Bicycling and Walking Vacations Since 1971 Call a VBT Tour Consultant: (800) 245-3868

Heart of Europe Bike & Barge: Cochem to Metz

Our private barge navigates past the vineyard-lined banks of the Moselle at the most leisurely pace, and our bicycle routes reveal the most intimate side of this cherished sliver of Europe touching Germany, Luxembourg and France.

  • 12 Days
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Daily Mileage: 15 - 35 mi
  • Daily Biking: 2 - 4 hr
  • Small Groups: 24
  • Biking
  • Easy
  • Plane

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Heart of Europe Bike & Barge: Cochem to Metz

Travel through the pages of a storybook as you bike and barge through one of the most picturesque landscapes in Europe. The Moselle Valley is world-renowned for its enchanting castles, timber-framed villages, lush vineyards, pretty market squares and Roman monuments. It’s also revered for its easy bike paths, which allow you to explore this scenic region in depth and up close. Cross the borders of three countries on a journey that gives you ample opportunity to experience local life – and the region’s famous local wines. Only on a bike-and-barge tour can you explore this fairytale region at a pace that lets you take it all in.

Cultural Highlights

  • Feast your eyes on picture-postcard views as you cycle past quiet villages, lush vineyards, small lakes, wooded mountains, and wide meadows
  • Explore a volcanic landscape
  • Taste the Moselle Valley’s famous wines
  • Delve into 2,000 years of history on a tour of Trier, once a Roman stronghold
  • Learn an ancient art at a bell foundry and museum
  • Cross the borders of Germany, Luxembourg and France
  • Relax and enjoy a glass of wine aboard our private barge

What to Expect

This tour offers easy terrain throughout the trip. Our VBT support shuttle is available every day at designated points for those who need assistance.

Average Daily Mileage: 15 – 35 miles
Average Daily Ride: 2 – 4 hours on bike paths and roads through both urban and rural areas

Climate Information

Average Daily Temperature (°F) – Luxembourg City
Jun 67°  Jul 71°  Aug 71°  Sep 64°  Oct 54°

Average Rainfall (in.) – Luxembourg City
Jun 3.1  Jul 2.7  Aug 2.7  Sep 2.5  Oct 2.7

 

What’s Included:

Bicycle Tour Only – without Air

  • 7 nights aboard a private deluxe canal barge
  • 16 meals – 7 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners

Air Package Plus

  • Roundtrip international airfare
  • Transfers
  • 19 meals – 10 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners
  • Guided walking tours of Koblenz and Luxembourg
  • Entrance into Cochem Castle
  • AND the option to add our Low-Cost Trip Extensions: Pre-trip: Berlin – 3 nights for only $545 • Post-trip: Munich – 3 nights for only $445

Both Vacation Options Include

  • 1 glass of wine with all dinners aboard the barge
  • FREE use of our custom VBT bicycle and helmet
  • Service of two bilingual VBT Trip Leaders
  • 6 days of cycling with FULL VAN SUPPORT during the cruise portion of your trip
  • Sightseeing and cultural activities
  • 5% Frequent Traveler Credit to use on your next VBT vacation
  • Special Good Buy Discount
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Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $1345 | Land Only Single Supplement: $1195

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. 2015 Prices include all airline surcharges and Government taxes and fees. Ask our Tour Consultants for details. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. Prices are based on preferences selected above, including meals and sightseeing as specified in What's Included. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.

Itinerary & Map
Or, Expand All Days
DAY 1: Depart from home and fly overnight to Frankfurt

Depart from home for Frankfurt, Germany. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

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 have been delayed in customs or because of lost luggage, 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 pm. You may store your luggage with the front desk if you arrive before that time. At 4:00 pm, 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.

Hotel: Hotel Brenner

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 Iris. Please arrive between 1:30 and 2:00 pm. Please note that you cannot embark 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 we 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 +49 151 57 81 33 06 or +31 620 245 095.

VBT Air Package and Pre-trip Extension guests: At 9:00 am, 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.

