This bike and boat tour in Germany aboard the Merlijn needs no introduction. There is just something about the Merlijn, aka, The Magic of the Water.
You board in Ludwigsburg, city of palaces, and disembark in Mainz, with its lovely old town, medieval market, and half-timbered houses. Along the way, you will bike through some of the most romantic cities along the Neckar and Rhine Rivers and lovely small German towns and villages.
There is an opportunity to stop and enjoy the culinary culture of the region and taste some local wines. Occasionally, you come upon a road with a slight climb to a fortress well worth the effort as the views are the reward!
- Mainz with its history, attractive town squares, impressive churches, and half-timbered houses
- The historic center of Heidelberg
- Vineyards and wine tasting in Nierstein
- The picturesque village of Marbach
All of our bike and barge tours in Germany can be found here
Day 1: Ludwigsburg - sail to Marbach
Day 2: Ludwigsburg - Heilbronn, 16 mi. (26 km)
Day 3: Heilbronn - Bad Wimpfen - Eberbach, 25 mi. (40 km)
Day 4: Eberbach - Heidelberg, 20 mi. (32 km)
Day 5: Heidelberg - Worms, 25 mi. (40 km)
Day 6: Worms - Nierstein, 28 mi. (45 km)
Day 7: Nierstein - Mainz, 12 mi. (20 km)
Day 8: Mainz, departure
*All distances are approximate. The itinerary is subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances, including but not limited to weather, last-minute mooring changes, and restructuring of locks or bridges. The owner/captain of the Merlijn reserves the right to change the schedule and/or program. If part of the route is not navigable, the captain is entitled to change the schedule for safety reasons.
Day 1: Ludwigsburg - Marbach
Check-in on board begins at 3:30 pm. For your convenience, you can drop off your luggage from 10 am off and explore Ludwigsburg unencumbered. After official embarkation, as you enjoy a complimentary beverage, you will enjoy meeting the crew, learning about the Merlijn and the tour, and being informed regarding safety during your tour. At 5 pm, the boat will sail to Marbach, a charming city on the Neckar River while you enjoy your dinner. After dinner, there will be a chance to visit the city, where the famous writer Schiller was born.
Day 2: Marbach - Besigheim - Heilbronn, 26 mi. (42 km)
While, you enjoy your breakfast, the Merlijn sails to Besigheim. Your bike tour starts here along the Neckar river and leads to Benningen. Roman history is evident here in the Castle Vicus. Dinner on board and overnight stay in Heilbronn.
Day 3: Heilbronn - Neckarzimmern - Eberbach, 34 mi. (55 km)
The biking begins in Neckarzimmern and it will be just a short distance to the castle of Hornberg. This castle is considered one of the most beautiful castles in the Neckar valley. After 1259, the bishop of Speyer had his quarters here and in the 16th century, it became the house of Berlichingen. The tour ends in Eberbach where the Merlijn is waiting. Enjoy dinner and an overnight stay in Eberbach.
Day 4: Eberbach - Heidelberg, 20 mi. (32 km)
Today you will bike through the southern part of the Odenwald. From Eberbach, you will pass Hirschhorn, one of the pearls on the Neckar river. Hirschhorn has a charming castle, a Carmelite Monastery, and an interesting Market Church. In the afternoon you will be offered a city tour through Heidelberg, a charming city nestled between the Neckar river and the foothills of the Odenwald forest. After the tour, you will enjoy your dinner in one of the many restaurants in Heidelberg.
Day 5: Heidelberg - Ladenburg - Worms, 26 mi. (42 km)
The Merlijn sails during breakfast to Ladenburg, where the bike tour to Worms starts leading partly along the Neckar and partly along the Rhine rivers, ending in Worms. Worms is famous for its Cathedral and Marten Luther. In the afternoon you will have time to explore this interesting city. After dinner, you may want to have a look at the famous Nibelungen tower, which is located directly onthe Rhine river, close to the Merlijn.
