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Heart of Europe Bike & Barge: Metz to Cochem

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 Activity
  • Perfect for those trying a bike vacation for the first time.
  • Airfare Packages Available

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Heart of Europe Bike & Barge: Metz to Cochem

Experience three fascinating and enriching countries at the easy pace of the Moselle River. This vineyard-cloaked corner where Germany, France and Luxembourg converge is renowned for its fine vintages, storied viniculture and magnificent vistas. You’ll cruise and cycle into its heart, spending seven nights on a private deluxe barge and disembarking to ride into charming wine-producing villages lined with timber-framed houses and past bucolic rivers. Along the way, delve into the rich Roman past of Trier, coast through a collapsed ancient volcano, and visit some resident wine makers and café owners who live off this prolific land.

Cultural Highlights

  • Cycle past charming villages and lush vineyards
  • Explore the volcanic landscape of the maars
  • Taste the Moselle Valley’s famous wines
  • Tour the former Roman stronghold of Trier
  • Learn an ancient art at a bell foundry and museum
  • Visit Germany, Luxembourg and France in one trip
  • Relax with a glass of wine aboard our private barge

What to Expect

This tour offers easy terrain on bike paths and roads through both urban and rural areas. Our VBT support shuttle is available every day at designated points for those who need assistance.

Average Daily Mileage: 15 – 35 miles
Average Cycling Time: 2 – 4 hours

Climate Information

Average High/Low Temperature (°F) – Luxembourg City
Jun 67º/51º  Jul 71º/55º Aug 71º/55º  Sep 64º/50º  Oct 54º/43º

Average Precipitation (in.) – Luxembourg City
Jun 2.6  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
  • 7 nights aboard a private deluxe canal barge, 2 nights in a Luxembourg City hotel, 1 night in a Koblenz hotel
  • 19 meals – 10 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners
  • Guided walking tour of Koblenz and Luxembourg City
  • Entrance into Cochem Castle
  • AND the option to add our Low-Cost Trip Extensions: Pre-trip: Munich – 3 nights for only $595* • Post-trip: Berlin – 3 nights for only $595*

Both Vacation Options Include

New! Reading List

Click here to download our Heart of Europe Suggested Reading List.

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Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $1445 | 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. 2016/2017 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 Luxembourg

VBT Air Package guests: Depart from home for Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

DAY 2: Arrive in Luxembourg City and transfer to hotel

Upon arrival at the Luxembourg City 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.

Please note: Make certain that your VBT luggage tags are affixed to your bag so 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. You will transfer via taxi or minibus (approximately 20 minutes) to your hotel in Luxembourg City. If you arrive early, your hotel room may not be available until 3:00 pm. You may store your luggage at the front desk. The rest of the day is free for you to explore this fascinating city, capital of one of Europe’s smallest countries.

Tonight, dine on your own. The city boasts more Michelin stars per square mile than any other and has a lively atmosphere in its many cafés, pubs and pizzerias. The biggest ethnic community here is from Portugal, which adds a Latin flair to the city’s menus.

Hotel: Hotel Le Royal
Meals: B

DAY 3: Explore Luxembourg City

After breakfast, continue your exploration of the city. Your local guide will meet you at 10:00 am in the hotel lobby for a two-hour orientation walk, during which you can get some insider tips.

From the city’s setting high on a rocky outcropping, you’ll have sweeping views of the Petrusse and Alzette valleys. Explore 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. You might also explore the Casemates du Bock, a defensive labyrinth excavated in 1745 in the rocks beneath the city; it is partly open to visitors. You’ll also bask in the beauty of the city’s two major squares: the regal Place de la Constitution and the cozy Place du Marche, still used for weekly flower and vegetable markets.

Dinner is on your own tonight at a city restaurant.

Hotel: Hotel Le Royal
Meals: B

DAY 4: Transfer to Metz / Embark barge / Warm-up ride

VBT No-Air Package guests: You are responsible for making your own way to Metz, France, 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 alternate arrangements because we will sail shortly after this time.

The barge will be moored in the canal between the Pont du Canal and the locks of Metz, near the rue de Paris and the rue George Aimé. Contact telephone number is ++49 151 57 81 33 06 or ++31 620 245 095.

VBT Air Package and Pre-Trip Extension guests: Please be ready and waiting in the hotel lobby at 9:00 am for our transfer by coach (approximately 1 hour) to the French city of Metz, nestled at the confluence of the Moselle and Seille rivers. There will be a short 15-minute stop at the Luxembourg American Cemetery en route so you can honor those who fell here during World War II. Upon arrival in Metz, meet your local city guide and take a pleasant walk into the charming city center, 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. Admire 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.

Then, walk 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. After lunch on your own, rejoin your local city guide and walk to your barge’s mooring point.

