Vennbahn Self-Guided Cycling Holiday
Self-Guided | Individual | 8 days | 7 nights | From £699 per person
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• Cycle along the River Meuse and the whole international route
• A real Tour of Europe taking in 5 countries!
• Ride along the excellent Vennbahn
• Explore World War II history
• Ride into Luxembourg
• Visit typical Ardennes villages and the Walloon region
About the Tour
What’s a Rail Trail? It’s when an old abandoned railway that has fallen into disrepair is transformed into a path for cyclists and pedestrians. The Vennbahn rail trail, one of the prettiest and longest in Europe, was officially opened to cyclists in the summer of 2013. One hundred and twenty-five kilometers long, it is the result of successful collaboration between Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the EU. It is seen as a milestone in the history of cross-border tourism. From 1885 to 1989 the Vennbahn railway connected the German town of Aachen to the town of Ulfingen (now Troisvierges) in Luxembourg.
Since 2013 tourists and locals alike have been zooming enthusiastically up and down the former railway through the hilly Eifel and Ardennes landscapes. Happily the maximum average incline is only 2% because trains couldn’t handle anything steeper. In 2014, at the Amsterdam Cycling and Hiking Fair, the Vennbahn was nominated Best Cycling Route of the Year 2014.
The approximate difficulty level for this tour
Day 1: Arrival in the Town of Maastricht
Make your own way to Maastricht in Limburg province, in the farthest possible corner of south Netherlands. Please note that it is easy to reach by public transport as it is only 2 hours by trains. For those of you arriving by car, there is parking at the Hotel. You will be welcomed with coffee/tea and “vlaai”, local fruit tart.
Day 2: Maastricht (NL) – Eupen (B) 55 km
It’s only a short ride from Maastricht to the border with Belgium. Today, we recommend stops at Gemmenich, Moresnet (which was an independent mini state from 1816 to 1920) and at 14th century Raeren Castle which houses a pottery museum featuring Rhenish stoneware. After that, roll on to the town of Eupen.
Day 3: Eupen (B) – St. Vith (B) 60 km
Happily, motorized vehicles have been banned from most of today’s route. Revel in the High Fens nature reserve whilst you climb very gradually to 660m N.A.P. Starting at the village of Kalterherberg (Germany) , the route will follow the Vennbahn Rail Trail past Sourbrodt Railyard and the town of Waimes.
At the Montenauer Ham Smokery, visitors may sample Ardennes Ham produced according to centuries old artisan methods. Round off the day in St Vith.
Day 4: St. Vith (B) – Clervaux (L) 50 km
Continuing on the excellent Vennbahn bike track, pay a visit to Reuland Castle ruins. Soon after, you will cross the border into Luxembourg and arrive at Troisvierges.
At this point, either you take a local train to the market town of Clervaux; or you cycle a fantastic route to Clervaux which does, however, include some climbs… and some wonderful descents!
Day 5: Clervaux (L) – Bütgenbach (B) 65 km
Set off for the tripoint, the geographical point where Luxembourg, Belgium and Germany meet, near the town of Ouren. From there, follow the valley of the River Our back up north, passing Schönberg (literally: lovely mountain).
True to the name, this really is a lovely route! From the Our Valley, the route climbs to 500m guaranteeing fine views for the last stretch to Bütgenbach.
Day 6: Bütgenbach (B) – Monschau (G) 32 km
Today we’re taking it easy! Cross the magnificent Robertville reservoir (artificial lake) atop the dam to reach the lively town of Robertville.
The route then runs back into the High Fens on bike tracks offering marvellous scenery. Past Kalterherberg, set course for the Eifel town of Monschau, famous for its charming timber-framed houses.
Day 7: Monschau (G) – Kerkrade (train back to Maastricht NL) 55 km
On the final cycling day, cover another stretch of the Vennbahn Rail Trail. A visit to the historical town centre of Kornelimünster is a must.
Pass through the woods south of the city of Aachen and then get set for the very last (easy) climb to the tripoint where the countries of Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands meet. Finally, whizz downhill to your destination in Kerkrade and take the train back to Maastricht (ticket included).
Day 8: Return Home
After breakfast, your holiday draws to a close and you make your own way home.
Leaving the Meuse Route behind, you will continue on a connecting route to the Vennbahn which starts in the Walloon region in the south of Belgium. The connecting route follows country roads past rolling cropfields and pastures on a high plateau. Imposing farmhouses dot this prosperous agricultural region.
Characteristic Ardennes villages and unforgettable panoramas will hold you spellbound. Bouillon, a historical gem, and the town of Bastogne, known for the Ardennes counteroffensive near the end of WWII, are just two of the many historical highlights on this journey; and therefore interesting places to stay the night.
From Bastogne to the border with Luxembourg you will follow rail trail RAVeL 163. One of the prettiest cycle paths on the Walloon cycle route network, it will take you all the way to the Vennbahn.
The Vennbahn rail trail is a cycle path on a former railway. It crosses three countries and is 125 km long. The maximum average incline is 2%. It leads from Troisvièrges in the north of Luxembourg along the scenic River Our to Belgian-German High Fens-Eifel nature park. Sankt-Vith and Monschau are the towns where you will stay the night in Germany. The Vennbahn finishes in Aachen, a town of historical significance, as the cathedral and gothic Town Hall testify.
The tour includes:
• 7 nights’ accommodation in 3*** or 4**** hotels
• Breakfast (buffet)
• Evening dinner (min. 3 courses), if you book Half Board
• Luggage transport to your next hotel
• Detailed route descriptions and maps
• On demand: Tour as GPS-file
• Tourist information on all the places of interest
• Saddlebags for carrying things you need on the road
• Seven days a week service-hotline
• The possibility of renting our bikes and trailers (at extra cost)
• We adapt the bike to suit your wishes
Vennbahn Cycling Holiday 8 days, 7 nights
All prices are per person and include bike hire.
7 overnight stays in 3 star and 4 star hotels
£699 per person
Fridays: 4th May to 21st September 2018
Thursdays: 5th July to 24th August 2018
Duration: 8 days
Bike Hire: Included
Single Supplement: £269
E-Bike Rental: £49
Any local tourist taxes are not included in the holiday price and are payable at the hotel.
Holiday Price: £699
Single Supplement: £329