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Amsterdam to Aschaffenburg 15-day Bike & Barge Tour
Lower Rhine & Main rivers, cruising and cycling. through a colorful countryside is the perfect recipe for a successful holiday. While you are cycling and active during the day, the boat accompanies you along the river to welcome you at the day’s goal as your floating hotel. And if you do not want to cycle you can enjoy the tour on board, admiring the passing scenery. First you will cycle through the flat, peaceful, farming countryside of The Netherlands, with the famous windmills along the way. You will cycle through the National Park the Hoge Veluwe with the Kröller-Müller museum. This museum has a world famous collection of mainly 19th and 20th century art. Central to the extensive collection are works by Vincent van Gogh.
Later on, in Germany, we follow the Rhine upstream, first through the Ruhr area. While cycling towards Cologne, you will leave the Ruhr area behind. Cologne used to be one of the most important centers of the Holy Roman Empire. Landmark is of course the Cathedral right next to the railway station and the railway bridge over the Rhine. During the second week of this two-week tour a more romantic section of the Rhine valley starts with strongholds, mansions and the first vineyards in the first mid-German hills. A visit of Burg Eltz is on the program. Charming vineyards and lovely meadows. Apart from the beautiful landscape, you will see cultural highlights, art treasures, and yes, and you can enjoy regional culinary specialties. From Mainz we will follow the river Main that winds through the diverse countryside of Franconia and Hesse in several wide loops, passing old cities and towns full of historical attractions. Cycling through charming vineyards, orchards and lovely meadows along the banks of the Main River is a great way to end this tour.
Slow Tours offers a number of other Bike & Barge Tours in Europe
Amsterdam – Nigtevecht – Breukelen (17 km/9 mi.) | Breukelen – Wijk bij Duursted
Embarkation time in Amsterdam is at 12.30 p.m. Please make sure to arrive in time! After a welcome meeting with the crew the barge will leave immediately to Nigtevecht. Here a short test-ride starts to Breukelen, known in New York as Brooklyn. You will enjoy the Dutch countryside and the meandering river Vecht. Dinner is served while sailing on the Amsterdam – Rhine Canal. The ship brings us to Wijk bij Duurstede, one of the oldest settlements in the Low Lands.
Wijk bij Duurstede – Wageningen | Wageningen – Arnhem (35 km/21 mi. or 52 km/31 mi.)
Breakfast during sailing. Today we cycle from Wageningen to and through the National Park the Hoge Veluwe with the Kröller-Müller museum.
The museum is a cultural heritage that was founded at the beginning of the twentieth century by the couple Anton and Helene Kröller-Müller. Anton was a successful businessman. He did like hunting with business associates and friends, so he bought De Hoge Veluwe as a hunting ground in several phases in 1909. Helene was an enthusiastic art collector. Anton and Helene had a dream: to bring nature and culture together. In the period 1909-1923 the foundations are laid for the current Park. Also in this period the construction started of a museum for the art collection.
In 1935 the park was placed in a foundation: The National Park De Hoge Veluwe. The Government provided a loan to the foundation. The art collection was donated to the State of the Netherlands and the Kingdom built the museum. The Kröller-Müller Museum has a world famous collection of mainly 19th and 20th century art. Central to the extensive collection are works by Vincent van Gogh.
For Dutch concepts today's ride has some elevation and we cycle through a lot of forest. In the afternoon we cycle to Arnhem where we will meet the barge. After dinner you can join the walk through town.
Arnhem – Pannerden | Pannerden – Rees (42 km/26 mi. or 47 km/29 mi.)
Breakfast during sailing. Cycling starts from Pannerden. Before we hit the German border we pass Doornenburg, with a wonderfully maintained medieval stronghold. This fairy tale castle was the scene for many a movie. From Doornenburg you take the right bank of the Rhine and pass the border at Lobith. On the way to our destination Rees you pass Emmerich, a bigger town with a lovely boulevard along the Rhine. We end in Rees, a town with impressive remains of fortification.
Rees – Wesel | Wesel – Duisburg | Duisburg – Düsseldorf (40 km/24 mi.)
Early departure of the barge. We sail during breakfast and get off at Wesel.
