Old Town in Meissen, Germany. Photo via Flickr:Bernd Thaller

Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam, Germany. Photo via Flickr:Harry Pherson

Berlin to Aschaffenburg

Germany Bike + Barge Tours

Biking alongside the great Elbe and Main Rivers

  • There is something for everyone on this unique combination tour of hotel to hotel and then biking and boating. In Berlin, you will visit all the major sites and after four days of biking, walking, and exploring this capital treasure, you will follow the Elbe River bike path with Dresden as your destination.

    Riding is flat and easy along the river through the romantic Saxony alps where sandstone formations rise up like giants waking from a deep sleep.

    On Day 9, your journey takes a wonderful twist as you will board the lovely Iris for the second part of your epic cycling vacation beginning in the ancient kingdom of Franconia. This is the heart of old Germany and home of the Bratwurst! The bike path along the Main River is rated 5-stars by the German Federation of Cyclists. Vibrant cities, quaint villages, and gently rolling fields and forests will enchant. The locals are friendly and proud of their vineyards and poets, musicians and beer, and we do mean beer!

    Come explore this colorful tapestry of castles and cathedrals, popes, and princes spanning the ages.

    Highlights:

    • Boutique hotels
    • History
    • In-depth exploration of Berlin
    • Medieval Bamberg, perfectly preserved medieval gem
    • Dresden and Cathedral
    • Food, wine, and beer
    • Unique barge accommodations

    Not biking? This is one of the best tours that you can book if you are not a cyclist but love the itinerary. Just look at the Not Biking details.

    This tour can also be booked as 9-day hotel to hotel tour without the boating. See Berlin to Bamberg!

    Want to see more bike and barge tours in Germany?

  • Price £ 3020 $ 4,817 3198 NOK 31714 kr 29274 $ 3,806 Single supplement
    First 8 days: £ 519 $ 828 550 NOK 5454 kr 5035 $ 655 Bike and boat portion, only one single available per tour date: On request

    extra options

    Extra night in Berlin:
    Electric bike: £ 94 $ 151 100 NOK 992 kr 915 $ 119

    please note

    Rates are based on double occupancy.

    Information to read before you book.

    We recommend purchasing bike trip insurance.

    Please see our FAQ.

  • Travel

    You can fly into Berlin International Airport and fly out of Frankfurt International Airport (FRA).

    Local Travel

    From the Berlin Airport, you can take a train into Berlin City Center and then taxi to your hotel. At end of tour, you can take an ICE train from Aschaffenburg to the airport. More details to follow soon.

    Climate

    Please check local conditions before your arrival. A good website to research regional weather including high/low temperatures, average rainfall etc. is weatherbase.com.


Where You’ll Stay

You will be accommodated in unique and charming 3 and 4-star hotels during the hotel to hotel portion of this tour and then on board the Comfort Plus vessel, the Iris. Many of the hotels are historic and family-owned.

What’s Included

  • Hotel portion:
  • 7 nights in hotels in Berlin, Dresden, and Bamberg, including breakfast
  • Welcome reception in Berlin
  • 1 dinner in Berlin
  • Lunch at St. Cecilienhof
  • Lunch at Liebenberg
  • Guided Wall tour in Berlin
  • Guided City tour in Dresden
  • 1 dinner in Dresden
  • Coffee and cake on the way to Königstein
  • Entrance Königstein (King’s Rock)
  • Steamship to Dresden
  • Snacks on board
  • Entrance Meissen Porcelain Museum
  • Guided city walk in Bamberg
  • 1 dinner in Bamberg
  • All transfers by S-Bahn, train or coach
  • 11 speed Gudereit Trekking bike with helmets, panniers, and water bottle
  • Bike and boat portion:
  • 7 nights accommodations on board the Iris
  • Breakfast
  • 6 packed lunches
  • 6 dinners
  • Tour guide (from 18 guests, 2 guides)
  • 11 speed Gudereit Trekking bike with helmets, panniers, and water bottle
  • Welcome drink
  • Wine tasting

What’s Not Included

  • Excursions, exhibitions, dinners/lunches not mentioned in the day to day program
  • Drinks during lunches and dinners included in the program
  • Gratuities for your tour guides/van driver
  • Traveling to and from your tour
TourBike+Boat
TypeGuided
SkillEasy
Length16 days
From3198 Rates
Client Reviews

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Tour Dates

May 25 and August 31, 2018

Skill Level

This is an easy guided combination tour (hotel to hotel and bike and boat) in which the majority of the route is flat and follow the river valleys.