On 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 pm. Meet the crew and your second VBT Trip Leader, then settle in before a bike-safety session and a short warm-up ride on quiet bike paths along the Moselle. Return to the Iris afterward and gather for a welcome dinner on board. The barge moors in Beilstein tonight.

Please note regarding Wi-Fi onboard the barge: Each device (smartphone, laptop, etc.) receives 50 MB per day free, to be used on that day. Additional amounts can be purchased via credit card or Paypal.

Hotel: Barge Iris
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 6 miles (10 km)

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 in many bends through the hills. 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 adorns 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.

Hotel: Barge Iris
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 17 or 30 miles (27 or 48 km)

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, known as maars. We'll pedal past castles, vineyards and green forests before cycling through quiet villages.

On the way, you can stop in Gillenfeld and enjoy a simple lunch hosted by  Sigrid and Leo Lenerz in their café located in an old barn. They specialize in regional products from local producers.

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.

Hotel: Barge Iris
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 10, 26 or 38 miles (16, 42 or 61 km)

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. Here you can learn about the Porta Nigra (“Black Gate”), a city landmark and the largest city gate of the ancient world, 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 have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tonight, the barge moors in Trier, where we have the opportunity to try one of the local restaurants for dinner on your own.

Hotel: Barge Iris
Meals: B
Daily Options: 21 or 33 miles (34 or 53 km)

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 here. 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 65-foot-high waterfall.

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 in Saarburg.

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.

Hotel: Barge Iris
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 9 or 14 miles (14 or 22 km)

DAY 8: Wasserbilling / Grevenmacher / Nennig / Remich

This morning we cycle along the banks of the Saar River to Konz. In Konz, find the Moselle River, the natural border between Luxembourg and Germany, and continue pedaling on its easy biking path. Soon we arrive in Wasserbillig, and cross the border into Luxembourg.

We rejoin the barge for lunch near Grevenmacher. This afternoon, you 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.

Hotel: Barge Iris
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 18 or 33 miles (29 or 53 km)

DAY 9: Picnic at Rodemack, France

On a very quiet bike path, we cycle along the Moselle River. Then, turn inland and follow a pleasant rolling route through small villages to Rodemack, known as Little Carcassonne Lorraine and ranked one of the most beautiful villages in France. This charming 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 the village.

An optional ride takes you back to Koenigsmacker, where we reboard our barge and enjoy dinner prepared by our chef tonight.

Hotel: Barge Iris
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 14, 19 or 26 miles (22, 31 or 42 km)

DAY 10: Metz / Luxembourg / VBT No-Air Package ends

VBT No-Air Package guests: After breakfast, your tour ends. It is important that you leave the barge no later than 9:00 am so that the crew can prepare for their next guests.

VBT Air Package guests: After a final breakfast on our barge, bid farewell to the crew and VBT Trip Leaders and say hello to our local Metz guide. Then, take a pleasant walk with our guide into the charming city, a quaint tapestry of bridges and romantic corners. Pass the elegant 18th-century city theater and the Palais de la Prefecture in the Place de la Comedie. Soon we see the imposing Cathedral of St. Etienne, one of the most beautiful Gothic cathedrals of France, built around 1250. Admire the fine stained-glass windows, including a modern one by Marc Chagall.

Our stroll through the city continues to the Saturday morning local market, and to the lively Place St. Louis and Place Saint-Jacques, where there'll be time to shop or explore. Lunch is on your own.

After your visit, board a private motorcoach to transfer to Luxembourg City. There will be a short 15-minute stop at the Luxembourg American Cemetery en route. Your hotel in Luxembourg is a stroll away from the main square and the Old City.

Check into Hotel Le Royal Luxembourg and use the rest of your day to discover Luxembourg City, then have dinner on your own. The city boasts more Michelin stars per square mile than any other city in the world and has a lively atmosphere in its many cafés, pubs and pizzerias. The biggest ethnic community here is from Portugal, adding a Latin flair.

