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Along the Neckar

From Heidelberg, you can float up the Neckar River past wooded hillsides and the occasional castle to Neckarsteinach or Hirschorn, two picturesque riverside villages. There are usually four or five round-trips daily, and you need not return on the same boat. Trips between Heidelberg and Neckarsteinach cost 13€ round-trip, and those between Heidelberg and Hirschhorn cost 20€ round-trip. Boats are operated by the Rhein-Neckar-Fahrgastschiffahrt GmbH, Stadthalle, Heidelberg ([tel] 06221/20181; www.rnf-schifffahrt.de).

You can also follow the river on the Neckar Valley Cycle Path. The route begins at the source in the south near Villingen-Schwenningen and continues 375km (233 miles) to the confluence of the Rhine at Mannheim. Along the way, you’ll pass castles, manor houses, vineyards, country inns, and old towns; a popular outing from Heidelberg follows the river through vineyards and the Odenwald Forest toward Eberbach, about 35km (21 miles) east. You can rent a bike from Radhof, at the Hauptbanhof, for about 18€ a day (www.fahrrad-heidelberg.de).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.