Hang onto your hat for a guided bike tour like no other. Visit the heart of Classic Germany AND follow the Romantic Road! The bike path along the Main River is rated 5-stars by the German Federation of Cyclists. It’s hands-down one of the best cycle routes in the country. This tour is superbly solid and smooth in every way—just like a BMW. Vibrant cities, quaint villages, and gently rolling fields and forests. Simply enchanting. A place you dream about. See it all from the comfort of the barge or astride the saddle of your iron horse. Come explore this colorful tapestry of castles and cathedrals, popes and princes spanning the ages. Then follow us on the Romantic Road, the first touristic road that brought so many guests to enjoy the historic villages along it. With highlights like Rothenburg ob der Tauber and the inspiration for the Disney Castle: Schloss Neuschwanstein. Bike along gentle floating little streams as the Tauber and the Woerlitz (floating in to the little stream to become the Danube) and concur some hills and follow the valleys to the Alps. Stay in the little hotels we selected and enjoy the villages, lined op like pearls on a string.Read more
Bamberg to Hassfurt
Wow, Bamberg! The entire old town is a UNESCO site. After exploring, you might need to quench your thirst. Take your pick from 9 breweries and 50 beer varieties in Bamberg alone. Once the seat of temporal and religious power in the 11th century, both an emperor and a pope are entombed here. The Imperial Cathedral showcases a wealth of art including the Bamberg Horseman, a medieval stone monument that (700 years later) inspired WWII resistance fighters like Claus von Stauffenberg, Hitler’s would-be assassin. Stop and smell the roses at the prince-bishops palace. There’s a lovely outdoor café overlooking the baroque gardens, tiled rooftops and city church spires. The “island district” features the only town hall in the world straddling a river. For centuries, Bamberg cultivated and traded licorice root, the sweet plant that flavors candy. But even more famous are the city suds. Try the “smoked beer” from Schlenkerla Brewery. You’ll never forget your first sip.
The IRIS will be waiting for you in the harbor at 2 pm. You will meet up with other travelers, your guide(s) and the crew on the barge. We start sailing at 3 pm. While we sail on the River Main, we will serve your first dinner on board. Enjoy & settle in your home for the week!
Please be aware that visiting Bamberg is NOT part of our Program. We strongly recommend to spend time in Bamberg before the start of your tour with us
Hassfurt - Schweinfurt - Volkach
Here we go! You can opt for a beautiful route through the hills to Konigsberg in Bayern. This medieval town is a romantic Franconian town right out of a picture book. It’s protected historic center with half- timbered houses is a hidden gem, embedded in a countryside of forests, valleys and hills.
If you opt for staying at the river bike path we will pass little wine villages and fruit gardens.
Schweinfurt is a modern little town, with museums and galleries. The IRIS will be there to invite us to again a sailing dinner, our destination is one of the most attractive little villages at the Main river: Volkach
Volkach - Kitzingen - Eibelstadt
We start biking from Volkach, deep in the heart of Franconian wine country. Set atop the hill is a precious pilgrimage church called Maria in the Vineyard. Inside more hand-carvings by Riemenschneider and outside phenomenal photo-ops of the river valley and the river’s famed oxbow, a great u-shape and perfect pitch for growing grapes. We arrive in Kitzingen with its cock-eyed watch tower. One silly legend (every village has one) recalls the tower built with a mortar and wine mixture. Sure thing. There’s even a wacky legend about Count Dracula buried in the cemetery next door. Why not. What’s in this wine, anyway? You’ll have to find out for yourself. This region is the largest wine producer in Bavaria.
After a stroll through Kitzingen we will continue to cycle along Ochsenfurt and Marktbreit to Eibelstadt, a quiet place to dock for the night!
Our destination today is Würzburg, only 10 k to bike there. Anytime you see the word “Burg” after a city name, it’s going to be good. Burg = fortress. The imposing landmark of this city is the fortress (Marienburg) on the hill. Home of the once-powerful prince-bishops with monumental views over their ecclesiastic fiefdom. Vineyards slope down to the city ever since the Middle Ages providing wealth and good libation for this ancient arch-diocese. Famous writer Goethe preferred white wines from Würzburg. When the old fortress was deemed out-modish, these religious overlords built themselves an entirely new Residenz in the 1700s. All the big names around Europe were called in to collaborate. Go broke or go Baroque! We will have a guided tour here!Imagine puffy powdered wigs, corsets and cleavage, birdcage hats, pastel tones and gilded excess. This palace is considered one of the finest examples in Germany and UNESCO-approved. Connected by a bridge of saintly personalities, Würzburg spans both sides of the river where a festive mood lingers into the night. It might have to do with being surrounded by grape vines and a university.
