Courtyard of Ludwigsburg Palace, Ludwigsburg, Germany. Wikimedia Commons:Gregorini Demetrio

Stained glass in Providenzkirche, Heidelberg, Germany. Flickr:stanze
4.5/5 (2 ratings)

Aschaffenburg to Ludwigsburg

Germany Bike + Barge Tours

Bike and Boat the Main, Rhine, and Neckar Rivers in Germany

  • Bike and boat Germany on this easy, well-marked bike route endorsed with 4 stars by the German Cycling Association. From the ship’s deck and the wonderful bike path you’ll see hilltop castles, sloping vineyards, medieval villages, and legendary forests. While this region boasts high-tech automakers, nowhere has medieval charm and Renaissance architecture been so well-preserved. This is the place of fairy tales. Red-headed giants and robber barons, dwarf jesters and warrior brides named Brunhild still live in the mists of time.

    “Germany in summer is the perfection of the beautiful.” Mark Twain


    • Ancient city of Worms, heart of Germany’s national identity and other historical cities, Heidelberg, Ludwigsburg, Mainz, and Frankfurt
    • Three rivers cycling
    • Johannisburg
    • Mythical Odenwald forest

    Want to see more bike and barge tours in Germany?

  • *Twin cabin: £ 1640 $ 3,635 1930 $ 2908 NOK 18174 kr 16776 $ 2,181 Single supplement: on request

    extra options

    Electric bike: £ 68 $ 151 80 $ 121 NOK 753 kr 695 $ 90

    please note

    Rates are per person based on double occupancy.

    Information to read before you book.

    We recommend purchasing bike trip insurance.

    Please see our FAQ.

  • Travel

    Fly into and out of Frankfurt International Airport (FRA).

    Local Travel

    Frankfurt Airport is located 51 km from your tour start of Aschaffenburg and 179 km from Ludwigsburg, your tour end. Frankfurt airport has two railway stations, one for regional trains (S-Bahn, RE) and one for long-distance high-speed trains (ICE/IC). Regional trains from Frankfurt and other local towns come into and leave from the Regionalbahnhof on the lowest level of Terminal 1 and are two sets of escalators to check-in. Long distance trains arrive at the international station which is connected to Terminal 1 by a walkway (5 to 10 minutes).


    Always check local conditions before your arrival. Bavaria lies in the continental climate zone.

Where You’ll Stay

You will be accommodated on the comfort plus vessel, the Iris

What’s Included

  • 10 nights on board
  • Bed linen and towels
  • Breakfast
  • 8 x dinner on board, glass of wine at dinner
  • Packed lunches for bike trips
  • Coffee and tea on board
  • Tour guide (from 18 guests, 2 guides)
  • 2 guided excursions/entrance fees
  • Cabins cleaned daily
  • Climate-controlled cabins
  • Helmets, panniers, and water bottle

What’s Not Included

  • Entrance fees for museums, monuments, etc.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Miscellaneous beverages and expenses on excursions.
  • Gratuities for staff and guides
Length11 days
From1930 Rates
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Skill Level

This is an easy bike and boat tour that follows three rivers on an easy, well-marked bike route endorsed with 4**** by the German Cycling Association.

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Day-To-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival at Aschaffenburg
Day 2: Aschaffenburg to Frankfurt
Day 3: Frankfurt to Mainz
Day 4: Mainz to Worms
Day 5: Worms to Heidelberg
Day 6: Heidelberg
Day 7: Heidelberg to Eberbach
Day 8: Eberbach to Heilbron
Day 9: Heilbron to Ludwigsburg
Day 10: Ludwigsburg Cycle and Sightseeing
Day 11: Ludwigsburg Day of Departure

Daily distances average 35 miles (56 km). Operator reserves the right to alter the course with no advance notice if necessary due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather, water level, lock construction or repair, etc. 

Day 1: Arrival at Aschaffenburg
At the lovely docking area at the Flosshafen, the IRIS awaits its guests. Guides will show you the highlights of Aschaffenburg, of which the Johannisburg is certainly the most prominent one!

The massive four-winged palace, build from 1605 until 1614 is one of the most important Renaissance buildings. After serious damage during WWII, the palace was restored, including rescued parts of its furnishings. Next to it the Pompejanum, an idealized replica of a Roman Villa, build in the 19th century. And yes, Aschaffenburg has lovely terraces as well to have your first cold local beer. Cheers!

