The northern course of the 100 Castles Route combines castles worth seeing and natural beauty in a unique way. From the flat park landscape and the valley of the Ems, the northern loop leads to the hilly landscapes of the Tecklenburger Land - the balcony of the Münsterland. Wall hedges, stately farms, historic inner cities, dreamy monasteries and magnificent panoramic views await you. All this forms the setting for the wonderful castles along the cycle route.
You should take some time for Münster. To see most of the city's sights, you should plan a "bike-free" day. The best starting point for a city tour is the famous Prinzipalmarkt in the shadow of the Lamberti Church. From here it is only a few steps to the Friedenssaal, the cathedral, the magnificent Erbdrostenhof and the Museum of Art and Culture. Recommendation: On a guided tour you will learn interesting and surprising facts about many of Münster's sights.
Münster Castle is the starting point of the 100 Castles Route. But before you finally set off, take a look at the castle's botanical garden.
The city is still almost in sight when you reach the romantic Haus Rüschhaus. The small museum and especially the gardens are worth a stop. From here at the latest, you find yourself in the middle of the Münsterland park landscape: small forests provide dark green splashes of colour between fields and meadows, and pretty farms with their flowering gardens surprise you time and again. The magnificent Hülshoff Castle, birthplace of Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, awaits you at the gates of Havixbeck. The museum immerses you in the life and history of the great poetess. Don't be surprised if you become poetic yourself during a walk through the beautiful park.
Billerbeck Cathedral is indeed outstanding. It greets cyclists from afar on their way along the 100 castles route. Somewhat hidden, on the other hand, are the interesting Burgmannshöfe in the old town of Horstmar. Just a few pedal turns further on, the moated castle of Steinfurt shines on the edge of the old town of Burgsteinfurt. The market square is a wonderful place for a rest.
Haus Welbergen near Ochtrup is not one of the largest castles in Münsterland, but certainly one of the most beautiful. A walk through the beautiful garden in the inner courtyard will stay in your memory for a long time. With these impressions in your luggage, you will reach Bad Bentheim, the only hilltop castle in the region.
Bentheim Castle is truly impressive and a worthy introduction to the next stage of the 100 Castles Route. You should definitely not miss a tour of the castle walls. The panoramic view over Bad Bentheim and the Münsterland is incomparable. The Bentlage Monastery in Rheine is the next highlight of the northern route. The wonderful walls are nestled between the blue ribbon of the Ems and the green of the Salinenpark. The café and above all the excellent exhibitions are worth a longer stay. Not far away in Hörstel is the Gravenhorst Monastery. The Kunsthaus in the monastery invites visitors to impressive cultural events time and again.
After Ibbenbüren at the latest, the number of metres in altitude increases significantly. The 100 Castles Route winds through the hilly landscape towards the small town of Tecklenburg. Situated high above the Münsterland, Tecklenburg enchants with its half-timbered houses and extensive spa gardens. From the balcony of the Münsterland, you can look back many kilometres into the park landscape of the region.
The northern course is particularly scenic and leads along the foothills of the Teutoburg Forest. Before you reach Bad Iburg, you have already climbed a few metres. You will be rewarded with beautiful views, the gentle nature of the Holperdorf valley and the imposing Iburg Castle. The town's landmark rises high above the town centre.
On your way back to Münster, the 100 Castles Route has a few more hidden treasures to offer: The double castle complex Harkotten near Sassenberg is one of the outstanding sights. The museum and café invite you to take a longer break. Not far from Münster is Loburg Castle in Ostbevern. A real insider tip is a walk through the park when the rhododendrons are in bloom. The wild and romantic paths will enchant you.
Gravenhorst Monastery is without doubt one of the most versatile sights on the 100 Castles Route. The park alone invites you to picnic between art and nature. Together with its excellent exhibitions and regional gastronomy, it is the perfect stop for a rest.