At 2:00 pm, we board the Iris. After meeting the crew and your VBT Trip Leaders, settle in before participating in a bike safety session whilst cruising to Richemont. Here, you will disembark for a bike-fitting and a short warm-up ride. Later, return to the Iris at its new mooring point and have time to change before gathering for a welcome drink and dinner on board. Tonight, the barge moors in the quiet French village of Thionville.

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. Ask your barge crew for details. However, due to the nature of the barge movements, internet access is not always available. Therefore, if stable internet access is critical to you, VBT recommends that you purchase your own bundle before traveling overseas.

Hotel: Barge Iris
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 4.3 miles (7 km)

DAY 5: Bike to Rodemack, France / Picnic lunch / Remich, Luxembourg

After breakfast on board, cycle along the Moselle River on a quiet bike path. Then turn inland and cycle along a pleasant rolling route through small villages to Rodemack, known as Little Carcassonne Lorraine and ranked one of the most beautiful villages in France. Here in this charming village, you’ll admire marvels of construction that span the ages, including fortifications erected over many centuries. Impressive ramparts and walls encircle the village, and there’s a labyrinth of back streets and cobbled alleys to explore, as well as an impressive fortress.

After a picnic lunch, there’ll be free time to explore.

You may ride or cruise this afternoon. Dinner tonight is on board the barge. Afterward, the captain speaks about navigation and our planned route. The barge moors in Remich, Luxembourg for the night.

Hotel: Barge Iris
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 21, 26 or 32 miles (34, 42 or 53 km)

DAY 6: Cycle Remich / Nennig / Wasserbillig / Saarburg

Pedal this morning to Nennig and its local museum, where you can admire Europe’s largest Roman mosaic; remarkably, 90% of it is original and perfectly restored. Continue riding along the Moselle on an easy bike path. The river forms a natural border between Germany and Luxembourg. Our route, on the German side, has the best views of vineyards sloping down hillsides. This is the Route du Vin, or wine road, famous here for its outstanding Riesling and Cremant wines.

Stop for lunch onboard the barge in Oberbillig, a pretty village. You may cruise or continue cycling from this point. If you choose our longer option, you will ride past Konz, a small city at the confluence of the Moselle and Saar rivers, then continue into the Saarland along the more intimate Saar River. Wooded mountains, wide meadows and farmsteads and villages mark your progress as you ride. Later this afternoon, arrive in Saarburg, a medieval riverside jewel at the foot of a castle. The town center boasts a roaring 65-foot-high waterfall. Spend the rest of the day exploring this lovely town.

Dine tonight 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: 19 or 34 miles (30 or 55 km)

DAY 7: Bike and cruise from Saarburg to Trier

This morning, walk to the nearby former bell foundry and museum, Mabilon, which produced bells until 2002. After, enjoy free time to continue exploring Saarburg, or to cycle a loop around Saarburg, before pedaling along the Saar River to meet the barge in Konz, where lunch awaits. Cruise to Trier this afternoon.

The people of Trier might tell you that it is possible to see “2,000 years of history in 2,000 paces” in their city. 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 passages. It is an astounding repository of history and leaves little doubt why the whole of Trier’s monuments have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tonight, your barge moors here; relax on board before dinner.

Hotel: Barge Iris
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 10 or 19 miles (16 km or 30 km)

DAY 8: Piesport / Trittenheim / Bernkastel-Kues

This morning we cruise out of Trier during breakfast. Arriving in Schweich, you have the option to continue cruising to Neumagen or immediately start your days cycling towards Bernkastel-Kues. Our route takes us along scenic hairpin turns along the Moselle, passing the wine-making villages of Trittenheim and Piesportalong the way. See a reconstructed Roman winepress in Piesport, along with other examples of their Roman past along the route. We stop for lunch on your own in Neumagen, where there are more signs of ancient Rome. From there, shuttle to Bernkastel-Kues, or continue biking among vineyards and orchards, watching for swans and other birds.

On arrival in Bernkastel-Kues, we meet the barge, then rest or explore before dinner on board. Bernkastel and Kues, united in 1905, were once two small cities divided by the Moselle. The pride of today’s dual city is the market square, with its picturesque timber-framed houses and decorative sculpted fountains, some dating to the 17th century.

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 sample four different wines.

Hotel: Barge Iris
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 17 or 33 miles (27 or 53 km)

DAY 9: Daun / The “maars” / Bernkastel-Kues

This morning, ride the shuttle (approximately 45 minutes) through the Eifel Valley to the city of Daun. Climb on our bicycles there and take an exhilarating ride, climbing a slight incline at first and then coasting downhill along a former railway track that is now a cycling path. This exciting reel includes stretches through tunnels, over bridges and past small lakes formed from volcano craters, known as maars. By ride’s end, you will have passed castles, vineyards green forests and plenty of quiet villages.

