Day 1

Arrive at Nuremberg, Munich or Frankfurt Airport. Transfer by minibus, taxi or train to our base hotel in Rabenstein. 

Day 2

Rabenstein. After breakfast you’ll be equipped with your bicycle. The day is then yours to explore Rabenstein and the surrounding countryside. The castle you’ll be staying in is situated in Franconian Switzerland, given its name by Romantic 19th century artisans who compared its rolling landscape to Switzerland. As well as its spectacular caves, the area is also famous for having the highest density of traditional breweries in the world. Our suggested route takes you through Gösweinstein and Pottenstein, two very pretty villages with wonderful castles - Pottenstein’s is over 1000 years old. To add to the sense of fairytale, you can return to your castle hotel later and enjoy a majestic falconry display right there on your doorstep.

Day 3

Rabenstein to Kulmbach: 27 miles (44km). After a small climb in the morning, you can enjoy a gradual descent to join the Main Valley cycle route at Bayreuth. Capital of Upper Franconia, this sizeable town lies on the Red Main river and is famous for its annual festival celebrating the works of Richard Wagner. After lunch here, the route follows the river towards Kulmbach. Featuring yet another splendid castle - this one proud host to the largest tin soldier museum in the world - Kulmbach is also famous for its tasty bratwurst - the perfect way to finish the day after a visit to the town’s fantastic brewery.

Day 4

Kulmbach to Bad Staffelstein: 26 miles (42km). Leaving Kulmbach now, enjoy a gentle ride through the valley forests and along meadow paths. We suggest stopping in the historical city of Burgkunstadt, nestled on the banks of the Main and home to Palace Strössendorf. Lichtenfels, another distinctive Bavarian town renowned for its basket-making and street market, is also worth a visit. Next, it’s on to Bad Staffelstein, a spa town set in exquisite surroundings and nicknamed ‘Gottesgarten am Obermain’ (Eden on the Upper Main). From here it’s easy to visit Staffelberg, one of Franconia’s most iconic landmarks, before a spot of pampering at the town’s thermal spa resort.

Day 5

Bad Staffelstein to Bamberg: 20 miles (32km). Continuing along the river, the route today is fairly short and easy, allowing plenty of time to enjoy Bamberg. Sprawling across seven hills, each crowned by a beautiful church, Bamberg is a UNESCO world heritage site, often referred to as ‘Franconian Rome’. This historical and picturesque town is situated on the Regnitz river, lined with pretty 19th century fishermen’s houses. Home to nine breweries, a must-try here is Rauchbier, a distinctive beer with a smokey flavour made with malted barley dried over an open flame.

Day 6

Bamberg to Haßfurt: 23 miles (37km). As the route continues along the Main valley, vineyards start to appear on the hillsides, and the river views simply increase in splendour. We suggest stopping off at Zeil am Main, a charming old Franconian town known for its ancient churches, romantic architecture, medieval walls and towers, and the castle ruins of the Schmachtenburg. Haßfurt, another attractive historical town of narrow cobbled alleys, is the final stop today.

Day 7

Haßfurt to Volkach. 28 miles (45km). With vineyards left, right and centre, we’re now heading deep into Franken wine region, where some of Germany’s finest wines are produced. Here you’ll notice the distinctive Bocksbeutel: a wide, flattened bottle originally designed to prevent the rather inconvenient scenario of your bottle of wine rolling away. Schweinfurt, another attractive riverside city, is the perfect place to stop for a glass or two over lunch.

Day 8

Volkach. With its beautiful cobbled market square and colourful architecture, Volkach is a lively and welcoming final stop, which is in no way a surprise for a place that truly epitomises the region’s passion for wine. And because this is our final destination, there’s no excuse not to sample the delicious Riesling, Silvaner and Pinot Blanc available both here and in the surrounding wine villages. Another must-see is the pilgrimage church ‘Maria im Weingarten’, pitched on a hill above Volkach, featuring woodcutter Tilman Riemenschneider’s famous floating Mary.

Day 9

We say “Auf Wiedersehen” before transferring you direct from Volkach to Nuremberg, Munich or Frankfurt airport by taxi, train or minibus.