Rhine and Romans bus-bike2

Boat and Bike Through History

castles in Germany are a must-see on our small group tours

We will take you to a region abundant with castles steeped in culture and turbulent history right from their Roman beginnings through to modern times.

Travelling by train and boat, you’ll see famous sights, Lorelei for example or impressive Marksburg Castle, and enjoy some of the local specialities along the Rhine and Moselle rivers.

On a leisurely bike ride we explore art and nature at the Hoge Veluwe Park in the Netherlands and on another day we'll cycle to the Archaeological Park in Xanten where you’ll get to experience Roman life. The cathedral cities of Cologne and Aachen will show you how these old Roman towns have transformed into modern hives of cultural activity.

 

book-nowOur Highlights: Rhine Boat Tour – Guided Tour of Marksburg Castle – Bike to ancient Roman settlement and archaeological park - Cycling in Dutch National Park incl. Van Gogh Exhibition & Sculpture Park - Guided Tour of Cathedral and other city gems, followed by pub crawl in Cologne – Guided Tour of Aachen Cathedral & City Hall

Gallery


Photos: Deutsche Zentrale für Tourismus / Fotolia

Map

Germany tour map incl. day trip to The Netherlands and Rhine Boat Tour

Map of Germany

Itinerary

Day 1: Koblenz – Wine Tasting & Eltz Castle Walk

Day 2: Koblenz – Rhine Boat Tour & City Sightseeing Tour

Day 3: Lower Rhine Region – Scenic Drive and Guided Tour of Marksburg Castle

Day 4: Bike Tour – Archaeological Park Xanten

Day 5: Bike Ride in Dutch National Park incl. Van Gogh Exhibition & Sculpture Park

Day 6: Cologne - Guided Tour of Cathedral and City, incl. pub crawl

Day 7: Aachen - Guided Tours of Cathedral and City Hall

 

Day 1: Koblenz – Wine Tasting & Eltz Castle Walk

Our tour starts in Koblenz, from where we soon head to the Moselle River to spend the day in its romantic vicinity. First, we drive along the scenic German Wine Route ("Weinstrasse") and sample some of the delicious locally produced wines.

Nestled in the hills above the Moselle River is the medieval Eltz Castle, one of the only castles on the left bank of the Rhine that have never been destroyed. Here we go for a 2-3h walk to take in the beautiful vistas.

In the evening we arrive back in Koblenz and make our way up - in a purpose built panoramic lift - to the impressive Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, which rises 118 meters above the Rhine River. From here we enjoy a fantastic view over Koblenz and the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle, the so-called "Deutsches Eck" (German Corner). We stay the first two nights of our tour in Koblenz.

Day 2: Koblenz – Rhine Boat Tour & City Sightseeing Tour

We take the train from Koblenz to Bingen, where we start our "Rheinfahrt",
a picturesque trip on a boat down the Rhine. In about 3-4 hours we slowly cruise through a breathtakingly beautiful valley with hills covered in wine and dotted with many impressive castles and ruins.

After making our way by boat all the way back to Koblenz, we go on a walk through the 2000-year-old town under local guidance to take in its abundance of cultural monuments and historic buildings, as well as its cosy lanes and narrow alleyways.

Day 3: Lower Rhine Region – Scenic Drive and Guided Tour of Marksburg Castle

From Koblenz we drive a short distance to the medieval Marksburg Castle, built about 1117, and enjoy a guided tour of the formidable castle. Then we head north through the scenic landscapes of the Lower Rhine region and visit the picturesque township of Kalkar with its famous St Nikolai Church and a flour mill built in 1770. Before we retire today, we head to the 'Ratskeller' in Kalkar, a highly recommended historic restaurant with a great atmosphere that offers many local specialties.

The next three nights we will be based at the stately manor B&B Haus Grieth, located directly on the shores of the Rhine.

