Chase adventure down abandoned railroads on this unique tour

Chase adventure down abandoned railroads on this unique tour

by Courtney Woodruff
Stripes Europe

Flying down the Autobahn is overrated. Real adventure can be found cruising Germany’s abandoned railroad tracks surrounded by the natural beauty of the scenery you’d be missing if you were passing by at dizzying speeds — or worse, stuck behind the wheel in a dreaded Stau.

Embarking on a Rheinland-Pfalz Draisinentour is a fantastic way to spend a beautiful, fun-filled day outdoors with your family and friends. Rental stations can be found in the villages of Altenglan, Lauterecken and Staudernheim. At least once every 1.5 kilometers, there are stations where you can park and explore, or make a quick stop to enjoy the many castle ruins, churches, restaurants, vineyards and museums along the way. Download a map of sites online to plan your route.

Wait … a Drai-what?

A Draisine is a two-, three- or four-wheeled railway service vehicle originally meant for transporting tools and workers (think the hand-cranked carts bad guys used to escape in classic cartoons). The mechanism can be powered by electricity or — in most cases — muscle strength, sweat and maybe even a few tears. The contraption is named after Karl Drais, who tested a similar vehicle in Karlsruhe in 1842. These days, tourist companies have repurposed them for recreational activities.

You can choose from a variety of Draisinen, including the bicycle (Fahrraddraisine) which requires two passengers to pedal; the conference (Konferenzdraisine), which allows for a group of four people to sit around a table while three people pedal; and the hand-operated Draisine (Handhebeldraisine), which is perfect for groups of eight to 13 people.

Or, sign up for a special half-day Draisine tour for a unique experience. The ride is paired with additional activities, such as geocaching, picnicking, hiking and canoeing. There are even food tours and sleepover adventures.

It’s possible to reserve a Draisine online up to 14 days before the rental date. Last-minute bookings can be made by telephone. For more information, including the location of rental stations, pricing and all-inclusive package deals, visit Also, be sure to read the etiquette guidelines before you participate. 

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