Rudesheim's great architecture and vineyards along the Rhine River, Germany. Photo via Flickr:michael clarke stuff
Cafe in Mainz along the Rhine River, Germany. Photo via Flickr:Florian Christoph

Cologne Rail Station, Germany. Photo via Flickr:Thomas Depenbusch
3.8/5 (6 ratings)

Mainz to Cologne

Germany Bike + Barge Tours

Bike and boat the Rhine River Valley!

  • This bike and boat tour in Germany from Mainz to Cologne and reverse along the most beautiful stretch of the great Rhine River. A rich and varied history unfolded along these banks and has left its mark in culture, landscape, and the arts.

    Today the entire Upper Middle Rhine Valley is designated a Unesco World Heritage Site, meeting the criteria for such on many levels. The gorges rise steeply on both river banks, protected now by strict building and developing codes, allowing the sheer beauty of the area to remain. It is not hard to step back in time.

    This romantic river valley, with precipitous cliffs, steep vineyards, typical villages, and hilltop castles is best explored by bike and boat, land and river!

    Highlights:

    • Loreley Rock
    • Rüdesheim near St. Goarshausen
    • Koblenz
    • Bonn
    • Unsurpassed and timeless scenery
    • Wonderful world famous wine and beer

    All of our bike and barge tours in Germany can be found here.

  •  

     May 26All other departures
    Twin cabin, main deck £ 728 $ 1,295 889 NOK 8742 kr 8069 $ 1,049 £ 810 $ 1,441 989 NOK 9725 kr 8977 $ 1,167
    Twin cabin, upper deck £ 810 $ 1,441 989 NOK 9725 kr 8977 $ 1,167 £ 892 $ 1,586 1089 NOK 10709 kr 9885 $ 1,285
    Two bed suite, upper deck with French balcony £ 892 $ 1,586 1089 NOK 10709 kr 9885 $ 1,285 £ 974 $ 1,732 1189 NOK 11692 kr 10792 $ 1,403
    2 bed cabin for single use, main deck* £ 1056 $ 1,878 1289 NOK 12675 kr 11700 $ 1,521 £ 1179 $ 2,096 1439 NOK 14150 kr 13062 $ 1,698
    2 bed cabin for single use, upper deck* £ 1179 $ 2,096 1439 NOK 14150 kr 13062 $ 1,698 £ 1302 $ 2,315 1589 NOK 15625 kr 14423 $ 1,875
    Single cabin, upper deck, two per departure* £ 1097 $ 1,951 1339 NOK 13167 kr 12154 $ 1,580 £ 1179 $ 2,096 1439 NOK 14150 kr 13062 $ 1,698

    *Single cabins are limited and can't be guaranteed!

     Season ASeason B
    Twin cabin main deck with large window £ 810 $ 1,441 989 NOK 9725 kr 8977 $ 1,167 £ 892 $ 1,586 1089 NOK 10709 kr 9885 $ 1,285
    Twin cabin upper deck with floor to ceiling window  £ 974 $ 1,732 1189 NOK 11692 kr 10792 $ 1,403 £ 1056 $ 1,878 1289 NOK 12675 kr 11700 $ 1,521
    Twin bed cabin main deck for single use with large window £ 1179 $ 2,096 1439 NOK 14150 kr 13062 $ 1,698 £ 1301 $ 2,313 1588 NOK 15615 kr 14414 $ 1,874
    Single bed cabin upper deck with floor to celing window £ 1261 $ 2,242 1539 NOK 15134 kr 13969 $ 1,816 £ 1383 $ 2,459 1688 NOK 16599 kr 15322 $ 1,992


    *Single cabins are limited.

     

    extra options

    Electric bike: £ 78 $ 138 95 NOK 934 kr 862 $ 112

    please note

    Rates are per person based on double occupancy.

    Information to read before you book.

    We recommend purchasing bike trip insurance.

    Please see our FAQ.

  • Travel

    Closest international airport is Frankfurt International Airport (FRA).

