This bike, barge, and cruise in Germany along the Main River and the Main-Danube channel features the region of Franconia, legendary for its cultural heritage. A long and varied history has left castles, fortresses, monasteries, soaring churches, and chapels.
You will cycle Germany's most beautiful bike routes through the Regnitz valley, surrounded by magnificent mountains and vineyards, enjoying several biking options, varying in distance. The designated bike paths will lead you right through old city centers with restored half-timber houses, Gothic and Baroque buildings, and charming town squares.
Apart from the great cycling, the regional cuisine and nature of Franconia will enchant you!
This tour is also available with a reverse itinerary from Würzburg to Nuremberg.
- Germany’s most beautiful bike route!
- Historic cities of Würzburg, Nuremberg, and Bamberg
- Guided beer tour
- Wine tasting in Volkach
- Baroque Würzburg
Be sure to check out our full list of bike and barge tours in Germany.
Average biking distance per day from 25 to 50 km. All distances are approximate. The itinerary is subject to change, even on very short notice, due to changing wind and weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances having to do with mooring requirements, docking location changes, lock repairs, etc.
Day 1: Nuremberg - Erlangen
Day 2: Erlangen - Bamberg, 28 or 36 mi. (45 or 57 km)
Day 3: Bamberg - Hassfurt - Schweinfurt, 23 mi. (36 km ) or extend to 33 mi. (52 km)
Day 4: Schweinfurt - Volkach, 19 mi. (31 km)
Day 5: Volkach - Marktbreit, 22 (35 km) or extend to 26 mi. (41 km)
Day 6: Markbreit - Würzburg, 19 mi. (31 km)
Day 7: Würzburg
Day 1: Nuremberg - Erlangen
Check-in is between 3:30 and 4:00 pm. At 5:00 pm, the Merlijn will set sail for Erlangen where there is an overnight stay. As you enjoy a welcome drink, you will be introduced to the crew, the ship, and the tour. Following your safety briefing, you depart from Nüremberg and soon pass the first lock of many on this trip. Each lock will be one step further down the mountain you are navigating, just like a stairway! While you enjoy the afternoon cruise from the cozy lounge or one of the terraces on board, you’ll get a last glimpse of Nuremberg while sailing through the city. Dinner will be served during the cruise. In the evening, there will be an opportunity for an after-dinner stroll.
Day 2: Erlangen - Bamberg, 28 or 36 mi. (45 or 57 km)
After breakfast and a bike fitting, your cycle tour will start, leading you through the fields of the ‘Regnitz valley’, which, from south to north, connects the cities of Nuremberg, Fürth, Erlangen, and Forchheim. The roads are well paved as it is an official ‘Radweg’ (cycle route). Enjoy the wonderful natural surroundings of what is generally considered to be Germany’s most beautiful bike route! You are offered two route options for the day, the "Canal Route", which leads mostly along the canal and several interesting towns, or the longer and steeper, "Valley Route’" which leads through the valley. Both routes cross each other several times, especially at the must-see city of Forcheim with its half-timber houses and its old guardhouse. Visit the Kaiserpfalz, the picturesque prince-bishop castle built in the late 14th century, well-known for its precious, late-gothic wall paintings. The building houses the Pfalzmuseum (entrance included) with three special museums, the Archaeological Museum Oberfranken, the Municipal Museum, and the Traditional Costume Museum. Your first cycling day ends in charming Bamberg, the city of seven hills, a very charming, historic bishops’ town, and home to Villa Concordia, the historic lock no.100, the water castle, the baroque house on the bridge, and the former fishing settlement of Klein Venedig (Little Venice), all emphasizing the close connection between town and river. You’ll be offered an included guided beer-themed city tour, because Bamberg is known as the city of beer! The Merlijn will be moored outside the city, and after your visit to the town, you can ride your bike to the ship at your own pace. Dinner will be served on board.
Day 3: Bamberg - Hassfurt - Schweinfurt, 23 mi. (36 km) or extend to 33 mi. (52 km)
Leaving the Rhine-Main-Danube-Canal, which has connected the Rhine to the Danube River since 1992, you bike towards a new region. The Merlijn will navigate the Main River, tempered with locks and dams. After breakfast on board, the guided bike tour will start. You will bike along the Main Radweg (cycle path). The slogan the Germans use to describe this bike path is "cycle, marvel, and enjoy"! The route will follow the river, passing by several vineyards, the famous Maria Limbach pilgrimage church, and several little towns filled with half-timber houses. You will cycle to the town of Eltmann and then head for Hassfurt, famous for its late Gothic Ritter chapel and a late Gothic church in the market square. The boat awaits you at the edge of the city to take you on an afternoon cruise, or you can extend your bike tour and peddle on to Schweinfurt, where Merlijn will dock in the city. Schweinfurt (literally translated Swine Ford) has an old center full of cozy little areas, as well as a town hall, tower, and market place, with dozens of statues of Schweine’ (pigs) all about the town.
