Gentle cycling along the Rhine & Moselle
Explore the region’s rich history
Taste excellent Rhine-valley wines
Premium barge with max. 30 passengers
During this cycling holiday you will follow the Rhine and Moselle rivers from Amsterdam to Metz. You’ll see and feel the rich history of these majestic rivers, from Roman times to the Industrial Revolution, and from WWII to German reunification.
In the Netherlands you will cycle through flat, peaceful, farming countryside passing its famous windmills along the way. Later on, in Germany, you’ll follow the Rhine upstream, through cities like Remagen and Bonn. Next stop is Cologne, home of the monumental Dom cathedral and once one of the most important centers of the Holy Roman Empire. You then cycle along a more romantic section of the Rhine valley, with medieval strongholds, stately mansions and the first vineyards appearing on the hills. Midway through the tour you arrive in Koblenz, a lively and interesting city, where the Rhine and Moselle converge.
During the second week of the trip follow the Rhine’s peaceful little sisters, the Moselle and Saar rivers from one picturesque village to another. The bike paths along the banks of the Moselle and Saar Rivers are asphalted or paved, with minimal gradient, ideal for comfortable cycling. Along the way there will be plenty of exceptional views of hilltop castles, timeless fortresses, picture perfect wineries, Roman-era ruins in Trier, the “Little Venice” of Saarburg and much more.
The Moselle, with a length of 544 km, is the Rhine’s longest tributary and is also the second most important shipping route in Germany, while the Saar, with a length of 246 km, is the Moselle’s longest tributary. The history of the Moselle and Saar region dates back some 2000 years to the Roman era. Conclude the journey with a trip into the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg before riding through lovely French countryside into the impressive city of Metz.
As you cycle through these magical regions you’ll visit culturally rich cities, soak up the sights of untouched nature, and sample the produce of local winegrowers. At this gentle travel pace you’ll also have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the area’s rich history, making it a cycling cruise not to be missed!
The ship – Your sailing hotel
In between cycling excursions, you cruise along with the ship, which travels to a new destination every day. You dine, sleep and eat breakfast on board. You’ll receive a packed lunch every day, and you can usually choose between a longer or shorter bike ride. It’s also possible to spend a day on board if you like. There are rental bikes on board, but you can also bring your own if you mention it when booking.
Day 1: Amsterdam – Nigtevecht | Nigtevecht – Breukelen (17 km/9 mi.) | Breukelen – Wijk bij Duurstede
Embarkation in Amsterdam is at 1 pm. Please be sure to arrive on time! Following a welcome meeting with the crew, the barge will depart immediately for Nigtevecht. Here you’ll set out on a short test-ride to the town of Breukelen, after which Brooklyn in New York is named. You’ll enjoy the Dutch countryside and the meandering river Vecht. Dinner is served while sailing on the Amsterdam – Rhine Canal. Tonight, the ship brings us to dock at Wijk bij Duurstede; one of the oldest settlements in the lowlands.
Day 2: Wijk bij Duurstede – Wageningen | Wageningen – Arnhem (35 km/21 mi. or 52 km/31 mi.) | Arnhem – Rees
Enjoy breakfast while sailing. Today your cycling tour will start in Wageningen. You follow a route over the high Veluwe nature reserve. You cycle through heathland and forest. The Netherlands is known for being flat but here you will find some slight natural height difference in the landscape (by Dutch standards). This was formed in the last Ice Age. In this period the “Hoge Veluwe” area was right on the edge of the ice. In the afternoon we ride to Arnhem where we meet the barge. During dinner, the Princesse Royal will sail upstream into Germany. Destination for the night is Rees.
Day 3: Rees – Wesel | Wesel – Duisburg (40 km/24 mi.) | Duisburg – Düsseldorf
The barge departs early this morning and over breakfast we sail to Wesel, where we disembark. Today we focus on the Ruhr area where Germany, and possibly Europe’s, largest industries are located. Cities like Essen, Duisburg, Oberhausen and Dortmund are intertwined together through a maze of highways, railways and waterways. This region was once very prosperous and therefore a target in 1923, when French and Belgian troops tried to occupy it to enforce Prussia’s WWI reparation payments. From 1944-45 the Ruhr was also a top target for the Allies. After so much conflict and industry it’s hard to imagine that you can cycle here, but you can! The German government put a lot of effort into redeveloping the area after the closure of many factories. It may not always be scenic, but it’s an impressive and evolving post-industrial landscape not to be missed when visiting the Rhine. However, as we don’t want to cycle too long past factories, the ship picks us up at Duisburg and takes us on to Düsseldorf. We dine while sailing. In the evening there’s time to visit the Altstadt, where you can try the famous local dark beer, Altbier. You’ll be amazed what an international city Düsseldorf is, with foreigners comprising almost a fifth of the population.
