Along rivers Rhine & Main
Cruising on a boat and cycling through a colorful countryside is the perfect recipe for a successful holiday. Biking and active during the day, the boat accompanies you along the river to welcome you at the day's goal as your swimming hotel. And if you do not want to cycle you can enjoy the tour on board, admiring the passing scenery. First you will bike through the flat, peaceful, farming countryside of Holland, with the famous windmills along the way. And later in Germany, we follow the Rhine upstream, first through industrial areas, but later along numerous fortresses and with a little bit of fantasy you can hear the singing mermaids. Apart from the beautiful landscape, you will see cultural highlights, art treasures, and you can enjoy regional culinary specialties. From Mainz we follow the river Main that winds through the diverse countryside of Franconia and Hesse in several wide loops, passing old cities and towns full of historical attractions. Cycling through charming vineyards, orchards and lovely meadows along the bank of the Main River is a great way to end this tour.
Itinerary 2018: Amsterdam – Wijk bij Duurstede – Arnhem – Rees – Düsseldorf – Cologne– Bonn – Koblenz – St. Goar – Rüdesheim – Mainz – Frankfurt am Main – Aschaffenburg
NB: On the Iris from 18 guests there will be two guides and you can decide each day if you want to join the longer or the shorter ride. On the Allure is only 1 guide.
Barge Iris (24 passengers)
The Iris was put to sea in April 2005. The Iris is a refitted freight barge that accommodates 24 overnight passengers and 50 day passengers. The interior of the Iris is fresh, tasteful and comfortable. The Iris can navigate on most rivers and canals in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.
The Iris has two decks. On the top deck you will the lounge, a roomy sitting area, a cozy bar and a sun deck. The whole barge has central heating and air-conditioning.
Below, the Iris has 12 spacious and comfortable guest cabins for two (no bunk beds) and each cabin has a private bathroom.
Barge Allure (20 passengers)
The Allure started cruising in 1998. Jossie Verkerk, the former owner, redesigned the barge with its sleek lines herself and turned it into a comfortable and friendly passenger barge. From that moment on, the Allure has been hosting successful bike & barge vacations in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.
The Allure has a cozy lounge, a small sitting area and a bar. The barge also has a beautiful large deck, where the meals are served – weather permitting, of course.
In front there are 10 double-occupancy cabins (no bunk beds) with private bathrooms. The cabins also have central heating.
Day 1 (Sat): Amsterdam – Wijk bij Duurstede, Bike tour: about 15 km
12.30 h Arrival in Amsterdam
13.00 h Welcome speech and crew introduction
13.00 h Ship leaves the harbor
13.30 h Safety lecture
14.30 h Short test ride to Breukelen (known in New York as Brooklyn) along the meandering river Vecht.
17.00 h Back on board
18.15 h Welcome drink
18.30 h Diner is served while sailing on the Amsterdam – Rhine Canal. The ship brings us to the Lek (Rhine) at Wijk bij Duurstede; one of the oldest settlements in the Low Lands.
Day 2 (Sun): Wijk bij Duurstede – Arnhem, Bike tour: about 50 km
Breakfast during sailing. Today we bike from Wageningen to and through the National Park the Hoge Veluwe with the Kröller-Müller museum.
The Park is a cultural heritage that was founded at the beginning of the twentieth century by the couple Anton and Helene Kröller-Müller. Anton was a successful businessman. He did like hunting with business associates and friends, so he bought De Hoge Veluwe as a hunting ground in several phases in 1909. Helene was an enthusiastic art collector. Anton and Helene had a dream: to bring nature and culture together. In the period 1909-1923 the foundations are laid for the current Park. Also in this period the construction started of a museum for the art collection.
In 1935 the park was placed in a foundation: The National Park De Hoge Veluwe. The Government provided a loan to the foundation. The art collection was donated to the State of the Netherlands and the Kingdom built the museum. The Kröller-Müller Museum has a world famous collection of mainly 19th and 20th century art. Central to the extensive collection are works by Vincent van Gogh.