    Local Travel

    If your tour begins in Mainz and ends in Cologne, upon arrival to the Frankfurt International Airport, you can take a direct train to Mainz. The Frankfurt Airport Regional Station is located below Terminal 1. S-Bahn train services S8 and S9 link the airport with central Frankfurt at Hauptbahnhof (central) station and surroundings. From Cologne, back to Frankfurt Airport, there is an ICE (Inter City Express Train) that can arrive in as little as one hour. If your tour begins in Cologne, again, the ICE inner city express train can travel between the airport and the city in less than an hour.

    Climate

    Please check local conditions before your arrival! A good website to research average high/low temperatures, average rainfall and more is weatherbase.com.

    Documentation:

    Before you travel, please check your country's passport and visa requirements and the passport and visa requirements of the country/countries you plan to visit. For US citizens, the U.S. Passports & International Travel  website is a good source of information. The Country Information tab provides details about passport validity, blank passport pages required, etc. It is your responsibility to research the entry and document requirements for the country (s) you plan on visiting and insure that you have obtained the necessary documentation. We recommend that you make copies of your important documents and papers (insurance cards, etc.). Leave a copy at home and have a copy with you. In the unfortunate situation that you lose your original documents, having copies facilitates the replacement process.


Tour Dates

Mainz to Cologne: June 30 and July 28, 2018
Cologne to Mainz: May 26, July 21, and August 18, 2018

Mainz to Cologne:
Season A: August 24, 2019
Season B: June 1 and July 27, 2019
Cologne to Mainz:
Season A: May 11, 2019
Season B: June 22 and August 17, 2019

 

Where You’ll Stay

2018: On board the Comfort Plus vessel, the MS Arlene
2019: On board the Comfort Plus vessel, the MS Arkona

What’s Included

  • Accommodations for 7 nights on board
  • Welcome drink
  • All meals (breakfast, packed lunch, coffee and tea in the afternoon, three-course dinner)
  • Daily cabin cleaning
  • Change of bedding and towels if requested
  • Passenger and port fees
  • Daily briefing on board and explanation of cycling itinerary
  • Tour guide on board (does not cycle with group)
  • Maps and information material 1 x per cabin
  • 7 speed unisex bicycle with hand and back pedal brakes and pannier. Very limited number of bikes with freewheel hubs.

What’s Not Included

  • All beverages
  • Entrance fees and excursions
  • Gratuities
  • Bicycle protection
  • Trip insurance
TourBike+Boat
TypeSelf Guided
SkillEasy
Length8 days
From889 Rates
Client Reviews

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Skill Level

This 8 day self-guided bike and boat tour is rated easy on paved, flat surfaces.

Tour Boats

Day-To-Day Itinerary

Mainz to Cologne Map

Below is itinerary for 2018. There will only be slight variations in 2019.

Mainz to Cologne

Day 1: Mainz
Day 2: Mainz - Rüdesheim, 21 mi. (33 km)
Option excursion: guided city walk around Rüdesheim. Can be reserved on board.
Day 3: Rüdesheim - St. Goar, 19 mi. (31 km)
Day 4: St. Goar - Koblenz, 24 mi. (38 km)
Cableway tickets available on board.
Day 5: Koblenz - Andernach, 19 mi. (30 km)
Day 6: Andernach - Bonn, 28 mi. (45 km)
Day 7: Bonn - Cologne, 23 mi. (37 km)
Optional excursion: guided city walk of Cologne's old town and the cathedral. Can be reserved on board.
Day 8: Departure

Day 1: Mainz
Embarkation on board the MS Arlene in Mainz  5 pm. Be sure to explore the old town of Mainz with its lovely alleys and public squares!

Day 2: Mainz - Rüdesheim, 21 mi. (33 km)
Today you will experience firsthand why the Rhine River and its surroundings are part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list. Beautiful islands, steep slate rocks and vinyards shape the region around Rüdesheim. By bike you will pass Eltville, the Kurfürstliche Burg fortress and the famous landmark, Oestrich-Winkel, a former wine-loading crane from the 18th century. Completed in 1745, it was functioning until 1926. The day's destination is Rüdesheim, the wine making town in the Rhine gorge. Be sure to visit the  famous street, Drosselgasse and stop at a cafe for a taste of the world famous Ruedesheimer Riesling.

