The River Lahn, Germany

This river flows roughly from north east to south west, joining the Rhine just beneath Koblenz, a journey of about 170km, which can be extended by another 10km by going a bit further upstream. Essentially you start in the lovely university city of Marburg and finish at Lahnstein, just before the Rhine. Starting at Marburg, you are on kilometer -35, the 0 km marker being at Giessen, which is where the commercial traffic used to finish. For the correct map showing all portages and campsites, use Amazon to find ISBN: 978-3-929540-09-3. Canoe camping from Marburg involved 5 portages round weirs, wheels very important as some were quite prolonged.

At Giessen there are three different types of "bootsgasse", involving the traffic light version, a set of bristly rollers covered in water and one consisting of a set of rollers out of the water, and we also managed to line the canoe down one particular weir. After Giessen you pass Km 0 and and weirs can now be avoided by using the locks. These are self regulated, but easy to use. The can be quite deep, but worth using as the the portages shown on the map can be quite difficult or take as long as using the lock, which can be as much as 20 minutes. Eventually the locks are manned, but the lock keepers will let canoes through on their own. Once we did have to wait for a cruise ship coming up the river as they have a right of way through the locks. By the time we arrived at Lahnstein, we had been through 35 locks and portages.

We took 6 days to canoe camp the river, there are many campsites and some excellent towns to visit, such as Runkel, Limburg, Bad Ems and Weilburg, where you have to go through a 200 mtr tunnel, with a double lock at the end. You need a good head for heights here as the ladder out of the river was high and vertical. There were canoe hire centres on the river and some of the towns had fleets of pedalos, but we never got the feeling of being crowded on the river and quite often we were on our own. Shopping could be difficult or involve a walk away from the river. Meals could be purchased at all campsites and rmember to order bread for th following morning.

Current on the river was moderate, we completed the river in August, so water was a bit low and flat as you apporached locks and weirs.

Leave your car on the campsite in Marburg and there is an excellent train service back from Lahnstein to collect your car.

Well worth putting on your list of rivers to canoe.

Campsite at Marburg
Getting ready for the Off!
Minus 10
Bristly" bootsgasse"
Roller "bootsgasse"
Underneath the motorway
Approaching a weir
Easy portage, looking back
Floating BBQs
One of many lookout towers
Approaching Limburg
Centre of Limburg
Now in the positives
Runkel Castle
View from the campsite
Manned lock
View from a hillside
Tepee campsite
Sharing a lock
100 down, 35 to go
Coming out of the tunnel
Rest stop
Crusie ship
Bad Ems
Thunderstorm & downpour, 5km to go