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Mainz to Cologne by Denise M. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
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
Metz to Cochem or Cochem to Metz by Art R. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
We were on a river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest last year, and we noticed that the rivers we were on had beautiful paved and much-used bike trails, often on both banks. Then our friends from Chicago, a couple our age, learned about a barge biking trip in Europe and went on it last fall. They invited us to join them this year on a similar trip on the Moselle River, from Metz, France to Cochem, Germany. Here's the concept: at Metz, we arrived at the Iris, a small ship fitted out for 24 passengers and five crewmembers. Besides the passenger cabins, the ship had a dining room, a lounge, and an outside deck- not all the other things you associate with a cruise ship. Each day at around nine or 10 o'clock in the morning, we would get off the ship with bikes provided by the outfitter, and bicycle about 30 miles along the bike path on the river. We were led each day by Wouter, our guide, who was a history major as well as a very competent tour guide. He and the other four members of the crew were all Dutch, as was the registry of the ship. When registering for the trip, we included our physical measurements so that the bikes were almost perfectly fitted to us when we arrived. I was pleased that my bike was large enough for me because I am tall. Dianne had reserved an e-bike since she hadn't had a lot of experience in doing long road rides over multiple days, and because she had just had knee replacement surgery at the end of January. Five of the 24 people in our group used e-bikes, and they were all very happy with their performance. The bike does between 20 and 60% of the work (three levels—20, 40 and 60%) and you do the rest. It's not like a moped-- you still must pedal. It also has a readout that gives your speed, distance, and battery power.
The bikes we used didn't employed derailleurs but instead had gears inside the rear hub that worked very smoothly with the two lever system on the handlebar. Most of the bikes were Gudereit hybrids, a German brand. All the bikes had front and rear lights, which turned on automatically, and were powered by a generator device inside the front hub that involved rotating magnets, so there was no friction. I was impressed with the smoothness and comfort of the bike I was given. The outfitters provided the bike, a pannier, and a helmet for each cyclist. Helmet use was not required but highly recommended.
The nice thing about the bike paths along the Moselle River is that they were quite level, with only occasional small climbs when we needed to go up a ramp to cross a lock and dam for a bridge, and once when we made a little more of a climb to get up onto one of the tiered roadways in the vineyards. The Moselle Valley is wine country, and there were vineyards every day in every direction. Every morning we made a coffee break in a small town, and later we stopped again for the lunch we had packed that morning before leaving the ship. Each day, we’d see the Iris passing us on the river on its way to that day’s destination city, with Jacques, the captain, waving from the pilot house. On two of the days, we could opt to stay on the ship longer and join the other bicyclists enroute, or leave the ride early and “sag” on the ship. Guests also had the option to just stay on the ship all day and not bicycle if felt they needed a day off. But most biked the entire way.
Our trip was in early September and the weather was pleasantly cool, usually in the low 60s to low 70s. We were prepared for rain, but never got any while we were bicycling. Most of the guests on the ship were American, but eight were Canadians and four were New Zealanders. Our bicycling speed was about 9 mph, with periodic stops to allow the group to stay together. Usually the stops were at places of historic or scenic interest, and we learned a lot from our guide about the influences of the Romans in Luxembourg and Germany, the ancient and modern winemaking arts, and even the formation of the Schengen Area (similar to, but not identical to the European Union) at Schengen. Schengen is the town at the juncture of France, Luxembourg, and Germany, like Dubuque’s placement at the intersection of Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois! We frequently crossed the Moselle from Germany to Luxembourg and back again. Dianne even got to bicycle through and explore the town of Wormeldange in Luxembourg, where her family came from several generations ago.
Countries: France, Luxembourg, Germany
Along the Danube - Passau, Bratislava, and Vienna by Mary Ellen W. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Highlight: Biking in the Wacchau Valley
Boat: Theodor Körner
Countries: Austria, Germany, Slovakia
Around Paris by Sherry M. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
The guide was attentive to each rider and knowledgeable about the towns and history.
Boat: Clair de Lune
Amsterdam to Bruges by Susan H. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Everything about the trip exceeded my expectations. In particular, the dinners were truly gourmet. Keep that chef (Leroy)!
Boat: Magnifique II
Countries: Netherlands, Belgium
Four Country Tour by The Doeys 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Our first bike and barge and we are already looking forward to many more. We are two 60 yr old couple who all love the outdoors, adventure and travel. Our cabins were on the top deck of the Carissma, roomy enough, turn down service each night and big picture windows. Excellent food, especially the dinners. Albert was the tour guide on board and he was organized, knowledgeable and patient! No problems with the bikes or directions - we were self guiding, 21 speed bikes. Easy terrain. We highly recommend the city bike tour of Budapest and Vienna as you otherwise may miss great hidden gems, interesting stories and local guides. We stayed at Hotel Residenz in Passau for one night before departure and highly recommend the visit to this beautiful port city and the hotel! We could not recommend trying this style of vacation more. The staff on the Carissma did everything to make the week comfortable, easy and well organized. Wonderful way to see cities in 4 countries in a week.
