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15-day Bike & Barge Tour 4 Countries Amsterdan - Metz (PR)
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 the 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 centres 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 544km, is the Rhine’s longest tributary and is also the second most important shipping route in Germany, while the Saar, with a length of 246km, is the Moselle’s longest tributary. The history of the Moselle and Saar region dates back some 2,000 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 premium barge accommodates up to 30 guests and breathes an atmosphere of luxury and comfort. The 16 lower deck cabins are provided with box spring beds and a bathroom with shower, sink and toilet. On the main deck, you’ll see that the bar is the centre of attention, especially during the evening. Around are tables and comfortable chairs where you will be seated during breakfast and when the deliciously cooked dinners are served. In front there is a sitting area and outside are some seats. Last but not least: the Jacuzzi on the aft deck.
If you would like to rent a bike (190 EUR) or e-bike (420 EUR), please contact our office when booking: [email protected]
Slow Tours offers other Bike & Barge tours in Europe
Amsterdam - Nigtevecht | Nigtevecht - Breukelen 17km | Breukelen - Wijk bih Duurstede
Embarkation in Amsterdam is at 1pm. 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.
Wijk bij Duurstede - Wageningen | Wageningen - Arnhem 35km or 52km
Enjoy breakfast while sailing to Wageningen. Today we cycle from Wageningen through National Park the Hoge Veluwe, with a visit to the Kröller-Müller Museum. The museum is a cultural heritage site founded at the start of the 20th century by Anton and Helene Kröller-Müller. Anton was a successful businessman who enjoyed hunting with business associates and friends, so he purchased the Hoge Veluwe, in several phases from 1909, as a hunting ground. Helene was an enthusiastic art collector. Anton and Helene had a dream: to bring nature and culture together. Between 1909-23 they laid the foundations for today’s national park, and started the construction of a museum for their art collection. In 1935 the park was placed in a foundation: The Hoge Veluwe National Park. The foundation received a loan from the Dutch government, and the art collection was donated to the State of the Netherlands, which completed the museum. Today the Kröller-Müller Museum features a worldfamous collection of mainly 19th and 20th-century art. Central to the extensive collection are many works by Vincent van Gogh. Today’s ride has some elevation (by Dutch standards) and we cycle through abundant forest. In the afternoon we ride to Arnhem where we meet the barge. After dinner you can join a walking tour through the city of Arnhem.
Arnhem - Pannerden | Pannerden - Rees 42km or 47km
Sail through Dutch countryside during breakfast, then start the day’s cycling from Pannerden. Before reaching the German border, we pass Doornenburg with its wonderfully maintained medieval stronghold. This fairytale castle has provided the location for many a movie. From Doornenburg, you take the right bank of the Rhine and cross the border at Lobith. En route to our destination of Rees, you pass Emmerich, a large town boasting a lovely boulevard along the Rhine. We end the day in Rees, with its impressive fortification ruins.
Rees - Wesel | Wesel - Duisburg 40km | 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 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 postindustrial 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.
Düsseldorf - Zons | Zons - Cologne 28km or 54km
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 centres 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.
Cologne - Bonn 38km
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 the 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 is the old City Hall, the Münster Basilica, and the house where Beethoven was born. After dinner you can join a city walk through Bonn.
Bonn - Remagen | Remagen - Koblenz 44km
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 confluences, 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 we enjoy a day of rest. You can explore the town and visit sights like Stolzenfels Castle. The city consists of the Aldstadt (old city) and the Neustadt (new city). The Aldstadt has a triangle shape, with two sides bordered by the Rhine and Moselle rivers, and the third side covered by endless hills topped with fortresses. While the old city is densely built, the new city is more spacious with an attractive view of the Rhine. Tonight you dine out at one of Koblenz’ many local restaurants at your own expense.
Koblenz - Alken | Alken - Moselkern - Cochem 40km
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.
Cochem - Traben - Trarbach - Bernkastel - Kues. 28km or 51km
During breakfast the ship sails to a beautiful little place called Beilstein. There you’ll have the chance to see the Black Madonna in the chapel of the Carmelite Monastery high on the hill. Your cycling day follows the Moselle upstream to Zell. The ship makes a short stop here, so if you want you can already board and cruise to the next destination. 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 then continue to Traben-Trarbach. This little town features worldclass Art Nouveau architecture, a hint of the town’s great importance in international wine trading during the 19th century. From Traben you sail to Bernkastel-Kues. This popular picturesque old town produces the best wines of the Mid-Moselle. With its charming timber-framed houses, the mark charming timber-framed houses, the market square is the town’s pride and joy. A walk to the castle offers a beautiful view.
Bernkastel - Kues - Schweich | Schweich - Trier 28km or 54km
From Bernkastel, the 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 centre of wine production already in Roman times. You can decide to join the barge from here or continue to bike to Schweich, where the barge will be waiting for you. Once on board, we cruise to Trier, the oldest city in Germany, 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 centre, 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.
Trier - Saarburg 28km
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-metre-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.
Saarburg - Remich 45km or 53km
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 financial centre and administrative EU city. On the way, on the Luxembourg side, we visit a wine co-operative, 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 centrepiece of a palatial Roman villa. The scene (made up of three million individual tile pieces) depicts scenes from gladiator games in an amphitheatre.
Remich - Schengen | Schengen - Thionville. 30km | 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’ 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 the French countryside and friendly villages. Around lunchtime, you’ll arrive in Thionville, the regional centre of the steel industry until the 1980s. That might sound modern and industrial, but the city is ancient. The historic centre 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.
Final morning of your tour: disembarkation in Metz after breakfast and warm goodbyes until 9.30am.
The tour details are barring any changes, for example, as a result of nautical, technical or meteorological conditions.
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