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Go Back to 2016 - 2017 Archived Trip Description Page

Heart of Germany from Bamberg to Mainz
Bike and Barge Tour

September 23 - October 1, 2016
Berlin Extension returns on October 4

The Trip Leaders

Barb Shank Trip Leader
Barb Shank
11340 Harbor Way #1643
Largo, FL 33774

Craig Bachelor Trip Co-Leader
Craig Bachelor
P.O. Box 66189
St Pete Beach, FL 33736
727-367-5227 ext 11

Itinerary Map

Trip Description

Biking and Barging is just about the best way to see Europe and the most fun you can have if you are not on a ski trip! This trip is a quiet giant. There is so much to see in this area you will come away with a better appreciation for Germany. Highlights of the trip include: launching in the historic bishops’ town of Bamberg, sometimes known as little Venice. Over the next few days we will pass through river valleys and explore chapels, churches, town halls, a leaning tower, the beautiful town of Würzburg, vineyards, monasteries, breweries, castles and the birthplace of the Brothers’ Grimm. Truly a visit to old Europe. We will be traveling along the Main River.

If you have never seen Europe by river and bike, you are in for a real treat. You are guaranteed to see things that you would not ordinarily have access to, you will be in the country, in the towns and riding along quiet river paths. We anchor the boat at night which allows us the ability to partake of the local flavor, and we cycle during the day, typically riding between 25 and 35 miles a day.

We depart Tampa on Friday September 23 and arrive in Germany the next morning. We’ll have time to tour the city, and then board one of two barges. Then get ready for the next 7 days to see the beauty of Germany up close and personal as we pedal through the countryside. Then, if you are so inclined, we will do an optional 3 day extension to another great location.

Trip Highlights

Bamberg, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its authentic medieval appearance, is the starting point for this once in a lifetime bike and boat tour in Germany. It is home to such wonders as the Bamberg Cathedral. The varied itinerary includes Kitzingen, famous for its leaning tower. Legend has it that the tower was built during a severe drought, and, because of the absence of water, builders had to use wine to mix the mortar. Apparently the workers had a little too much wine for themselves!

You will be able to witness such artistic masterpieces as Maria im Weingarten and Madonna im Rosenkranz by Tilmann Riemenschneider in the charming town of Volkach, as well as enjoy wine from local vineyard. At the stop in Würzburg, you are in for a real treat: a look inside the Fortress Marienberg. The mighty Fortress Marienberg is a symbol of the strength of Würzburg and the majesty of the prince-bishops who lived there for nearly five centuries. From the top of one of its four towers offers an extraordinary view of the landscape.

During the overnight stay in Miltenberg, it is an absolute must to have a drink in the oldest pub in Germany, as well as stroll through the meandering alleys and market square. Johannisburg Palace, located on the banks of the Main River, will be the first thing you see as you enter Aschaffenburg as it is the grandest of all Renaissance palace complexes. The upper levels of this castle serve as the town library where you can read scripts from past centuries, and the lower levels are art and science museums. The last stop of this tour is Mainz. The afternoon before departure, there will be time to explore this interesting city full of attractive town squares, impressive churches, and half-timbered houses; a perfect way to end a perfect tour!

The Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Bamberg
Guests are greeted on board the Merlijn with a welcome cocktail. The afternoon is free, allowing time to explore Bamberg, a UNESCO World Heritage City that not only embodies a thousand years of art and culture, but also remains vibrant and young at heart.
Dinner and overnight stay.

Day 2: Bamberg – Schweinfurt, 22 miles (35 km)
Departing Bamberg, you will cycle Germany along the Main River passing the famous pilgrimage church Maria Limbach and the town of Eltmann. The day’s destination is in Hassfurt, famous for the late gothic Ritter chapel and church full of valuable paintings such as ‘John the Baptist’ and ‘Maria with Child’ by artist Tilmann Riemenschneider. From Hassfurt, the Merlijn will cruise to Schweinfurt, a cozy little town full of museums, galleries, and artificial ‘Schweine’ (pigs).
Dinner and overnight stay in Schweinfurt.
*If you would like to bike the entire trip to Schweinfurt, it will be approximately 12 miles (20 km) more.

Day 3: Schweinfurt – Marktbreit, 35 miles (56 km)
The Merlijn sails you to Wipfeld, where your bike tour will start. We head for a cultural highlight: the pilgrimage church ‘Maria im Weingarten’ and the famous ‘Madonna im Rosenkranz’ by Tilmann Riemenschneider. You will cycle through vineyards passing villages that all are very well known to wine connoisseurs like Volkach, Nordheim, Sommerach, and Dettelbach. You will bike further along the Main river, passing Kitzingen that’s famous for its leaning tower, of which the story goes that’s its leaning because the builders, who because of water shortage, mixed the mortar with wine instead of water, had too much wine while mixing.
Dinner and overnight stay in the charming village of Marktbreit.

