The Moselradweg is a more than 300 kilometer long cycling route in Germany. It takes you along the twisting bends of the Mosel river between Metz in France and Koblenz in Germany, where the Mosel flows into the Rhine. Recently I cycled a part of this incredible cycling route, which is in the top 10 of most beautiful long distance cycling routes in Germany. I was promised a mix of historic buildings, steep vineyards, fine views and delicious wines. Curious if it lived up to its promise? Find the answer below!
Start of the trip in Nittel
If you are not able to cycle the entire Moselradweg, then just like me, spend three days along the most special highlights of the route. I start my adventure in Trier, a beautiful city located on the banks of the Mosel that is home to a lot of ancient buildings. I pick up my bike at the train station and board the train directly from here southbound to Nittel.
Because of the summer 9 euro ticket, the train is busy and I am not the only cyclist: a handful of other bikepackers travel with me on this train. Fortunately, the Germans are helpful and space is made without hesitation for all bicycles that want to come along. Half an hour later the train stops in Nittel. I get off and think about how I can get my e-bike off the platform without too much effort. There is no elevator, it is heavily loaded and so I have to go down the stairs. A little further up the stairs again and I’m directly on the banks of the Mosel already. My bike ride is about to begin!
Cycling between Nittel and Trier (26 kilometer)
My first section is between Nittel and Trier. Last year I walked the Moselsteig along the Nitteler Felsen. Now however, I am standing by the water and looking up to them. I get on my bike, it’s a sunny day in June and I’m looking forward to it. Although it is a weekday, more people have taken up the idea of going for a bike ride. Immediately I leave Nittel and I set course northbound towards the city of Konz. I arrive here about an hour later and I make a stop at the bridge where the Saar flows into the Mosel. I then leave the city and continue cycling to Trier. It’s pleasant to cycle along the water and the cycle path is well signposted. Good to know is that you can cycle the Moselradweg on both sides of the water, the Bikeline guidebook mentions what the ‘official’ side is. Because I would like to take a city walk in Trier, I decide to continue pedaling so that I am back in the city by the end of the afternoon.
City walk through Trier
I cycle to my hotel and quickly change for a city walk that I want to take. This is marked on the free map of the city I got at the front desk. It is a short walk, however, it takes me past most of the highlights: the Porta Nigra, the cathedral and the amphitheater. There’s a friendly atmosphere in the city and I’m amazed by the beauty of the old buildings. Trier is said to have the best preserved old buildings in Germany. That evening I have a bit to eat at Wirtshaus Zur Glocke before I go to bed. Tomorrow is a new day!
Cycling from Trier to Bernkastel-Kues
Today I cycle a distance of about 70 kilometers. Getting out of town in the busy morning traffic is a bit of a challenge, but once I’ve crossed the bridge, I pick up the trail again. The first part of today’s route goes along the left bank of the Mosel. I try to put in quite a few miles to leave the city as quickly as possible. Over the industrial area (also part of it) I eventually arrive in Ehrang, leaving the hustle and bustle behind me. Just past Ehrang the route returns to the water and at Schweich I cross the bridge again to the right side of the water. Just past Schweich you finally see what I came for: the steep vineyards along the water. From here on it is a lot of fun and I regularly take a break by the water.
At Mehring I visit the Roman Villa Rustica, which is one kilometer off the route. It’s again pretty warm today and so I can cool down here in the shade. After a short visit to the villa it is time to move on and find a spot for lunch. Just like in the Netherlands, entrepreneurs here are also faced with a staff shortage: many restaurants and terraces are closed. Finally I find a place in Neumagen to have lunch.
Side trip to Trittenheim
From here I want to go to Trittenheim, where there’s a beautiful viewpoint. And I know because I was here on a hike two years ago. Fortunately I have an e-bike because it is quite a climb (and a few km off the official route) but in the end I’m at the top after fifteen minutes and I look out over the water. I refresh myself with some water (it’s now over 30 degrees) and then hush back down and onwards to my final destination for today!
I’m also visiting the Roman wine press in the town of Piesport. This has been built around the year 200 and measures 15 meters in length and 5 meters in width. Furthermore you can also visit the oldest wine village in Germany: Neumagen-Dhron, where you can find a replia of the Stella Noviomagi, a Roman wine ship.
My final destination today is Bernkastel-Kues, a cozy town with a beautiful castle. I arrive there at the beginning of the evening, after which I take a short city walk to explore the waterfront. The setting sun lights up Landshut castle and I decide that I’m a grateful person to be here.
