Mosel Travel - how to get to the valley


Getting to the Mosel Valley, either with or without your own bike, is going to involve one or more of:

Click on Mosel Travel map to see the principal travel options from the UK and Eire.

Planes

If you are flying from outside Europe then the obvious airport to aim for is Frankfurt  as it is only 1 to 2 hours by train from there to the Mosel Valley, depending on where you are starting your cycle tour and whether you take a fast train or a slow one.  The airport has its own railway station, making the train an easy and convenient option, but if you prefer to hire a car then expect a similar driving time.

If you have to fly into Schiphol (in the Netherlands) or Paris (Charles de Gaulle) then you will have a 6 to 7 hour journey to the Mosel by train, or roughly 5 to 6 hours by car.  Driving that distance straight after a long flight will not be enjoyable so consider spending the night in a hotel first.  

If you fly into Heathrow or Gatwick then you need to get across the English Channel by ferry or train.  Allowing time to get out of the airport and for meal stops, it could well be 10 to 12 hours after your flight lands before you arrive in the Mosel, so it would make sense to build in an overnight stop.

There are many sources of cheap flights but we have found that cheapflights.co.uk offers consistently low prices. 

If you are flying to Germany from within Europe then the best target airport is Hahn (called Frankfurt by Ryanair, but located quite some way from Frankfurt).  It is not on a railway line but there are regular bus services to several Mosel towns.  Or you can simply cycle from there if you have your own bike with you.

Other options include:

  • Luxembourg Airport, which is quite close to Trier
  • Brussels Airport, which has direct rail connections to the 3 main Brussels railway stations. 
If you are flying with your bike, check the airline's terms of carriage (many budget airlines disclaim liability for bicycles) and your travel insurance.  We don't recommend transporting an expensive bike by plane.  Also, choose a direct flight wherever possible, as the more your bike is handled, the greater the chance it will be damaged.
 
Advice on packing your bike for a flight is to be found in the Guide. 
 
Don't forget to book an airport car park in advance, it will be much cheaper than just turning up.  Purple Parking has better coverage than most, with car parks at over 20 UK airports. 

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Bus and BikeBus map

European Bike Express is a great way to get you and your bike, via a series of routes from within the UK, to various parts of France and Spain. One of these routes passes close to Luxembourg and so is attractive for getting to the Mosel.  Don't dismiss this option straight away just because you aren't a fan of coach travel, the Bike Express coaches are more comfortable than most.

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Trains

Booking a train from the UK or Eire is not as straightforward as it could be because there isn't a booking web site that deals well with both the national and international legs of the journey.  You will find that you need one supplier to get out of the UK or Eire and a second supplier to get across Europe to Germany.  The following should allow you to plan the journey:

  • The Man in Seat 61 gives by far the best, independent explanations of all things rail-related and we can only recommend that you check out his views on bike travel.
  • Travel with a bike inside the UK is relatively easy, as most trains will carry bikes as long as there is room (avoid commuting times and travelling in a large group of cyclists) and for free, but advance reservations are sometimes required.
  • For information, train times and ticket purchases, we find that trainline is better than most of the other commercial sites. 

  • Note that the London Underground (the Tube) does not take bikes, unless they are bagged and do not look like bikes. 
  • Crossing the channel by train means using Eurostar.  Tickets can be ordered from trainline.

 

 

  • Eurostar will take you to Brussels or Lille for our purposes, from St Pancras, Ebbsfleet or Ashford.  Onward train travel to the Mosel requires you to travel through Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany.  Our advice is to book all such travel from Brussels/Lille through DB Bahn, the German national rail service, which has an English language version.

 

 

  • Travel from FrankfurtAirport is also best booked via DB Bahn.

 

 

  • For travel from Paris Charles de Gaul Airport we also suggest booking through DB Bahn.  You could try the French national railway service, SNCF, instead, but it is not nearly as easy to use.

 

 

  • Travel from Frankfurt Hahn airport can be done by rental car, taxi or local bus.  Bus services to Trier (see the timetable), Koblenz and Bullay/Cochem are efficient and reliable.  The bus shuttle to Bullay and Cochem can be pre-booked online and so would be suitable for a small group. 

 

  • Bikes are not allowed on trains called Thalys, TGV and ICE.  Bicycles are allowed on trains called IC and regional trains.

 

 

  • Tandems are tricky things to transport, they are just too long.  If you are tandem riders, you will need to do more research on the transport possibilities or, more simply, hire a tandem when you get to the Mosel.

 

 

  • You might like to read a Bikes on Trains article by Joy Austin, a contributor to this website.

 

The map below gives you the key transport points for getting to the Mosel.

 

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AirportsMosel key transport

  1. Amsterdam
  2. London various
  3. Paris
  4. Frankfurt Hahn
  5. Frankfurt
  6. Brussels
  7. Luxembourg

Ferry Ports

See Ferries below.

Bike Route

The green marker.

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Ferries

There are many ferry options from the UK and Republic of Ireland.

  • Eire 
    • Rosslaire (Q) to Le Havre (M) or Cherbourg (N)
  • South Eastern England
    • Dover (E) to Calais (L) or Dunkerque (L) 
    • Newhaven (E) to Dieppe (L)
    • Harwich to the Hook of Holland
    • Ramsgate to Ostend
  • South Western England  
    • Plymouth (I) to Roscoff (P)  
    • Portsmouth (F) to St Malo (O), Caen, Le Havre (M) and Cherbourg (N)
    • Poole (G) to Cherbourg (N) and St Malo (O)
    • Weymouth to St Malo (O)
  • Northern England
    • Hull (B)  to Zeebrugge (J) (overnight)
    • Hull (B) to Rotterdam (C) (overnight)
    • Newcastle (A)  to Amsterdam (C) (overnight)
    • All these make great starts to any holiday as the tedious car drive down through England is replaced by a night time ferry journey.  P&O make the Hull trip very enjoyable.

We like travelling by P&O and DFDS Seaways, and booking direct often gives you a good price.  For other routes we have found Direct Ferries to be a reliable ferry booking agent.
 
If you want to take your car in the tunnel under the Channel then use Eurotunnel.

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Driving

The rules vary by country and you should double check current requirements before setting off.  If you are a member of a motoring organisation, it should be able to provide up to date information, as should the national tourist board web sites, or see here.  At the time of writing, the most stringent requirements required for all of France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg are:
  • carry your passport, driving licence, vehicle registration documents and certificate of insurance
  • display a country of origin sticker (GB etc) on the back of the car
  • use mobile phones only with "hands free" kit
  • children should sit in the back
  • all passengers should wear seat belts
  • fit beam converters to the head lights of a right hand drive vehicle
  • carry a warning triangle and spare light bulbs
It is mandatory in France (and spreading to other countries) to carry a reflective vest, fire extinguisher and first aid kit.
 
Fines are levied on the spot and must be paid in cash (Euros).
 
For further details, click here.

 

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