You can also bok a guided city city tour around Rudesheim, payable on board.

Day 3: Rüdesheim – St. Goar, 19 mi. (31 km)​
Following the  Rhine through the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, you cycle pass romantic castles and ruins, including the  Reichenstein and Rheinstein fortresses. The famous Loreley rock will be passed on the way to St. Goar, your destination for today. Legend has it  that  a beautiful but melancholy siren would sit on the rock and sing as she combed her golden hair, distracting sailors while the strong currents smashed their ships to pieces against the rock. This has been called the most beautiful stretch of the Rhine River. From the top of the rock you will have a beautiful view of St. Goar and St. Goarshausen.

Day 4: St. Goar - Koblenz, 24 mi. (38 km) 
Boppard and the Marksburg are on the itinerary today as the route leads to Koblenz with its famous “Deutsche Eck” (German corner). Against a  backdrop of vineyards, forests, and mountain ranges, the Moselle and Rhine Rivers merge here. From the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, reached by cableway,  you can enjoy a fantastic view over the splendid landscape of the Rhine. Koblenz is one of the oldest and most beautiful towns in Germany.  Tickets for the cableway are available on board.

Day 5: Koblenz - Andernach, 19 mi. (30 km)
The cycling itinerary today will lead you past Neuwied and the Engers Castle to Andernach, the destination for today. Like Koblenz, Andernach is one of the oldest cities of Germany. Here you will find the famous geyser that shoots 50 to 60 meters and is said to be the highest in the world. In Andernach you can enjoy sights like the Round Tower or visit the wine village Leutesdorf, which can be reached by ferry.

Day 6: Andernach - Bonn, 28 mi. (45 km)​
On the way to Bonn it is worthwhile to visit the Drachenburg Castle on the Drachenfels Königswinter or Sea Life, complete with the brand new Octopus Cave. Bonn is the former capital of Germany and the birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven. You can visit the great composer’s birth place, top-rated museums, and stroll the lovely riverside setting and the old government quarter.

Day 7: Bonn - Cologne, 23 mi. (37 km)
Before you reach Cologne by bike, there is the possibility for a stop at the Isle of Groov situated in the vast landscape of the Rheinaue wetland in the Cologne suburb Porz-Zündorf. The "island"  is actually a peninsula and popular as a local recreation area with numerous outdoor restaurants as well as a rowing and pedal boat rental station. Final destination city and end of your tour is Cologne, overseen by the towering Cologne Gothic Cathedral. Yet amidst the antiquity, an energetic and youthful spirit shine. Life in Cologne is uncomplicated and vivacious. The breweries with their famous beer “Kölsch” will introduce you to the more relaxed side of the city.

In Cologne you have opportunity to  join a walking tour of Cologne’s Old Town and Cathedral to explore the city’s must sees. This excursion is optional and can be reserved on board. Also worthwhile are museums like the Ludwig Museum or the Chocolat Museum at the river Rhine as well as the modern parts of Cologne, which can be found at the port of the Rheinaue wetland with its crane houses. 

Day 8: Departure

Cologne to Mainz

Day 1: Cologne, embarkation at 3 pm -  5 pm
Day 2: Cologne - Bonn, 23 mi. (37 km), optional excursion of Cologne's Old Town and Cathedral
Day 3: Bonn - Andernach, 28 mi. (45 km)
Day 4: Andernach - Koblenz, 19 mi. (25 km), tickets for cable car available on board
Day 5: Koblenz  - St. Goar, 24 mi. (38 km)
Day 6: St. Goar - Rudesheim, 19 mi. (32 km), guided city walk is available
Day 7: Rudesheim - Mainz, 21 mi. (32 km)
Day 8: Mainz

In case of flood or low tide, the shipping company reserves the right to bridge parts of passages with buses. In extreme situations, the shipping company reserves the right to cancel the journey on short notice. No legal right shall be constituted of both situations. (Water level is force majeure). The same applies for officially ordered - previously not announced - repair work on locks or bridges or in case of undeserved breakdown of engine or power unit and unexpected changes in itinerary or mooring locations.