In the afternoon we bike to Arnhem where we will meet the barge. After dinner you can join the walk through town.
Day 3 (Mon): Arnhem – Rees, Bike tour: about 50 km
Breakfast during sailing. Biking starts from Pannerden. Before we hit the German border we pass Doornenburg, with a wonderfully maintained medieval stronghold. This fairy tale castle was the scene for many a movie. From Doornenburg you take the right bank of the Rhine and pass the border at Lobith. On the way to our destination Rees you pass Emmerich, a bigger town with a lovely boulevard along the Rhine. We end in Rees, a town with impressive remains of fortification.
Day 4 (Tue): Rees – Wesel | Wesel – Duisburg, Bike tour: about 50 km | Duisburg – Düsseldorf
Early departure of the barge. We sail during breakfast and get off at Wesel.
Today we focus on the Ruhr area where Germany’s and probably Europe’s largest industries are housed. Cities like Essen, Duisburg, Oberhaussen and Dortmund are glued together through a maze of highways, railways and waterways. Once very prosperous and therefore a target in 1923 when Belgium and French troops tried to enforce WW-1 payments of Prussia. And a number 1 target in 1944-1945 for sure. Hard to imagine that you can cycle here, but you can! The German government put a lot of effort in re-developing the area after the closing down of many a factory. It may not be always scenic, but it is an impressive landscape indeed and not to be missed when one visits the Rhine. However, we don’t want to cycle to long along factories, so in the middle of this area the ship picks us up at Duisburg and sails us to Düsseldorf. Dinner during sailing.
In the evening there is time to visit the Alstadt. You can try their famous local dark beer, Altbier. You will be amazed to what an international city this is, with almost a fifth of the population being foreigners.
Day 5 (Wed): Düsseldorf – Zons | Zons – Cologne, Bike tour: about 45 km
During breakfast cruising to Zons. Cycling direction Cologne you leave the Ruhr area behind. We will stay close to the Rhine in order to be in Cologne not too late in the afternoon and having some time to look around. Cologne is the oldest of the bigger German cities, founded by the Romans. It got its city rights already 50 years after Christ as a gift from the Roman empress Agrippa. Later Cologne became one the most important centers of the Holy Roman Empire. Landmark is of course the Cathedral right next to the railway station and the railway bridge over the Rhine. In 1248 they started with the construction of the cathedral and only finished it in 1880! The city was almost completely destroyed in the 1944-1945. The city hall however, dating from 1330, is beautifully restored. Dinner in town at your own account
Day 6 (Thu): Cologne – Bonn, Bike tour: about 45 km
Also today you just follow the river in order to reach Bonn in time so you have the option to visit the capital of Germany from 1945 until 1990. When East- and West Germany got re-united Berlin was re-established as capital, but still 6 departments of the German Government are housed here. Like Cologne Bonn was founded by the Romans, in the year 10 before Christ, because they could build a bridge over here. Worth visiting are the old City Hall; the Münster Basilica and the house Beethoven was born. After dinner there is a city walk through Bonn.
Day 7 (Fri): Bonn – Remagen | Remagen – Koblenz, Biketour: about 48 km
We sail during breakfast to Remagen. Here your bike tour starts, but first there is time to visit this town with a rich historical past. Nowadays it is known for its once famous Ludendorff Bridge, the only useable bridge over the Rhine taken over by the Americans in march 1945 in operation Lumberjack. In the bridgehead is a museum dedicated to its history. After Remagen a more romantic section of the Rhine valley starts with strongholds, mansions and the first vineyards in the first mid-German hills. We pass the beloved bath resort Bad Breisig and also Burg Rhineeck. This stronghold in a beautiful scenery dates from 1100. We visit Andernach, once a Roman settlement. It is still a wonderful town with many historical sites. Shortly after Andernach we arrive in Koblenz. Its name comes from the Latin Confluentes, meaning the merging of two rivers (Rhine en Moselle). The statue of Emperor Wilhelm of Prussia on the merging point is impressive landmark. Koblenz is a city cozily rebuilt after the Second World War damages.
