Cycle Vacation in Germany: follow the Rhine and Neckar Rivers
Flowing through a medieval corridor of castles, the Neckar River is a wine-soaked tributary that feeds the mighty Rhine, the grandfather of all European waterways. You will discover two rivers on this easy, well-marked bike route endorsed with 4**** by the German Cycling Association. You’ll see hilltop castles, sloping vineyards, medieval villages and legendary forests from the ship’s deck and bike path.
While this region boasts high-tech automakers (Porsche & Mercedes), nowhere has medieval charm and Renaissance architecture been so well-preserved. It’s where red-headed giants and robber barons, dwarf jesters and warrior brides named Brunhild still live in the mists of time. The ancient city of Worms is the heart of Germany’s national identity and the geographic setting in the epic saga The Song of the Nibelungs. No one has yet found the buried Rhine treasure nor bathed in dragon’s blood for some time, but Germans would never say never. Great storytellers like Tolkien, Goethe and Wagner tapped into this romantic Zeitgeist. Mark Twain left his mark on his famous trek to Heidelberg in his travel memoir, A Tramp Abroad. He wrote, “Germany in summer is the perfection of the beautiful.” Once you see it, we think you’ll agree.Read more
You are welcome to check in at around 1.30 pm, your cabins will be ready and we will start with an introduction talk. We will do the bike fitting and we will visit the Castle Ehrenbreitstein with an amazing ride with the cable car over the Rhine. Maybe we can see the IRIS!
A visit to the beer gardens at Deutsche Eck might also be a great way to get the spirit up for the upcoming week of cycling.
Koblenz to St. Goar cycling 40 k/25 ml.
After breakfast, the bike ride first takes you to the ancient city of Boppard. Here the Rhine takes an amazing turn, nearly 180 degrees. Boppard has always been a visitors magnet with her precipitous vineyards, one of the nicest bank promenades on the Middle Rhine, and the oldest preserved Roman fort walls to the north of the Alps.
Your destination is St. Goar, opposite the famous Loreley. A ferry and a bus bring you up to the Loreley. A hiking path leads up to this lovely spot and offers a beautiful sight of the narrowest part of the romantic Rhine Valley.
The first traces of human settlement have been apparent from when the Loreley Plateau was level with the Rhine (600.000 years ago). During the Middle Ages, the Loreley, along with the Binger Loch, was well known as the most dangerous section of the Rhine. Many mariners in their wooden dinghies came to tragedy here. In St. Goar, directly opposite the Loreley, Saint Goar settled to save shipwrecked mariners and nurse them back to health.
St. Goar to Ruedesheim cycling from Oberwesel 25 k/ 15 ml
Our morning starts with a great sail along the Lorelei. Lights are showing us if ships are coming down while our ship sails upstream.
We join the bike path again, pass by pompous castles, and reach Ruedesheim. The Romans already planted their vines here! Stroll through the “Drosselgasse”, famous for its entertaining music and taste some of the wines of this wine village. This small old “gasse” is only 144 meters long and has 37.508 paving stones. Visit the Asbach centre, home of Germans Brandy produced locally since 1892. Are you not into brandy? They produce some great chocolate as well.
The old town, dating from the Middle Ages, and parts of the city’s fortifications like the Adlerturm (eagle tower) are maintained. Here you will find cosy traditional wine taverns in historic half-timbered houses.
Ruedesheim to Mainz cycling 35 k/22 ml
From the lovely wine village, we will cycle in the direction of Mainz. Not surprisingly, this city is located at the place where the Main river joins the Rhine. As so many settlings this city was founded by the Romans in the 1st century as a military fortress and became an import city in the Holy Roman Empire.
Charlemagne (768-814) build a vast Frankish Empire in Europe, Mainz had a very central position in it, and became very important to the Empire and to Christianity.
Gutenberg invented the movable type printing press and manufactured the first books in this city in the early 1450s. Including the Gutenberg Bible.
More than 30 air raids destroyed the city during WWII. Many of the historic buildings have been rebuilt.