Day 4: Düsseldorf – Zons | Zons – Cologne (28 km/17 mi. or 54 km/33 mi.)
During breakfast we cruise to the old town of Zons. We then leave the Ruhr behind as we cycle towards Cologne. Today we follow the Rhine closely in order to arrive in Cologne early enough for some afternoon exploring. Founded by the Romans, Cologne is the oldest of Germany’s larger cities. In 50 AD it was already granted city status as a gift from the Roman empress Agrippina. Later, Cologne became one of the most important centers of the Holy Roman Empire. Its landmark is, of course, the Dom cathedral, located right next to the central station and railway bridge crossing the Rhine. Construction on the cathedral began in 1248 and was only completed in 1880! The city was almost completely destroyed in Allied bombings of 1944-1945. The city hall however, dating from 1330, has been beautifully restored.
Day 5: Cologne – Bonn (38 km/23 mi.)
Today we follow the river again by bike in order to reach Bonn in time to explore West Germany’s capital from 1945 until 1990. Berlin was re-established as capital after Germany’s reunification, but Bonn continues to house six governmental departments. Like Cologne, Bonn was founded by the Romans, around the year 10 BC, as it was a good site to bridge the Rhine. Worth visiting are the old City Hall, the Münster Basilica, and the house where Beethoven was born. After dinner you can join a city walk through Bonn.
Day 6: Bonn – Remagen | Remagen – Koblenz (44 km/27 mi.)
During breakfast we sail to Remagen. Your cycling tour starts here, but first there’s time to explore this town’s rich historical past. Nowadays it’s best known for its once-famous Ludendorff Bridge, the only functional Rhine bridge captured by Americans in Operation Lumberjack in March 1945. The bridgehead houses a museum dedicated to its history. After Remagen, a more romantic section of the Rhine valley begins with castle keeps, mansions and the first vineyards at the foothills of central Germany. We pass the beloved bathing resort of Bad Breisig and also Burg Rheineck. This stronghold, set in stunning scenery, dates back to 1100. We visit Andernach, once a Roman settlement. It’s still a wonderful town with many historical sites. Shortly after Andernach we arrive in Koblenz. Its name comes from the Latin confluentes, meaning the merging of two rivers (the Rhine and Moselle). The statue of Emperor Wilhelm of Prussia at the intersection of the two rivers is an impressive landmark. Koblenz is a city cozily rebuilt after the damages of the Second World War. Today there is no dinner on board. You can select one of the local restaurants of Koblenz.
Day 7: Koblenz – Alken | Alken – Moselkern – Cochem (40 km/25 mi.)
We start the day by sailing to Alken where you’ll set out by bike to Moselkern. The village of Moselkern is famous for its castle Burg Eltz. This stronghold is one of the most impressive medieval buildings of Western Europe. It’s not easy to reach though, you need to hike the last section to reach the castle. After visiting Burg Eltz, you continue the bike tour to Cochem, one of the Moselle region’s most frequently visited wine towns. Cochem is a cozy traditional town full of wine cellars and half-timbered houses.
Day 8: Cochem
Today is a day of rest. This gives you the chance to explore this small town. There are loads of little shops to buy a nice Moselle wine or some local specialties. Don’t forget to climb the stairs to the Imperial castle. From there you have a panoramic view over Cochem and the Moselle.
Day 9: Cochem – Zell (39 km/24 mi.)
Following breakfast, you’ll cycle to Beilstein, one of the best-preserved historical villages on the Moselle. The ruins of Castle Metternich sit towering above the village, and you’ll have the opportunity to explore them. After leaving Beilstein you’ll pass Europe’s steepest vineyard – with slopes inclining up to 60 degrees – at Bremmer Calmont. Today’s tour ends in the wine village of Zell on the Moselle, well known in the industry for the wine Zeller Schwarze Katz. In Zell we recommend taking the opportunity to get to know the good wines of the Moselle valley.
Day 10: Zell on the Moselle – Bernkastel-Kues (45 km/27 mi.)
Today you’ll cycle from Zell to the romantic village of Traben-Trarbach, located on the Moselle’s left bank and famous for its Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) architecture. From there you pass through the wine city of Kröv – well-known for its popular Kröver wine – to Bernkastel-Kues, your destination for the night. The grand half-timbered houses that surround Bernkastel-Kues’s marketplace date back to the Middle Ages, and are a photographer’s delight. You’ll reach the barge in Kues after a tour through town.