Day 6: Worms - Nierstein, 34 mi. (55 km)
After breakfast, the cycling begins and soon leads you away from the Rhine, through vineyards on rolling paths. Lovely landscapes will be your backdrop and your reward. In Nierstein you will board the Merlijn to change and drop your bikes, and enjoy a wine tour through the mountains including wine tasting. The Merlijn will overnight in Nierstein.
Day 7: Nierstein - Mainz, 16 mi. (25 km)
After breakfast your bike tour leads you along the Rhine river, the ride is not too long which gives you a good opportunity to pay a visit in the afternoon to the city of Mainz, the capital of Rhineland-Palatinate. Farewell dinner and overnight stay in Mainz.
Day 8: Mainz
All good things must come to an end. Check-out after breakfast and either extend your stay in Mainz or onward travel home.
- Accommodations for 7 nights on board the Deluxe vessel, the Merlijn
- Daily cabin cleaning
- Welcome drink
- 7 breakfast buffets, 6 packed lunches, & 6 three-course dinners.
- Unlimited water, hot chocolate, coffee, & tea on board
- Daily tour presentation
- 27-speed hybrid bike (Sensa). Bikes come equipped with hydraulic disc brakes, waterproof pannier, water bottle, towel, & universal helmet
- Tour guide
- Mountain tour & wine tasting
- Canal, bridge, & harbor fees en route
- WiFi (signal strength and speed varies due to steel construction of ship. See remarks.)
What’s Not Included
- 1 dinner
- Drinks other than those mentioned
- Entrance fees & excursions
- City maps
- Bike maps
- Bike protection
- Travel Insurance
Dates & Pricing
Dates & Pricing
Deluxe Class Boat
October 2, 2021
Cabin Type Twin/double $ 2587 £ 1451 $ 2,502 € 1635 NZ$ 2799 kr 16916 $ 1,998 Twin for single-use On request
Electric bicycle rental (price is per day, payable onboard, advanced reservation required): $ 47 £ 27 $ 46 € 30 NZ$ 51 kr 310 $ 37
Skill Level — Easy–Moderate
This guided bike and boat tour is rated easy to moderate. Cycling takes place on good asphalted bike paths and country roads. Daily biking distances range from 16 to 35 miles. The routes follow the flow of the rivers and are therefore mainly flat with only a few small climbs.
We recommend that you fly to Frankfurt International Airport (FRA). Frankfurt is well connected by train to both Ludwigsburg and Mainz.
Frankfurt am Main Airport long-distance station (German: Frankfurt am Main Flughafen Fernbahnhof) is the railway station served by long-distance trains, mostly ICE services running on the Cologne–Frankfurt high-speed rail line. The long-distance train station is operated by German Rail (Deutsche Bahn). Information on schedules and fares is available on the website. Travel time from the airport to Ludwigsburg is approx. 1 hour and 30 minutes with one or two transfers depending on the type of train and departure time. To return to the airport from Mainz, it is only about a 30-minute train ride with 0 transfers.
Please check local conditions before your arrival!
Day of Rest
You may remain on board on any given day to relax, enjoy the boat, the deck, and the passing scenery.
Due to steel construction of the ship, cruising locations, and other factors, WiFi signal speed and strength may not be what you are accustomed to and may not meet your expectations. If you are dependent on a strong, fast, and reliable signal at all times, please consider a personal hotspot.
Important to know
It is each traveler's responsibility to ensure that you are in compliance with the country or countries you plan to visit. This includes and is not limited to passport validity, visa requirements and acquisition, blank passport pages required for your destination (s), etc.
US citizens: A good website to research the requirements of the Schengen Agreement and entry into other countries is travel.state.gov.
Non-EU and EU residents: Please research the requirements of your country of residence for international travel and your destination country or countries.
*Important note: Please check on the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) status as once implemented, this will be required to visit any of the 26 Schengen-member countries for tourism, business, medical, or transit. This is an additional check on security rather than a visa.