Day 4: Marktbreit – Gemünden – Lohr, 29 miles (45 km)
Breakfast will be enjoyed en route to Würzburg, the Baroque town on the river Main. Here, cyclists can disembark and explore this beautiful city. For a magnificent view of the historic center of Würzburg, climb the steps to the huge Fortress Marienberg. From Würzburg, the bike tour to Gemünden will start. The tour will lead you further along the river Main via Zellingen and Erlabrunn and into wine country. You will be able to see hills full of vines and ride through charming wine villages like Eibelstadt and Sommerhausen.
From Gemünden, the barge cruises to Lohr during dinner.

Day 5: Gemünden – Miltenberg, 31 miles (50 km)
Today’s bike tour starts in Gemünden and goes through historic monuments like the Triefenstein monastery, and half-timber castle Homburg, through the varying landscape with both wine mountains and afforested mountain slopes with bizarre rocks, passing Lohr am Main and its Gothic and Baroque buildings. You will arrive at Wertheim, situated right where the rivers Main and Tauber meet. From Wertheim, the Merlijn will cruise to historic Miltenberg. The city has a certain charm due to its meandering streets and alleys, old restored half-timber houses, and the monumental market square. Here, you can enjoy a beer at the oldest pub in Germany. Tonight, dinning at your own expense, you can explore this unique town.
Overnight stay at Miltenberg.

Day 6: Miltenberg – Aschaffenburg, 25 miles (40 km)
Following the river, you will pass several small villages. Groszheubach and Klingenberg are famous for their fine red wines. Continuing via Bürgstadt to Freudenberg and further on to Aschaffenburg, you will be able to experience museums, churches, and of course the beautiful castle that is situated on the river bank.

Day 7: Aschaffenburg – Mainz, 28 miles (45 km)
Today’s bike tour leads through Kleinostheim and Dettingen. After crossing the River Main on a small ferry, the tour continues to the small and romantic city of Seligenstadt with its windings alleys, wood framed houses, and basilica. Further along the river to Klein-Krotzenburg, Hainstadt, Kleinauheim via Steinheim to Hanau, the town where the famous Grimm Brothers were born. Via Mühlheim, you will ride to Offenbach where the Merlijn will be waiting. You will cruise from Frankfurt to Mainz, your final destination.

Day 8: Mainz
Departure after breakfast.

What's Included

  • 7 nights’ accommodations on board the Merlijn
  • Daily cabin cleaning service
  • Welcome drink
  • Breakfast buffets, packed lunches, and 6 x 3-course dinners
  • Coffee, tea, hot chocolate & water on board
  • 21-speed hybrid bicycle, including a bike bag, towel, and a universal sized helmet
  • Route Information
  • Tour Guide
  • Complimentary water bottle
  • Ferry fares en route
  • WiFi on board
  • Tour through a brewery and beer tasting in Miltenberg

What's Not Included

  • Local transportation and airfare
  • 1 dinner
  • Wine tasting
  • Organized city tours
  • Drinks other than mentioned
  • Entrance fees and excursions
  • Gratuities
  • Bicycle protection
  • Trip insurance


Included in the the price of the extension is:

  • Transfer from Mainz to the Frankfurt Airport
  • Flight from Frankfurt to Berlin round trip
  • Round trip transfer from Berlin Airport to the Wyndham Excelsior Hotel with 3 nights accommodations
  • Breakfast daily at the hotel
  • Half-day city tour of Berlin including coach and English speaking guide
  • Hotel taxes and service charges

This trip is limited to 44 travelers. Hurry and sign up now before it’s too late!!

Price Chart

Use the following chart for the cash pricing of your group:

Number of
Double Occupancy
Ground Only
Single Supplement
Barge Only
Barge & Berlin Ext.

Sign Up Details

$3199, Double Occupancy.

Price Includes:
Round trip non-stop air from Tampa to Frankfurt, transportation to and from the barge, seven nights on board the Merlijn and her sister ship the Quo Vadis, with daily breakfast and a three-course dinner (for 6 nights), and Happy Hours on the boat. Also included; the use of a high quality 21-gear bike, a helmet, a bike bag, free water bottle, a daily biking guide, brewery tour and beer tasting in Miltenberg. See Price Price Chart above.

$1,000.00 (Non-refundable if space goes unfilled) with a completed and signed trip application and copy of picture page of passport. Note: passport must be valid at least 6 months past final travel date.

Cancellation Date:
All cancellations must be received in writing by May 15, 2016.

Balance Due:
Full payment due on or before date May 15, 2016.

Mail completed & signed trip application with your check or credit card application to: Barbara Shank, 11340 Harbor Way #1643, Largo, FL 33774.

You will be billed later for the final payment.