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Bike and boat your way from Cochem to Merzig (or reverse)
This enchanting bike and boat tour in Germany features the Moselle and Saar river landscapes, magnificent scenery, romantic wine villages, and the best of Germany's bike paths.
The Romans left their mark here in many ways, not least in the cultivation and production of wine. To ensure a steady supply of wine to Roman soldiers (and due to a belief that wine drinking was a daily necessity!), viticulture and wine production became widespread across the Roman Empire. Rivers, including those in Germany, played an essential role in wine transportation. Mountains were transformed into terraced vineyards and hilltop castles kept watch over the grapes from above. The steepest vineyards in the world are located here, in the Mosel region of Germany!
Enjoy a spectacular journey through Germany's wonderful landscapes, wine country, and riverscapes!
- Moselle and Saar river cycle paths
- Roman culture, history, and influence along the Moselle and Saar rivers
- Medieval cities and towns
- Wine village of Zell
- Traben-Trarbach, an Art Nouveau city
- Piesport and its beautiful white wines
- Bernkastel Kues, producer of the best wines of the Mid-Moselle
- Trier, the oldest city in Germany, founded by Caesar Augustus
- City gate of Porta Nigra
Interested in adding to your itinerary? Take a look at our cycling day tours in Frankfurt.
Cochem to Merzig
Day 1: Cochem
The Quo Vadis awaits you in the port of Cochem. At 3:00 pm, you'll be welcomed on board and can go for a stroll through this typical Moselle town. Steep mountains laced with fertile vineyards and wooded hills surround a picturesque square where you can settle down for a coffee amidst the beautiful timber-framed houses. Visit the impressive castle here or simply enjoy a glass of local wine.
Day 2: Cochem – Beilstein – Zell (22 or 27 miles/36 km or 44 km)
Your first stop today is the beautiful town of Beilstein. High on a hill, you'll find Saint Joseph's Monastery, which houses the 'Miraculous Black Madonna', a statue of Spanish origin dating from the 12th or 13th century. Black Madonnas are mysterious and at times controversial, and there are over 500 in Europe today. Were they created this way? Or did chemical changes occur over time? Your day's itinerary ends in the wine village of Zell, located on the Moselle River.
Day 3: Zell – Traben-Trarbach – Bernkastel Kues (27 miles/44 km)
First to Traben-Trarbach, the city of Art Nouveau, and then on to Bernkastel Kues with its medieval marketplace, surrounded by well-preserved, gabled timber-frame houses. This ancient Roman town produces the best wines of the Mid-Moselle.
Day 4: Bernkastel-Kues, “Maare-Moselradweg MMR” excursion (34 miles/55 km)
This morning, you'll leave the river and vineyards behind. You and your bike will be shuttled by bus to the city of Schalkenmehren, into the heart of the UNESCO Volcanic Eifel nature park and geopark. The following cycling itinerary leads along the converted rails to trails track, through tunnels, over bridges, and past small lakes formed from volcano craters, known as maars. There is no dinner on board today, so you can select one of the local restaurants of Bernkastel-Kues (at your own expense).
Day 5: Bernkastel-Kues – Neumagen – Schweich –Trier/Pfalzel (18 or 34 miles/28 km or 54 km)
From Bernkastel, the valley opens up and vineyards expand as far as the eye can see. You'll cruise past the heavy hitters in the wine world - Brauneberg, Piesport, and Trittenheim. Piesport is popular for the Riesling grapes that are grown here. Trittenheim lies in a sharp hairpin turn on the river surrounded by mountains abundant with grapes.
Around lunchtime, you'll arrive in Neumagen, which has been an important center of wine production since the Roman era. You can decide to join the barge from here or continue by bicycle to Schweich, where the barge will be waiting for you again. Once on board, you will cruise to Trier/Pfalzel.
Day 6: Trier/Pfalzel – Trier – Saarburg (20 miles/33 km)
In the morning, your tour leader will take you to Trier, the oldest city in Germany. Trier was founded in 15 BC by Caesar Augustus under the name of Augusta Trevorum. It flourished during the late imperial age as a trading town and administrative center. Roman influence is seen in the architecture and monuments, including the city gate of Porta Nigra, which was built around 18 AD.
After lunch, you'll hop on your bicycle and branch off to follow the Saar River to your next destination, Saarburg, situated in the most beautiful part of the Saar Valley. The remains of the castle of Saarburg, originally constructed in the 10th century, sit on the hilltop, surrounded by trees, and overlook the charming city below. Right in the middle of the Altstadt, or Old Town, you'll come across a 20m waterfall. In this part of town, most of the old houses date from the 17th and 18th centuries and are well preserved.
Day 7: Saarburg – Merzig ( 25 miles/40 km)
Enjoy this last day of riverside biking as you head to Mettlach. Savor the views over the most scenic bend of the Saar River. Then it's onwards to Merzig, your day's destination and your last overnight. Merzig is situated directly on the banks of the Saar River, surrounded by the Saargau Hills. This is the perfect ending to your cycling vacation, immersed in German river landscapes. The area sourrounding Merzig is rich in orchards and is known for its fruit juices and Viez Apfelwein (apple wine). Be sure to taste some!
Day 8: Departure from Merzig
Disembarkation by 9:30 am.
Merzig to Cochem
Day 1: Merzig
Day 2: Merzig – Saarburg (28 miles/45 km)
Day 3: Saarburg – Trier-Pfalzel (22 miles/35 km)
Day 4: Trier – Schweich | Schweich – Neumagen – Bernkastel-Kues (16 or 32 miles/27 km or 53 km)
Day 5: Bernkastel-Kues by bus to Daun – Bernkastel-Kues (Daun excursion) (34 miles/55 km)
Day 6: Bernkastel-Kues – Zell, (28 miles/45 km)
Day 7: Zell – Cochem (24 miles/40 km)
Day 8: Departure from Cochem
Surface and terrain
This guided bike and boat tour in Germany is rated leisure. The route is mainly flat, follows the course of the rivers, and ranges between 28 and 55 km over 6 cycling days.
How to get there
Tour start and end
Frankfurt International Airport (FRA) or Luxembourg Airport (LUX)
The train station at Frankfurt Airport offers connections to the city center and other popular German cities. Luxembourg Airport is another option. You can even book a multi-city flight, arriving to one airport and departing from another.
From Cochem: Aug 27; Sep 10, Sep 24; Oct 22, 2023
From Merzig: Sep 3, Sep 17; Oct 1, 2023
August/September departures October departures Per person, double occupancy €1625 €1475 Single use cabin (1 person/1 cabin) €2113 €1918
Electrically assisted bike €110
- 7 nights accommodation on board the Quo Vadis in an air-conditioned cabin on board
- 7 x breakfast, 6 x packed lunch, 5 x 3-course dinner, and 1 x 4-course dinner
- Welcome meeting and toast
- Coffee, tea, hot chocolate and water on board
- Daily cleaning of the cabin
- 8-speed touring bike
- Guided cycling tours
- Maps for cycling tours (1x per cabin)
- Fees for ferries
- Bus transfer to Daun
- Entrance Reichsburg Cochem
Bikes available to be rented (booked in advance at the time of booking) include:
8-speed touring bike (included)
9-speed electric bike*
*More about electrically-assisted bikes
Equipment included with bike rental:
- Orlieb 12.6 liter pannier
- Safety lock
Bike protection can be purchased at the time of booking. You can read more about that HERE.
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