Tour Boats

Day-To-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Berlin
Day 2: Berlin - Potsdam - Berlin
Day 3: Berlin and the Wall
Day 4: Berlin, Liebensberg and Sachsenhausen
Day 5: Transfer to Dresden
Day 6: Dresden - Königstein
Day 7: Dresden - Meissen
Day 8: Bamberg
Day 9: Bamberg to Hassfurt
Day 10: Hassfurt - Schweinfurt-Volkach
Day 11: Volkach-Kitzingen-Eibelstadt
Day 12: Eibelstadt - Würzburg
Day 13: Würzburg - Karlstadt - Marktheidenfeld
Day 14: Marktheidenfeld - Wertheim - Miltenberg
Day 15: Miltenberg - Aschaffenburg
Day 16:  Aschaffenburg

*Daily mileage is between 25 and 30 miles a day.

The itinerary is subject to last minute changes due to unforeseen circumstances such as wind, weather, mooring locations, etc.

Day 1: Berlin
Check-in at your boutique hotel in Prenzlauerberg, one of the vibrant hotspots of the former East German part of Berlin. At 9:00 pm, there is a meeting in the hotel lobby to meet your fellow travelers and tour guides. You will enjoy a relaxing cocktail and learn the logistics of your tour and bike safety.

Accommodations during your time in Berlin will be at the Hotel Myers in Prenzlauerberg, Berlin

Day 2: Berlin - Potsdam - Berlin
You begin your day on board the S-Bahn (rapid transit railway) to Potsdam, the former residence of Prussian Kings,  for the start of your cycling journey. Around the city, there are a series of interconnected lakes and cultural landmarks. You ride through the red-brick Dutch Quarter onto Alexandrowka, a small enclave of Russian homes (including an Orthodox chapel) built for immigrants. Next is the Wannsee Villa where Nazi officials met to organize and implement the "Final Solution" to the Jewish Question. From here you visit Cecilienhof where Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill met post-war. The final stop in Potsdam is Sanssouci, Germany's Versailles, the largest World Heritage Site in Germany and the former summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia.This evening features a short lecture about the Berlin Wall and Cold War.

Not biking? A  guide will escort you to Wannsee Villa, Cecilienhof and Sans Soussi palace

Day 3: Berlin and the Wall
A fascinating ride awaits today along the  Berlin Wall with a local guide, stopping at Checkpoint Charlie and finishing at Alexanderplatz. The rest of the day is yours to explore. Berlin is a city of art, museums, parks, monumental buildings, trendy neighborhoods, and history at every turn. What interests you? The site of the SS headquarters, the Jewish museums, a stroll along Unter den Linden to Brandenburg Gate? If you’re a museum-goer, you can choose from 170! Berlin’s Museum Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Hackesche Höfe is a magnificent retail complex that embodies the characteristic buzz of Old Berlin with great shopping, theaters, and cafés.

Not biking? A local guide walks with you along the Berlin Wall to Alexanderplatz in time to join the others.

Day 4: Berlin, Liebensberg, and Sachsenhausen
The route today leads through a lovely rural area of field and forest crisscrossed by small rivers and lakes. Stopping in Liebenberg for lunch at a 17th-century noble estate, you will learn about the part they played during WWII resistance. The head of the SS Stormtroopers, Hermann Göhring liked to hunt here. After lunch, the itinerary includes a visit to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Due to its close proximity to Berlin, SS officers trained here before moving on to oversee other work camps in the Reich. After this solemn visit, it’s back to Berlin.

Not biking? You have a longer excursion at Liebenberg and enjoy the group lunch. Then it’s your choice to visit Sachsenhausen concentration camp or return to Berlin for the afternoon

Day 5: Transfer to Dresden
You can explore more of Berlin today or put a few miles on and pedal around the city with a local guide. There are wonderful bike paths throughout old neighborhoods and trendy new areas. Whatever you choose to do, the group meets again in the late afternoon for transfer by the train back to Dresden. After dinner in the hotel, you can stroll through magical Dresden, the royal residence of Saxon kings,  on the Elbe River, all lit up at night.

Accommodations in Dresden will be in the heart of Dresden, within walking distance of the historical Old Town, Hotel Martha.

Day 6: Dresden - Königstein
This morning the church bells will be your wake up call. The Dresden Cathedral is a baroque jewel lovingly rebuilt after 90% of the historic city was leveled at the end of WWII. A local guide will escort you around a bit and then you hit the trail along the Elbe River, riding through an expansive green paradise known as Saxon Switzerland. Ancient rock rise out of the landscape in unusual formations softened eons ago by ocean waves. This is also a mecca for free climbers and the thing they like to do here is Boofen, an eyebrow-raising word referring to the local tradition of “sleeping in open air” under cliff overhangs. You then pedal onward to the massive medieval fortress called King’s Rock. This former dungeon-prison played an important role in Saxony’s history. The mighty Saxon Dukes and Prince-Electors used the hill-top fortress as a hunting lodge and secure refuge during war times. The best way to get back to Dresden is aboard the world’s oldest and largest paddle steamer. All aboard!