Today we focus on the Ruhr area where Germany’s and probably Europe’s largest industries are housed. Cities like Essen, Duisburg, Oberhausen and Dortmund are glued together through a maze of highways, railways and waterways. Once very prosperous and therefore a target in 1923 when Belgium and French troops tried to enforce WW-1 payments of Prussia. And a number 1 target in 1944-1945 for sure. Hard to imagine that you can cycle here, but you can! The German government put a lot of effort in re-developing the area after the closing down of many a factory. It may not be always scenic, but it is an impressive landscape indeed and not to be missed when one visits the Rhine. However, we don’t want to cycle to long along factories, so in the middle of this area the ship picks us up at Duisburg and sails us to Düsseldorf. Dinner during sailing.
In the evening there is time to visit the Altstadt. You can try their famous local dark beer, Altbier. You will be amazed to what an international city this is, with almost a fifth of the population being foreigners.
Düsseldorf – Zons | Zons – Cologne (28 km/17 mi. or 54 km/33 mi.)
During breakfast cruising to Zons. Cycling direction Cologne you leave the Ruhr area behind. We will stay close to the Rhine in order to be in Cologne not too late in the afternoon and having some time to look around. Cologne is the oldest of the bigger German cities, founded by the Romans. It got its city rights already 50 years after Christ as a gift from the Roman empress Agrippa. Later Cologne became one of the most important centers of the Holy Roman Empire. Landmark is of course the Cathedral right next to the railway station and the railway bridge over the Rhine. In 1248 they started with the construction of the cathedral and only finished it in 1880! The city was almost completely destroyed in the 1944-1945. The city hall however, dating from 1330, is beautifully restored. Dinner in town at your own account.
Cologne – Bonn (38 km/23 mi.)
Also today you just follow the river in order to reach Bonn in time so you have the option to visit the capital of Germany from 1945 until 1990. When East- and West Germany got reunited Berlin was re-established as capital, but still 6 departments of the German Government are housed here. Like Cologne, Bonn was founded by the Romans, in the year 10 before Christ, because they could build a bridge over here. Worth visiting are the old City Hall, the Münster Basilica and the house Beethoven was born. After dinner there is a city walk through Bonn
Bonn – Remagen | Remagen – Koblenz (44 km/27 mi.)
We sail during breakfast to Remagen. Here your cycling tour starts, but first there is time to visit this town with a rich historical past. Nowadays it is known for its once famous Ludendorff Bridge, the only useable bridge over the Rhine taken over by the Americans in March 1945 in operation Lumberjack. In the bridgehead is a museum dedicated to its history. After Remagen a more romantic section of the Rhine valley starts with strongholds, mansions and the first vineyards in the first mid-German hills. We pass the beloved bath resort Bad Breisig and also Burg Rheineck. This stronghold in a beautiful scenery dates from 1100. We visit Andernach, once a Roman settlement. It is 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 (Rhine en Moselle). The statue of Emperor Wilhelm of Prussia on the merging point is an impressive landmark. Koblenz is a city cozily rebuilt after the Second World War damages.
Koblenz | day of rest
Today we enjoy a day of rest. You can explore the town and visit for example the castle Ehrenbreitstein. The city is consisted of the Altstadt (old city) and the Neustadt (new city). The Altstadt is the shape of a triangle, with 2 sides consisting of the Rhine & Mosel Rivers, and the third side is covered by endless hills topped with fortresses. While the old city is closely built, the new city is roomier with an attractive view of the Rhine.
Koblenz – Winningen | Winningen – Moselkern | Moselkern – Alken (32 km/19 mi.)
Before and during breakfast the barge sails to Winningen. Departure for cycling tour to Burg Eltz. Part of it walking, as it is well hidden in the hills. This Castle is different from any other castle. It remained unscathed by wars. It has been owned and cared for by the same family from when it was built until today. Its architecture has no comparison and many of the original furnishings of the past eight centuries still remain in place. There is a Treasury and Armory boasting world-class artworks in gold and silver. It towers high on a large rock, but is still in a valley. So you understand: we have to go there! After this great visit we will walk and cycle back to the barge, which will offer us an afternoon and dinner cruise back to Alken were we will dock for the night.
