Bike and Barge 3-country tour
A cycle tour through Germany, Luxembourg and France. The countryside on both banks of the Moselle is splendid, the cool wines taste deliciously, the picturesque little towns have rich histories and the conditions for cycling are excellent indeed.
During this premium tour 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.
Day 1 (Sat): Metz
Embarkation and check-in is at 2 p.m. in Metz. After a welcome meeting with the crew there is time for bicycle fitting and a little test ride. After dinner your tour leader will take you for a walk through Metz. Metz is a beautiful old 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.
We advise you to come to Metz one or more days earlier, so that you will have plenty of time to discover this interesting city.
Day 2 (Sun): Metz – Remich (41 km/26 mi. or 49 km/31 mi.)
While having breakfast you will cruise in the direction of Thionville. Close to this town your bicycle tour starts. Thionville, once was the center of the French steel industry. That might sound modern and industrial, but the city is ancient. The historic center shows you the medieval ramparts, lovely gardens, old streets and St.Maximin basilica. The route is lovely through French countryside, and friendly villages. You pass the fortress of Sierck-les-Bains, one of the palaces inhabited by the powerful Dukes of Lorraine. Via the valley of the Moselle you cross the French-Luxembourg border at Schengen. 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. At crossing the Luxembourg- French border we experienced the outcome of this agreement: no border controls. Close to your final destination Remich you will visit the small village of Nennig, stop at what once was an old roman villa. A tile floor which lies in its original place, was once the centerpiece in this Roman villa. The scene (in 3 million individual tile pieces) reveals scenes from gladiator games in the amphitheater.
Day 3 (Mon): Remich – Saarburg (40 km/24 mi. or 48 km/ 29 mi.)
The river Moselle is here the border between Germany and Luxembourg. You start following the river on the German side, but soon you will hop to the Luxembourg side. There you’ll visit a wine cooperative, specialized in the so called “Cremant”, say the Champagne of the Moselle. Then 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 biking will lead you to your Saarburg, 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.
Day 4 (Tue): Saarburg – Trier (32 km/19 mi.)
After breakfast your tour leader will take you for a short bicycle tour to Trier. You will arrive there around lunchtime. After a guided walk there is time to discover and enjoy Trier on your own. Trier is known as the oldest city in Germany. The city 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. Today there is no dinner on board. You can select one of the local restaurants of Trier.
Day 5 (Wed): Trier – Schweich | Schweich – Neumagen – Bernkastel-Kues (27 km/16 mi. or 53 km/32 mi.)
After a breakfast cruise you will start your bicycle tour in Schweich. You have now entered the “The Romantic Moselle”, the unofficial name for the mid- Moselle. Lovely vineyards expand as far as the eye can see. You cruise past the heavy-hitters in the wine world: Trittenheim and Piesport. Trittenheim lies in a sharp hairpin turn on the river surrounded by mountains coated with grapes. Piesport is beloved by the Brits for the “little golden droplets.” 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 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.
Day 6 (Thu): Bernkastel-Kues – Traben-Trarbach – Zell on the Moselle (45 km/27 mi.)
Today’s cycling tour takes you to the romantic village of Traben-Trarbach, located on the left bank of the Moselle and famous for its Jugendstil (art nouveau) architectural style. Further along the river your destination for the night is Zell on the Moselle, well known in the wine industry for the its Zeller Schwarze Katz white wine. Zell offers the perfect opportunity for you to get to know the good wines of the Moselle.
Day 7 (Fri): Zell – Beilstein – Cochem (39 km/24 mi.)
Beilstein, the “Sleeping Beauty of the Moselle”, is one of the best-preserved historical villages along the length of the river, and is the highlight of today’s cycling tour. Towering about the village are the ruins of Castle Metternich, which you’ll have the opportunity to explore. Then onto your final destination Cochem, a 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. A perfect place for a glass of local wine. A visit to Reichsburg Castle is also on the program.
Day 8 (Sat): Cochem
End of tour. Disembarkation after breakfast, till 9:30 a.m.