Countries: Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland
Breisgau & Alsace Wine Road by Donatella Yelda 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Amazing tour...Loved every minute of it! The staff was awesome. The bikes were great! The hotels were all very clean, with friendly staff and great breakfast. The route was beautiful. The towns were fairy tale dreamy. Did we get lost more than once? Yes of course we did, it's a given and expected when you're not familiar with the rout and towns, no matter how good the map and directions are. Having said that, getting lost was part of the charm of the trip, we got to explore more areas/places. Most trails and routs are very well marked and if you follow the "Bike Route" marks you will not get lost too much, maybe a turn here or there. We used Google map along with the paper map/directions provided. In some areas Google conflicted with the provided directions and that's how we got lost ... but it was fun exploring. If you're the daring type who considers every turn a new adventure you will have a blast. But if you're the type that everything has to be precise then you might get frustrated.
Countries: France, Germany
Amsterdam to Bruges by Marcia B. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Highlights: Seeing these countries via bike paths. Going through small towns and villages with an excellent guide to highlight the history and out of the way places. Tip: get in shape! You will enjoy it more if you are fit to bike these distances.
Amsterdam to Bruges by Kurt W. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
This was our first bike and barge trip, and we loved every aspect of it. Yes, the weather was a challenge, but even that was rewarding in retrospect. The guide and crew were great, the food was wonderful, and the boat was very comfortable (and a good size). We got to know all our fellow passengers and that was the icing on the cake. Now I'm spending way too much time, probably, reading about where to take our next trip!
Koblenz to Bad Wimpfen by Lou R. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Once again the "Patria" gave us a wonderful trip with an excellent crew from top to bottom. The rooms are small but comfortable and spotlessly cleaned on a daily basis. The food on this ship never ceases to amaze. Breakfast and dinner for such a lot of guests it is always served with smiles, tirelessly by outstanding servers and the chef is a master in producing meals of top restaurant quality. Bravo. The guide Carsten was "spot on" with his PowerPoint presentations, never shy of answering any and all questions and always riding the course. The handouts were excellent. Not to be missed is the wine tour in Nierstein, a fun outing without the pretentious tasting and showy put-ons. Must make sure you arrive 2-3 days early at Koblenz as it is a great place to explore on your own on a rental bike. Also after Bad Wimpfen take a short train ride and stay a couple of days in Heidelberg to see and enjoy the many historical venues. Yes, it is a touristy place, but worth it. Castles and more castles the first 2 days, vineyards and fields the next 2 and rolling hills the last 2 days gives you a trip that showcases everything that is so much fun in the "Bike and Barge" style of vacationing. Enough bike riding every day to enable you to have the extra glass of wine or cold beer at dinner. This trip is a 10 out of 10 hands down, particularly if it is sunny and dry as it was for us this September of 2017. Our 6th trip with Tripsite and we looking forward to the next one in 2018. Thank you all.
Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova by Cynthia W. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Everything was excellent! There were a limited number of available rental helmets, I highly recommend bringing one's own from home.
Boat: Vita Pugna
Bruges to Merzig (no longer available)by Dave C. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Passenger/participant/staff group dynamics were excellent. Barge had no laundry service, so go prepared with the necessaries to look after it yourself.
Boat: Quo Vadis
Countries: Belgium, Germany, Netherlands
Bruges to Merzig (no longer available)by Gordon W. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Biking through wine country in Germany and going into the fields themselves. Take this trip!
Bruges to Merzig (no longer available)by Kristine & Joe S. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
This trip exceeded our expectations on every level. We'd never done a bike and barge excursion and decided to jump in with both feet on this trip. To say that we were thrilled is an understatement. The incredibly comfortable boat, the friendly and hardworking crew, the delicious meals, the fantastic guide, the varied and beautiful route... it was all more than we imagined. I can't tell you what a pleasure it was to experience three countries and their cultures with the intimacy that a bike tour allows.
We're experienced travelers and think through our options carefully. The combination of activity, education, relaxation and total immersion was so appealing... and this excursion did not disappoint. To top it off, given everything that is included, this trip is a tremendous value. We can't wait for our next adventure with Tripsite!
