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   the Mosel & Rhine Valleys

Germany is a country which not only enjoys fine automobiles and fast roads; but also has taken great care to provide a fine network of cycle routes and dedicated cycle paths for the large number of bicycle riders of all ages.
The Mosel River starts in the Vosges Mountains of France as the Moselle and meanders past Luxembourg into Germany, emptying into the Rhine.   The Rhine River begins in Swiss Alps, forms a border with Austria until Lake Constance, flows between Germany and France, and empties into the Atlantic Ocean in the Netherlands. Our cycling tour focuses on the region between Trier and Koblenz on the Mosel and from Koblenz to Bacharach on the Rhine.
Of special interest to travelers is that this region has a very high concentration of Castles, or “Burgs”.  Until the eighteenth century, rivers were the main routes of travel and the Burgs were tariff collection points by sometimes unscrupulous landowners.  Their spectacular mansions dot the banks of these rivers, in a display of the best achievements of German gothic architecture. The region is also known for its Roman history and a wine industry that dates to the Roman times.
We arrived at Frankfurt Flughafen (airport) and had booked a reasonable hotel in the nearby town of Mörfelden-Walldorf.  There was a bus every half hour between the airport and the hotel.  And we were able to load all three bicycles on the bus. The next morning, we’re back at the Flughafen, but this time, we’re connecting by train to our starting point in Trier.  Fortunately for cyclists, German Rail or “Deutches Bahn” is one of the most cycle-friendly in Europe. There is almost hourly train service to Trier, and it basically follows our cycling course along the Rhine and Mosel.  This raised our excitement level as we watched the beautiful scenery from the train window.
Trier is Germany’s oldest city, with a history that dates back to days before the ancient Roman Empire. From the Porta Nigra, the main city gate, it's a short stroll to the Hauptmarkt; in a classic square. Nearby is the Cathedral and a further stroll brings you to the ruins of the Roman ampatheater, as well as other Roman ruins.
The 1st Stage begins in Trier and immediately heads across the Mosel River through Pfalzel and Schweich and crossing back to the south bank for a scenic ride around two river bends; ending in Neumagen-Dhron, a comfortable, leisurely 43 km ride. Neumagen-Dhron is actually two towns: Neumagen and Dhron.  Roman winemakers discovered this area two thousand years ago.  And it’s been known for great wines ever since. We picked a very bicycle friendly place to stay, which is right across from the Mosel and we found it very relaxing to sit in the park in front of our hotel and watch the river flow by.
The 2nd Stage takes us to the Left Bank of the Mosel, through Piesport, then back to the Right Bank and through Wintrich and Mülheim to another hyphenated pair of towns, Bernkastel-Kues, a brief 25 km ride. We catch our 1st glimpse of the ruined castle up on the hill, as we approach Bernkastel. It's a nice walk uphill for about 20 minutes from town to the ruins. From this height, you can watch the river traffic and really get a perspective of how the Mosel twists itself around. A stop in Bernkastel wouldn't be complete without a visit to the main square, its fountain surrounded by half timbered buildings.
Our 3rd Stage departs Bernkastel, and follows the right bank of the Mosel through Traben-Trarbach, ending in Zell, a 42 km ride. Zell is a lively little market town, made famous by its special brand of Mosel wine: “Zeller Schwartz Katz”, Black Cat Wine. You can taste for yourself. Hike up the hillside for another spectacular view of the river and town below.
The 4th Stage goes from Zell, through Bullay, crosses to the Left Bank at Neef, winds around through Eideger-Eller, crosses back to the Right Bank of the Mosel into Senheim, then continues through Mesenich into Beilstein, a 27 km ride. Beilstein is one of the quietest stops on the tour. Burg Metternich is on the hill and deserves the climb for another spectacular view of the town below and the ferry crossing.
The 5th Stage follows the Right Bank and crosses back over the Mosel into Cochem, a short 11 km, practically a day off. Cochem is one of Germany’s best preserved Medieval towns.  From the furnished Reichsburg castle on top of the hill, you can get an impression of life in it's glory days as well as another great view of the serene Mosel. You can also take a chair lift to another viewpoint or simply wander.
The 6th Stage takes us from Cochem along the Left Bank on a fairly straight stretch of the Mosel to Moselkern, another easy ride: only 18 km. A lot of cyclists pass right through Moselkern on their way to Koblenz.    We welcomed the quiet respite of a tiny village after our day in crowded Cochem.  The real attraction here is the fantastic Burg Eltz; a 6km hike from town on a “slippery when wet” trail. We allowed most of a full day for hiking and touring the grounds and the building, which many consider the ultimate medieval castle.
The 7th Stage heads on the Left Bank from Moselkern, crossing the Mosel to Koblenz, where the Mosel meets the Rhine River, a 36 km ride. We let the Mosel lead us into town. Koblenz has bicycle lanes for easy access to the town center. We follow the promenade leading to the pointy prominance which is the Deutches Eck where the Mosel meets the Rhine.  A monument to Wilhelm can be climbed for an even better view.
On the 8th Stage, we leave Koblenz and follow the Rhine as it goes past scenic Boppard and on to St. Goar, a 35 km ride. We stop in Boppard to check out the town and eat lunch. Boppard is a charming little town with a rich Roman history, an ideal place to stop for a bite of lunch. From St. Goar, it’s a short hike to Burg Rheinfels, where you can go to the top of the castle and get this sweeping view of the town. It was once the mightiest fortress on the Rhine. If you can light the way, there are tunnels to explore as well.
The 9th Stage leads us out of St Goar and through the Lorely passage, then on to Bacharach, a brief 13 km ride. We paused to gaze across to the legendary Loreley rock.  This narrow section was the site of many shipwrecks. Bacharach is the final stop of our tour and another opportunity to see a medieval castle: Burg Stahlech; about a 15 min walk above town. Bacharach is an uncontested jewel of the Rhine.  Roam the narrow streets and marvel at the intricately decorated old buildings.
The 10th stage is by rail. Its back to the Bahnhof for the ride back to Frankfurt. It would be a shame to come this close to the big city of Frankfurt and not spend some time here.  We took our last afternoon before leaving to see the sights.
Then it's back to the airport via the train and back home to prepare for another future adventure.

If you'd like to know more about this ride, check out our DVD.