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2012 – Germany (Moselle, Rhine and Neckar valleys)

Date of tour: September 2012
Duration of tour: 6 days
Distance: approx. 900km
Map showing points of interest
Location of the tour within Europe

This is a short tour we did with family from the UK. We started in Monschau, near Aachen, which is an ideal meeting point approximately 250 km from the Ijmuiden (Amsterdam) ferry terminal.


Getting there and around

This area of Germany is easily accessible by road from most European countries. If coming from the UK, there are several ferry services between the UK and mainland Europe:

On the River Rhine there are regular short ferry crossings (Photo 8), since the bridges are only in the built-up areas, such as Koblenz and Mainz.

Good motorbiking routes

1. Monschau (Photo 1) -> Vianden (Photo 2). Just across the Belgian border from Monschau are lots of country roads winding up and down this hilly area, although it’s easy to lose orientation and go round in circles. Crossing the border into Luxemburg, the roads get more interesting with steeper gradients and small rivers to follow. The Luxemburg town of Vianden is an idyllic place to stop for a rest.

2. Vianden -> Trittenheim (Moselle). The road continues to twist and turn in a southeasterly direction until it meets the Moselle, where it then follows the river in big sweeping curves (Photo 3). This whole area is known as the Eifel, a hilly and picturesque region which includes the famous Nürburgring.

3. Trittenheim -> Eltz Castle. East of the Moselle, several steep, winding roads lead up and over the hilly Hunsrück region. You could ride up and down these all day, but it's worth paying a visit to the 850-year-old Eltz Castle (Photos 4, 5 & 6 - see Worth a visit below).

4. Eltz Castle -> The Rhine River. From the heights of the castle, a road leads down to The Moselle River, which can be crossed via a bridge at Löf. From there, the L207 twists and turns up and over the hills between the Moselle and Rhine valleys, passing under the A61 motorway, and finishing with glorious views of the Rhine River. The roads on both banks are equally as picturesque and the river is easily crossed by one of the many regular ferries (Photos 7 & 8).
(The stretch between Mainz on The Rhine and Heidelberg is not particularly attractive. To reach Heidelberg from here, it may be advisable to take one of the motorways the 100km than to ride through this built-up area.)

5. Heidelberg (Photos 9 & 10) -> Aachen. This 300km long route takes you back over the country roads of the Hunsrück and Eifel regions, both of which are popular areas for motorbiking and for good reason.

Accommodation

There are numerous campsites all along the Moselle and Rhine valleys. These ones are worth mentioning:

Food

The Moselle valley is well-known as a wine-producing area (see the rows of grapevines in Photo 3) and wine can be bought here that may not always be available elsewhere.

As in much of Germany, this region has a meat-heavy diet which includes lamb, beef, pork and game, all of which can be purchased at reasonable prices in restaurants and supermarkets.

Worth a visit

1. Monschau (Photo 1), known as the "gem of the Eifel region", is a lovely, small town with quaint, half-timbered buildings and narrow streets nestling in the valley of the River Rur.

2. The medieval town of Vianden in Luxemburg (Photo 2) sits on the River Our and is overlooked by the impressive Vianden Castle.

3. Eltz Castle (Burg Eltz) is an 850-year-old fairytale castle standing high up on a rock and surrounded by woodland (Photos 4, 5 & 6). It is reached via the small village of Münstermaifeld. There is secure parking in the large dedicated car park and a shuttle bus takes you up to the castle.

4. Heidelberg's old town is located between the River Neckar on one side (Photo 9) and Heidelberg Castle on the other (Photo 10). Heidelberg has in turn been populated by pre-Neanderthal peoples (500,000 years ago), the Celts in the 5th century BC and the Romans in the first to third centuries AD. Since then it has had a colourful history, the result of which can be seen in the styles of the buildings and layout of the town.

Back to moto

1. Monschau 2. Vianden 3. Moselle River 4. Eltz Castle 5. Courtyard in Eltz Castle 6. Detail on Eltz Castle 7. View from one of the many ferries on The Rhine 8. Ferry across The Rhine 9. Heidelberg on the River Neckar 10. Part of Heidelberg Castle 11. Heidelberg campsite from the river Location of tour in Europe Map with points of interest