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Duration
8 days
Activities
  • self guided cycle
Accommodation
  • 7 nights barge
Meals
  • 7 Dinners
  • 6 Lunches
  • 7 Breakfasts

Price

$1690USD

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Overview

Trip Code: URS

Trip highlights


  • Cycling through Alsace wine and Black Forest regions in the Upper Rhine Valley
  • Indulging in delicious cheeses and traditional wines
  • Experiencing the areas rich history through its beautiful castles and scenic medieval towns such as Speyer and Strasbourg
  • Relaxing on board the comfortable MS Olympia

The Rhine is one of Europe's quintessential rivers flowing from Switzerland through Austria and touching France before continuing through Germany and the Netherlands. On this trip the Upper Rhine, between Strasbourg in France and Mainz in Germany, is travelled by comfortable barge and along designated cycle ways on your bike. Crossing between France and Germany as you make your way between the cities, visit the Alsace wine and Black Forest regions. Pass by beautiful churches and Baroque castles, scenic towns with half timbered medieval houses such as Speyer and Strasbourg and sample delicious cheeses and traditional wines. The gentle cycling on mainly flat terrain allows you to relax and enjoy the outstanding scenery whilst offering an excuse to indulge in the wonderful cuisine offered on board your floating hotel in the evening.

Trip Grading

introductory

More info about grading system

Traveller Rating

 

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On arrival in Mainz, you are welcome on board the MS Olympia, a river barge with a comfortable atmosphere, between 3:00-5:00pm. If you have the time, perhaps see the capital of Rhineland-Palatinate with its lovingly restored half-timbered houses in the Old Town and the Romanesque Cathedral of Saint Martin. This evening there will be a welcome briefing and drink on board the barge.

Meals:  D

Today you have the option of a shorter cycle, with plenty of time for one to rest and enjoy the scenery from the barge, or to extend the route into a longer cycle. You will cycle on the Rhine Cycle Route with its well-paved cycle ways directly alongside the Rhine to Nierstein. With almost 1,000 Hectare of viticulture area, Nierstein is home to the largest wine-growing community on the Rhine. Visit the historic Old Town with its medieval market square and the noble houses. In the afternoon, sail or cycle from Nierstein to Worms. Short cycle: Mainz-Nierstein. Long cycle: Mainz-Worms.

Meals:  B,L,D

You start your cycle for the day in the imperial city of Worms. Once you reach Mannheim you'll follow the marvellous Neckar River all the way to Heidelberg. Along the way you pass the Roman city of Ladenburg, with its historic old town, which is well worth a visit. As you approach Heidelberg you'll see the ruin of the Heidelberg castle towering over the city. When you arrive this afternoon you can admire its famous red sandstone bridge or take a stroll through the narrow lanes and picturesque squares.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today's cycle follows part of the Castle Route. En route you will pass Eppelheim and Plankstadt in the region "Kurfpalz". Along the way we recommend a visit to Schwetzingen Castle and its gorgeous gardens. From there the cycle continues to your destination for the day, Mannheim. Most of the sites of Mannheim are within walking distance of the city centre, including its famous water tower and the Mannheim Baroque Palace.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today you will cycle alongside numerous oxbow lakes of the Old Rhine as you head towards Speyer. The cycle for today is short and you can take your time enjoying these marvellous lakes and unspoilt nature of the Natural Reserves and flood plains that you will cycle through. When you arrive in Speyer you can visit the UNESCO listed Cathedral.

Meals:  B,L,D

Continue exploring the untouched Palantinate region, cycling past more stunning oxbow lakes and natural landscapes. Today you can visit the old fortified town of Germersheim with its numerous picturesque lanes, corners and squares. From Germersheim you will join the boat again and sail during dinner to Plittersdorf.

Meals:  B,L,D

On your last cycle today you have the option of taking a shorter or longer cycle. All cyclists will start with an easy section, following along the riverbanks through the gentle Rhine plain until you reach the lock station of Gambsheim/Freistett. For those on the short cycle option, here you can board the boat again to cruise to Kehl which is connected by a bridge to Strasbourg, capital of the Alsace. For those on the long cycle option, you will cycle this section. The city of Strasbourg has countless canals which can be discovered on foot or by bike. Visit the Strasbourg Minster, stroll through the tanners' quarter with its small historic half-timbered houses and enjoy this fascinating French city.

Meals:  B,L,D

Trip concludes after breakfast around 9:00am and individual departure from Kehl, directly across the border from Strasbourg. Note: Itinerary operates in reverse every alternate departure, i.e. Kehl to Mainz.

Meals:  B

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On arrival in Strasbourg (Kehl), you are welcome on board the MS Olympia, a river barge with a comfortable atmosphere, between 3:00pm and 5:00pm. Kehl (Germany) is directly across the border from Strasbourg (France). Enjoy the evening on board and if you arrive early you can spend some time exploring the capital of the Alsace and its many canals.

Meals:  D

The trip starts with the option of a shorter or longer cycle. For the short cycle option, the day starts with a cruise during breakfast from Strasbourg to the lock station in Gambsheim/Freistett. Here you will start your cycle tour following the riverbanks through the gentle Rhine plain until you reach Plittersdorf. For the longer cycle option, you will begin cycling in the morning from Kehl.

Meals:  B,L,D

Early in the morning the boat cruises to Germersheim from where today's cycle begins. You will be able to visit this old fortified town with its many picturesque lanes, corners and squares. As you continue through the Palatinate Rhine region you will reach the city of Speyer. You can visit its UNESCO listed Cathedral this afternoon or relax on board the barge.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today you will enjoy a short cycle alongside the old Rhine, cycling past marvellous lakes, through untouched and protected areas designated as National Nature Reserves, and natural flood plains. This afternoon you will reach Mannheim, known as the "City of Squares" due to its grid-like layout. In these squares there are countless sites that are well worth a visit, including the Mannheim Baroque Palace (the largest in Germany) and the city's landmark water tower.

