Koblenz – Merzig v.v. Ship Flora
Bike and Barge through Germany along the Moselle. As far as cycle touring destinations in Europe go, there are few better than the Moselle and Saar river valleys in Germany. During a cycling cruise you can find this out and experience it for yourself. In one word, it’s a “stunning” region, highlighted by an enchanting countryside, fairytale castles, award-winning vineyards on impossibly steep slopes and historic medieval towns and villages.
The Rhine’s peaceful little sisters, the Moselle and Saar rivers, meander from one picturesque village to another, offering unsurpassed views of castles high on hills, stone-clad fortresses, picture perfect wineries and much, much more. On a day-to-day basis, as you cycle through this magical region, you will visit culturally rich cities, soak up the sights of untouched nature, and meet local winegrowers and bottlers. Also, importantly, you’ll have the opportunity to relive the rich history of the region. It is without doubt a cycling cruise not to be missed! The cycling paths along the banks of the Moselle and Saar Rivers do not have any gradients of note and are asphalted or paved.
The Moselle, with a length of 544 km, is the Rhine’s longest tributary and is also the second most important shipping route in Germany, while the Saar, with a length of 246 km, is the Moselle’s longest tributary. The history of the region along the banks of the Moselle and Saar Rivers dates back to the Roman Era, some 2000 or so years ago. For guests on a cycling cruise there is so much to see: vinyards; beautiful half-timbered houses dating back to medieval times; the Roman-era Porta Nigra in Trier – the oldest defensive structure in Germany; and the “German Corner” at the confluence of the Moselle and Rhine rivers in Koblenz and Saarburg, often referred to as “Little Venice”. These are just a few highlights of this memorable trip.
|Merzig – Koblenz departure dates 2023 on Sept. 2 and 16 and Oct. 14
|Koblenz – Merzig departure dates 2023 on August 26; Sept. 9 and 23 and Oct. 7
Koblenz - Merzig
Day 1 (Sat): Koblenz
The Flora awaits you in Koblenz, where the crew will welcome you on board from 2pm. You will spend the first afternoon and night in Koblenz, an inviting city to explore. “Koblenz” is a corruption of the Latin word confluentes, which means confluence. The Romans gave that name to the camp they built around the year 14 AD, at the spot where the rivers Rhine and Mosel converge. In World War II the town was almost entirely destroyed, but a number of precious monuments are still worth a visit, such as the Deutsches Eck, the Romanesque basilica of St. Kastor and the Kurfürstliches Schloss.
Day 2 (Sun): Koblenz – Alken | Alken – Moselkern – Cochem (40 km/25 mi.)
Your tour starts this morning as the Flora sails to Alken where, following the distribution of bicycles, you will cycle to Moselkern. The village of Moselkern is world famous for its 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 Mosel region’s most frequently-visited wine towns. Cochem is a cozy, characteristic town with wine cellars and half-timbered houses.
Day 3 (Mon): Cochem – Beilstein – Zell on the Moselle (39 km/24 mi.)
After breakfast you will cycle to Beilstein, one of the best-preserved historical villages along the length of the Moselle. The ruins of Castle Metternich sit towering above the village, and you’ll have the opportunity to explore them. After leaving Beilstein you will pass Europe’s steepest vineyard – with slopes inclining between 50 and 55 degrees – at Bremmer Calmont. Today’s tour ends in the wine village of Zell on the Moselle, well known in the industry for the wine “Zeller Schwarze Katz”. In Zell you should take the opportunity to get to know the good wines of the Mosel.
Day 4 (Tue): Zell on the Moselle – Bernkastel-Kues (45 km/27 mi.)
Today you’ll cycle from Zell on the Moselle to the romantic village of Traben-Trarbach, located on the left bank of the Moselle and famous for its Jugendstil (art nouveau) architectural style. From there you pass through the wine city of Kröv – well-known for its popular Kröver wine, to Bernkastel-Kues, your destination for the night. The grand half-timbered houses that surround Bernkastel-Kues’s marketplace date back to the Middle Ages, and are a photographer’s delight. You will reach the barge in Kues after a tour through town.
Day 5 (Wed): Bernkastel-Kues – Neumagen – Schweich (27 km/16 mi. or 54 km/34 mi.) | Schweich – Trier
Upstream from Bernkastel lovely vineyards stretch out in many places. This area’s white Moselle wine has become a household name both locally and abroad.
Today you cruise past Piesport and Trittenheim, both big names. Piesport produces a number of beautiful white wines. The “Piesporter Goldtröpfchen”, in particular, enjoys great popularity. Trittenheim lies in a sharp hairpin bend of the Mosel. It is surrounded by mountains covered with extensive vineyards. The Laurentiuskapelle, with its gothic choir, is located right in the middle of the vines. From Schweich, you’ll rejoin the barge to Trier, an interesting and lively city, the oldest in Germany. According to the Romans, Trier was founded around the year 15 BC by Caesar Augustus under the name of Augusta Treverorum. As a trading town and administrative center, Trier flourished during the late imperial age.
This Roman golden age has left Trier with a fair number of impressive monuments. Most authentic is the city gate Porta Nigra, which was built around 18 AD.
Day 6 (Thu): Trier – Wasserbillig (Lux) – Saarburg (38 km/23 mi.)
