The Mosel Valley, with its breathtaking landscapes and charming villages, is a cyclist’s dream come true. Perhaps my favorite way to experience the Mosel is by bike – and I’m not the only one. You will see lots of people cycling in the Moselle Valley. Immaculately maintained bike paths line both sides of the river and the path is almost entirely flat. This means, it is totally manageable for all skills and fitness levels. Even if you are not an experienced cyclist, I can promise you that you’ll enjoy a ride on the Mosel Cycle Path.
Don’t believe me? Just look at the outfits I’m wearing in these photos – you can clearly tell I’m not a cyclist.
I don’t let that stop me though. The Mosel Valley is the perfect destination for casual bicycle enthusiasts to go for a ride. You don’t need to be a competitive or long-distance rider to enjoy bicycling in the Mosel. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a beginner looking for a leisurely cycling experience, the Mosel Cycle Route offers an ideal way to explore this picturesque region.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through the essentials of bicycling in the Mosel Valley as a beginner. From where to start and end your journey to what you need to know about the terrain and road conditions. I’ll spill all the tea about biking in the Mosel Valley. Plus, I’ll highlight some of the best things to see and do along the way.
What You'll Find in this Article
A Non-Cyclists Guide to Biking in the Moselle Valley
About the Mosel Cycle Route
The Mosel Cycle Route, known as Mosel-Radweg in German, is a well-maintained paved cycling trail that follows the meandering banks of the Mosel River. Stretching nearly 250 kilometers (155 miles), this route offers cyclists and non-cyclists alike the chance to immerse themselves in the region’s stunning scenery and rich cultural heritage.
Being in wine country, the path takes you through vineyard-covered hills, past medieval castles, and into charming riverside towns, making it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a memorable bike ride.
Mosel Cycle Route is broken up into 10 sections, starting in Perl on the German-French-Luxembourg border and running until Koblenz where the mouth of the Mosel River flows into the Rhine River. The path runs on both sides of the river with frequent bridges to cross over the river as desired. It is well-marked throughout with good signs and mile markers.
Where to Start + End
If you want to bike Germany’s entire Mosel Cycle Route, then you need to start in either Koblenz or Perl. Experienced riders could probably bike the entire route in around 15 hours while beginner riders are looking at more like 18-20 hours of riding.
Don’t let this intimidate you, because this is not a requirement.
You can also start a ride AT ANY POINT along the river. You can bike one or two of the 10 sections, starting or ending in a specific town. For example, maybe you book a hotel for one night in Bernkastel-Kues and then ride 60km to Trier and spend a night there.
Another option that I’ve done before is bringing the bikes on one of the Mosel River ferries with you. You can ride the ferry to one city and then bike back to whatever city you’re staying in. My husband and I took the morning ferry from Cochem to Traben-Trarbach and then biked 50km back to Cochem. This way, we could do a long stretch in a single day, but didn’t need to bring any gear with us.
If this all sounds like too much for you, simply ride for a few hours on a loop circuit that starts or ends at the same place. Check out one of the loop circuits I did with my aunt last summer on my Instagram Reel. The beauty of biking in the Mosel is that you can choose whatever style of bike ride best suits you. Don’t let snobby middle-aged-men-in-lycra (aka MAMIL’s) shoot down your dreams. There is space for all kinds of bicycle enthusiasts in the Mosel!
What Do You Need to Know
The Mosel Cycle Route is generally beginner-friendly, with relatively flat terrain along the riverbanks. This makes it accessible to riders of all skill levels, including those new to long-distance cycling. There may be occasional short, steep ascent as you venture into some of the charming villages or wineries nestled in the hillsides, but these are totally optional. The main route follows the river banks and is thus, flat.
The majority of the route consists of well-maintained asphalt or concrete paths. I’m not exaggerating – it is a smooth and comfortable bike path. You’ll also find dedicated bike lanes in many areas, bringing you even closer to the river and pristine nature. Be prepared for some shared paths with pedestrians and cars. But have no fear. Germany is a very bike-friendly country so you can trust that drivers will yield to you and pay attention to bike lanes. I always feel quite safe biking in the Mosel.
Because biking is SUCH a common activity in the Mosel, nearly every town, no matter how small, has a bike shop. So if you get a flat tire or break your chain, you’ll never be far from a place that can help. We had this happen to us once. While it is a bummer to get a flat tire, it only delayed us by about an hour as we walked to the nearest town and replaced the tube.
Types of Bikes
Because the path is primarily flat and paved, you don’t need any special type of bike to do a ride. You’ll see plenty of cyclists on expensive racing bikes, but you will also see retirees on comfy e-bikes. It is really adaptable to whatever style of riding you want to do. On our first trip to the Mosel, we brought our city commuter bikes on the train with us and rode those in the Mosel. If you’re really new to biking, consider renting an e-bike, which can be particularly helpful for the occasional hill.
Where to Get a Bicycle
Organized Bike Tours
When going on an organized bike tour, a lot of the organization is taken care of by a traveling agency. An organized bike tour typically creates a package deal with everything you need – bike, equipment, etc – included in a set rate. Sometimes, these are small group tours where you meet up with other people and go on the ride together as a group. There are plenty of agencies that will even book your hotels and carry your equipment, although I don’t have any to recommend because I have never done a tour like this.
Most agencies offer one of two types bike tours:
- Self-guided: company provides you with the bikes, accommodation, and luggage transfer, as well as information regarding the routes, but you don’t have a guide accompany you on the ride.
- Guided: you have a personal guide leading you on the ride, usually with a small group of other cyclists.
Independent Bike Tours
While organized tours certainly have their advantages, independent tours allow you the ultimate flexibility to design your own itinerary. An independent tour means that you carry your equipment yourself from one place to another, you book your own accommodation, etc. This allows you to customize the ride length each day and stay in the style of accommodation best suited to your preferences. Some popular rental agencies offer the convenience of delivering the bikes to your starting point, whether it’s Trier, Koblenz, or any other location along the Mosel Cycle Route. This eliminates the need to transport your bikes from a rental shop, making your journey even more hassle-free.
Renting bicycle for a day or two (even a few hours!) is great option for those that just want to dip their toes into the experience. We’ve done this on a number of occasions, and it is a straightforward process. Basically, you call a bike rental shop and book the number & style of bicycle you want. Shops typically offer a variety of bike styles, including comfort bikes and e-bikes, which can be particularly helpful for beginners tackling the occasional hills. Be sure to inquire about package rentals, which often include essentials like helmets, locks, and maps.
A quick Google search will show you that there are LOTS of bike rental businesses to choose from. It is such a popular activity in the Mosel. I usually just choose the highest-rated rental shop in whatever town I am staying in, and see what they have available. If you prefer something more vetted, the Mosel Valley Tourism Board has a list of bike rental companies in various towns along the river.