Not biking? You will join your driver/guide to King’s Rock and will have ample time to explore.

Day 7: Dresden - Meissen
Today you bike along the Elbe River to the Meissen Porcelain Factory and observe how fine porcelain has been crafted since 1710. Thanks to local deposits of china clay (kaolin), potter’s earth, and German ingenuity, Meissen porcelain was the first of its kind made outside of the Orient. The emblem on the back of every piece is two swords crossed. It’s the oldest trademark in the world! After lunch, your travel in direction of Bamberg. Little gem for today is Moedlareuth: a little town divided after the war and known as little Berlin: a wall splitting a local community into two parts. It is now an open air museum. After the visit, the bus transfers to Landgasthof, a local inn in the countryside. 

Not biking? You have more time to visit Meissen and coffee on the way to getting there and are reunited with the bikers on the bus tour.

Day 8: Bamberg
You start cycling early in the morning, through the hills, down to the river Main. Following the Main Radweg, the path leads along charming villages and lush fields along the meandering river to arrive at Lichtenfels. Here you board the train to Bamberg and overnight at the Rezidenz Hotel. Dinner on the terrace if possible!

Not biking? You can explore Bamberg today.

Day 9: Bamberg - Hassfurt 
A guided walking tour in Bamberg is on the agenda. The entire old town is a UNESCO site. After exploring, you might need to quench your thirst. Take your pick from 9 breweries and 50 beer varieties in Bamberg alone. Once the seat of temporal and religious power in the 11th century, both an emperor and a pope are entombed here. The Imperial Cathedral showcases a wealth of art including the Bamberg Horseman, a medieval stone monument that (700 years later) inspired WWII resistance fighters like Claus von Stauffenberg, Hitler’s would-be assassin. Stop and smell the roses at the Price-Bishops Palace. There’s a lovely outdoor café overlooking the baroque gardens, tiled rooftops, and city church spires. The “island district” features the only town hall in the world straddling a river. For centuries, Bamberg cultivated and traded licorice root,  but today, more famous are the city suds. Try the “smoked beer” from Schlenkerla Brewery. 
Today you have almost a full day to enjoy Bamberg and prepare for the next phase of your adventure. The IRIS will be waiting for you in the harbor for embarkation at 2 pm and will depart promptly.

Day 10: Hassfurt - Schweinfurt-Volkach
After a lovely breakfast buffet, you will ride again, following the bike path along the river to Hassfurt or perhaps decide on a more beautiful route through the hills to Konigsberg in Bayern. This medieval town is a romantic Franconian town right out of a picture book. It’s protected historic center with half- timbered houses is a hidden gem, embedded in a countryside of forests, valleys and hills. Either way, you will bike through Hassfurt, to see the Knights Chapel and coat of arms collection. Up and down this valley you’ll find religious treasures from renaissance sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider. He is to Germany what Michelangelo is to Italy. There are two famous works in the parish church here to vist and then it is back in the saddle again, through pretty wine villages and fruit orchards onto Schweinfurt, which literally means “Pig Crossing.” In former times, the river was shallow enough to permit animals and people to cross easily. In Germany, pigs are auspicious. So if you see a little piggy in town, rub his belly for good luck. Schweinfurt produces most of Europe’s ball bearings, making it a target of Allied bombing during World War II Operation Pointblank. The town sustained heavy damage. Rebuilt and beautiful once more, this is the birthplace of poet Friedrich Rückert, the genius who inspired the likes of Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Strauss, Mahler, Bartók. They all set his lyrics to music, but most famous is Schubert’s Du bist die Ruh (you are my peace). Some have called it the most beautiful song in the world. Once back on board, the boat navigates Volkach. After dinner, enjoy a lovely town walk!

Day 11: Volkach-Kitzingen-Eibelstadt
You will wake up in Volkach, deep in the heart of Franconian wine country. Set atop the hill is a precious pilgrimage church called Maria in the Vineyard. Inside more hand-carvings by Riemenschneider and outside phenomenal photo-ops of the river valley and the river’s famed oxbow, a great u-shape and perfect pitch for growing grapes. Two bike options are available to get to Kitzingen today, one taking you through the hills and the vineyards. Once in Kitzingen, with its cock-eyed watch tower, the two groups will reunite. One silly legend (every village has one) recalls the tower built with a mortar and wine mixture. There’s even a wacky legend about Count Dracula buried in the cemetery next door. Why not. What’s in this wine, anyway? You’ll have to find out for yourself. This region is the largest wine producer in Bavaria. Raise a few glasses to your health and you too will be leaning to one side.