Day 8 (Sat): Koblenz | day of rest
Today we enjoy a day of rest. You can explore the town and visit for example the castle Ehrenbreitstein. The city is consisted of the Altstadt (old city) and the Neustadt (new city). The Altstadt is the shape of a triangle, with 2 sides consisting of the Rhine & Mosel rivers, and the third side is covered by endless hills topped with fortresses. While the old city is closely built, the new city is more roomy with an attractive view of the Rhine.
Day 9 (Sun): Koblenz – Winningen | Winningen – Moselkern, Bike tour: about 40 km | Moselkern – Alken
Before and during breakfast the barge sails to Winningen. Departure for bike tour to Burg Eltz. Part of it walking, as it is well hidden in the hills. This Castle is different from any other castle. It remained unscathed by wars. It has been owned and cared for by the same family from when it was built until today. Its architecture has no comparison and many of the original furnishings of the past eight centuries still remain in place. There is a Treasury and Armoury boasting world-class artworks in gold and silver. It towers high on a large rock, but is still in a valley. So you understand: we have to go there! After this great visit we will walk and bike back to the barge, which will offer us an afternoon and dinner cruise back to Alken were we will dock for the night.
Day 10 (Mon): Alken – Koblenz | Koblenz – St.Goar, Bike tour: about 40 km
Before and during breakfast the barge sails to Koblenz. Todays bike tour first goes to the castle Stolzenfels. Next is the ancient city Boppard. Here the Rhine takes an amazing turn, nearly 180 degrees. Boppard, also called the ‘pearl on the River Rhine’, is home to the most famous observation spot on the river which can be reached via a chairlift. Boppard has always been a visitors magnet with her precipitous vineyards and one of the nicest bank promenades on the Middle Rhine and the oldest preserved Roman fort walls to the north of the Alps.
Your destination is St. Goar, opposite famous Loreley. A ferry and a bus bring you up to the Loreley. A hiking path leads up to this lovely spot and offers a beautiful sight to the narrowest part in the romantic Rhine Valley. The Loreley is a 433 feet high slate cliff in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley World Heritage. The view on St.Goarshausen, from the Loreley outlook point, leaves a wonderful impression.
First traces of human settlement have been apparent from the time the Loreley Plateau was level with the Rhine (600.000 years ago). During the Middle Ages the Loreley was well known, along with the Binger Loch, as the most dangerous section of the Rhine. Many mariners in their wooden dinghies came to tragedy here. In St. Goar, directly opposite the Loreley the Saint Goar settled to save shipwrecked mariners and nurse them back to health. After dinner you can join the city walk.
Day 11 (Tue): St. Goar – Oberwesel | Oberwesel – Rüdesheim, Bike tour: about 40 km
During breakfast we will join the ship through this famous passage. From Oberwesel we continue biking along the lovely banks of the middle Rhine to Rüdesheim. Pompous castles attract on your way. We stay overnight in Rüdesheim, a historic city of winegrowers. Already the Romans grew wine here. The old town, dating from the Middle Ages, and parts of the city’s fortifications like the Adlerturm (eagle tower) are maintained. Here you will find cozy traditional wine taverns in historic half- timbered houses. No tourist leaves this international well-known city without visiting the world-famous Drosselgasse. The Drosselgasse is the heart of Rüdesheim’s old town, a “magnet” for guests from all continents. After dinner you can join the city walk through Rüdesheim.
Day 12 (Wed): Rüdesheim – Mainz, Bike tour: about 40 km
The beautiful stage leads through rolling vineyards and well-known wine villages. The Rhine is flowing quite unhurriedly, forming little islands and broadening its bed up to 800 m width! Our destination is Mainz, where the Main river meets the Rhine. In the afternoon there will be time to explore this interesting city. Mainz’s inner city is its pride and joy, filled with spacious plazas, lovingly restored -timbered houses and magnificent Baroque style churches. The ‘Old Town’ has a very charming and warm atmosphere. Dinner in town at your own account.