If you're looking for a different flavor, check out our full list of bike and boat tours or view all our featured bike trips, specials, and news.

Email or Call 800-951-4384 +1 570-965-2064

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Customer Feedback

  • Louise M. 2 months ago

    We loved our bike and barge tour from Mainz to Cologne. The food was great, the scenery amazing! Biking is the perfect way to appreciate the environment in a relaxed way and truly immerse yourself in the experience. Two suggestions - have the tour briefings in the evening between Entree and Main course (it was a pain having to wait til 9am in the morning when we are early risers) and have branded reusable water bottles that can be filled up at water stations each day (instead of contributing to plastic bottle waste). Thank you.

    Boat: MS Arlene II

  • JoAnn G. 8 months ago

    The Rhine Valley is a wonder to bike and very enjoyable.

    Boat: MS Arlene II

    • Gayla 1 week ago

      Both great suggestions and easily doable. Thank you.

  • Linda S. 11 months ago

    The most memorable part of the trip - this is in reference to Cologne to Mainz trip on the MS Andante Sept 16-23, was the scenery and the visits to the small towns along the way. It would have been more enjoyable if we had been able to go through some of the small towns along the way instead of just going by them as we followed the route along the river. The guide did mention some things to see along the way for some of the routes we followed. Some detours and construction was not mentioned or alternate routes given along the way. Tips for others if someone is sick on board there should perhaps be some guidelines given for keeping yourself healthy or tips for not spreading the "bug".
    The dinners were the most disappointing food on this trip. Few fresh veggies, the entres were often not well prepared nor were they tasty options (eg fish was on the menu frequently and was soggy, or prepared the same way again and again).

  • Denise M. 11 months ago

    Really enjoyed getting to know the staff on the barge. This made the biking (which I found somewhat challenging) to be a more memorable experience. As a result, I would do this type of trip again.

    Boat: MS Andante

  • Penny S. 11 months ago

    My most memorable part of cycling along the Rhine River was seeing the beautiful country side hills with castles and fortresses and stopping for coffee and delicious baked goods in villages.

    Boat: MS Andante

  • pam 2 years ago

    The tour we did was aboard the MS Andante in late September. The riding was easy, and for the most part trail was easy to follow. A few times riders had to be rescued by Garrett, our tour leader,as the route had changed. The scenery was beautiful with rolling hills, castles, vineyards, and of course the majestic Rhine. The Andante is an old ship that could really use some refurbishing. The lounge feels like you're in an old Sinatra movie, the dining room is cramped and there's no option of sitting with other passengers. The chef did a very nice job with the dinners, they were not overly elegant but were quite tasty. I can't say the same for breakfast. It alternated between boiled eggs and greasy sausage, to scrambled eggs and greasy sausage. The staff was not overly friendly, the front desk girls seemed more interested in their afternoon smoke, than greeting passengers. The cabins were accessed by treacherous stairs, but once there they were not too bad. The carpet has seen better days, and the bathroom was shower/toilet combo. Overall, if given the choice I would definitely do this cruise again, but might look into a different ship.

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Mainz to Cologne Boats + Barges

MS Arlene II Photo

MS Arlene II France, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary Comfort Plus Class Boat The MS Arlene II, formerly the Arlene, was upgraded before the 2018 season. All cabins on the vessel are outside featuring en-suite facilities with shower and hair dryer, TV, safe, and individually controlled air-conditioning.

MS Arkona Photo

MS Arkona Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia Comfort Plus Class Boat The MS Arkona is new to our program and was refurbished in the winter of 2017/2018. Both the upper and the main deck hold comfortable cabins of 11 m² which are modernly and tastefully furnished. All cabins feature hotel-style beds, en-suite facilities with shower and hair dryer, TV, safe and individually controlled air conditioning.

PWPC