Day 4: Bike Tour – Archaeological Park Xanten

Today we will explore the Rhine region at a different pace and head off on a bike tour to the Archaeological Park Xanten in Xanten to learn more about the Roman influences in this part of Germany. The archaeological park is on the site of the ancient Roman settlement of Colonia Ulpia Traiana and is Germany's largest outdoor museum with some buildings dating back to the second century. We will immerse ourselves in history in this fascinating mixture of ruins and reconstructed sites including temples, homes, an amphitheatre, a city wall, a baths complex and an inn, to name but a few.

As Germany caters well to cyclists, 90% of our ride will be on designated bike paths, some of which meander directly along the shores of the river.

Day 5: Bike Ride in Dutch National Park incl. Van Gogh Exhibition & Sculpture Park

We cross the border into The Netherlands for the day and enjoy the scenic moorlands ("Heidelandschaft") of the Hoge Veluwe National Park near the Dutch town of Arnheim. In Arnheim we will enjoy a traditional Dutch pancake meal for lunch at the 'Pannekoken Huis'. We explore the beautiful landscape of the National Park by bike and visit the Van Gogh Exhibition as well as the Sculpture Park in the Kröller-Müller Museum, which is situated in the midst of the moorland nature park.

Day 6: Cologne - Guided Tour of Cathedral and City, incl. pub crawl

The fascinating city of Cologne awaits us today. We explore it with a knowledgeable local guide who loves Cologne and will show us not only the well-known sights such as the impressive Cologne Cathedral,
but also the more hidden treasures.

We round out the day with a typical Cologne pub crawl and get to know the best local hangouts before we retire to our central hotel in the city.

Day 7: Aachen - Guided Tours of Cathedral and City Hall

From Cologne we head to another city steeped in history and well-known for its impressive cathedrale - Aachen. For 600 years, from 936 to 1531, Aachen Cathedral was the church of coronation for 30 German kings and 12 queens.
We wander through the city, which comprises a curious and unique mixture of building styles and enjoy guided tours of the two most awe-inspiring landmarks – the Cathedral as well as the impressive 14th century City Hall.

We enjoy a last night together in Aachen. Individual departure after breakfast the next morning.
We are happy to help arrange your arrival and departure or book additional services for you (such as additional nights).

 

Highlights

 Koblenz
Situated at the strategic point where the rivers Rhine and Moselle join, Koblenz has a long history of fortifications, military posts and castles built in and around it. As early as 1000 BC fortifications had been built on the hill that now
has the Festung Ehrenbreitstein situated on it. Click to read more

 Moselle River
The wine route along the Moselle (in German ‘Mosel’) river will take us through parts of one of the 13 prime wine producing regions in Germany. It is the third largest producing region in Germany and the leading one in terms of international prestige! Click to read more

 Eltz Castle
During your walk in and around the castle you will be able to marvel at the up to eight story high towers and enjoy the detailed and beautiful architecture. Even though Burg Eltz is an impressive castle, it fortunately never saw any war actions and its buildings remained unharmed. The castle is certainly a beautiful example of a medieval fortification that was used for centuries, in this case since the 12th century, by one family to live in. Click to read more

 Ehrenbreitstein Fortress
It’s first mentioned around 1000 AD, a castle erected by someone called Ehrenbert. But already in 1020 the castle was transferred into the hands of the Archbishop of Trier. Since then it had been mainly in the hands of religious groups, who fortified and extended the castle to support and protect themselves. Click to read more

 Bingen to Koblenz Rhine Boat Trip
As the southernmost part of the UNESCO Rhine Gorge World Heritage Site, the train and boat trip will take you through some stunning landscapes. Bingen has a long history of settlement due to the river Nahe emptying into the Rhine gorge. The rivers meant very good transportation and a celtic settlement called ‘Binge’ has been recorded. Click to read more

 Kalkar
Kalkar is one of the few towns from the 13th century that had been specifically designed by the local lords and was granted the status of a city shortly after its inception. The city centre offers a range of architectural and historical landmarks. Click to read more