Bruges to Merzig (no longer available)by Gail C. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
The trip started out with high winds and rain but it didn't dampen the spirit of the group. We were always going downhill with the wind on our back! The comfort of the barge and delicious meals were outstanding. The Mosel valley was probably the highlight for scenery and seeing the grape harvest in full swing. Our wine tasting evening was one of the best we have ever experienced. The Captain wanted us to have a real experience and we did.
Dalmatia from Dubrovnik Plus by Gary A. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
The guides were excellent and the biking was gorgeous!
South Holland Tour by John B. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Cycling gave us a good look at south Holland. Wonderful variety. Passed through peaceful farm land and enjoyed the many small towns we passed through. Getting lost from time to time forced us to interact with locals and many of those occasions turned into highlights. Found the Dutch people to be most helpful.
Boat: Anna Maria Agnes
St. Moritz to Innsbruck by Ronald Z. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Most Memorable Part: The small towns set in the beautiful mountains with it clean air and pleasant residents.
Countries: Austria, Switzerland
Along the Danube - Passau, Bratislava, and Vienna by Linda B. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Biking through the Wachau Valley was spectacular, thus it was the highlight. The staff on the "barge" were super friendly and helpful. The biking was easy if a person is reasonably fit. A little practice doing long distance biking is a good idea.
Bruges to Merzig (no longer available)by Leanne S. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Especially enjoyed the days cycling through the vineyards along the Mosel River.
South Holland Tour by Gaye S. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
It was quite an adventure! Best way to see the real country and people of Holland.
Around Paris by Paul D. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Gourmet dining aboard the Clair de Lune was five star fabulous! The tour guide, Henry, was extremely knowledgeable about the area, and inspired the highest level of confidence in his ability to handle any situation. The Clair de Lune was very clean and in excellent condition. All the staff were wonderfully friendly, helpful and welcoming.
Amsterdam to Bruges by Timothy S. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Our guide was very knowledgeable and engaging. A suggestion for others would be to prepare for wind if going during that time of year. The route may be very flat but the possibility of a constant headwind can make it feel uphill. Knowing this, some guests may opt for using an eBike.
Bruges to Merzig (no longer available)by Harvey C. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
We loved Germany the best. The coffee stops were the best. Great brats and pastry.
Along the Danube - Passau to Vienna by John J. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Most Memorable Part? The people I met on board - staff and guests - and the scenery.
Boat: MS Normandie
Countries: Austria, Germany
Around Paris by Virginia D. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Most Memorable part: Going through the locks on the barge in Paris. The kindness of our fellow bikers and staff.
Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova by Rita L. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
What a wonderful week!! Excellent staff...Captain, Helmut, Silvia & Samuele! Food was 5-Star, very comfortable accommodations! Helmut was a great guide, knowledgeable and made sure we all had a good, safe time! Bike riding was so much fun and we saw many different towns and sights we would have missed in a bus! Meeting so many wonderful, fellow bikers from different countries was so enjoyable! This trip was more than I ever expected!! Loved it!! Definitely will travel with Tripsite again!!! Bike On!!!!
Along the Danube - Passau - Vienna - Budapest aboard the Primadonna by Susan W. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
The cruise was wonderful supported by a fantastic crew on the ship who went out of their way to provide a very positive experience.I had left my phone at a restaurant on the bike route and it was returned to me within 3 hours...I was so grateful.Having a tour guide would have been very helpful on certain days of the trip...ie Vienna.I was very disappointed with the fact that the biking portion of the Wachau valley that was in the itinerary had been eliminated without our knowing until the night before.it was to have been a highlight for our group and the cruise company said that it was Never a part of the biking route.!We rented e bikes at an extra cost for the 4 of us because of the distance to be covered that day and otherwise would not have.
All of the cycling group received the same information from Tripsite about the Wachau valley and we were all disappointed.
Otherwise I would highly recommend this trip but do feel that you should update your itinerary so that people aren't disappointed.
Countries: Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia
Along the Danube - Passau - Vienna - Budapest aboard the Primadonna by York C. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Great trip. Boat and river cruise portion of the trip was more than expected. Service and the crew on the boat were excellent, including the food.Quality of bicycles was excellent. They were mechanically perfect. The only down side of the entire trip were the nightly route planning meetings and the quality of the maps and route guides. It was obvious that the tour leader giving the route agenda had never ridden the bike paths. Her English was not very good which made it even more difficult to understand the route(s). We had to fend for ourselves (asking people on the street for directions) numerous times because the routes were just not made clear. Also, the route was not what was not the same as what was spelled out on the website.Overall, we were very satisfied with the trip.
Frankfurt to Ludwigsburg by Patricia M. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
It was magical from start to finish, the personalized service for our group of 22 was amazing , we loved it!
Email or Call 800-951-4384 +1 570-965-2064