Alken – Koblenz | Koblenz – St.Goar (37 km/23 mi.)
Before and during breakfast the barge sails to Koblenz. Today’s cycling tour first goes to the castle Stolzenfels. Next is the ancient city of Boppard. Here the Rhine takes an amazing turn, nearly 180 degrees. Boppard, also called the ‘pearl on the River Rhine’, is home to the most famous observation spot on the river which can be reached via a chairlift. Boppard has always been a visitor’s magnet with her precipitous vineyards and one of the nicest bank promenades on the Middle Rhine and the oldest preserved Roman fort walls to the north of the Alps.
Your destination is St. Goar, opposite famous Loreley rock. A ferry and a bus bring you up to the Loreley. A hiking path leads up to this lovely spot and offers a beautiful sight to the narrowest part in the romantic Rhine Valley. The Loreley is a 433 feet high slate cliff in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley World Heritage. The view on St.Goarshausen, from the Loreley outlook point, leaves a wonderful impression.
First traces of human settlement have been apparent from the time the Loreley Plateau was level with the Rhine (600.000 years ago). During the Middle Ages the Loreley was well known, along with the Binger Loch, as the most dangerous section of the Rhine. Many mariners in their wooden dinghies came to tragedy here. In St. Goar, directly opposite the Loreley the Saint Goar settled to save shipwrecked mariners and nurse them back to health. After dinner you can join the city walk.
St. Goar – Oberwesel | Oberwesel – Rüdesheim (Bingen) (23 km/14 mi. or 30 km/18 mi.)
During breakfast we will join the ship through this famous passage. From Oberwesel we continue cycling along the lovely banks of the middle Rhine to Rüdesheim. Pompous castles attract on your way. We stay overnight in Rüdesheim, a historic city of winegrowers. Already the Romans grew wine here. The old town, dating from the Middle Ages, and parts of the city’s fortifications like the Adlerturm (eagle tower) are maintained. Here you will find cozy traditional wine taverns in historic half- timbered houses. No tourist leaves this international well-known city without visiting the world-famous Drosselgasse. The Drosselgasse is the heart of Rüdesheim’s old town, a magnet for guests from all continents. After dinner you can join the city walk through Rüdesheim.
Rüdesheim (Bingen) – Mainz (35 km/21 mi. or 43 km/26 mi.)
The beautiful stage leads through rolling vineyards and well-known wine villages. The Rhine is flowing quite unhurriedly, forming little islands and broadening its bed up to 800 m width! Our destination is Mainz, where the Main River meets the Rhine. In the afternoon there will be time to explore this interesting city. Mainz’s inner city is its pride and joy, filled with spacious plazas, lovingly restored timbered houses and magnificent Baroque style churches. The ‘Old Town’ has a very charming and warm atmosphere. Dinner in town at your own account.
Mainz – Frankfurt-am-Main (40 km/24 mi.)
Today we follow the river Main and pass by some small villages to arrive in Frankfurt, the financial heart of Germany. A unique feature of Frankfurt is its significant number of skyscrapers in the city center which form the Frankfurt skyline. Frankfurt is one of only a few cities in the European Union that have such a skyline, the others being London, Warsaw, Madrid, Rotterdam and La Défense in the outer Paris region. Because of the city’s skyline, Germans sometimes humorously refer to Frankfurt am Main as “Mainhattan”. After dinner you can join the city walk through Frankfurt.
Frankfurt-am-Main – Aschaffenburg (50 km/31 mi. or 54 km/33 mi.)
Today’s cycling tour passes by castle Philippsruhe and leads first to Hanau, the town where the famous Grimm Brothers were born. We cross the river and go to the small and romantic city of Seligenstadt with its windings alleys, wood framed houses, and basilica. You will find the barge again in Aschaffenburg, with the Johannisburg Palace, located on the banks of the Main River. This castle will be the first thing you see as you enter Aschaffenburg as it is the grandest of all Renaissance palace complexes. We will visit the castle in the afternoon. Later on a tasting of local beers and wine will be offered on board. And after dinner you can join the city walk
End of your tour: Disembarkation after breakfast until 9.30 a.m
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