 Marksburg Castle
Of the 40 hill castles between Bingen and Koblenz the Marksburg was the only one which was never destroyed. Despite having changed ownership quite frequently in its 700 years of history the owners at the time always found a purpose for the site. The first keep built in 1107 was a triangular shape in the classic medieval design. This was extended and fortified over the centuries, adding Romanesque and Gothic building elements. Click to read more

 Archaeological Park Xanten
In 1977 the only park preserving and exhibiting the only Roman town north of the Alps which had not been built over in its history, opened its doors to the public. The park first only covered the eastern part of the township but in 2009, after changing the route of a federal highway, an extension covering the remaining western part was opened to the public. Click to read more

 Kröller-Müller Museum
The museum is named after its founding director Helene Kröller-Müller who lived from 1869 to 1939. The museum not only has an impressive collection of paintings, but also can claim to have one of the largest sculpture gardens in Europe. The garden reflects Helene Kröller-Müller’s conception of a symbiosis between art, architecture and nature. Click to read more

 Köln / Cologne
Due to its location Cologne has been at the centre of activities - cultural, economic and political - since its humble beginnings in 38BC. During Roman times the city grew to be one of the most important trade and production centres in the Roman Empire north of the Alps. The truly spectacular and world famous Cathedral was conceived in the 13th century as a grand structure. After “just” over 200 years work on it ceased, to be recommenced in the 19th century and in 1880 construction, according to the original plans, was finished. It is an amazing building and you should not miss the opportunity to view it thoroughly, from the outside and inside. Click to read more

 Aachen
In 786 Charlemagne ordered a cathedral to be built, which after completion was the biggest north of the Alps. After his death he was buried there and the cathedral was used for the coronations of 30 German kings and 12 queens in the subsequent centuries. Aachen has a vast selection of impressive buildings showcasing all the different styles of architecture throughout the city. Click to read more

 

You can find more info and background stories about the interesting sights of this tour in our blog articles overview page.

Day 1 1

Day 1 2

Day 2 1

Day 2 2

Day 2 3

Day 2 4

Day 2 5

Day 3 1

Day 4 1

Day 4 2

Day 4 4

Day 6 2

Day 6 3

Day 7 1

Day 7 2

Photos: Deutsche Zentrale für Tourismus / Fotolia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dates, Services & Price

 

Dates:

All our tours are available on customized dates between June and September.
We can guarantee departures if you have a group of 4 or more - contact us

This tour links with Western Contrasts and can perfectly be combined with the Saar Moselle Bike Trail as well as the Weser River Bike Trail, and/or can be booked with any of our other tours. 
We are happy to help arrange your transport, additional nights or any other services as required.

 

What's Included:

• 7 day tour in Minibus, excursions and activities as detailed in itinerary

• Train ticket to Bingen

• Boattrip on the Rhine from Bingen to Koblenz

• 3 nights in B&B incl. breakfast

• 4 nights in good mid-range hotels (German standard 3 stars) incl. breakfast

all accommodation in double or twin rooms, single room optional with surcharge

• Koblenz

  - Sightseeing tour

  - Guided tour of Marksburg Castle

•  Kalkar

   - Guided tour of flour mill

• 1 day bike hire Rhine region

• Entrance fee and audio guide Archaeological Park Xanten

• Bike hire in Dutch National Park 'Hooge Veluwe'

• Entrance fee Kröller-Müller Museum (incl. Van Gogh Exhibition & Skulpture Park)

• Lunch: visit of 'Pannekoken Huis' incl. traditional Pannekoken meal

• Cologne

   - Guided city tour incl. a glass of 'Kölsch' beer and a traditional 'halven Hahn' snack

• Aachen

   - Guided tour Cathedral 

   - Entrance fee and guided tour City Hall

• Professional bilingual & bicultural tour guide (English/German) throughout your whole trip

• Most guided tours are for the members of our group only and carried out by local guides

 

Price:

EUR 1.585 p.p. for  4 - 6 participants (discount available for groups of 7 or more) 

 

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