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Explore the Saar and Moselle Rivers by Bike, Barge, and Cruise from Merzig to Nancy
This cycling adventure by bike and boat through Germany, Luxembourg and France combines scenic riverside cycling and river cruising. Beginning in the serene village of Schwemlingen and winding through enchanting Saarland, you explore medieval Saarburg and downstream to Trier's Roman legacy. In Remich, you can taste the fruits of the region with a wine-tasting experience before crossing into France.
The French leg reveals Schengen, Thionville's medieval charm, and the vibrant city of Metz. Pedal through Pont-à-Mousson's Gothic churches to culminate the journey in Nancy, surrounded by medieval and 18th-century architecture.
As you explore the French countryside by bike and boat, Pont-à-Mousson emerges with its Gothic churches and Renaissance castles. The journey culminates in Nancy, where medieval and 18th-century architecture creates a charming tapestry.
Your tour ends in Frouard with a wonderful celebratory dinner on board.
- Cruise, bike and boat a diverse range of landscapes, from picturesque riverbanks to mountainous terrains
- Trier, known for its Roman heritage
- Nancy with its architectural treasures spanning the Middle Ages to the 18th century
- Leisurely cruises along the Moselle and French Moselle waterways
- Wine tasting in Remich
- Significant historical landmarks such as the Porta Nigra in Trier, the Saarburg Waterfall, and the architectural gems in Nancy's city center
Day 1: Merzig - Schwemlingen
A warm welcome awaits you as you check in between 3:30 and 4 p.m. As you enjoy a complimentary beverage, you can get to know the fantastic crew and learn important information about the tour and the ship. At 4:30 p.m., the Merlijn sets off to Schwemlingen, a picturesque spot in the middle of nature. Your first dinner on board will be a treat, and you can then enjoy the first of several evening walks with your guide.
Day 2: Schwemlingen - Saarburg (20 miles/32 km)
Your first bike tour will lead you through the captivating Saarland region, a fusion of water and land. Starting from Schwemlingen, it's just a scenic 5 km ride to the fabulous viewpoint at “Cloef,” where you can take a breather and soak in the breathtaking landscape and the meandering Saar loop. You then ride on to Saarburg, passing through the village of Mettlach, renowned for its Villeroy & Boch products. The charming cityscape of Saarburg will captivate you with its narrow alleys, delightful framework houses, elegant baroque architecture, and the historic homes of fishermen and sailors. The "Saarburg Wasserfall" (Saarburg Waterfall) is located in the heart of the town. The tower here provides a fantastic view of the waterfall and the picturesque Saar River Valley. You can enjoy another evening walk after a visit to a local museum and another wonderful dinner on board.
Day 3: Saarburg - Trier (13 miles/20 km)
Your route winds downstream along the Saar River to Trier via Konz, where the Saar River joins the Moselle River. In the afternoon, you'll have the opportunity to explore this remarkable city with the guidance of a local expert. Trier, once the capital of the western part of the Roman Empire, boasts numerous remnants from this historical era, including the imposing city gateway known as the Porta Nigra and the well-preserved Roman Baths.
Day 4: Trier (36 miles/58 km)
Today offers a departure from your typical bike and barge routine. The Merlijn will remain moored in Trier for an entire day, providing several enticing options. For those here mainly for the cycling thrills, get ready for an exceptional highlight on this journey! Unlike most routes that follow the river, today's path winds through the mountains and unspoiled nature, with the bonus of being mostly downhill. To make this happen, in the morning, you will take a bus with your bike into the mountains and then follow an old railway track, recently converted into a scenic bike path, leading you toward the Mosel. This exciting ride will occupy most of your day.
If you're seeking a more leisurely day or wish to explore culture and shopping opportunities, you are also in for a treat. You can leave your bike on board and stroll into Trier to savor all this city has to offer. Trier boasts a rich historical heritage, delightful shops, and numerous cozy terraces. Our guide will gladly assist you in planning your day. Tonight, dinner is at your own pace, and you can choose from one of the many inviting restaurants in the area.
Day 5: Trier - Wasserbillig - Remich (21 or 33 miles/34 or 52 km)
After breakfast, you will kick off today's cycling adventure with two intriguing options:
You will start cycling from Trier if you're up for a longer ride. Alternatively, if you prefer a shorter route, you can sit back and relax as the Merlijn cruises to Wasserbillig, just beyond the border between Germany and Luxembourg.
For those opting for the shorter bike tour, your ride begins in Wasserbillig, where you'll pedal along the winding Moselle, heading towards Remich. After a satisfying dinner, a visit to a wine cellar is on the agenda to savor the distinct flavors of wines from the upper Mosel. These wines have unique characteristics, shaped by the region's geological features, setting them apart from the styles found in the middle Mosel region.
