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

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
  • Easy
  • Plane

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Heart of Europe Bike & Barge: Metz to Cochem

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. You’ll also cross the borders of France and Luxembourg 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 Cycling Time: 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
  • 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 tours 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 $445 • Post-trip: Berlin – 3 nights for only $545

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 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 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 2:00 pm. You may store your luggage at the front desk. The rest of the day is free for you to explore this wonderful city.

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.

Hotel: Grand Hôtel Victor Hugo
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.

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.

Dinner is on your own tonight at a city restaurant.

Hotel: Grand Hôtel Victor Hugo
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 city of Metz in France. There will be a short 15-minute stop at the Luxembourg American Cemetery en route. 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. 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. After lunch on your own, meet your local city guide and walk to our 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 while cruising to Richemont. Here you will be introduced and fitted to your bike before enjoying a short warm-up ride. Later, return to the Iris at its new mooring point where you will 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.

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, we 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. This charming village offers marvels of construction, 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, we’ll have free time to wander through the village. You may bike 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.

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

We cycle from Remich 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 cycle, then we pass by 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 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. We 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, we walk to the nearby former bell foundry and museum, Mabilon, which produced bells until 2002. After the visit there is some free time to continue to explore Saarburg, or to cycle a loop around Saarburg, before pedaling along the Saar River to meet our barge in Konz, where lunch awaits. In the afternoon we cruise to Trier.

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 can relax before dinner on board.

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 our of Trier during breakfast. Arriving in Schweich, you have the option to continue cruising to Neumagen or immediately start your day cycling towards Bernkastel-Kues. Our route takes us along scenic hairpin turns along the Moselle, passing the wine-making villlages of Trittenheim and Piesport along 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 this small city is the market square, with its picturesque timber-framed houses and decorated 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 taste 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, we shuttle (approximately 45 minutes) through the Eifel Valley to the city of Daun. From there, take an exhilarating bike ride that starts out slightly uphill, then zooms downhill 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, we 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 have the opportunity to try one of the local restaurants this evening 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: Zell / Bullay / Cochem

Today, cruise out of Bernkastel to follow the Moselle downstream. After breakfast, we arrive in 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.

After exploring Traben-Trarbach, cycle along the river 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 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. Continue to Bullay, another big wine name. You can pause from our scenic ride at your leisure to enjoy lunch along the route. You’ll find many picnic areas along the path if you so wish. Meet our barge in Beilstein and cruise to Cochem later this afternoon, then freshen up for a festive farewell dinner on board the barge.

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 has steep vineyards, wooded hills, medieval buildings and a picturesque center with beautiful timber-framed houses. Hike or shuttle to the 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. We’ll shuttle to Koblenz and settle in to our centrally located hotel. 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
Meals: B

DAY 12: Depart for home or begin your optional extension in Berlin

After breakfast*, meet in the hotel lobby to transfer to the Frankfurt airport for your flight back to the U.S.** 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 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.
Photos

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Reviews

Enjoy Your Vacation Longer With LOw-Cost Trip Extensions

Pre-Trip Extension - Munich

3 nights for only $445

Post-Trip Extension - Berlin

3 nights for only $545

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