Day 4: Schweinfurt – Volkach, 19 mi. (31 km)
You continue cycling the Main Radweg. Just before the Main Valley slowly opens up and fewer vineyards are visible, you can visit a cultural highlight, the pilgrimage church of Maria im Weingarten, where the famous Madonna im Rosenkranz by Tilman Riemenschneider is displayed. The tour will end in Volkach. Dinner is served on board, and afterward, there is an included wine-tasting session in town.
Day 5: Volkach - Marktbreit, 22 mi. (35 km) or extend to 26 mi. (41 km)
Another delicious breakfast is served on board after which the bike tour will start. You’ll pass villages that wine connoisseurs will be familiar with, such as Nordheim and Sommerach. Further along the bike path, we’ll pass the ancient towns of Dettelbach, where you might like to try some traditional German sweets from the bakery, and Kitzingen, famous for its leaning tower. Today’s destination is the charming village of Marktbreit, where you’ll have the chance to enjoy dinner in the evening at a local restaurant, at your own expense.
Day 6: Markbreit - Würzburg, 19 mi. (31 km
Leaving Marktbreit and its historic center behind, you continue along the Main River. The next port of call is Würzburg, which is a definite highlight of the trip. Explore this beautiful Baroque city, walk up the gradually ascending road, and climb the ‘Würzburg Residence” fortress, which offers a magnificent view of the historic center of Würzburg and its many towers. Enjoy a guided tour of the Residence, after which you can make your way to the ship in your own time. In the evening, a captain’s dinner will be served on board.
Day 7: Würzburg
End of tour. Disembarkation after breakfast.
Would you like to stay on board and travel longer on the Merlijn? This is an excellent trip to combine with the successive Würzburg to Mainz Bike & Barge cruise. This combination means your tour will run from Nuremberg to Mainz.
Day 1: Würzburg - Ochsenfurt
Day 2: Ochsenfurt - Volkach, 40 km or extend to 46 km
Day 3: Volkach - Schweinfurt, 31 km
Day 4: Schweinfurt - Hassfurt - Bamberg, 36 km or extend to 52 km
Day 5: Bamberg - Erlangen, 45 km or 57 km
Day 6: Erlangen - Nuremberg, 32 km
Day 7: Nuremberg
Would you like to stay on board and travel longer on the Merlijn? This is an excellent trip to combine with the successive Mainz - Würzburg Bike & Barge cruise. This combination means your tour will run from Mainz to Nuremberg.
Boats & Bikes
- Accommodation for 6 nights in a climate-controlled cabin
- 6 breakfasts, 5 packed lunches, & 5 three-course dinners
- Complimentary welcome beverage
- Complimentary toiletries, bathrobe, & slippers
- 27-speed hybrid bike (Sensa), equipped with hydraulic disc brakes, waterproof pannier, water bottle, towel, & universal helmet
- Coffee, tea, & water
- Daily cabin cleaning
- Fees for harbors, bridges, & locks
- Tour guide
- Tourist information
- Most routes can be provided as GPS tracks
- Wine-tasting session, Volkach
- Guided city tour on the theme of beer in Bamberg
- Entrance to Kaiserpfalz, Forcheim
- Guided tour at Residence Würzburg (only available on the tour that runs in the direction Nuremberg to Würzburg(
- †Important to note, 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 constant, strong, fast, and reliable signal at all times, please consider a personal hot spot. See our FAQ page.
What’s Not Included
- 1 Dinner
- All beverages other than those mentioned
- Excursions not mentioned in the itinerary
- City maps
- Bike maps
- Bike protection
- Travel Insurance
Dates & Pricing
Würzburg to Nuremberg
August 6, 2022
Nuremberg to Würzburg
October 1, 2022
Twin/double: $ 2568 £ 1398 $ 2,382 € 1625 ₪ 6159 NZ$ 2685 kr 16562 $ 1,924 Single: on request
Electric bike rental, per diem: $ 47 £ 26 $ 44 € 30 ₪ 114 NZ$ 50 kr 306 $ 36
Skill Level — Easy
This is an easy self-guided bike and boat tour on quiet, flat, and traffic-free roads, featuring the Main Cycle Path. Average daily distances are 30 to 57 km. On some days, you will be offered two routes and you can choose between a longer and shorter one.
The closest international airport to your tour starts in Würzburg and Nuremberg is Frankfurt International Airport (FRA).
Frankfurt Airport is well connected by public transportation. Frankfurt Airport Train Station, located next to Terminal 1, offers connections to popular German cities via Deutsche Bahn, the national railway company of Germany. There are local S-bahn lines (lines S8 and S9) that take travelers into central Frankfurt in about 10-15 minutes. There are direct trains from the airport to Würzburg. Travel time is 2 1/2 hours by direct train. To travel from the airport to Nuremberg, travel time is 2 1/2 hours by direct train.
Please check local conditions before your arrival. The climate in southeastern Germany is continental.
Important to know
Covid Entry Requirements
Due to the changing requirements for entry, it is imperative that you stay up to date on requirements set by the country/countries that you are visiting. Please visit our Travel Restrictions Tool page and the country/countries government webpage for this information.
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.
This tour is run by Merlijn.
We value the strong relationship we have with our local partners and the services we provide.
We are not a broker.
We do not inflate tour prices.
We are simply travelers helping travelers.
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