Meals:  B,L,D

The cycle route continues today partly on the Castle Road. We recommend stopping in Schwetzingen Castle and its lovely garden. From here the route continues via Plankstadt and Eppelheim, finally arriving in Heidelberg. The castle ruin of Heidelberg towers over the old town. Once you arrive in Heidelberg you can admire its red sandstone bridge or stroll through the meandering lanes and picturesque old town.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning you leave the history-rich city of Heidelberg and follow the Neckar River by bike. Along the way it's worth stopping in the Roman city of Ladenburg and exploring its old town. You will pass through Mannheim and then continue on to the imperial city of Worms. Learn about emperors and kings, myths and legends of the Nibelung, Judaism and Martin Luther.

Meals:  B,L,D

The boat will cruise to Nierstein this morning, which is home to the largest wine-growing community on the Rhine. The historic old town and its medieval market square are worth visiting. From here you will cycle along the Rhine Cycle Path to Mainz. If you prefer a longer cycle today you can start your cycle from Worms and travel by bike all the way to Mainz.

Meals:  B,L,D

Trip concludes after breakfast around 9:00am and individual departure from Mainz.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners - breakfasts are buffet style consisting of breads, cereals, cheese, meats, fruit, yoghurt and breakfast beverages. Picnic lunches are assembled at breakfast time. Dinners are 3 courses served in the dining room. Special diets may be catered for on request (e.g. lactose-free and gluten-free diet) however there will be an extra fee. Please advise us at the time of booking or at least 21 days prior to departure. If necessary, some special dietary supplements may need to be brought with you.
  • 7 nights accommodation aboard a Category A barge in twin share cabins with ensuite facilities on main deck (supplement applies for other categories of berths on main or upper deck). The compact cabins are configured with two lower beds. We do not match travellers together so if you are travelling solo you will need to book a single cabin (limited and on a request basis - supplement applies).
  • 7 speed unisex bike with hand and back pedal brakes or freewheel hubs with hand brakes only (the latter must be reserved in advance - limited number). The bike is supplied with a pannier and bicycle insurance per bike; repair kit, pump and handlebar bag per cabin (electric bike available on request for a supplement)
  • Welcome drink and briefing on the first evening
  • Cruise director on board - does not cycle with the group, provides daily briefings
  • Information pack including route notes and maps per cabin
  • Linen and change of towels as required
  • Daily cabin cleaning
  • Local passenger and port fees
  • Emergency hotline

  • Travel to and from Mainz / Kehl
  • Upgrade to a cabin on upper deck or single cabin - supplement applies, ask our office for details
  • Drinks other than afternoon tea and coffee on board
  • Helmets - mandatory on all bike tours, you are encouraged to bring your own well-fitted helmet. No hire facility is available, you may be able to purchase from bike shops locally.
  • Meals not detailed in the itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature such as phone calls, laundry etc.
  • Entrance fees and sightseeing fees
  • Tips - while tipping is not obligatory, it is customary to offer a tip if the guide and crew have done a good job. As a guide we would recommend around EUR30-60 per person (to be distributed between the cruise director, captain and crew).
  • Travel insurance - mandatory
  • Tour guide - this is a self guided tour
  • Catering for special diets (except Vegetarian). A supplement is payable for lactose or gluten free diets - EUR25pp (subject to change) paid locally on board. See below for further details regarding catering for dietary requirements.

Cabins


Bike information


Grading

introductory  

INTRODUCTORY - GRADE 1 This trip involves 6 days cycling of between 20 and 60km / 12.5 and 37mi per day usually along paved cycle paths across generally flat terrain. In and out of the cities there will be some light traffic. You need only carry your camera/rain gear and water bottle. Your luggage remains on the boat. For this reason the trip is a grade 1 cycle and is considered suitable for beginners.*For safety reasons, we insist that cycle helmets be included as a compulsory item on your equipment list.


Departure dates


Notes

IT1
Trip begins in Mainz.
IT2
Trip follows a reverse itinerary beginning in Strasbourg (or in Kehl (Germany), directly across the border from Strasbourg) - refer to itinerary 2 in trip notes.
1
Discount applies for departure in October

Want to organise a private group?

Fundraising events, sporting groups, family treats; learn how you can organise a Private Group from just 6 travellers.

Total Priceper person from

$1690USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Discount for Oct departure - all cabin typesUSD$-37
  • Electric Bike SupplementUSD$130
  • Upper Deck Twin Supplement (Rear of boat nearer to engine)USD$190
  • Upper Deck Twin SupplementUSD$250
  • Single Supplement - Main Deck (single use of twin cabin)USD$380
  • Single Supplement - Upper Deck (single cabin)USD$440
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Making Europe Affordable

We offer different levels of accommodation and comfort so that even the most budget conscious can treat themselves to active holidays on Europe's most celebrated tracks and trails. Our trips are great value for money because you only pay for what you want.  

Self-Guided Specialists

Our wide range of self-guided itineraries embody the UTracks philosophy of exploring Europe your way. We handle the logistics so all that's left for you to do is enjoy exploring Europe at your own pace. Most depart daily with a minimum of two people, meaning maximum flexibility.

Our Wide Range

With close to 400 trips in almost 50 countries, including the largest range of bike & boat holidays in Europe, we're confident that we can organise an Alps walk, Camino de Santiago or Via Francigena experience, Food Lovers' trip or a tour in a lesser-known pocket of Europe that you will love. 

Videos

Rhine Valley Barge & Bike Tour | UTracks Active Travel

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