Day 2: Aschaffenburg to Frankfurt
The  first ride starts on the Main Radweg, a designated bike bath following the River downstream. Although the city of Frankfurt is quite a large and bustling metropolis, staying along the river takes you through the countryside to the heart of the city. You cycle through Kleinostheim and Dettingen. After crossing the River Main on a small ferry, the tour continues to the romantic city of Seligenstadt with its windings alleys, wood framed houses, and basilica. You bike further along the river to Hanau, the town where the famous Grimm Brothers were born. The IRIS awaits again, in Frankfurt-am-Main, where you have time to explore this city with its modern buildings, museums, and lively shopping center.

Day 3: Frankfurt to Mainz
Today you bike from Frankfurt to Mainz, still following the Main. In the afternoon there will be time to explore this interesting city. Mainz was settled as a military base for Roman legions that guarded the Rhine’s west bank from the “Barbarians.” The fateful ambush at Teutoberg Forest in 9 AD instilled four centuries of fear in Rome, ensuring their legions would never conquer east of the Rhine. Now Mainz’s inner city is its pride and joy, filled with spacious plazas, lovingly restored half-timbered houses and magnificent Baroque style churches. The ‘Old Town’ has a very charming and warm atmosphere. You have entered the Rhine now, a major European waterway.

Day 4: Mainz to Worms
As you leave the imperial Roman City of Mainz, you head on to the city of the Dragon Slayer.Today you will see a strong current of barge commerce as you pedal under modern bridges, through garden parks, and sparkling cities on a smooth asphalt bike path. You will ride along an old branch of the Rhine and see how the river looked before Napoleon “tamed” it. Johann Gutenberg first mass-produced the Bible on his revolutionary press in Mainz. Given this is Germany’s largest wine-growing region, you simply must imbibe. We love ‘Meenz’ for their city slogan: “Save Water, Drink Riesling.” Topping the list is the wine tavern Beichtstuhl (Confessional Chair). Order the local plate “hand cheese with music” and see what happens. Another inspiring watering-hole is the Heiligegeist (Holy Ghost), a medieval homeless sanctuary built in 1236. Weinstube Hottum is one of the most traditional taverns. In a class by itself, you might stumble upon the humble Weinhaus Bluhm for no frills and rarities by the glass.

Next stop — Worms, the most important city you never heard of. The place where popes and emperors met in gilded halls and Martin Luther defended his thesis without success. The Jewish community is Germany’s oldest. Even the geology is fascinating. Prehistoric shark teeth are still being unearthed along the Rhine Valley, and most recently, archaeologists discovered 9 million-year old primate bones. No visit to Worms is complete without drinking with the local nuns. This is the home of Liebfraumilch, the cheap swill that tarnished the German wine industry for decades. Think Blue Nun and Black Tower, then forget you ever drank them. Luckily, things have changed. The real “Milk of our Virgin Mother” vineyard only crushes 100% Riesling grapes and she is a dry and elegant Lady of the Cloth.

Day 5: Worms to Heidelberg
Passing Mannheim it’s now time to enter the Neckar region! The bike path takes you to one of the most famous and oldest cities of Germany, and it’s time for walking shoes in Heidelberg. The Gothic and Renaissance castle sitting on the Königsstuhl (King’s Seat) overlooks the oldest and most prestigious German university. Take the funicular up and explore the red sandstone behemoth and see the world’s largest wine barrel, timbered from 130 trees with a 58,500 gallon oak belly. Fortunately, Heidelberg escaped WWII with all of its original buildings intact. The castle however didn’t fare as well through the ages, repeatedly struck by lightning and partially plundered by pesky French neighbors. The world’s first bicycle was invented in 1817 by former Heidelberg student Baron von Drais — his prototype lives in the Kurpfälzisches Museum. Another fascinating sight lies hidden in the forest. The Thingstätte is a Nazi amphitheater commissioned by Joseph Goebbels for large propaganda events. To get to it, cross the Old Bridge across the river, up the Schlangenweg (snake path) to the Philosophen Weg (philosopher’s way). This is the best sunset look-out over Heidelberg.

Day 6: Heidelberg
No sailing today, but you will be offered a  bike ride for those who can’t do without and a guided excursion to enjoy all Heidelberg has to offer. Before leaving Heidelberg tomorrow, make sure to touch the monkey at the Old Bridge. Polishing his mirror bestows luck; rubbing his fingers ensures a return to Heidelberg. Sculpted by Herr Rumpf, this bronze version replaced one that taunted humans for 600 years.

