Of Medieval Castles and Shipwrecks, Old Towns and Wine Villages
Main, Rhine and Moselle, what a combination! This region has been visited by tourists as soon as tourism started! Our grandparents went there for a week, stayed at a hotel and enjoyed a glass of wine from the region. Nothing much has changed here! It still is a great area to cycle through, with its vineyards and the always present rivers and lovely villages. One of the highlights is sailing along the Lorelei, a famous part of the Rhine, where the Rhine is narrow and the hills are high. They call it ” the Mountains” which is of course slightly exaggerated. We are sailing downstream and it is certainly a nice sail with the villages and castles on the hill.
On the Main and the Moselle, we will cross locks now and again. You will at least be on board when we start sailing from Koblenz and enter the Moselle. One of the highlights of this tour is certainly the visit to the Burg Eltz. Like a fairytale castle, it is hidden in the hills, and we need to walk up there. This castle has been in one family since it was built in the 11th century! It has a building history of 5000 years! Part of it is showing the history of these early years and we will have a guided tour there.
Arrival at Aschaffenburg
Today we welcome you on board of the IRIS.
You will find the barge in Aschaffenburg, with the Johannisburg Palace, located on the banks of the Main River. This castle will be the first thing you see as you arrive at Aschaffenburg as it is the grandest of all Renaissance palace complexes.
We start our welcome after lunchtime, with an introduction and bike fitting. A stroll of Aschaffenburg with our guides, and dinner awaits you.
Aschaffenburg to Frankfurt 45 k/28 mi
After we have enjoyed our first breakfast on board, we start cycling! Our first stop will be in Hanau the town where the famous Grimm Brothers were born. Yes, the one from the fairytales.
A small ferry takes us to the other side of the river Main.
Next on our way: our first full exposure to half-timbered medieval houses, the ones that are so typical for Germany in the small and romantic city of Seligenstadt with its windings alleys and basilica.
Our final destination today: Frankfurt, one of Germany’s largest cities. Frankfurt is a trade city, home to Banks and Stockmarkets. The city skyline is very contemporary due to these developments and also because of the destruction in the Second World War and subsequent rebuilding. Frankfurt has many museums as well, located at a particular area along the riverside and famous for its annual Buchmesse (Book Fair).
Frankfurt bombed severely in WWII has only recently restored it’s the historic centre Roemerberg. Worth a visit!
Frankfurt to Mainz 45 k/28 mi
Following the river downstream we will be saying goodbye to the river Main. A shortcut through a forested area gets us to the banks of the mighty Rhine. One more bridge to cross, and we can see our IRIS waiting for us.
Today’s destination is Mainz, where the Main river meets the Rhine.
In the afternoon, there will be time to explore this exciting city. Mainz’s inner city is its pride and joy, filled with spacious plazas, lovingly restored timber-framed houses and magnificent Baroque-style churches. The ‘Old Town’ has a very charming and warm atmosphere.
Mainz to Ruedesheim 35 k/22 mi
Today’s ride is a bit shorter, so we can enjoy the lovely town of Ruedesheim in the afternoon. The cycling to Ruedesheim leads through rolling vineyards and well-known wine villages. The Rhine is flowing gently, forming little islands and broadening its bed up to 800 m width. Did you know that the Romans were the ones that planted 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 thousands of paving stones. There is a cable car taking you to a viewpoint over the Rhine Valley. Or visit the Asbach centre, home of German Brandy, produced locally since 1892. You’re not into brandy? They produce some great chocolate as well.
Sailing to Sankt Goar, cycling to Koblenz 35 k/22 mi
Today we enjoy sailing down the Rhine through the narrow passage at the Loreley. What a way to start our day. Many tales to tell about this part of the Rhine.
It first told the story of an enchanting female associated with the rock. In the poem, the beautiful Lore Lay, betrayed by her sweetheart, is accused of bewitching men and causing their death. Rather than sentence her to death, the bishop consigns her to a nunnery. On the way thereto, accompanied by three knights, she comes to the Lorelei rock. She asks permission to climb it and view the Rhine once again. She does so and thinking that she sees her love in the Rhine, falls to her death; the rock still retained an echo of her name afterwards.