Mounting our solid steeds, after a morning sail to Karlstadt, we skip like a rock from one medieval village to another, following the sweeping S-curves as the river weaves past Germany’s great beech and oak forest known as Spessart Woods “woodpecker hills” and Charlemagne’s imperial hunting grounds. Bandits and poachers roamed here for centuries looting caravans traveling on old salt and glass trade routes. It’s the Sherwood Forest of Germany. And its magical. Germans revere their forests. Our route leads to Lohr am Main, a town with a colorful past. The plague in 1666. Witch hunts. The legendary home of real characters in Grimm’s fairytale Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Lots to see as your pedaling…castle ruins and dramatic rock formations. Tonight we snuggle up alongside charming Marktheidenfeld. Among other things, there’s good ice cream.
We pedal along savoring every last bit of biking. Comfortable in our saddles and confident on the trail, Miltenberg comes into sight. It is quintessential. You’ll discover crooked cobblestone alleys, medieval watch towers and a village that looks like an Advent calendar lit up at night. The view across the river is a 14th century abbey cloaked in vineyards. Miltenberg is also home to Faust Beer and one of the oldest (continuously-operating) guesthouses in Germany. Since 1411, big names have stayed at Zum Riesen. Two of them are Napoléon and Elvis Presley! They would have eaten sausage, dumplings, potato salad too. The beer to wash it down comes from the brewery next door. Fresh and local. Thump goes the stein on the table. You’re in the heart of Germany and this is why you travel.
Miltenberg - Aschaffenburg
Our first stop today will be at Kloster Engelberg, either looking at it or walking up to have a coffee at the “klosterschaenke” the monastery’s restaurant. Started in the middle ages to comfort the pilgrims that visited the Fransiscaner Monastery it still is.
We will pass by the Beggers Tower and the Chapel of St. Anna, before we have a stroll through the Park Schoenbusch, the oldest classical English style garden in Germany.
And there it is, the imposing silhouette of the Johannisburg. Must be Aschaffenburg, can’t go wrong there. The massive four-winged co dmples, build from 1605 untill 1614 is one of the most important Renaissance buildings. After serious damage during WWII, the palace was restored, including rescued parts of its furnishings. Next to it the Pompejanum, an idealized replica of a Roman Villa, build in the 19th century. And yes, Aschaffenburg has lovely terraces as well to have a well deserved cold drink. Cheers!
After our last breakfast on the IRIS it is time to say “Auf Wiedersehen” and “Danke Schön” to the crew and some fellow travelers not joining us for the second week of our trip.
Your tour leader will join you on a transfer to Wuerzburg. Our group is smaller now, max 18.
The start of our tour is a surprise. We are not advocating it because it is a hidden gem and hidden gems need to be protected! After this kick off we will be on our bikes on the Romantic Road: following the Tauber River to our first hotel in Bad Mergentheim.
Bad Mergentheim - Rothenburg ob der Tauber 31 miles
Through the Tauber Valley we cycle upstream, and pass through charming villages. At the end of our tour the valley gets a bit more narrow and there are some little climbs on our bike path.
The incomparable silhouette of the former Free Imperial City of Rothenburg ob der Tauber rises high above the Tauber Valley. This city is the most visited little town in Germany. But, tourists tend to be day-visitors, so tonight the town is ours. We will have a guided city walk after dinner.
Rothenburg - Feuchtwangen - Dinkelsbuehl 36 or 17 miles
Early morning and Rothenburg is still quiet, lovely to be there at that time.
We offer two options today:
First and easy going: you enjoy an extended visit here, maybe walk along the city walls, maybe relax and have Kaffee und Kuchen (Coffee and Cake) and then join the touristic coach at 1 pm to get to Feuchtwangen
Second and definitely more challenging: early start to bike to Feuchtwangen, mapped as offering “steeper slopes” on the maps.
Anyway: we meet up in Feuchtwangen and all bike to Dinkelsbuehl through forests and meadows and undulating hills. Some little climbs to master here.
Dinkelsbuehl, described as the most closely packed and best preserved medieval towns in Germany, shows her unspoilt townscape dating back over 400 years.
It’s our place for tonight.