Cycling from Bernkastel-Kues to Cochem
Today there’s about 80 kilometers on the program: I cycle from Bernkastel-Kues to Cochem. It’s a public holiday and therefore considerably busier on the route. Again I try to make as many kilometers as possible in the morning as long as it is still relatively cool. Today there are also a number of unpaved sections, but in excellent condition and therefore very doable. I still follow the right bank of the Mosel and most parts of the mountains are covered with vineyards.
The Mosel makes a number of special twists here of almost 360 degrees, which you hardly notice when you cycle along the water. I make a lunch stop in Zell am Mosel, where I cross the footbridge back to the left side of the water. At Bremm a special section follows: the one along the Bremmer Calmont. This is the steepest vineyard in Europe, the vines are almost vertical here. Here you can do the Calmont Klettersteig. I did it a few years ago, read my experience here.
While the Moselradweg meanders under the Bremmer Calmont, I reach Ediger-Eller. This is a historic village with beautiful half timbered houses and walking through the small alleys is well worth your time. From here it is another 20 kilometers to Cochem. Vineyards, sometimes a meadow, campsites and beautiful rolling hills cover the landscape.
Back from Cochem to Trier
Cochem is famous for its beautiful castle, so it’s quite busy here typically. I therefore decide to go straight to my hotel and enjoy a well-deserved glass of Riesling with dinner. The next morning I get up early to view the castle from the water. There are hardly any people on my feet and I actually manage to take a picture without other people. I cherish the memory because as soon as the first cruise ships dock, the silence is over. After breakfast I attach my bags to my bike and take the train back to Trier, where I return my bike. A special adventure has come to an end!
Practical information about the Moselradweg
– The Moselradweg is 307 kilometers long on the right bank and 314 kilometers on the left bank of the river. You can alternate sides, the Bikeline booklet lists the recommended sides. If you have enough time, you can go up and back down on either side and cycle the whole trail twice.
– The route is indicated with green signs. You basically just follow the bicycle signs to the next village, it’s super simple!
– Most of the route is on cycle paths. Sometimes you cycle on the main road, but this is always clearly marked. I never felt unsafe for a moment, getting out of Trier alone during rush hour was a bit of a challenge. On bridges you usually must step off and walk, this is always signposted.
– Wearing a helmet is useful but not mandatory in this part of Germany.
– The trail is mostly flat, with an occasional climb. If the climb is very steep, it is indicated so that you can make extra speed to get up without problems.
– You can spend the night in guesthouses, B&Bs or hotels, but of course also on campsites. Keep in mind that the campsites on the water are often mainly geared towards motorhomes. The hotels often have a parking space for your bicycle, covered or uncovered. I advise you to book in advance because hotels often have adjusted opening hours outside the high season. On holidays they are usually fully booked in advance.
– I cycled about 70 kilometers a day, which was fine with an e-bike. Of course you can determine the stages and length yourself, there are plenty of villages along the way.
– I rented my bike at Fahrradstation Gleis 11 at Trier station. Your bicycle is allowed on regional trains, not on ICEs. More info on Bahn.de.
It’s helpful to download some apps in advance for this trip. I used the following apps:
– Rheinland Palatinate app: for the route
– ARGO app: you can experience the ruins on the go with argumented reality
– Lauschtouren app: with this you can listen to the stories of the region on the go. Tip: download the stories in advance because there is not good mobile coverage everywhere. There are 40 audio guides for the Mosel Radweg ready for you to be listened to and you can learn more about the history of the Moselle region as well as the sights while using this app. It’s available in German, English and Dutch.
How I enjoyed the trail
I’m a huge fan of the Mosel region, I try to come here once every year. Usually to go walking along the Mosel, but this time by bike. The Moselradweg is a popular cycling route and with good reason: the surroundings are beautiful, cycling is relaxed and there are plenty of overnight accommodation options along the way. The Moselsteig that I (partly) walked earlier goes largely through the hills and along the top, the bike path usually runs directly on the water. I thought it was a nice way to experience the Mosel with different eyes and enjoyed my three days on the bike a lot.
Conclusion and disclaimer
Hopefully you liked this article and I have inspired you to take a bike ride along the Moselradweg. More information can be found on the Visit Mosel website and River Routes. I made this trip in collaboration with Mosellandtouristik as part of ‘Germany’s Top River Routes’. All opinions given are, of course, only my own.