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Moselle and Saar Rivers 8-day Bike & Barge Tour Cochem to Metz
The countryside on both banks of the Moselle is splendid, the cool wines taste delicious, the picturesque little towns have rich histories and the conditions for cycling are excellent indeed. You follow the river Moselle, partly in Germany, partly in France and partly in Luxembourg, along the endless vineyards and the enchanting old cities like Cochem and Bernkastel. It goes without saying that you can taste the local wine as often as you like!
Then, of course, there is Trier, once an imperial Roman city. You will see the remnants of this glorious past in Germany’s oldest cathedral, amphitheater, the emperor’s throne hall and famous “black gate,” the remains of the ancient city wall. After Trier you will follow the river Saar to visit charming Saarburg, with the stunning waterfalls in the city center. Then onto Luxembourg, the only Grand Duchy in Europe. It’s strategic position between two super powers (France and Germany) made it a contested area to control over the ages. The last day you cycle in France with her welcoming villages, where the inhabitants are proud of their sweet, smooth wines and golden “Mirabellen” liqueur. The tour end in the city of Metz, with her splendid Gothic cathedral.
8 days / 7 nights on board
2-Person cabin with private shower and toilet, air conditioning and central heating
Full board (7x breakfast, 6 x packed lunch or lunch (on board), 6 x 3-course dinner
Daily cleaning of the Cabin
Free WIFI on board
Use of touring bike, 8-speed and cycle bag
Information and guided cycling tours
Daily cycling route discussion
Bus transfer to Daun
Entrance Reichsburg Cochem
Supplement for e-bike 90 euro (limited availability)
All dietary wishes please indicate when booking. Vegetarian no extra costs. Vegan, gluten-free and lactose-free 25 euros per week extra (payable on board). Payments on board can be done with euros (cash) or by credit card
Slow Tours offers a number of other Bike & Barge Tours in Europe
Embarkation and check-in is at 2 p.m. in Cochem. After a welcome meeting with the crew, the tour leader will take you for a walk through this cozy and characteristic Moselle town, with steep wine-clad mountains, wooded hills, an impressive castle and a picturesque square with beautiful timber-framed houses and cafes. You can visit the castle or have a glass of local wine.
Cochem – Beilstein | Beilstein – Traben-Trarbach | Traben-Trarbach – Bernkastel Kues (28 km/18 mi. or 51 km/31 mi.)
During breakfast the ship will sail to a beautiful little place called Beilstein. There you will have the chance to see the Black Madonna in the chapel of the Carmelite Monastery high on the hill. Your first cycling day follows the Moselle upstream to Zell. The ship makes a short stop here, so if you want you can already board and continue the cruising way. Zell is beautifully situated on the Moselle, where the river meanders through the hills in many loops. Zeller Schwarze Katz (black cat) is a legendary Moselle Wine. You continue to Traben-Trarbach. This little town features world-class Art Nouveau architecture that proves its great importance in international wine trade during the 19th century. From Traben you sail to Bernkastel-Kues, This frequently visited, old and picturesque town produces the best wines of the Mid-Moselle. Pride of the town is the market square, with its picturesque timber-framed houses. A walk to the castle offers a beautiful view.
Bernkastel-Kues, Daun excursion (62 km/39 mi.)
This morning you leave the river and vineyards behind. You will be shuttled by bus up into the Eifel region to the city of Daun. From there, we take an exhilarating bicycle ride along a former railway track that is now a cycling path. The ride includes stretches through tunnels, over bridges and by small lakes formed from volcano craters, known as maars. After the last tunnel we have a break in a local little town were you will love to have an ice-cream on the terraces, well deserved!
Bernkastel-Kues – Neumagen – Schweich | Schweich –Trier (28 km/18 mi. or 54 km/34 mi.)
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 the Brits for the “little golden droplets.” Trittenheim lies in a sharp hairpin turn on the river surrounded by mountains coated with grapes. Around lunchtime you will arrive in Neumagen, already in Roman times an important center of wine production. You can decide to join the barge from here or continue by bicycle to Schweich, where again the barge will be waiting for you. Once on board you will cruise to Trier, the oldest city in Germany. Trier was founded around 15 before Christ by Caesar Augustus under the name of Augusta Trevorum. As a trading town and administrative center, Trier flourished during the late imperial age. This Roman golden age has left us with a respectable number of monuments. Most authentic is the city gate Porta Nigra, which was built around 18 after Christ.
Trier – Saarburg (28 km/18 mi.)
In the morning your tour leader will take you into Trier and walk you around in Roman history. There is also time to discover and enjoy Trier on your own. After lunch you will hop on your bicycles and follow the Mosel and Saar river to our next destination, Saarburg. Saarburg is an interesting old town situated in the most beautiful part of the Saar valley. Here the banks of the river are densely forested. The castle of Saarburg was built here in the middle of the 10th century. In the middle of town you come across a waterfall of 20 meters high. At the foot of this waterfall there is an old mill, which is driven by the small river. In this part of town most of the old houses from the 17th and 18th century, which give Saarburg such a picturesque look, are still intact. Today there is no dinner on board. You can select one of the local restaurants of Saarburg.
Saarburg – Remich (45 km/27 mi. or 53 km /32 mi.)
Today there are 2 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 her capital (also called Luxembourg) is an important finance center and EU administrative city. On the way, at the Luxembourg side, we visit a wine cooperative, specialized in the so called “Cremant”, say the Champagne of the Moselle. Close to Remich you can admire a Roman mosaic floor. The tile floor which lies in its original place, was once the centerpiece in a palatial Roman villa. The scene (in 3 million individual tile pieces) reveals scenes from gladiator games in the amphitheater.
Remich – Schengen | Schengen – Thionville | Thionville – Metz (30 km/18 mi.)
While having breakfast you will cruise to Schengen, where your cycling tour will start. The “Schengen agreement” is something everybody in Europe has heard of, whereas almost nobody knows that it is named after this little town in Luxembourg at the 3-country border. Soon we will 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 will arrive in Thionville, the center of the steel industry until the 1980s. That might sound modern and industrial, but the city is ancient. The historic center shows us the medieval ramparts, lovely gardens, old streets and St.Maximin basilica. 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 3rd largest gothic church in France with flying buttresses and Marc Chagall stained glass windows. Metz is full of stunning architecture, flowers and great cafes.
End of tour. Disembarkation after breakfast, till 9:30 a.m.
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