This tour along the Mosel and Saar combines the best of the German ‘Bundesländer’ Rheinland Pfalz and Saarland. While cycling from Alken to Merzig, you will go back in time as you visit the Roman villas and public baths along the two rivers, the Saar and the Mosel. In Trier you can visit the Porta Nigra. This ancient gateway is one of the best-known monuments from the Roman era. On day six we take a trip to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in the village of Wasserbillig. As you cycle through one of Germany’s major wine-growing areas, it is possible to taste a lot of different wines and see where they grow and how they are made. You can get acquainted with the excellent but uncomplicated wines from the Saar and the so-called ‘Spitzenweinen’ along the Mosel like the ‘Zeller Schwarze Katz’. The main ingredient for those wines is the Riesling, a white grape variety that dates back to the 15th century and is crowned the ‘Queen of grapes’.
Your tour starts in the beautiful Saarland town of Merzig with a lot of shops and terraces.
At 4 PM we will make a short trip along the Saar River to a beautiful mooring- place near the Saarschleife (Saar loop).
Monday: Saarschleife – Saarburg – 22 miles (35 km)
After breakfast we bike to the Saar-Canyon. Here we have the opportunity to hike to an outlook site on top of the Saar-Canyon where we have a magnificent panorama over the faraway surroundings. The hike is not steep and takes 1 hour uphill and half an hour downhill. At lunchtime we will arrive in the town of Mettlach where we will have lunch and can visit the town with its outlet-shops. Of course we won’t forget to visit the biggest attraction of the town: The Villeroy & Boch porcelain museum including a cup of coffee in the beautiful Museum-Café. We will end this day-trip in the very scenic town of Saarburg with its huge waterfall in the middle of town.
Tuesday: Saarburg – Nearby Trier – 22 miles (35 km)
During today’s tour you switch rivers in the historical city of Konz, from here you leave the Saar behind and follow the Mosel. One thing’s for sure, you’re not the first tourist in the area: it was around the year 365 A.D. that the river inspired the Roman teacher Magnus Ausonius to write his hymn Mosella: ‘Greetings, river, framed by perfumed vineyard-covered hills, Framed by grass; river of greenest shores. Your strong waters carry ships, flowing in easy waves. Along the stream, and a glittering lake your depths emulate.’ Along the old Saarschleife you cycle to the Igeler Säule and Wasserbillig in Luxemburg. In the afternoon you’ll turn eastwards to Trier where you’ll stay for around 3 hours. This city is known for its Roman legacies like the Porta Nigra, the Basilica of Constantine the Great and an amphitheater. After visiting, there is one-hour ride to the mooring-place of the barge.
Wednesday: Nearby Trier – Schweig – Bernkastel-Kues – 31 miles (50 km)
Along the route today you’ll find a lot of old Roman villas, public baths and other relics of ancient civilizations. All those historical buildings are placed on the slopes along the winding river. The end point of today is the medieval town of Bernkastel-Kues with its romantic narrow streets, remarkable half-timbered houses and picturesque nooks and crannies. There’s the opportunity for a wine-tasting-excursion along the way.
Thursday: Bernkastel-Kues – Zell – 25 miles (40 km)
As if it had imbibed a drink or two, the Mosel makes its way through a green and fascinating landscape with vineyards and forests. Along the way you’ll find some beautiful towns and villages like the so-called ‘Winzerdorf,’ Wolf, and even further around the next curve you’ll be surprised by the beautiful double city in Jugendstil, Traben Trarbach. Just before Zell there will be another hiking opportunity that leads you to the “Marienburg” where you will be awarded by a splendid view over the Mosel Meander. The ship waits for you in the city of the black cat, Zell. The story goes that when some wine merchants from Aachen had to choose which wine barrel they should buy a black cat jumped upon one of the barrels to defend it. Of course this made it clear for them which barrel they should buy.
Friday: Zell – Cochem – 25 miles (40 km)
Today it seems like the river makes its last winding bends before it continues along in an almost nonchalant way through the area. In the fourth bend you’ll find the incredibly steep vineyards of Calmont. The steepest slopes have a gradient of 65% that makes it quite difficult for the farmers to tend their vineyards. From here the river makes another 5 bends before it reaches the old Celtic city of Cochem. The lunch stop will be at the beautiful village of Beilstein, backdrop of many movies.
Saturday: Cochem – Löf – 25 miles (40 km)
From its’ high position the old Reichsburg keeps a watchful eye on you when you leave Cochem. Today we will visit the most beautiful castle along the Mosel River: Burg Eltz.
We will bike to a bicycle parking lot on the foothill and from there continue hiking (1 hour, not steep) to Burg Eltz. Here there is an opportunity to visit the original medieval interior of the castle and climb the tower. After passing the two bridges in Cochem the river follows a remarkably straight course.
After breakfast: disembarkation at 9:30 a.m. and end of tour.
Note: The following week’s tour will have the reverse itinerary; starting in Alken and ending in Merzig. The itinerary is reversed with the order of the sights changed slightly. Please look at the Mosel and Saar River Route if you are interested in the reverse itinerary.
The barge embarks from Merzig, near the Merzig (Saar) train station. Departure time on Sunday is at 3:00 PM. From Frankfurt airport there is a direct train to Merzig, which takes about 2.5 hours. For the exact departure times and prices check www.db.de . If you want you can bring your luggage in advance, from 12 Noon onwards. A map, detailed instructions, and the name of your boat will be provided after your final payment is received.
The cook prepares all meals: a substantial breakfast and a three-course dinner of very good quality. A packed lunch may be prepared after breakfast. Tea and coffee will be ready when you arrive on board in the afternoon. There is a bar on the boat with beer, wine and soft drinks at reasonable prices. If you have special meal requirements, we ask you to mention this when booking. In the case of a gluten-free diet there is an additional charge of $60 per week.
Check out our Tour Calendar under “Bike and Barge Tours”
8 days/ 7 nights
- – 7 nights on board the ship (sheets, blankets and two towels)
- – 7 breakfasts, 7 packed lunches and 7 dinners
- – Coffee and tea on board
- – 24-speed bicycle, including helmet, water bottle, pannier, lock, and bike insurance
- – Tour guidance (multilingual)
- – Ferry fees
- – Reservation fee
A well maintained, comfortable 24-speed hybrid bicycle is available free of charge for each participant. Men and women’s models are available in sizes appropriate to your height. The bikes come with helmets, grip shifters, hand brakes, carrier bag, lock, repair kit, water bottle holders, water bottle, and bike insurance! If you prefer to bring your own bike you are welcome to do so at a discount of $85 per person. Electric bikes can be rented for this tour ($115.00 p.p.). We advise you only to rent an electric bike if you have first tried one at home. They are heavier than regular bikes and therefore can be difficult to maneuver.
This tour is rated “easy” for its flat terrain and low mileage. All distances are approximate. The above planned itinerary is subject to change due to changing wind and weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances having to do with mooring requirements, etc. A good basic physical fitness means more fun during your bike vacation.
– Drinks (other than coffee or tea)
– Transfer between airport and barge
– Gratuity for the guide
– Trip cancellation insurance
– Admission fees to the various museums or places of interest (about € 15 per person)
WiFi is available on a limited basis on board, only in the lounge and on deck. Up to 50 MB is free, for more than 50 MB there’s a surcharge.
Average daytime temperatures in April and May are 50-60, June, July, and August 60-75, September and October 55-70. Average rainfall is 10 days per month.