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Traveller Rating


  • self guided cycle
  • 7 nights barge
  • 7 Dinners
  • 6 Lunches
  • 7 Breakfasts

8 Days£1440GBP


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.



Starting Point:

Mainz or Kehl

Finishing Point:

Strasbourg or Mainz

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On arrival in Mainz, you are welcome on board the MS Olympia, a river barge with a comfortable atmosphere, at 4pm. 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. Enjoy riding through vast fields and meadows. The beautiful cycle trail across the Friesenheim Island offers a high contrast to the opposite Rhine bank dominated by the BASF plant. A few kilometres further on, you will reach the confluence of the rivers Rhine and Neckar in Mannheim, where the barge will be waiting for you. Make the most of the afternoon, and take a stroll through Mannheim, the City of Squares, up to the Baroque castle.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today, follow the course of the marvellous Neckar River up to Heidelberg. The ancient Roman city of Ladenburg with its historic Old Town is worth a quick visit. Visible already from afar, the ruin of the Heidelberg Castle towers over the Old Town. Stroll across the famous Heidelberg Sandstone Bridge, or through the winding lanes and charming squares of the Old Town. Your way back leads through the heart of the Rhineland Palatinate (formerly part of the Roman Empire) along the Kurpfalzruote cycle way to Schwetzingen Castle. The castle garden is a perfect place for a short break before continuing along the Rhine Cycle Route to Mannheim.

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 alleyways, corners and squares. From Germersheim you will join the boat again and enjoy an apperitif enroute to Gambsheim.

Meals:  B,L,D

From the lock station of Gambsheim, our last day of cycling is an easy route along the Rhine plain all the way to the Alsatian capital, Strasbourg. 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 Strasbourg/Kehl. Note: Itinerary operates in reverse every alternate departure, i.e. Strasbourg to Mainz.

Meals:  B

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On arrival in Strasbourg, you are welcome on board the MS Olympia, a river barge with a comfortable atmosphere, at 4pm. 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

After breakfast, you have the possibility to visit Strasbourg, the capital of the Alsace, with its numerous channels, the Strasbourg Minster and the Tanners` Quarter with its small historic half-timbered houses. Enjoy a piece of French joie de vivre before you begin your first cycle tour. Cycle directly alongside the Rhine River through the gentle Rhine plain until you reach the Gambsheim lock where your ship already awaits, to set sail for Germersheim. While sailing, enjoy a glass of wine on deck or in the saloon recalling the first impressions of your journey.

Meals:  B,L,D

Todays cycle begins in Germersheim. Take the time first 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. the return route takes you on the other side of the Neckar via the Roman town Ladenburg back to Mannheim.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning you leave Mannheim along the Rhine to the imperial city of Worms. On your journey through two millenniums of the city’s history, 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



The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


  • 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 (payable locally). 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 Premium 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).
  • Information pack including route notes & maps per cabin. Plus navigational app access (smartphone required)
  • Cruise director on board - does not cycle with the group, provides daily briefings
  • 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)
  • Mobile phone holder
  • Welcome drink and briefing on the first evening
  • Local passenger and port fees
  • Linen and change of towels as required
  • Daily cabin cleaning
  • Emergency hotline

  • Travel to and from Mainz / Strasbourg/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
  • Meals not detailed in the itinerary
  • Helmet - mandatory on all bike tours, you are encouraged to bring your own well-fitted helmet.
  • Travel insurance - mandatory
  • Tour guide - this is a self guided tour
  • A supplement will apply if you are travelling solo or book a single room
  • Entrance fees and sightseeing fees
  • Transfers not specified
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Items of a personal nature such as phone calls, laundry etc.


Bike information




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


Trip begins in Mainz.
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.

Priceper person from


Options & Supplements*
  • Electric Bike SupplementGBP£110
  • Upper Deck Twin cabin Supplement (Rear of boat nearer engine)GBP£130
  • Upper Deck Twin cabin SupplementGBP£180
  • Single Supplement - Upper Deck (single cabin)GBP£220
  • Single Supplement - Main Deck (single use of twin cabin)GBP£330
  • Single Supplement - Upper Deck (single use of twin cabin)GBP£560
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews

Why travel with us

Personal Experience

We've been walking and cycling the planet for over four decades and are passionate about delivering exceptional service. Combined, we’ve travelled to virtually every corner of Europe, and are eager to share the many benefits of travelling on foot or by bike.

Great Value & Quality

Our well priced trips offer great value for money. Included in your package are comprehensive route notes, maps & guide books along with bag transfers and locally run accommodation. We take the stress out of organising your holiday.

Self-Guided Specialists

We have been operating active self guided holidays since 1973. We handle all the necessary logistics so that you can relax and explore your destination at your own pace. Many of our tours depart daily, giving you even greater flexibility.


Germany Barge & Bike Holiday | UTracks Active Travel

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