Today you’ll follow the Saar river to our next destination, Saarburg. Saarburg is an intriguing old town situated in the most beautiful part of the Saar valley, where the river banks are densely forested. The castle of Saarburg was built here in the middle of the 10th century. In the town’s center we’ll encounter a 20-meter-high waterfall. At the foot of this waterfall there is an old mill driven by a stream. Most of the old houses in this part of town are fully intact and date back to the 17th and 18th centuries, giving Saarburg a picture book look. Dine in town tonight according to your own wishes.
Day 7 (Fri): Saarburg – Merzig (37 km/22 mi.)
Your last cycling day takes you first through the Saarschleife, a natural wonder at Orscholz. From the top of the Cloef you can take in this beautiful river loop as the Saar meanders through the densely forested valley. Later you continue to Mettlach, where you can visit the famous ceramic factory of Villeroy & Boch. After that you’ll return to the barge in Merzig, where you will enjoy a farewell dinner.
Day 8 (Sat): Merzig
End of your tour: disembarkation after breakfast until 9.30am.
Merzig - Koblenz
Day 1 (Sat): Merzig
The Flora awaits you in Merzig, where the crew will welcome you on board from 2pm. You will spend your first night and evening in Merzig. Sights are the Romanesque basilica of St Peter from the 12th century, and the former castle of Archbishop Sötern (1625), a jewel of baroque architecture that now serves as a town hall.
Day 2 (Sun): Merzig – Saarburg (37 km/22 mi.)
After the distribution of bicycles, on your first day of cycling you will pedal to Mettlach where you may visit the famous ceramic factory of Villeroy & Boch. Later, you continue through the Saarschleife, a natural wonder at Orscholz. From the top of the Cloef you can take in this beautiful river loop as the Saar meanders through the densely forested valley. In the afternoon you will return to the barge in Saarburg. An interesting old town, Saarburg is situated in the most beautiful part of the Saar valley, where the river banks are cloaked in forest. The castle of Saarburg was built here in the middle of the 10th century. In the town’s center you’ll encounter a 20-meter-high waterfall with an old mill at its base, which is driven by a stream. Most of the old houses in this part of town date back to the 17th and 18th centuries and are still intact, giving Saarburg its picturesque look.
Day 3 (Mon): Saarburg – Wasserbillig (Lux) – Trier (38 km/24 mi.)
Today’s tour travels from Saarburg following the idyllic nature reserve along the meandering banks of the River Saar. Continue to Wasserbillig in Luxemburg and from here to the monument of “Igeler Säule”. You will later reach Trier, your destination for the day, where the Flora will be waiting for you. A walk through Trier, founded in the year 16 BC, is an overwhelming journey through the millennia, with no other place in Germany able to give you such a sense of the Roman era. Highlights include impressive structures such as the Porta Nigra, the Konstantinbasilika and the Roman Amphitheatre. Dine in town tonight according to your own wishes.
Day 4 (Tue): Trier – Neumagen – Bernkastel (27 km/16 mi. or 54 km/34 mi.)
Downstream from Trier, lovely vineyards traverse the landscape in many places. The white Mosel wine has become a household name far abroad, and for good reason. Today you cruise past Trittenheim and Piesport, both big names. The town of Trittenheim lies in a sharp hairpin bend in the Mosel, surrounded by mountains covered with extensive vineyards. The Laurentiuskapelle, with its gothic choir, sits right in the middle of the vines. Piesport produces a number of beautiful white wines, of which the “Piesporter Goldtröpfchen” in particular enjoys great fame. You final destination is Bernkastel-Kues, whose medieval marketplace, with its many wood-timbered houses, invites you for a rest.
Day 5 (Wed): 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 Moselle your destination for the night is Zell on the Moselle, well known in the wine industry for the wine “Zeller Schwarze Katz”. In Zell we recommend taking the opportunity to get to know the good wines of the Mosel.
Day 6 (Thu): 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. Today’s tour ends in Cochem, a lovely little town that features historical half-timbered houses, a picturesque old center, and Reichsburg Castle.
Day 7 (Fri): Cochem – Moselkern | Moselkern – Koblenz (42 km/26 mi.)
Today you travel to Moselkern by barge, from where you will visit the queen of German fortresses, the impressive Burg Eltz. You are still in the midst of wine territory and will cruise past Klotten, Pommern, Karden and Alken, amongst others. These are all typical Mosel towns, with nice timber-framed houses and, of course, their own wines. The “Pommerner Sonnenuhr” comes highly recommended. From Lehmen you cycle in the direction of the tour’s final destination: Koblenz. This fascinating and historic city has been an important defensive and economic center for centuries. Highlights include the old castle of Ehrenbreitstein, which dominates the right bank of the Rhine; the 12th century Alte Burg Castle; and old Koblenz town.
Day 8 (Sat): Koblenz
End of your tour: disembarkation after breakfast until 9.30am.
- Parts that are printed in italics will be covered by the ship.
- All distances are “approximate distances” of our recommended bike tours. The tour details are barring any changes, for example, as a result of nautical, technical or meteorological conditions.
- The tours are accompanied by one knowledgeable and multi-lingual tour leader. On days when two cycling routes are possible, the tour leader will choose to guide the longer or shorter option in consultation with the group.
- Not all highlights mentioned will be visited during the shorter cycling option.
- You can also choose to ride individually with the help of a map (available on board). GPS tracks will be sent to you 4 weeks before the tour start date.
- In case you prefer a day of rest, you can skip the bike tour and relax on board while cruising to the next town.
- On the arrival day it’s possible to bring your luggage on board from 11 a.m.