A perfect fall Rhine adventure exploring Roman history and German culture starting in Koblenz with stops in famous towns of Cologne, Dusseldorf and Bonn. We cross into Netherlands to cycle lovely countryside and typical Dutch-windmills, old farmsteads, cheese and beautiful ancient towns.
At the corner where the Rhine and Mosel Rivers meet, we welcome you onboard at noon in Koblenz. You settle into your room and we head to the old center for a guided tour.
You have the rest of the afternoon to sightsee this 2,000 year old beautiful town. The exciting cable car crossing the Rhine to the 11th century Ehrenbreitstein Fortress is a must see!
We pedal the beautiful Rhine cycling path today. Nearby in Andernach, a lovely town from 1200, we see the castle and fortress walls.
A slow, gentle uphill takes us to the beautiful Eifel plateau- a former area of volcanic activity. In fall you see lovely meadows, red in the trees and late flowers blooming. We follow the bike path to the Lacher Lake formed 12,000 years ago from volcanic eruption.
From the plateau it is a lovely descent into Remagen. Known for its Lundendorff bridge destroyed during WW II, the imposing towers still remain and house the interesting Peace Museum.
We board the Flora here for a picturesque sail into Bonn. The capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990, beautiful Bonn has history dating back to the 1st century BC. when Roman soldiers built the largest known Roman fort here. The city's most famous son, Ludwig van Beethoven was born here in 1770 and we will visit his house on a town walk.
From Bonn we head to the countryside of the North Rhine - narrow lanes through farmland and small German towns. In the little town of Porz we stop for lunch overlooking the river. It's only a few miles with an exciting bridge crossing to the west side of the Rhine and into Cologne.
Cologne is one of Germany's oldest cities. We'll visit the city's Gothic Cathedral - a Unesco Heritage site and Germany's most visited landmark. Afterwards we'll enjoy Cologne's famous Kolsch beer in a 100- year old brewery.
As the Rhine travels downstream we follow its meander and dip into the surrounding gentle rolling countryside- green fields and forests as far as the eye can see. We plan to stop at a horse farm and an organic fruit farm near the town of Dormagen. Then at the Schloss Aarf- a beautiful castle considered the most important Baroque monument of Rhineland, we'll explore the grounds.
We take photos at two beautiful lakes before heading over the bridge into Dusseldorf- the capital of North Rhine/Westphalia. Known for fashion and international business, Dusseldorf has a unique old town full of beautiful historic buildings such as the Rathaus and Schloss Kaiserwerth– original home to Emperor Barbarossa from 1174.
Our local guide, Martin, will take us on a fascinating tour of old Dusseldorf and show us how a once fishing village on the Rhine became the capital of a powerful European Duchy.
We sail this morning to the town of Duisburg where we start our cycling. We follow the shoreline and cut inland through forest to Xanten. A beautiful city rich with Roman history dating back to 15 BC, Xanten offers amazing sightseeing including the famous archeological park housing the remains of the former Roman settlement of Colonia Ulpia Traiana.
Our boat waits for us on the promenade in Rees. Founded in 1228, Rees is the oldest town of the lower Rhine whose medieval city walls greet you at the shores of the Rhine.
We cross the Rhine and head to the town of Kleve. On the way we stop at Schloss Moylen, a beautiful moated castle with photoworthy castle park.
Sitting on a hilltop, Schwanenburg Castle dominates Kleve town and offers a look-out over the Netherlands to the west. We'll take time to tour the castle and explore Kleve's quaint old town.
Cycling through the beautiful nature reserve called Ooij Polder, we have entered Netherlands. We'll enjoy miles of untouched dunes, grassy plains and ponds passing only a thatched farmhouse or two as we approach Nijmegen.
Nijmegen is the oldest city in the Netherlands, the first to be recognized as such in Roman times. The ruined palace begun by Roman emperor Charlemagne in the 8th still perches over the Waal River in Nijmegen's Valkhof park. Nijmegen's sweeping market square of medieval buildings is a favorite of locals and the city itself bursts with unique historical sights.