Ride along the river to the historic town Marktbreit another place you will want to come back too. Recently, a large Roman legionary fortress was discovered nearby. It startled historians because it was built in enemy territory way past the military frontier separating the Roman empire from the “barbarians.” This is also the birthplace of neurologist Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a recognizable name in medicine. On to Ochsenfurt (ox crossing) where King Richard the Lionheart was detained in 1193 on his return to England from the 3rd Crusade. The barge awaits in Eibelstadt.

Day 12: Eibelstadt - Würzburg
Your destination today is Würzburg, Anytime you see the word “Burg” after a city name, it’s going to be good. Burg = fortress. The imposing landmark of this city is the fortress (Marienburg) on the hill. Home of the once-powerful prince-bishops with monumental views over their ecclesiastic fiefdom. Vineyards slope down to the city ever since the Middle Ages providing wealth and good libation for this ancient arch-diocese. Famous writer Goethe preferred white wines from Würzburg. When the old fortress was deemed out-modish, these religious overlords built themselves an entirely new Residenz in the 1700s. All the big names around Europe were called in to collaborate. Go broke or go Baroque! Imagine puffy powdered wigs, corsets and cleavage, birdcage hats, pastel tones and gilded excess. This palace is considered one of the finest examples in Germany and UNESCO-approved. Connected by a bridge of saintly personalities, Würzburg spans both sides of the river where a festive mood lingers into the night. It might have to do with being surrounded by grapevines and a university.

Time to explore Würzburg! You will start with a guided visit of the Würzburg Residence, visited by many crowned heads in the past, like Napoleon. Destroyed by the Royal Air Force at the end of the World War II. The American occupation forces immediately after the war secured the dilapidated building monuments in an exemplary manner. It took  the Allied Forces after the destruction at the end of WWII. It took until 1987 to finish the restorations.

Day 13: Wuerzburg - Karlstadt - Marktheidenfeld
An early morning sail brings you to Karlstadt, while having breakfast. Once on the bike, you skip from one medieval village to another, following the sweeping S-curves as the river weaves past Germany’s great beech and oak forest known as Spessart Woods “woodpecker hills” and Charlemagne’s imperial hunting grounds. Bandits and poachers roamed here for centuries looting caravans traveling on old salt and glass trade routes. It’s the Sherwood Forest of Germany. And it is magical. Germans revere their forests. The route leads to Lohr am Main, a town with a colorful past; the plague in 1666 and witch hunts... the legendary home of real characters in Grimm’s fairytale Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. There will be much to see as you bike, castle ruins and dramatic rock formations. Overnight in Marktheidenfeld, in which, among other things, there’s good ice cream

Day 14: Marktheidenfeld - Wertheim - Miltenberg
Today's destination is quintessential Miltenberg comes into sight. You’ll discover crooked cobblestone alleys, medieval watch towers and a village that looks like an Advent calendar lit up at night. The view across the river is a 14th century abbey cloaked in vineyards. Miltenberg is also home to Faust Beer and one of the oldest (continuously-operating) guesthouses in Germany. Since 1411, big names have stayed at Zum Riesen. Two of them are Napoléon and Elvis Presley! They would have eaten sausage, dumplings, potato salad too. The beer to wash it down comes from the brewery next door. Fresh and local.  You’re in the heart of Germany and this is why you travel!

Day 15: Miltenberg - Aschaffenburg
The Main River path leads you along to Kloster Engelberg, a still functioning monestery, visited by walking quite some stairs…..with a Gastwirtschaft at the top and a great view on the river. At Park Schoenbusch you will find a classical English style Garden before you reach your final destination on this great tour: Aschaffenburg.

Aschaffenburg was mentioned in a charter drawn up by Emperor Otto II in 974 BC, and bygone centuries have fortunately lived on in its architecture to this day.The most fascinating buildings are the Stiftsbasilika, which was first documented in the 10th century, and the unique Pompejanum. Built in the mid-19th century for Ludwig I of Bavaria in accordance with the excavation plans of the “Castor and Pollux” villa in Pompeii, this Roman villa now houses important exhibits from the Bavarian antique collection. Archbishop and elector Johann Schweikard von Kronberg bequeathed Johannisburg castle to Aschaffenburg, which is one of the most important renaissance castles of the western world. Empress Maria-Theresia, Napoleon Bonaparte and many heads of state appreciated and enjoyed their hospitality of the castle’s owners.

Day 16: Aschaffenburg

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Berlin to Aschaffenburg Boats + Barges

Iris Photo

Iris France, Germany Comfort Plus Class Boat The Iris was put to sea in April 2005. She is a refitted freight barge that accommodates 24 overnight 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. 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.

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