Hotel: Hotel Le Royal
Meals: B

DAY 11: Luxembourg City

This morning your local guide will meet you in the hotel lobby at 10:00 am and lead an orientation walk to help familiarize you with the city. Luxembourg City overlooks the Petrusse and Alzette valleys and sits high on a rocky outcropping. It offers a combination of cobblestone-arched narrow streets and small, elegant palaces such as the Palais Grand-Ducal and the Chambre des Deputes. The beautiful Chemin de la Corniche is said to be Europe's most beautiful terrace, with a pleasant promenade that passes restored ancient homes. The Casemates du Bock, a defensive labyrinth excavated in 1745 in the rocks beneath the city, is partly open to visitors. Other remarkable places include the Place de la Constitution and the cozy Place du Marche, still used for weekly flower and vegetable markets.

Hotel: Hotel Le Royal
Meals: B

DAY 12: Depart for Home or begin your optional extension in Munich

After breakfast*, meet in the hotel lobby and transfer to the Luxembourg City airport for your flight back to the U.S.**

*Please note: For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.

**VBT recommends that you check your transfer time in your “Transfer Reminder.” The transfer is prearranged by VBT and is prepaid. VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

Meals: B

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Accommodations

Hotel Le Royal

This luxury property, one of the Leading Hotels of the World, is centrally located in Luxembourg City, has a beautiful garden and is only a few steps from the Old Town and shops. All rooms are spacious, elegant and fully air conditioned. The hotel is part of Luxembourg's "Hot City," a citywide network of free wireless Internet.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel Laimer Hof

Hotel Laimer Hof, a New Renaissance Villa from the end of the 19th century, is located in a quiet residential area just a few minutes walk from the Nymphenburg Palace and gardens. It is owned and managed by Alexandra and Sebastian Rosch, who also live in the property, and has a very homey feel.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel Brenner

Located in the Koblenz city center, this family-run property welcomes you with warm hospitality. Rooms are comfortably sized, and most overlook a small, well-maintained garden where you may eat breakfast. Hotel Brenner is stylishly decorated with hand-painted flowers on the ceilings and walls, and antique furnishings.
Free WiFi Included

Barge Iris

A luxurious and spacious two-deck, 24-passenger barge with a homelike atmosphere, the Iris was put into service in April 2005. Its 12 comfortable cabins have private bathrooms with showers, and the barge has climate control throughout. Common areas include a dining area and lounge with a bar, and a sun deck at the bow. Smoking is permitted outside on the sun deck only. The barge moors each night. Drinks of all types are available for purchase at the bar on board the Iris. It is not customary for guests to bring their own wine and liquor onboard; your understanding is appreciated. Onboard meal menus are set, though the chef is happy to accommodate vegetarians and those on restricted diets for health reasons. Please note regarding Wi-Fi onboard the barge: Each device (smartphone, laptop, etc.) receives 50 MB per day free, to be used on that day. Additional amounts can be purchased via credit card or Paypal.

Art 'Otel Berlin Mitte

Art 'Otel Berlin Mitte is a boutique hotel, combining traditional building décor and modern design and architecture. You just might think this fine hotel—in the heart of Berlin’s Fischerinsel district on the Spree River—is an Art Gallery, with artworks from Georg Baselitz, one of Germany’s most famous contemporary artists. The outstanding hall is covered with a glass roof and joins the modern wing of the hotel with its 17th century wing. Behind the hotel, the Spree River flows quietly, far from traffic and hustle. Riverside, you’ll find cafés and restaurants. Art ’Otel’s boat, moored nearby, transforms into a restaurant for hotel guests in summertime.
Free WiFi Included
Photos

Moselle Bike & Barge Tour Traveler Photo Gallery

Reviews

Enjoy Your Vacation Longer With LOw-Cost Trip Extensions

Pre-Trip Extension - Berlin

3 nights for only $545

Post-Trip Extension - Munich

3 nights for only $445

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