Dinkelsbuehl - Noerdlingen 23 miles
We enter the Noerdlinger Ries here. This flat area surrounded by higher grounds was long thought to be the result of volcanic activity in the prehistoric times. But then US scientists found out that the pieces of rock they were analysing must have been part of a meteorite. A very big one that hit the earth 15 million years ago and left a crater of 12 k, due to earth movements and erosion ending up as a 24 k round area of flat, lower grounds.
We enter the inner circle, an elevation which originates from the impact. We will see the Wallersteiner Felsen that is a part of the remaining hills.
Noerdlingen is the only town in Germany with walls and battlements that can be walked all the way round. 2,7 k, passing 11 towers. Maybe we are still energetic enough to do this round? And even climb the “Daniel” only 350 steps in a 90 meter high Tower. The view will be worthwhile.
Noerdlingen - Donauwoerth 24 miles
On we go, heading for Harburg, towering above this town is the Harburg, one of Germans best preserved castles, open for visits. Let’s see if we can bike or walk our bikes up there! And then we continue to Donauwoerth at the confluence of the Woernitz and the Danube (Donau in German). again a Free Imparial Town, originally a fishing settlement on the island in the river. It has an impressive street between the Town Hall and the “Fuggerhaus”.
Our day is not done yet, we hop on the Tourist Coach bus again, taking us to Landsberg am Lech, passing Augsburg and many other stops. We order a drink and enjoy the scenery and skip quite some miles here.
In Landsberg am Lech we will stay in a lovely landhotel
Landsberg am Lech-Schongau
Along the Lech, yes, again, a river and through the countryside with its acres and woods and grazing cows and little villages we find our way. Nice little villages where time stood still. At the Roman Basilika St. Michael, dated before the 12th century this is the only well kept Roman church, not “spoiled” by the Baroque architects with their overkill of goldplated and exuberant detailling.
We now are clearly heading to the Alps, it’s glorious peaks are nearby and it’s a great panorama we see while we ride.
Sc- Schwangau (Fuessen) 18 or 31 miles
The foothills of the Alps are great to ride along, some steep hills to cover,we have coffee at the idyllic village of Wildsteig, visit the Madonna(!) and ride to Schwangau. As Schwangau is the place to be for tourists we can prepare for your choise the next day:
At the end of this day we will enjoy our farewell diner.
Schwangau extra miles possible!
After breakfasts your guided tour ends. Time to say goodbye to the tour leader. The day is yours, and your bike is still available!
So bike or hop on a bus and visit the castles, starting with the Neuschwanstein castle right out of Disney’s picture books…or should we say very well copied in Disney pictures?
Or have another loop around the lake or around the “Dreilaender Punkt” (3 country point). Let’s see what you are in for!
After breakfast it’s time to leave
Our passengerbarge IRIS
One of the best: our comfort plus 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
Your air-conditioned cabin has two comfortable beds and lots of storage (for such a small cabin!). Ensuite your private bathroom. Size of the beds is 80 x 200 cm which is a regular size bed for European standards.
our lounge area
If you do not feel like cycling you are welcome to stay on board and have a private cruise!
our hotels on the way
Our hotels are selected on number of rooms (not too many), comfort and location. Of course they all have their own well equipped bathroom. 3 or 4 stars level of service, breakfast buffets. Family owned hotels for the most part. Some in historic buildings like an old brewery. Our final hotel is a former farm, situated at the lake. The Biergarten (the beer terrace) awaits us. But not before we have enjoyed all the lovely places we have been at.
hotel in Schwangau
Landhotel and Biergarten in Schwangau
Included on the first week: Bike & Barge on the IRIS
- 7 nights on board
- Bed linen and towels
- 6 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
Included on the second week: Hotel and Romantic Road to the Alps
- 8 nights in hotels in Bad Mergtenheim, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Dinkelsbuehl, Noerdlingen, Landsberg am Lech, Schongau and Schwangau (2x), including breakfast
- luggage service by Van
- dinners in Bad Mergentheim, Dinkelsbuehl, Schongau and Fuessen (1x)
- (picnic) lunches on most tour days (4x)
- 2 bike tour leaders or 1 bike tour leader and 1 vandriver/tourmanager
- guided city walk in Rothenburg
- all transfers during the tour by van, coach or train
- helmet, pannier and waterbottle
- Bike rental € 160,- per bike
- E-bike on availability, € 320,-
- Entrance fees for museums, monuments, etc.
- Travel and cancellation insurance
- Miscellaneous beverages and expenses on excursions.
- Gratuaties for Guide(s) and Crew
E-bikes on request & availability € 320,- per bike