Day 6: Remich - Thionville - Metz (22 or 28 miles/35 or 44 km)
Following yet another delightful breakfast on board, it's time to hop on your bikes once more. First up, Schengen, famous for the 'Schengen Agreement,' a landmark accord signed by five countries in 1985> This is well-known across Europe for facilitating hassle-free border crossings.
From here, your route leads into France. Your first stop is the fortress of Sierck-les-Bains, once a residence of the influential Dukes of Lorraine. Then, through quintessential French countryside: riparian landscapes, golden wheat fields, and charming villages, you reach Thionville, once a thriving steel industry center but now a historical city. The old town boasts medieval ramparts, delightful gardens, ancient streets, and the St. Maximin basilica, housing one of the world's finest organs.
In Thionville, you can rejoin the Merlijn or extend your ride to Richemont. Later in the afternoon, you'll enjoy a leisurely cruise along the French Moselle. After dinner, the ship arrives in Metz, another ancient city with a strategic location along a Roman trade route. Its cathedral ranks as the third-largest Gothic church in France, and Metz is replete with stunning architecture, vibrant floral displays, and inviting cafes. Be sure not to miss the Temple Neuf, a church that captivates from every angle.
Day 7: Metz - Pont-à-Mousson (22 miles/35 km)
Today's ride takes you through the scenic French countryside once more. The exact route will be tailored to the biking proficiency of the group. You can opt for a mostly flat route that follows the tranquil Moselle River or a more challenging one that winds through the hills. Both paths lead you to the peaceful and serene town of Pont-à-Mousson, where the welcoming Merlijn will be waiting for your return.
Pont-à-Mousson has an industrial legacy, but it is also important to note that Pont-à-Mousson once housed a renowned Jesuit university, famous throughout Europe, which accounts for the town's remarkable architectural heritage.
Day 8: Pont-à-Mousson - Nancy - Frouard (29 miles/47 km)
Today's destination is Nancy, where the historic city center boasts architectural treasures from the Middle Ages to the 18th century. Explore landmarks like the Nancy Cathedral, Triumphal Arch, and "Place de la Carriere," showcasing exquisite 18th-century design. The 'Place Stanislas' is renowned for its World Heritage buildings. Take in the city's charm with a visit to museums, shopping, or unwinding at an outdoor cafe. Afterward, pedal to the quaint town of Frouard, home to the docked Merlijn in the Nancy/Frouard harbor. Conclude your journey with a farewell dinner in the evening.
Day 9: Nancy/Frouard
After breakfast, it is time to say goodbye and continue your European trip, or leave for the airport.
Surface and terrain
You'll leisurely follow the Mosel and Saar Rivers across mostly flat landscapes, covering an average daily distance of approximately 25 miles. The bike paths along these rivers are exceptionally well-developed, ensuring superb quality. While Day 4 involves some hills, the journey is predominantly downhill. In France (Days 6, 7, and 8), expect a bit more challenge as the paths are not as extensively developed.
How to get there
The closest international airport to Merzig, at the beginning of your tour, and Nancy, at the end, is Luxembourg Findel Airport (LUX), located 64 km from Metz and 124 km from Nancy.
From Luxembourg, take a train to Metz. For the return journey from Nancy to Luxembourg, board a train to Metz and transfer there for a train to Luxembourg, making the trip convenient and accessible.
Saturday: Oct 12, 2024
Per person, double occupancy €2445 Single-use cabin (1 person/1 cabin) On request
Electrically assisted bikes €210
- 8 nights aboard the Merlijn
- Welcome drink
- 8 x breakfast, 7 x packed lunches, and 7 x three-course dinner
- Coffee, tea, and water
- Supply of bedding, towels, facial tissues, hand soap, soap, shampoo, sewing kit, vanity kit, bathrobe, and slippers
- Daily cabin cleaning
- Tour guide and daily tour briefing
- 27-speed bicycle, which includes a waterproof pannier, towel, and helmet
- Complimentary water bottle
- GPS tracks on the majority of routes
- Canal, bridge & harbor fees
- All ferry fares
- Guided city tour of Ttrier
- Wine tasting session in Luxembourg
- 27-speed unisex model with lightweight aluminum frame (included in tour price)
Bike available to be rented (booked in advance at the time of booking) include:
- 7-speed electric bicycle with Bosch engine
Read more about electrically-assisted bikes >
All above bike rentals will be equipped with the following at no additional charge:
- waterproof pannier
Bike protection can be purchased at the time of booking. You can read more about that HERE.
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