What to expect
Cycle and cruise to the historic cities and stunning landscapes between Mainz and Strasbourg. Medieval market squares, grand cathedrals and half-timbered houses are just some of the highlights. The region’s palaces are magnificent, and Heidelberg’s Renaissance castle is simply breathtaking. Staying on the MS Arkona, you’ll dine on board and pedal to a different destination each day. During afternoons, you can explore on foot or relax on the ship’s sun deck.
Gentle cycle paths guide you beside the Rhine and Neckar rivers, past pristine wetlands and oxbow lakes. Paved and signposted, the cycling is suitable for all. Halfway through the tour, you’ll pedal along part of the romantic Castle Road – steeped in tradition, this scenic route is imbued with legends and lined with fortresses that include Europe’s second-biggest Baroque palace. When you arrive in Strasbourg, prepare to be spellbound by its Gothic cathedral, pretty canals and twisting alleys.
At a glance
- Romantic castles, palaces and half-timbered houses
- Oxbow lakes and protected wetlands
- Fairytale fortresses on the Castle Road
- Gentle cycling on paved riverside cycle paths
Day 1 (Sat):
Arrive in Mainz
Arrive in Mainz, ready to step aboard between 3pm and 5pm. Take a stroll around the city’s half-timbered houses and Romanesque Cathedral of Saint Martin. If you have time, visit the Gutenberg Museum, which celebrates the inventor of the printing press and showcases two of his original bibles.
Day 2 (Sun):
Mainz - Nierstein - Worms
12 or 37 miles (20 km or 60km)
Cycle along the paved Rhine Cycle Route to Nierstein, which has the largest wine-growing community on the river. Visit the Old Town’s medieval market square and noble houses. In the afternoon, sail or cycle to Worms – one of Germany’s oldest cities and the location of Christian reformer Dr Martin Luther’s famous speech before Roman Emperor, Charles V.
Day 3 (Mon):
Worms - Heidelberg
28 miles (45 km)
Pedal from imperial Worms, following the Neckar River to the university town of Heidelberg, which is surrounded by forest. Along the way, call in at the Roman city of Ladenburg for a break in the Old Town. As you approach the city, you’ll see Heidelberg’s stunning castle with its mix of Gothic and Renaissance styles. Explore its historic red sandstone bridge, narrow lanes and picturesque squares.
Day 4 (Tue):
Heidelberg - Mannheim
29 miles (47 km)
Follow part of the Castle Road – a romantic scenic route that’s lined with magnificent castles, palaces, medieval villages and historic cities. Call in at Schwetzingen and its beautiful palace and gardens, then continue to Mannheim where the Neckar meets the Rhine. Explore the city on foot, taking in the historic water tower and Baroque palace.
Day 5 (Wed):
Mannheim – Speyer
12 miles (20 km)
Pedal past the oxbow lakes of the Old Rhine, en route to the cathedral city of Speyer. As you cycle, enjoy the beautiful wetland scenery of local nature reserves and floodplains. In the afternoon, you’ll have time to visit Speyer’s UNESCO-listed cathedral.
Day 6 (Thu):
Speyer - Germersheim - Plittersdorf
16 miles (25km)
Continue riding through the Palatinate region, passing oxbow lakes and untouched nature. Visit the fortified town of Germersheim with its picturesque lanes and squares. Sail to Plittersdorf during dinner.
Day 7 (Fri):
Plittersdorf – Gambsheim/Freistett - Strasbourg
25 or 37 miles (40 km or 60 km)
Cycle alongside the Rhine to the lock town of Gambsheim before joining the MS Arkona and sailing to Kehl which is connected by bridge to Strasbourg. Ride beside the river and through the Rhine plain to Strasbourg. You’ll then have time to experience the city’s canals, famous Minster, tanners’ quarter and French influences.
Day 8 (Sat):
Depart from Strasburg
Disembark after breakfast by 9am.
Mainz to Strasbourg - 2020 departures
The superior class MS Olympia was refurbished in 2016 and has 49 cabins with a maximum of 96 passengers. There are 21 main deck twin cabins (approx. 11m²) and 22 upper deck twin cabins (approx. 11m²). Four larger upper deck twin cabins located at the stern where engine noise is possible. All cabins are en-suite with shower and toilet, individually regulated air conditioning, fridge, hair dryer, small safe, TV and large panoramic windows (that open on the upper deck cabins).
On the upper deck there is a panoramic saloon with a bar and the restaurant is on the main deck. The partly shaded large sun deck has deck chairs from which you can enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Strasbourg to Mainz - 2020 departures
This is the reverse route from Strasbourg to Mainz on the MS Olympia.
Dates & Prices
Please click on a departure date for price options at a glance - 2020 dates on sale
- 7 nights accommodation on the MS Olympia
- Board basis: Full board including breakfast, packed lunch for cyclists or light lunch on board (non-cyclists) and dinner
- English speaking on-board guide with daily briefings of the bike tours
- Maps and route information (GPS tracks available on request)
- Welcome meeting with drink
- Local contact number for assistance
- Daily cabin cleaning
- Mooring fees
- Coffee in the afternoon
- Flights and transfers
- Cycle helmets
- Bike hire
- Entrance fees and excursions
- Drinks on board
- Transfers to/from the docking place
- Ferry fees & tips
Bike Hire & Extras
Bikes come with a pannier and a handlebar bag, small repair kit with spare inner tube, pump and lock are given per cabin and are included at no extra cost when you hire a bike.
Hybrid bike with 7 gears
News, Reviews & FAQs
Simply click on a question to reveal the answers
Will the itinerary ever change?
For Boat & Bike tours the boat will generally keep to the advertised itinerary, however the captain may have to adapt the itinerary due to the river or sea conditions.
How much space will I have in my cabin?
There is limited space in the cabins, so pack light and take a soft suitcase.
Can the boat cater for special dietary requirements?
Please advise us of any special requirements at time of booking and we will notify the boat operator in advance. Understandably, kitchen galley space is limited and it may not be possible to provide specialist products (eg. Gluten free). We suggest you bring a few items with you and, in some cases, these can be provided at a supplement.
Can I stay on the boat during the day and not cycle?
Yes, you can relax on the boat or explore when you arrive at each destination instead of cycling.
Will I be cycling with other people?
Although there is no organised group, self-guided guests regularly find they come across their fellow passengers along the route during the day and may even get together to form their own cycling groups.
Can I book by myself?
Absolutely! Boat & Bike tours are very sociable and a good choice for single travellers wishing to mix with other guests and share your common interest of cycling.
What does my on-board Tour Leader do?
Your on-board Tour Leader provides daily briefings ahead of the next day's ride. These are always beneficial, including information on the local area, main sights, and tips on good places to stop en route.