three friends go on a cycling adventure along the River Sûre.
  • Boundlessly beautiful: the trio travel from one border to another, from west to east through Luxembourg, past picturesque landscapes and small villages.
  • International friendship: The men are connected by sporting, cultural and culinary ties.
  • Not the end: Wasserbillig on the Moselle marks the end of this tour and the beginning of future adventures on two wheels.

Three friends, three cyclists and a river: a wonderful, boundless adventure from west to east along the Sûre. Feel the European spirit on Luxembourg’s biking trails.

The air is crisp on this early spring morning in Martelange on the Belgium-Luxembourg border. Near the bridge, right next to the gas station and the café, three men are preparing for a tour. The bikes are ready, the outfits snazzy, the mood jolly. One man pulls a thermos out of his backpack as well as three camping mugs, sugar cubes and a real German condensed milk, the one with the bear logo.

“What’s that?” asks the man in the dark blue shirt in French. “That’s something I loved in Germany! But I made the coffee with a traditional Neapolitan coffee maker,” says the guy with the backpack. “I know German ‘Kaffeesahne’ (coffee cream),” says the third man in English, grinning. “I lived in Germany for a few years!”

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Rooted in several countries

Meet Alfonso Salgueiro, Georges Gloukoviezoff and Andres Gavira Etzel. Their friendship, their backgrounds, their story… all of it is quintessential Luxem­bourg.

They live and work here but their family history is colourful, their roots literally from all over. Alfonso and Andres are Spanish. Georges is French with Italian and Russian roots. Alfonso and Georges’ wives are Irish.

That’s how they met. Andres’ mother is German and he spent a few years studying in Mu­nich. They’ve picked up habits, friendships and memories from different countries throughout their lives. Everything is in a state of flux.

Cycling

Bourscheid © Alfonso Salgueiro

Today, they want to follow the flow of a river. They love cy­cling. “It’s pure happiness,” says Georges. “And biking is honest. It forces you to face your limits, pushes you. You evolve.

That stays with you your whole life. And biking with friends means spending a lot of time together. The conversations get deeper and unfold along with the trails.”

A tour from west to east

The tour Alfonso, Georges and Andres are about to embark on crosses Luxembourg from west to east along the Sûre. Begin your trip in Martelange on the Belgian border, then continue through Esch-sur-Sûre, Bourscheid, Ettel­bruck, Echternach and Rosport until you reach Wasserbillig on the German border. Along the way you’ll find many picturesque villages, insider tips and enchanting spots. Experienced cyclists can do the route in a day while leisure cyclists might enjoy doing it in two or three days.

We leave Martelange with its many gas stations and dive right into the lush meadowlands surrounding the Sûre. The three friends head down the EuroVelo 5 Via Romea Francigena. Alfonso’s tour consists of bike paths and convenient roads with little traffic. Keep going past Arsdorf to reach Misärshaff, an old farm on the side of the road. From here, take the steep hill to Houfels to enjoy spectacular views. The wooden cabin perched on the precipice is iconic.

Andres and Georges stand near the wooden fence and are delight­ed. This is their first time here. “When you’re biking, you always want to keep riding, so I wouldn’t necessarily have taken the detour up here. But sometimes a one- or two-kilometre detour will take you to an amazing place like this one! It’s totally worth it!” says Georges. A wood cabin rests on the edge of the cliff, along with a bench. Fur­ther away, a deer dashes through the woods and the sun shines through the trees.

It’s quite warm this morning, even in the woods. Georges pulls his mobile phone from his pocket. It’s wrapped in a plastic bag. “This way it’s protected from sweat and rain!” he says laughing. It’s good to be resourceful.

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“Cycling heaven”

Two young men on mountain bikes brave twigs, roots and rocks to reach the viewpoint. The three friends watch them appreciatively. Andres also en­joys mountain biking and thinks Luxembourg is ideal terrain. “Mountain biking is as crazy as it gets,” he says, smiling.

