Family on Moselle Trail
A Bike Trail With Many Names
First of all, so that you don’t get confused on your Moselle River Bike Trail tour, this famous European bike path has many different names. As far as signage goes, the first one on the following list is by far the most common. But you will also see it referred to as many of the other names:
- Chemin de la Moselle (Moselle Trail)
- Moselle River Trail (France & parts of Germany)
- Mosel River Trail (Germany)
St. Etienne de Metz
- Veloroute Charles le Temeraire (from Metz to Thionville)
- Chemin Robert Schuman (a short stretch in Germany)
- Route des vins de Moselle (in Luxembourg)
- Moselle Bike Path
Throughout this guide to the Moselle River Trail Tour, I will use some of these different names so that you learn them and so that folks searching for Moselle Trail information are able to find it on Trailsnet.
Important Moselle Bike Trail Information
Historical Scenery Along the Trail
The Moselle River Trail is 193 miles long assuming you don’t take any side trips (good luck with that) or detours. For much of the Moselle Bike Path, you are able to find some sort of bike trail on both sides of the river. Although most of the bike route is completely dedicated bike trail, some portions follow alongside a road with a clearly marked bike lane. In most cases these bike lanes are somehow physically separated from the road by such devises as: raised bike path, traffic barriers, fencing, or rumble strips. In most cases, the bike path runs near the river or through vineyards. It often goes right through towns of varying sizes. Where it doesn’t go through towns, it is very easy to get back onto the
path if you detour into the towns and villages. In fact, this is a good idea for many of the towns.
What You Will Love About the Moselle River Path
Moselle River Trail vineyards
How do we love the Moselle Trail; let me count the ways:
- history – You will be amazed by both the depth and breadth of the history on this bike path.
- scenery – One minute you’re riding beside the river with swans & arched bridges & boats of every imaginable kind. The next minute you’re pedaling through a grape vineyard that is tangled with old-world charm.
- food -You will enjoy the best trailside food in the world on the Moselle River Trail. Is the food in Europe better than elsewhere? I’ll leave that up to you. But no one is better at food presentation than European restauranteurs. Whether you eat at a five-star restaurant or a mom & pop food stand, they take pride in making your food look like a work of edible art.
strawberry pastry trailside
- drink – There’s something special about drinking wine & beer in the very heart of wine and beer country. Make sure to try local specialties such as riesling wine and hefeweizen beer. So authentic. So charming. So delicious.
- mellow grade – You will be following the path of the river, and this isn’t some raging river of rapids and whitewater. It’s an old-world river. That means it has an extremely slight elevation gain or loss per mile. And, in most cases, you’ll probably be going downriver on your tour. So the riding will be pretty manageable.
- pealing church bells – In every community, you’ll hear the golden sound of church bells announcing the arrival of a new hour.
- Fun Cities on the Moselle Bike Path – From Metz, France to Koblenz, Germany, you’ll find quaint villages, historic towns and charming cities.
view of Cochem from the Imperial Palace
Plan a bike tour on this historic bike path, and you will fall in love with the sights, sounds and tastes of the Moselle River Trail.
Finding the Moselle River Bike Path
If you are starting your Moselle River bike journey in Metz, this may be the only place you have difficulty finding the trail. It’s across the river from the Metz city center and, not very well marked. And, as with most major bike trails, the locals often don’t even know it exists. At this point, most locals know of the trail as the Veloroute Charles le Temeraire, if they know of it at all. So in order to find the trail, you just need to cross the major bridge (the one with a pedestrian/bike option) over the Moselle. As soon as you get to the other side, start looking for the signs that have a picture of a bicycle, the letter M and either Veloroute Charles le Temeraire or Chemin de la Moselle. From this point on, it’s fairly easy to stay found. Keep the following pointers in mind:
Moselle River Trailside Accommodations
You will find that trailside lodging options are plentiful along the Mosel River Trail. However it’s best to book in advance
more castles on the trail
or to use the services of a bike touring company.You have four options for lodging along the trail:
- large chain hotels (often not available in the small towns)
- smaller hotels (usually locally owned)
- bed & breakfasts (ditto)
- camping (most on-trail camping areas don’t have facilities such as water, showers or even toilets. This is especially true of the informal camping areas that are located right beside the trail.)
Your best bet for finding hotels is to do an internet search by town or use a specialty
castles & flowers await you
website such as booking.com. Keep in mind, if you find your own hotels or campgrounds, you will also have to haul your own gear from place to place. This gear load gets exponentially more burdensome if you are camping. Instead, you may want to use a tour company.
Moselle River Bike Trail Tour Companies
Your first choice when it comes to bicycle tour companies is whether you want to go with a tour consolidator or a local touring company. ActiveTravelTours.com has a good article (previous link) on the differences between these two choices. Most bike tour companies offer three options: self-guided bike tours, hosted tours and guided bike tours. As with most travel options, you get what you pay for. I’ve found that self-guided bike tours are a happy medium
as far as options go. With self-guided tours, you usually get a bike to use during your tour (or an option to rent one @ extra cost), lodging, a detailed tour pamphlet or booklet and (very important) luggage transfer from destination to destination. In some cases, you can get a self-guided tour for about the same price as planning it all yourself since the tour companies get discounts for volume sales.
What Type of Bike to Use on the Mosel River Trail
Since most of the Mosel Bicycle Path is paved, you can use just about any type of bicycle: road, mountain, touring, recumbent, tandem or even pedal-assisted electric bikes. However, the best bike for the trail is a comfortable, sturdy bike. With that in mind, my first recommendation would be a touring bike with panniers. Once again, this is an advantage of going with a tour
birds-eye view of the Moselle bike path on both sides of the river
company. They know which kind of bikes work best and will supply you with an appropriate bicycle for the trip. If you use a tour company, check with them whether or not their bikes are outfitted with cages for water bottles. Surprisingly, these are often not available on your bike, so you may want to bring along your own water bottle and bottle holder.
Moselle Bike Trail Sections
The Moselle Bike Path is usually broken up into six sections for six days of Mosel River bike touring. Of course you can divide it any way you’d like. But one of the common bicycle route plans uses the following six segments:
- Metz, France to Perl, Germany
- (all Germany from here on out) Perl to Trier
biking through vineyards
Trier to Piesport
- Piesport to Traben-Trarbach
- Traben-Trarbach to Cochem
- Cochem to Koblenz (Coblenz)
Trailsnet has one of the most detailed and thorough guides to the Moselle River trail, so feel free to visit some of these other Trailsnet pages for more information about this incredible bike route: