Depart the U.S.
for Frankfurt, Germany. The particulars of your
arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary and airline tickets.
Day 2 - Arrive in Frankfurt and transfer to Koblenz
Upon arrival at the Frankfurt
airport, claim your luggage and clear customs. If your luggage is lost, fill
out a PIR form before leaving the customs area: VBT representatives are not
allowed into the customs area. Make certain your VBT luggage tags are affixed
to your bag so that your VBT representative can identify you. After exiting
customs, enter the arrival hall and look for your VBT representative, who will
be holding a VBT sign. The representative helps you transfer via taxi or
minibus (approximately 90 minutes) to your hotel in Koblenz. If you cannot find the VBT
representative, or if you've been delayed,
please go to the airport Meeting Point and wait there for a few minutes. If
nobody arrives, you may wish to telephone the transportation company, Garske Touristik,
at 0261 92 24 727.
Your hotel room may not be available until 2:00 p.m. You may
store your luggage with the reception desk if you arrive before that time. At
4:00 p.m., our local guide will meet you in the hotel lobby for a 1.5-hour
walking tour around the historic old town of Koblenz. It will be about a 15-minute walk
before we begin the tour, so we recommend you leave the hotel with everything
you'll need to have dinner on your own in the Old Town
once our tour has ended.
Day 3 - Cochem / Embark barge / Warm-up ride
VBT No-Air Package guests: You are responsible for making
your own way to Cochem to meet our barge, the Sailing Home. Please arrive between 1:30 and 2:00 p.m. Please note
that you cannot arrive before this time as the barge is being prepared for you.
If you are late, you must contact the barge as soon as possible to make
alternative arrangements, because the barge will sail shortly after this time.
The barge will be moored in Cochem at Uferstrasse, on the
right bank just downstream from the bridge. Contact telephone number is +31
650 12 18 11. Please refer to the information listed in the tour handbook.
VBT Air Package and Pre-Trip Extension guests: At 9:00 a.m.,
meet a VBT representative in the hotel lobby for your transfer by coach
(approximately 1 hour 40 minutes) to the city of Cochem. Please ensure that all luggage you
will not need is loaded onto the luggage minibus. This will go directly to the
barge and your bags will await your arrival in your cabin.
Upon arrival, meet one of our VBT Trip Leaders, who will help
acquaint you with this characteristic Moselle
town of wooded hills, medieval buildings and a picturesque center with
beautiful, timber-framed houses. Hike or shuttle to Reichsburg castle with your
local guide for spectacular views of the Moselle Valley
and its vineyards. The fairy-tale castle includes seven rooms of fine furniture
and objects from different periods and styles.
After your visit, walk back into town, where you may shop
and eat lunch on your own before boarding the barge at 2:00 p.m. Meet the crew
and your second VBT Trip Leader, then settle in before a bike-safety session
and a short warm-up ride along quiet bike paths along the Moselle. Return to
the Sailing Home afterward and gather
for a welcome dinner on board. The barge moors in Beilstein tonight.
Day 4 - Bike to Zell / Traben-Trarbach / Cruise to Bernkastel-Kues
Today, follow the Moselle
upstream and bike to Zell and Traben-Trarbach on an easy cycling path. Zell is
beautifully situated on the Moselle, where the
river meanders through the hills in many bends. Zell is one of the largest
wine-producing communities on the river. One of the best wines made here,
Zeller Schwartze Katz (Black Cat), is produced with grapes from 16 different
locations. A sculpture on the market-square fountain shows a snarling cat on
top of a wine barrel.
Another interesting stop today is the village of Traben-Trarbach,
an architectural jewel of Jugendstil surrounded by woods and extensive
vineyards. Traben-Trarbach was at one time the world's second-largest
wine-trading center. At the turn of the 20th century, the city's
wine merchants built a number of fine Art Nouveau buildings, many of which are
carefully preserved and continue to operate as wineries. An entire range of
Belle Époque splendor was attracted to Traben-Trarbach, making the city a
favorite destination for lovers of the baroque and classical styles.
Board the barge in Traben-Trarbach, and then cruise along
the river into Bernkastel-Kues. Bernkastel and Kues, united in 1905, were once
two small cities divided by the Moselle. The
pride of this small city is the market square, with its picturesque
timber-framed houses and decorated fountains, some dating to the 17th century.
Dinner is on board tonight. Afterward, the captain speaks
about navigation and our planned route.
Day 5 - Shuttle and cycle to Daun / The “maars” / Bernkastel-Kues
This morning, we shuttle (approximately 45 minutes) through
the Eifel Valley
to the city of Daun.
From there, we take an exhilarating bike 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. We'll pedal past
castles, vineyards and green forests before cycling through quiet villages.
On the way, you can stop in Strohn for a visit to a small
volcano museum. The region is scattered with “young” volcanoes about 12,000
years old. The typical craters found here, called maars, are actually volcano
cones collapsed inside the earth. In Strohn, stop to share a simple home-cooked
lunch with a local family.
Later, continue cycling to Bernkastel, where you can relax
before dinner on board.
After dinner, we stroll to the fascinating cellar of Josef
Zimmermann via an elegant district of fine Jugendstill villas, many of which
display winegut, or winery signs. The simple, fourth-generation Zimmermann
operation contains a century-old cellar, wine barrels and an inviting tasting
hall, where we taste four different wines.
Day 6 - Cycle to Piesport / Trittenheim / Trier
After breakfast, we cycle toward Trier,
the oldest town in Germany,
passing Piesport and Trittenheim along the way. Both of these winemaking
villages lie on scenic hairpin turns on the Moselle.
See a reconstructed Roman winepress house in Piesport. We stop for lunch in
Neumagen, where there are signs of ancient Rome.
A slogan for Trier,
a lively tourist and university town, claims that it is possible to see “2,000
years of history in 2,000 paces.” The Romans established their local capital
here. In the Middle Ages, Frankish kings and the archbishops of Trier reigned. A local
guide conducts a walking tour of the city center, where we learn about the
Porta Nigra (“Black Gate”), a city landmark and largest city gate of the
ancient world. Then, visit the Amphitheater, the medieval Main Market and Church of Our Lady
(where you can see the throne of Constantine the Great), the rococo Electoral Palace, the Imperial Baths and extensive
subterranean service passages. Trier's
monuments are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Tonight, the barge moors in Trier. We enjoy dinner together in a
centrally located restaurant.
Day 7 - Cycle to Saarburg
Today, we cycle on the Moselle's easy bike path from Trier to Konz, at the confluence of the Moselle and Saar rivers. Then, continue into the Saarland
along the more intimate Saar
River. Wooded mountains,
wide meadows, farmsteads and villages alternate in harmony along the two
rivers. Later this afternoon, we reach Saarburg, a medieval jewel at the foot
of a castle that towers above the river. The town center boasts a roaring
Enjoy a picnic lunch, then walk to the nearby bell foundry
and museum, Mabilon, which produced bells until 2002. From there, choose
between a scenic ride along the Saar
River or time on your own
This evening is free, so you may dine on your own in a
romantic restaurant on the Leuk
River. Savor the hearty
food and viez, or apple wine, typical
of this region. The barge moors in Saarburg.
Day 8 - Wasserbilling / Grevenmacher / Nennig / Remich
This morning we cycle along the banks of the Saar River
to Konz. In Konz, find the Moselle, which forms a natural border between Luxembourg and Germany, and continue pedaling on
its easy biking path. Soon we arrive in Wasserbillig, and cross the border into
We rejoin the barge for lunch near Grevenmacher. You then
can opt to continue riding or cruise into Remich.
If you cycle, you’ll follow the Route du Vin, famous for its
vineyards and outstanding wines, including Riesling and Cremant. Approaching
Remich, take a short detour to Nennig and admire Europe's
largest Roman mosaic (remarkably, 90% of it is original and perfectly
restored). Dinner tonight is on our barge, moored in Remich.
Day 9 - Picnic at Rodemack, France
On a very quiet bike path, we cycle along the Moselle River. Then, turn inland and cycle along
a pleasant rolling route through small villages to Rodemack, known as Little
Carcassonne Lorraine. This charming little village offers marvels of
construction and fortifications erected over centuries. Impressive ramparts and
walls encircle the village, with a labyrinth of back streets and cobbled alleys
to explore, as well as an impressive fortress.
After a picnic lunch, we'll have free time to wander through
An optional ride takes you back to Keoningsmacher, from
where the barge cruises into France.
Dinner is on the barge tonight.