Day 11: Bernkastel-Kues – Schweich (28 km/18 mi. or 54 km/34 mi.) | Schweich – Trier
From Bernkastel, the valley opens up and vineyards expand as far as the eye can see. Today we cruise past the heavy-hitters in the wine world: Brauneberg, Piesport, Trittenheim. Piesport is beloved by Brits for its “little droplets of gold”. Trittenheim lies in a sharp hairpin turn on the river surrounded by mountains covered with grapes. Around lunchtime you’ll arrive in Neumagen, an important center of wine production already in Roman times. You can decide to join the barge from here or continue by bike to Schweich, where the barge will be waiting for you. Once on board, we cruise to Trier, the oldest city in Germany. Trier was founded around 15 BC by Caesar Augustus under the name of Augusta Treverorum. As a trading town and administrative center, Trier flourished during the late imperial age. This Roman golden age has left us with an impressive number of monuments. Most evocative is the Porta Nigra city gate, which was built around 18 AD.
Day 12: Trier – Saarburg (28 km/18 mi.)
In the morning your tour leader will take you into Trier and walk you through the local Roman history. There’s also time to discover and enjoy Trier on your own. After lunch you’ll hop on your bike and follow the Moselle and Saar rivers to Saarburg, an interesting old town situated in the most beautiful part of the Saar valley. Here the river banks are densely forested. The castle of Saarburg was built here in the middle of the 10th century. In the middle of town, you’ll come across a 20-meter-high waterfall. At the foot of this waterfall there’s an old mill, which is powered by the small river. In this part of Saarburg most of the old houses date from the 17th and 18th century and give the town a picturesque look. Tonight you dine out at one of Saarburg’s many local restaurants at your own expense.
Day 13: Saarburg – Remich (45 km/27 mi. or 53 km /32 mi.)
Today you can choose from two cycling options. One is easy, but a bit longer along the rivers. The shorter option is a bit more challenging, through the hills. Whatever your choice is, the cycling will lead you into the Grand Duchy Luxembourg. Here the Moselle forms the border between Germany and Luxembourg. Luxembourg is a small country, but the capital (also called Luxembourg) is an important finance center and administrative EU city. On the way, on the Luxembourg side, we visit a wine cooperative, specialized in “Crémant”, considered the Champagne of the Moselle. Close to Remich you can admire a Roman mosaic floor. Still in its original location, the tiled floor was once the centerpiece of a palatial Roman villa. The scene (made up of three million individual tile pieces) depicts scenes from gladiator games in an amphitheater.
Day 14: Remich – Schengen | Schengen – Thionville (30 km/18 mi.) | Thionville – Metz
While having breakfast you’ll cruise to Schengen, where your cycling tour starts. Everybody in Europe has heard of the Schengen Agreement, but almost nobody knows that it’s named after this small border town in Luxembourg at the intersection of three countries. Soon we cross the Luxembourg-French border and experience the outcome of this agreement: no border controls. We pass the fortress of Sierck-les-Bains, one of the palaces inhabited by the powerful Dukes of Lorraine. The route is lovely through French countryside and friendly villages. Around lunchtime you’ll arrive in Thionville, the regional center of the steel industry until the 1980s. That might sound modern and industrial, but the city is ancient. The historic center boasts medieval ramparts, lovely gardens, old streets and the church of St Maximin. Here the ship is waiting to pick you up to cruise to Metz, another ancient city strategically situated on a Roman trading route. St Etienne Cathedral is the third largest gothic church in France with flying buttresses and stained glass windows by Marc Chagall. Metz is full of stunning architecture, flowers and great cafes.
Day 15: Metz
Final morning of your tour: disembarkation in Metz after breakfast and warm goodbyes until 9.30 am.
We understand how daunting it is to try and plan a trip in our current circumstances. So we’ve introduced a new flexible booking policy that allows you to easily change your booking without paying any penalties.
This promotion only applies to the premium tours organised by Boat Bike Tours itself. The terms and conditions of the free rebooking can be found here.
Below you see an overview of the available (blue) dates; the yellow dot means that this date has 2 or less cabins available, orange is ‘on request’ and red means that on this date there aren’t any cabins available. Then click on the preferred date. After this, choose your ship (some tours have only one ship, and therefore there is no choice), the number of cabins in the required (and available) category, any desired additional products, and ‘local costs’ (such as special dietary needs, which you usually pay for onboard). On the right side, you’ll find the ‘Booking Summary.’ After completing your preferences and necessary information click ‘Book now’ to finalize your booking.
Gentle vineyard biking in 3 countries
Learn about Roman history in Trier
Taste the region’s fine Riesling wines
Barge with max. 31 passengers
Gentle cycling along majestic rivers
Learn about Roman history
Taste fine Riesling wines
Premium barge with max. 31 passengers