In St. Goar and Boppard we cycle in the area that is the most visited part of the Rhine. Charming little wine villages, close to our final destination for today: the city of Koblenz. High rises the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, hard to concur once, nowadays to be visited by a cable car across the Rhine. Koblenz has lovely beer gardens at Deutsche Eck, a headland where the Moselle joins the Rhine. Or a lively inner city with terraces and little shops.
Koblenz to Cochem 41 k/26 mi
On a morning sail we cross the first lock and enter the Moselle! Drop off gives us a headstart to the foot of the hills where the Burg Eltz is hidden.
Untouched by wars or fires, you will find this beautiful castle worth the effort of walking to it. The guided tour takes you back through the ages. This is the best castle ever. We promise!
After our visit, we continue cycling to Cochem, the most visited village on the Moselle River. 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. Time for a Moselle wine!
Cochem, optional bike ride to Beilstein and Neef along the Moselle 22 or 55 k, 14 or 34 mi
On this last full day of the tour, we offer you the option to join us on a bike tour to Beilstein and back. Beilstein is the smallest and most charming little villages, used as a film set many times, for it looks still very medieval. We can walk up to the Monestry and enjoy a coffee and kuchen there. A ferry takes us to the other side of the Moselle where we can cycle back to Cochem. If this is not enough, we can continue to cycle to Neef and return from there. Done with cycling? Cochem has a great castle to visit, although it is not as historic as the one we visited the day before, it offers a magnificent view over the Moselle and you can see the IRIS very clearly as it is docked very close to the Castle. And the city itself is very touristy, so there are loads of little shops to buy a nice Moselle wine or some local specialities. Or a nice strawberry ice creme….just say the word! But don’t spoil your appetite, its farewell diner tonight!
Cochem, time to say Auf Wiedersehen
Time to say goodbye to the IRIS, staff and guests.
After breakfast, it is time to leave!
Premium barge IRIS
One of the best: our premium barge IRIS, sailing since 2005. Cabins and bathrooms refurbished in 2020. Fully air-conditioned. Cabins with usb outlets, double bed or separate beds on demand. lovely front sundeck, lounge and dining-area and self-service Bar. Delicious 3 course dinners and packed lunches. A drink at dinner, lots of options at Breakfast.
our refitted cabin
with options to have a double bed or separate beds
Double bed on demand
double bed is now possible
and we still have the spacious option for single beds. Now with little closets to devide the space.
your suitcase still fits under the bed.
now in a sleek, modern design
our lounge area
best place to hang out, in case the sundeck is not sunny enough or too sunny to your taste. Have a chat, or just read that book. Staying on board for a while, this is the optimal area to relax.
our breakfast/dining area
In the morning we serve our breakfast buffet here, and pack our lunch. In the evening it is time to enjoy the 3 course dinners we serve while you are seated, with, if you like, new company every day. No seat reservations! Seats enough, and nice to mingle.
self service bar
We serve all kinds of drinks, local wines and beers and all te obvious drinks. In case your favorite is not there, we will buy it for you!
At the end of the week you can settle your bar bill with a credit card if you like.
Included: on the IRIS
- 7 nights onboard
- Bed linen and towels
- 5 x dinner on board
- Packed lunches for bike trips
- Coffee and tea on board
- Tour guide (from 18 guests 2 guides)
- Cabins cleaned daily
- Climate-controlled cabins
- Helmets, panniers and waterbottle
- Guided tour at Burg Eltz
- The cable car ride, Ferries
- Bike rental € 100,– per bike (2023)
- E-bike on availability, € 210,– per E-bike (2023)
- Entrance fees for museums, and monuments, on your own
- Travel and cancellation insurance
- Miscellaneous beverages and expenses on excursions.
- Gratuities for Staff and Guides. Guideline for 2023: 18 euro per guest per night (7) to divide over two envelopes (provided onboard), one for the crew, one for the guides
E-bikes on request & availability € 210,- per bike (2023)