Day 7: Heidelberg to Eberbach
This morning you ride along the mythical Odenwald forest where the Grimm Brothers collected tales of bewitched princesses, angry goblins, and farm lads who outsmarted the devil. Germans adore trees and two-thirds of the country is covered in forests. Have we mentioned cake and coffee yet? Well, it’s high time to partake in this beloved tradition. Stop by Café Grimm in the village of Hirschhorn (stag antlers) for strudels, fruit tarts, Bee Stings and Black Forest cake. If you’re not a sweet-tooth, the medieval alleyways and cobbled lanes lead straight up to the castle terrace for cold beers and Neckar Valley views. This place has been marinating in history longer than Sauerbraten, the region’s legendary comfort food. Today’s ride concludes in Eberbach, a quiet little village.

Day 8: Eberbach to Heilbron
On your way to Heilbronn, you visit romantic Bad Wimpfen known for its therapeutic salt waters. Language tip: BAD before a town means ‘bath’ town. Bad Wimpfen’s market has been lively for 1,000 years and one of Germany’s oldest. Mark Twain ambled through on a European trip to cure his writer’s block and drew sketches of the medieval Blauer Turm (Blue Tower). If you climb 134 steps to the tower keeper’s front door, maybe Frau Knodel might offer a beer and a tall tale. Getting there, the stretch is dotted with castles around every bend. At the end of the day Heilbronn awaits us. Today’s adventure concludes in Heilbronn with its unforgettable Glockenspiel at the Rathaus — a very rare trio of moon and celestial calendars and clock with head-butting rams, crowing cocks and trumpeting angels! Find a soft seat in a wine tavern on the town square. Which brave soul will try the dangerous Katzenbeisser black Riesling, the red cousin of Pinot Noir? Or, take a leisurely stroll through the garden exhibits on display by the 2019 German Horticultural Show. This national floral event is a great honor for Heilbronn.

Day 9: Heilbron to Ludwigsburg
Start biking from Heilbronn where ‘white gold’ is mined under the city. Another ride along the Neckar, getting smaller already but still navigationable you follow its curves and arrive in Ludwigsburg,

In Ludwigsburg, life revolves around tending grapes and pouring liquid gold into crystal goblets. The famous ‘Felsengarten’ is a city of stone giants embedded with ancient sea fossils. Then comes Lauffen am Neckar, the home of a 7-year old girl-Saint strangled by her nanny and thrown in the river in the 9th century. Lauffen also suffered 37 air raids during WWII, located too close to a decoy target that looked like Stuttgart’s main rail station.

Day 10: Ludwigsburg Cycle and Sightseeing
Today you can choose between cycling, guided walks and strolling of on your own. Ludwigsburg's baroque beauty awaits you. Cycle options all over, following the river a bit more or just exploring the countryside.

Guides will offer tours and accompany you.

Day 11: Ludwigsburg Day of Departure
“Auf Wiedersehen” After breakfast it’s time to say goodbye to the IRIS, the crew and your fellow travelers.

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Tour Reviews

  • David M. 2 weeks ago     Verified Reviewer

    The Iris is a well equipped and comfortable barge with a fantastic crew. Our guide, Thomas, was knowledgeable and very helpful and the Italian chefs (husband and wife) cooked delicious food and were super cute! Lenny, the owner of the Iris, was present throughout the trip and this added a special warmth to the trip. This was the first time this itinerary was offered on the Iris and it went off without a hitch. Many of the guests had E Bikes (which I recommend even though it was rated as an easy route) which made the several small hills a piece of cake! Would definitely recommend this trip on the Iris.

    Boat: Iris

  • Arthur S. 2 weeks ago     Verified Reviewer

    Great barge, good people, great guide and good food. The only thing missing was a good detailed map of where we were riding.

    Boat: Iris

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Aschaffenburg to Ludwigsburg Boats + Barges

Iris Photo

Iris France, Germany Premium Class Boat The Iris was put to sea in April 2005. She is a refitted freight barge that accommodates 24 overnight passengers. The interior of the Iris is fresh, tasteful and comfortable. The Iris can navigate on most rivers and canals in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. On the top deck you will the lounge, a roomy sitting area, a cozy bar and a sun deck. The whole barge has central heating and air-conditioning.