Mainz to Worms cycling 55 k/34 ml
From Mainz, we are heading to one of the oldest cities in Northern Europe, the capital of the Kingdom of the Burgundians in the early fifth century! The Worms Cathedral is one of the finest examples of Romanesque Architecture. Not only Catholic, Worms is also known for its Jewish life in Europe during the Middle Ages, described on the UNESCO world heritage site, along with those in Speyer and Mainz.
Worms to Heidelberg cycling 45 km/ 28 ml
Passing Mannheim it’s now time to enter the Neckar region! Our bikepath takes it to one of the most famous and oldest cities of Germany, it’s time for walking shoes in Heidelberg. The Gothic and Renaissance castle sitting on the Königsstuhl (King’s Seat) overlooks the oldest and most prestigious German university. Take the funicular up and explore the red sandstone behemoth and see the world’s largest wine barrel, timbered from 130 trees with a 58,500 gallon oak belly. Fortunately, Heidelberg escaped WWII with all of its original buildings intact. The castle however didn’t fare as well through the ages, repeatedly struck by lightening and partially plundered by pesky French neighbors. The world’s first bicycle was invented in 1817 by former Heidelberg student Baron von Drais — his prototype lives in the Kurpfälzisches Museum. Another fascinating sight lies hidden in the forest. The Thingstätte is a Nazi amphitheater commissioned by Joseph Goebbels for large propaganda events. To get to it, cross the Old Bridge across the river, up the Schlangenweg (snake path) to the Philosophen Weg (philosopher’s way). This is the best sunset look-out over Heidelberg.
Don’t worry if we run out of time today, there is a full day coming up to explore Heidelberg.
Heidelberg cycling: round trip 40 k/25 ml
No sailing today, still we will offer a bike ride for those who can’t do without and a guided excursion to enjoy all Heidelberg has to offer.
Before leaving Heidelberg tomorrow, make sure to touch the monkey at the Old Bridge. Polishing his mirror bestows luck; rubbing his fingers ensures a return to Heidelberg. Sculpted by Herr Rumpf, this bronze version replaced one that taunted humans for 600 years.
Heidelberg, time to depart
Today it is time to say goodbye to your fellow travelers, guides and crew of the IRIS.
The tour ends after breakfast at 9 am.
Our premium barge IRIS
One of the best: our premium barge IRIS, sailing since 2005. Fully air-conditioned, lovely front sundeck, lounge and dining-area and selfservice Bar. Delicious 3 course dinners and packed lunches. Lots of options at Breakfast. Want to know more about bike and barge? check here
the cabin, twin or double
Your climate controlled cabin has two comfortable beds and lots of storage (for such a small cabin!). Ensuite your private bathroom. Hairdryer, towels, shampoo and showergel…it’s all there.
The beds can be put together to offer you a double cabin, or separated to offer a twin cabin. Size of cabin is the same.
double bed cabin
just a picture to show the difference
Our new bathrooms have a nice shower, with shampoo and shower gel at hand.
just a picture!
Snuggling up or enjoying a nice conversation ….just experience our lovely lounge area
our self service bar
Based on the honesty system, we offer you a variety of local wines, beers, liquors and soft drinks.
Icecubes and coffee and tea are available 24/7 for free.
Don’t expect uniforms, expect nice staff members, working as a team to give you the hospitality you deserve!
What’s Included on the Bike&Barge tour:
- 7 nights on board
- Bed linen and towels
- 5 x dinner on board, glass of wine at dinner
- Packed lunches for bike trips
- Coffee and tea on board
- Tour guide (from 18 guests two guides)
- Cabins cleaned daily
- Climate-controlled cabins
- Helmets, panniers and waterbottle
What’s Not Included:
- Bike rental € 110,- per bike (2024)
- E-bike € 220,- (2024)
- Entrance fees for museums, monuments, etc.
- Travel and cancellation insurance
- Miscellaneous beverages and expenses on excursions.
- Gratuities for Staff and Guides, suggestion 8% of your booking costs