Thursday night is "Kopavond" in Nijmegen when all stores and cafes stay open until 9:00 p.m. and the town is full of energy.
This morning we cross the mighty Waal River into beautiful Betuwe Region known as the Orchard of Holland. We'll behold turning fall colors of hundreds of acres of fruit trees and stop to taste the apples and pears from the latest picking at a family farm. Our route also includes a visit to an organic farm and Suzie's treat to popular Dutch Apple Tart and coffee at a family-run Tea House.
We end our day in charming Wijk Bij Duurstede- at the crossing of the River Lek and Amsterdam Rhine. Fairytale charming, Wijk Bij Duurstede at one time was the northern border of the Roman Empire and became an important trading site in North-West Europe.
Today we can see the beautiful castle from 1300, beautiful town buildings and windmill set on a town gate during our town walk. We hope to catch a performance at the popular Calypso town theatre after dinner.
Our boat sails down the Amsterdam Rhine Canal to the town of Breukelen (from where our N.Y. borough gets its name!) where we depart to start our cycling. Cycling the Province of Utrecht – we behold centuries-old villages, beautiful pastureland dotted by windmills, castles and mansions built on the lovely river Vecht during the Dutch Golden Age.
Soon we stop for a tour of a working windmill. As we near Amsterdam, lunch will be enjoyed with a typical Dutch pancake treat (Pannekoek)at the Spiegelhuis Restaurant. We celebrate the end of a great trip with a farewell dinner.
Breakfast and depart ship at 9:30 a.m.
Our terrain on this tour is mostly flat with some rolling or a gentle climb as we venture into the German woodlands off of the river valley. As weather in fall is historically moderate, we should experience little wind and rain but you should be prepared for those weather factors that impact cycling experience and ability.
We recommend this trip for an active/athletic person or recreational cyclist who can complete the daily miles - and likes to average 10 mph on easy/flat terrain while enjoying a leisurely trip. We will average 25-30 miles on most days and advocate a "stop and smell the roses" philosophy to cycling.
Our group cycles together as a shared experience. Please note mileages on our pages are averaged and that due to factors such as weather, navigation, docking or other conditions our route can be changed or adjusted for safety purposes.
You are always welcome to take a break from cycling and enjoy sailing from the sundeck of our barge - quite a delightful experience! We do not use the assistance of a support vehicle on our Bike and Barge tours. Please also note that itinerary and mileage can change due to weather conditions or docking changes.
Your trip starts in Koblenz, Germany. We suggest our guests fly into Frankfurt International Airport. It is the main hub of Lufthansa as well as popular destination for other major and budget airlines. From Frankfurt there are many daily direct trains to the main train station in Koblenz near our boat docking.
The tour ends in Amsterdam serviced by Schiphol Airport. There is both excellent public transportation and reasonably priced shuttle service available from our boat docking and nearby Amsterdam Central Station to the airport. Extensive transportation information for this tour will be included in our informative Welcome Letter sent upon confirmation of your trip registration.
We confirm your booking via email with a detailed Welcome Letter for your tour. In this letter you will find lots of pre-trip planning information like how to get to the trip start, pre-trip lodging in Koblenz, area weather, cycling in Germany and Netherlands, how and what to pack, international travel hints and musts, tips on booking airfare, training to enjoy the tour, etc.
We are delighted to host our tour on the Passengership Flora. The ship features comfy cabins with private bath, a lovely eating salon and lounging area, and outside deck to enjoy a drink and views of the water.
Information about your trip, what to pack, pre-trip transportation and lodging in Amsterdam, traveling abroad, tips on airfare, and other important pre-trip details will be provided in a WELCOME LETTER sent to you when we receive your registration for the trip.
Please email Suzie to inquire about openings and with any questions about the tour. We love to hear from you!