Day 13 (Thu): Mainz – Frankfurt-am-Main, Bike tour: about 45 km
A unique feature of Frankfurt is its significant number of skyscrapers in the city center which form the Frankfurt skyline. Frankfurt is one of only a few cities in the European Union that have such a skyline, the others being London, Warsaw, Madrid, Rotterdam and La Défense in the outer Paris region. Because of the city’s skyline, Germans sometimes humorously refer to Frankfurt am Main as “Mainhattan”. After dinner you can join the city walk through Frankfurt.
Day 14 (Fri): Frankfurt-am-Main – Aschaffenburg, Bike tour: about 45 km
Today’s bike tour leads first to the small and romantic city of Seligenstadt with its windings alleys, wood framed houses, and basilica. After that we cross the Main on a small ferry and we continue through Hanau the town where the famous Grimm Brothers were born. You will find the barge again 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 enter Aschaffenburg as it is the grandest of all Renaissance palace complexes. We will visit the castle in the afternoon. There will be a tasting of local beers and wine offered. And after dinner you can join the city walk.
Day 15 (Sat): Aschaffenburg
Disembarkation after breakfast until 9 AM: End of your trip.
Details: In italics printed parts will be covered by the ship
Program and details barring changes, a.o. as a result of nautical, technical or meteorological reasons.
All distances are “approximate distances” of recommended bike tours.
Your tour guide will guide the bike tour daily.
– Transfer to/from the docking places Amsterdam and Aschaffenburg;
– Reservation fee
– 2x Dinner;
– Bike rental (incl. pannier, helmet and water bottle) € 160
– Parking fees;
– Personal insurances
– Gratuities (at your discretion)
– Drinks and expenses on excursions (not mentioned under included)
Special diets on request/surcharges may apply.
Reservation fee: €15 per booking/group (obligated)
Rental bicycle with 8 or 11 gear and handbrakes: € 160 for 2 weeks (pannier, water bottle, use of helmet included)
Rental E-Bike: €330 for two weeks (only on request, limited number available, early bookings strongly recommended)
|Available dates 2018:|
|Amsterdam – Aschaffenburg (Iris)
Amsterdam – Aschaffenburg (Allure)
single supplement on request
Level of difficulty
The trip is rated as level 1: easy.
These holidays are appropriate for anyone with good physical condition and basic cycling skills. On virtually flat terrain, with distances up to 50 kilometers. You spend about 4 hours on your bicycle.
NB: On the Iris from 18 guests there will be two guides and you can decide each day if you want to join the longer or the shorter ride. On the Allure is only 1 guide.
The trip starts in Amsterdam
In Amsterdam the barge is docked in the Oosterdok, not far from the Central Station.
We expect you on board the ship on Saturday at about 12.30 hours. And the ship will leave the harbor at 13.00 h. If you cannot arrive on time, will you please notify us by telephone or e-mail?
The General Conditions (travel conditions) of Boat Bike Tours apply to cycling cruises, as well as to confirmation and cancellation of such tours. In principle, children are very welcome on board. However, before booking, we advise you to satisfy yourself that your child is able to manage a cycle trip of approx. 55 km (34 mi.). Of course you may stay one or more days longer on board (children under the age of 18 years must be under supervision). The interior of the ship is a non-smoking zone: smoking is only allowed on the sun deck. As a safety measure, a statutory smoking ban applies in all cabins; this means that all cabins and rooms on board are non-smoking areas.
Boat Bike Tours BV
’t Prooyen 3-B
1141 VD Monnickendam
Tel: +31 299 313071
Fax: +31 299 313065
Updated: May 16th, 2017
Amsterdam Oosterdok weergeven op een grotere kaart