Alfonso and Georges enjoy gravel biking. At 16, Alfonso was a successful racing cyclist. He trained a lot and would ride 250 kilometres a day on a weekend. “These days I ride for fun,” he says. All three agree that Luxem­bourg is a “cycling heaven”.

The path leads our three friends along the Bavigne dam wall. It smells like BBQ. Small groups grill along the path and enjoy summerly barbecues. A small wooden house appears seeming­ly out of nowhere. A sign reads “De klenge Buttik”. Alfonso takes a peek inside. A few vending machines sell organic produce like eggs and potatoes. Probably not very practical if you’re cycling but there are also energy bars and sports drinks. These little “shops” are increasingly ubiqui­tous in Luxembourg. We continue along a beautiful tree-lined road. Black and white cows graze in the meadows. The trees cast shapely shadows. Leaves rustle in the wind.

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Culinary delights from around the globe

The conversation of course revolves around food. “Here in Luxem­bourg, you’ll always find good quality ingredients, whether it’s for Italian, Portuguese, French or Spanish cuisine,” says Alfonso and takes a sip of alcohol-free beer. “Simply because people from those countries live here. They wouldn’t accept subpar ingredients!”

Andres regales us with tales of paella and his wife’s cooking. She is from Valencia, motherland of paellas. Georges is “master of may­onnaise” and also enjoys making vegan lentil burgers with a very special recipe. Alfonso likes to make a chickpea, spinach, egg and garlic dish, Sevilla-style. The three friends agree: they’ll soon have to meet up for an international cooking night!

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The cows' watchful eyes

From Esch-sur-Sûre, they take the “Piste Cyclable 18” toward Heider­scheid. Bright yellow canola fields hug the path. Spring is in the air.

Cows watch as the three friends cycle by. Birds chirp. The path continues along the PC 16 towards Bourscheid. The bridge in Miche­lau offers a beautiful view of the castle. Right below the castle lies the “Camping du Moulin” camp­site. Why not take a break on the river bank? Dip your feet in the water and relax while campers set up their tents or enjoy coffee on a deck chair

We’re still on the PC 16. In an in­dustrial area near Ettelbruck, one of the larger northern towns, the Sûre and Alzette join blending both river colours. In Reisdorf, PC 16 becomes PC 3 Rivières. You’ll find another confluence near Wallendorf. Here, the Sûre and the Our join, a river that flows through the Éislek region and a gorgeous nature reserve.

Continue the journey through Bollendorf and the Mullerthal region to reach Echternach. “I could spend all day here,” says Alfonso dreamily. Echternach is home to the Hopping Procession, small alleyways, international cuisine and the magnificent basilica. An attractive tourist destination, indeed. But our three friends want to continue cycling to reach their goal before nightfall. There’s still time for an afternoon snack at the “Sauer­park Beach” restaurant at the Rosport’s campsite. Enjoy the restaurant’s maritime design and the patio’s lovely vacation vibes.

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“We’ll be back!”

The tour’s big finale? Wasserbillig on the German border. Here too, the Sûre joins another river: the majestic Moselle. Geese and swans nestle under the cross-border bridge.

As the sun sets, the car ferry comes and goes between Luxem­bourg and Germany. “The tour was amazing,” says Andres as they toast with a last alcohol-free beer. From here, simply take the free train with your bike back to Luxembourg City. Georges is convinced: “We’ll be back!”

Mobility and more

  • Travelling by bike? Don’t want to carry your own luggage? Check out Move We Carry, a luggage transport service that will bring your baggage from one lodging to another in exchange for a small fee.
    www.movewecarry.lu
  • Tired from the road? Flat tyre? Want to travel easily? Use free public transport to return to your home-base or simply choose another beautiful destination. For some vacay-vibes, try the electric-solar ferry “Sankta Maria” between Oberbillig in Germany and Wasserbillig.
    ​​​​​​​www.mobiliteit.lu​​​​​​​

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