Komoot (like commute, only not) is a gem of an app for German bikers and hikers. Or rather, it was: with today’s v5.2 update, the navigation app now comes in English, and adds support for a slew of new countries.
The short form: If you ever take to two wheels, then you need this app.
Komoot is a satnav for your bike (or your legs), only instead of trying to route you on the fastest road, it picks awesome trails and routes for you to try. I’m currently in Germany, where a friend put me onto the app (it seems that pretty much everyone in Germany rides a bike to get around), and now there’s a big enough update that I can writer about it.
To use Komoot, you pick a start point and a destination, and the app presents you with a list of alternative routes. These almost always rely heavily on bike paths (of which there are many in lots of German cities), but also wander off into the wilderness. For instance, I just plugged in my current location (Leipzig) and chose Dresden (around 135 km to the South East) as a destination. The most direct route pops up immediately, and then the app searches for more.
The shortest (and most direct) route takes almost nine hours and only requires 190 meters of climbing. The longest is eleven and a half hours, has almost a kilometer of climbing, and takes you off road at times.
You can get turn-by-turn directions, with or without voice, and the max are plotted on various map types. The app tells you pretty much everything about the route, including elevation profiles and the percentages of terrain (cycleway, asphalt, road, state road etc.), and it even shows a gallery of pictures grabbed from Panoramio.
You can also save tours, share them, and add photos to your route along the way. It’s pretty awesome, and pairs with a website that does all the same stuff, letting you share your plans with the app via a login.
Like I said, the app was limited to Germany, but now it also works for France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, England, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovenia and Croatia. You have to pay to get regions outside your own (from what I an tell, the app checks your location on first run and unlocks your local region for free), but it’s a few Euros a time. Or you can just unlock everything for $30, which is less than the price of a tank of gas.
If I’m gushing, it’s because I really like this app. Previously I have been forced to piece together routes from Wikiloc and other fine sources, but the experience was a real pain. Komoot does for hiking and biking what Apple does for hardware: makes it easily accessible and fun to use.
Go download it now. Unless you live in the U.S., I guess.