Our journey together starts in Metz, one of the last Roman cities to fall to Atilla the Hun and ancestral home of the Merovingian Dynasty. Metz has great centuries-old architecture and a Gothic cathedral that took 300 years to build. We will meet up in the afternoon, and our welcome aboard reception kicks off this bucket list adventure. The barge moors at a pier each night so you have time to visit each port.
Join us as we cruise the Moselle River (Musel in Luxembourgish and Mosel in German) on a three-country journey through France, Luxembourg, and Germany. We will trace the path of the Moselle River as it meanders past iconic waterfront castles, half-timbered fairytale villages, old Roman outposts, and routes connecting some of the world’s most celebrated vineyards.
We will follow the breadcrumbs of history. The Romans “civilized” this “barbaric” region bringing their culture and the first grapevines. Little did they know at the time of Julius Cesar that this river valley would blossom into a Riesling drinkers’ paradise. On both sides of the river, the luscious vineyards hug the steep slopes. Prepare yourself for a ride of a lifetime with delicious sampling along the way.
Today we arrive in Metz and can board the boat in the afternoon. Feel free to drop your luggage at the boat as early as 9:30 AM and enjoy wandering on your own through Metz, an ancient city strategically situated on a Roman trading route. This afternoon we will enjoy a city walking tour and Cathedral visit. St. Etienne Cathedral is the 3rd largest gothic church in France with flying buttresses and Marc Chagall-designed stained glass windows. Metz is full of gorgeous architecture, flowers, and charming cafes. Tonight we will enjoy our Welcome Dinner onboard our home for the next week.
Airport: Guests typically fly into Paris or Luxembourg and take the train to Metz. (The fast train is the TGV – Très Grande Vitesse – which translates to Very High Speed).
Today we will leave France behind and make our way to Luxembourg and Germany. For centuries, this territory has been French than German, German than French, and on and on. We will begin cycling in Thionville, which was the center of the steel industry until the 1980s. The historic center shows us the medieval ramparts, lovely gardens, ancient streets and St. Maximin Basilica which houses one of the finest organs in the world. Thionville is also part of the infamous Maginot line, an enormous defense network of forts and bunkers built between World Wars against the Germans. We will pass the fortress high up on a rocky outcrop. The route is full of the lovely French countryside, riparian landscapes, and small villages. We will ride along wheat fields and pastures of white cows (Charolais), which are praised for their strength as draft animals. The day will end in Remich, on the Luxembourgian side of the Mosel.
Today we will head to a hidden gem. It’s a great story of historic preservation…imagine it’s 1852 and you’re a farmer out tilling your field. Suddenly, these colorful square pieces start appearing in the turned sod. These were pieces that belonged in a tiled mosaic floor—from 1,600 years ago! The tile floor which lies in its original place was once the centerpiece in a palatial Roman villa.
Later on, we will pedal toward Luxembourg, the tiny nation about the size of Rhode Island. Luxembourg is an important financial center and EU administrative city. We will enjoy a stop in Schengen were the European Union created the Schengen Agreement, enabling free traffic among participating European countries.
Our path leads us to a place that’s a blast from the past. The name Saarburg means “fortress on the river Saar”. The ruins date back to the 10th century when they a summer palace for the Archbishops of Trier—powerful men and power brokers in the Holy Roman Empire. There’s a natural, steep drop between the upper and lower towns, but they’re connected by a high waterfall. It’s definitely medieval German engineering at its best.
Today we will head to Trier, leaving the Saar River and following the Mosel again. Trier is a university town, powerful Arch-diocese, and Imperial Residence of Constantine the Great. All roads lead to Rome as they say, but in this case, our road leads to Trier, the 2nd Rome in the 3rd century. This Roman golden age has left us with a respectable number of monuments. Most authentic is the city gate Porta Nigra, which was built around 200 AD.
The views today will have us viewing vineyards as far as the eye can see. Trittenheim lies in a sharp hairpin turn on the river surrounded by mountains coated with grapes. The chapel in the vineyard is one of the most photographed on the river. Next, we pass through Piesport, Brauneberg and finally Bernkastel, the darling of the famed middle Mosel. This is Valhalla for Riesling aficionados, and we stop at a good-sized village with great shopping, wine bars, and ice cream. It has one of the prettiest town squares with timber-framed buildings from the 1400s! The castle ruins on the hill are base-lit at night.