Along the way, stop in Gillenfeld and enjoy a simple lunch hosted by Sigrid and Leo Lenerz. Their café is idyllically located in an old barn and they specialize in regional products from local producers. Later, ride back to Bernkastel, where you can try one of the local restaurants for dinner on your own.

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

DAY 10: Traben-Trarbach / Zell / Bullay / Cochem

Today, cruise out of Bernkastel and follow the Moselle downstream. After breakfast, arrive in Traben-Trarbach, an architectural jewel of Jugendstil surrounded by woodland and extensive vineyards. Traben-Trarbach was once the world’s second-largest wine-trading center. At the height of their prosperity 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. There’ll be time to admire a wide range of Belle Époque splendor and you’ll quickly see why the city is a favorite destination for lovers of baroque and classical architecture.

After, follow the river’s bike path to Zell. 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 waterway. One of the best wines made here, Zeller Schwartze Katz (Black Cat), is produced with grapes from 16 different locations. Be sure to notice the sculpture on the market-square fountain depicting a snarling cat on top of a wine barrel. Continue to Bullay, another big name in wine. You can linger here a while and pause to enjoy lunch along the route. You’ll find many picnic areas along the path. Rejoin the barge in Beilstein and cruise to Cochem later this afternoon, giving you ample time to relax and freshen up for a festive farewell dinner on board.

Hotel: Barge Iris
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 16 or 30 miles (26 km or 48 km)

DAY 11: Cochem / Koblenz / 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 our crew can prepare for their next guests.

VBT Air Package guests: After breakfast, say farewell to the crew and one VBT Trip Leader, then walk into Cochem with the other. This characteristic Moselle town is beloved for its steep vineyards, wooded hills, medieval buildings and a picturesque center with beautiful timber-framed houses. Hike or shuttle to Reichsburg Castle with a local guide, where you’ll enjoy a tour and 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, you may shop and eat lunch on your own before saying goodbye to your VBT Trip Leader. Then shuttle to Koblenz and settle in to your centrally located hotel. At 4:00 pm, meet your local guide in the hotel lobby for a 1.5-hour walking tour around the historic Old Town. You will walk for 15 minutes to the starting point of the tour, so we recommend you leave the hotel with everything you’ll need to have dinner on your own in the Old Town at the tour’s end.

Hotel: Hotel Brenner
Meals: B

DAY 12: Depart for home

After breakfast*, meet in the hotel lobby to transfer to the Frankfurt airport for your flight back home** Please be sure that you are waiting at the designated transfer time and location.

*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

Grand Hôtel Victor Hugo

Our 4-star rated hotel, located in the city center has 40 rooms, five suites and an annex featuring 21 rooms. All our rooms are individually designed to provide you with several convenient features. All the rooms and suites at the Grand Hôtel Victor Hugo are equipped with high-speed internet, television, air conditioning and hairdryers. The hotel has a sauna and fitness room. The hotel bar "La Plume" provides the ideal setting to relax and unwind. The perfect place for guests to enjoy lively conversations, have a cold beer or aperitif or take the opportunity to taste one of our exotic cocktail creations.
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 offer free wireless Internet. 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, as well as 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, a 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 on board; 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 on board 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. If travelers plan to utilize data in a normal fashion (i.e. email and basic web browsing) and avoid streaming videos and loading hi-res images, the 50 MB allotments should suffice. Please be advised that the wifi connection varies and it is not guaranteed. If internet access is critical during your travel, we recommend purchasing your own bundle before traveling overseas.   .

Art 'Otel Berlin Mitte

As its name attests, art and design are first and foremost at the sleek and modern Art’Otel Berlin Mitte. Indeed, this 4-star hotel—in the heart of Berlin’s Fischerinsel district and close by the Spree River—is essentially a gallery devoted to George Baselitz, one of Germany’s most celebrated contemporary artists. Original works by Baselitz adorn the walls of each of the hotel’s 109 air-conditioned rooms, which are also equipped with cable television, minibars, in-room safes, private baths with showers and hairdryers, and free WiFi. Additional works by Baselitz are on display in the hotel’s intimate and elegant restaurant.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel Laimer Hof

Munich’s Hotel Laimer Hof, a neo-Renaissance villa from the late 19th century, is located in a quiet residential area just a few minutes’ walk from the Nymphenburg Palace and gardens. The lovely building exudes a warm, homey feel and is protected by the city of Munich as a beloved historic monument. It is owned and managed by Alexandra and Sebastian Rosch, who also live on the property. Wireless Internet access is available throughout the hotel.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel Le Royal

This luxury property, one of the Leading Hotels of the World, is centrally located in Luxembourg City. It boasts 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
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3 nights for only $595*

Post-Trip Extension - Berlin

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