This morning we will leave the river and vineyards behind. Enjoy a ride up to an agricultural region called the Eifel. From here, it’s an exhilarating bike ride downhill along a rails-to-trails path. It is a ride of a lifetime — through German forests and former train tunnels, over bridges and around small lakes formed from volcanic craters ages ago. Along the way, we will stop in a quiet farming village known for its beef and dairy, which is the last place you’d expect to find a volcano museum! After the last tunnel, we will enjoy a break in a local town where we will enjoy cold ice cream on the terraces, well deserved!
Another beauty: Traben-Trarbach features world-class Art Nouveau architecture that proved its great importance in international wine trade during the 19th century. Our bike journey follows the river upstream passing the steepest vineyards in the world and arriving in Zell, a beautiful hamlet where the river cuts through slate mountains in dramatic oxbows and S turns. Zeller Schwarze Katz (black cat) is a legendary Mosel Wine. We will also see the Sleeping Beauty on the Mosel. It’s a precious medieval village called Beilstein, which has been the backdrop for many German films. You will have the chance to see the venerated and rare relic the Black Madonna in the chapel of the Carmelite Monastery overlooking the valley. After our visit, the journey follows the river downstream, passing our last lock and docking in Cochem, a bustling and characteristic Mosel town with steep wine-clad mountains, wooded hills, an impressive castle and a picturesque square with beautiful timber-framed houses and cafes. You can visit the castle or have a glass of local wine—or both!
Our bucket list adventure comes to an end as it is time to say goodbye, with our guided tour ending after breakfast. You can leave your luggage onboard until lunchtime, and visit Cochem a bit more.
Airport: Guests typically take a train to Koblenz, then another train to Frankfurt International Airport to catch flights home or to their next destination
Price includes: 7 nights aboard a private deluxe canal boat; 7 breakfasts, 3 packed lunches, 2 onboard lunches; 5 dinners (3 and 4 courses with 2 main course options nightly); wine or a soft drink at dinner; Beverages onboard include, coffee, cappuccino, espresso, tea, decaf and chocolate milk, available 24/7; Wifi onboard; Port fees and taxes; 2 multilingual bike guides; Support on all rides; Bikes, helmets and panniers; Electric Bikes are available; Activites list in itinerary.
Not included: Transfers to the boat in Metz and from Cochem; Meals not listed above; Alcohol except wine at dinner (a corkage fee is charged for a personal bottle of wine you wish to open for dinner); Gratuities for guides and tour director; Personal items including: alcoholic beverages not listed, snacks, laundry, and telephone calls.
**Not all HE Travel discounts can be applied to this specific tour. Please inquiry.
Optional Tour Choices:
Single Supplement – There are no single supplements available at this time. All deposits must be paid to Outings & Adventures. For more information contact: email@example.com
Most of our trips draw more single travelers than couples. When couples do join us, it’s usually because they’re looking forward to interacting with a gay group; if they wanted a holiday by themselves, they wouldn’t have signed up to travel with us. Furthermore, the activities included with our trips serve as natural ice-breakers. Within a day, you’ll be traveling with friends. We are happy to match you with a roommate; as no single supplement is available on this tour.
This tour starts in Metz, France and ends in Cochem, Germany. Guests typically fly into Paris or Luxembourg and take the TGV High-Speed train to Metz (TGV Très Grande Vitesse which translates to Very High Speed). At the end of the tour, most guests will take the train from Cochem to Koblenz to Frankfurt International Airport for flights home.
Traveling in Europe requires you be fit for daily cycling. There are different routes available each day, so you will have choices.
Your home for the week is aboard Iris or Quo Vadis. She is a spacious and luxurious two deck, 24-passenger barge with a relaxing atmosphere. There are 12 cabins, all with private bathrooms/showers and climate control. The common areas are a dining room, sun deck at the bow and a lounge with a bar. This is a non-smoking vessel. There will be a crew of 7: Captain, Mate, Chef, 2 Bike Guides, Ship Host and Tour Host.
For answers to your additional questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-294-8174