Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Day 1 in Germany - Need "walkable" Rhine town, castle & hotel

Day 1 in Germany - Need "walkable" Rhine town, castle & hotel

Apr 13th, 2010, 06:34 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 47
Day 1 in Germany - Need "walkable" Rhine town, castle & hotel

My family (husband, 2 boys - ages 13 and 8, and I) are arriving at Frankfurt airport in early June for a 3-week trip to the Netherlands, Germany and Austria. We will be arriving around 12:00 noon, renting a car at the airport, and will be driving the next day to Amsterdam. I am looking for a place to "stay awake" during that first afternoon, eat dinner and spend the night. I think it would be good to drive about 60 - 90 minutes away from Frankfurt in the rough direction of Amsterdam.

I've never visited the Rhine valley, but from what I've heard, it sounds like a great area to spend that time, and to start our vacation. (We plan to visit the Mosel valley later in our trip.) Does anyone have a suggestion on a specific town to target? Ideally, it would be not-too-touristy (!), have a nearby castle, and a great (charming, clean, friendly) gasthof where we can get a 4-bed-room or 2 connecting doppelzimmers for 150 Euros. I think we'd skip any river cruises -- for sure, that would put us to sleep!

Thanks in advance for any suggestions! I know it's only 1 afternoon/night of our vacation, but I really want to start it out as great as possible!

dfw17 is offline  
Apr 13th, 2010, 06:49 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 8,046
I'll have to take another look at the map but when I asked a similar question, people steered me toward Mainz, so it's worth checking out.
annw is offline  
Apr 13th, 2010, 08:11 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,605
I don't know how far a car drive from Frankfurt would be, but we stayed overnight in St Goar, which is quite small, right on the river, and has the Rhinefels ruins above the town. We stayed in a modest hotel - as I recall our double w/shower was around 60 euro. Their website price lists a 4-bed room for 99 euro. Had a good restaurant on the ground floor. The next larger town north is Boppard, a little bigger with more hotel choices and a busy riverfront.

Travelnut is offline  
Apr 13th, 2010, 08:12 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 2,351
Mainz is only minutes from FRA - it won't accompish your 60-90 minute desired travel time.

I suggest you look into Bacharach, St. Goar, and Boppard, all small walkable towns about 60-75 minutes from FRA. There are several castles along the stretch of river between those towns. If you poke around Google you will probably find which ones interest you.
Aramis is offline  
Apr 13th, 2010, 08:22 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 354
I stayed in Boppard a few yrs ago. Nice quaint town with a few restaurants, shops, a Roman ruin, and other walkable sites around town. However, I don't think there is a castle in town. I remember having to go to the next town to tour a castle.
mmyk72 is offline  
Apr 13th, 2010, 08:54 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,983
St. Goar has the Rhinefels castle ruins and is a very cute small town. Lots of cute, small towns with castle access in this area. Most (all?) are going to be touristy but not terribly bad.

The river cruise from Rudesheim to St. Goar would be very cool for your kids (and for you, too!)... lots of castles to be seen from the boat.

Maybe you could take the train from FRA airport to Rudesheim then the cruise to St. Goar. Best of both worlds!
joannyc is offline  
Apr 14th, 2010, 10:03 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 824
We stayed in St. Goar and very much enjoyed it. Hotel am Markt was nice with a river view from its dining area:


The river front is very accessible from the hotel, handy for an evening walk and a view across at another castle. Our pictures:


We also stayed in Bacharach and visited Boppard. Each was very nice with its own advantages.

Regards, Gary
Gary_Mc is offline  
Apr 14th, 2010, 10:42 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 518
St. Goar sounds about right. Since it's a small town, it will be easily manageable with your tight time frame. The fact that there's a castle up the hill and plenty of accommodation makes it a good choice.

Google Maps projects a ca. 70 minute drive, which is probably enough given your jet lag. You could go a little further to get to Boppard, I suppose.
Woyzeck is offline  
Apr 14th, 2010, 12:12 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,228
St. Goar is my favorite base town for a multi-day stay for several reasons, but some describe it as touristy, and if you want a really good castle tour, you'd be wiser to stay in Braubach, a very attractive, mostly non-touristy town on the opposite side of the river, where you can take a tour of the best-preserved, never-destroyed castle on the Rhine - Marksburg.


Rheinfels is a set of ruins, basically, with a nice museum. Marksbur is the genuine article.

Braubach is a 12-min train ride to Koblenz, the train hub of the region, for your onward journey.

I've never overnighted in Braubach, but Bavaria Ben, a contributor here, has a rec for Braubach:

Russ is offline  
Apr 14th, 2010, 12:27 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,983

I agree!
joannyc is offline  
Apr 14th, 2010, 01:16 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 137
I like Bacharach, St Goar, and Boppard. (from smallest to largest town)
Bacharach you can hike up to vineyards or other side to Castle now a hostel. I think Bacharach is the most quaint.

some info in german




shows map & some sights

hotel Pension Im Malerwinkel other hotel I stayed I would not recommend to much train noise.

you can get Rick Steves Germany book from library or buy (also some of info on google books) and get lots of info on Bararach or St Goar

map st Goar

Boppard is most modern
zozozo is offline  
Apr 14th, 2010, 01:58 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 47
Wow, you guys are fast

Thanks for all the info. I definitely have some direction now! My first reaction is that we HAVE to go to the Marksburg castle...my boys especially will love it.


P.S. - Even though I am pretty much the sole trip planner in the family, I have been having periodic "trip meetings" with the family to get input, keep them updated on my thinking, etc. During our first meeting, I asked everyone to write down 5 things they wanted out of our trip. All 3 (including my husband) wrote down "castles"!
dfw17 is offline  
Apr 14th, 2010, 02:13 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 8,351
In that case i assume Muiderslot, near Amsterdam is on your list?
hetismij is offline  
Apr 14th, 2010, 03:50 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 824
Rheinfels at St Goar is a ruin but a magnificent ruin. You can visit it without a tour at your own pace. It would have been a better choice for my son at the age of yours.


Regards, Gary
Gary_Mc is offline  
Apr 15th, 2010, 10:46 AM
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,314
If you like castles, you are going to the right place. I am a castle fanatic and nowhere have I seen more castles per mile than the Rhine Valley. (And don't scoff at the river cruises - I have not taken one myself, but I am sure you would see a castle every few minutes, and get a better view of them than you do from the road.)

Another fun one is the Pfalz castle perched on a hunk of rock in the middle of the river.

And of course, you must be sure to check out Burg Eltz when you are in the Mosel Valley.
hausfrau is offline  
May 5th, 2010, 10:47 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 47
I thought I'd let you know what we decided to do:

Stay the night in Bacharach (Hotel Altkoelnischer Hof, which was appealing to me because it is NOT right on the railroad tracks)....spending the first afternoon walking the town of Bacharach, and up to the castle (youth hostel).

The next morning stop by Rhinefels castle ruins in St. Goar (or possibly Marksburg, but if the weather is nice I'm leaning towards Rhinefels so my boys can get some ants out of their pants)and then drive the rest of the way to Amsterdam.

Thanks for everyone's input!

dfw17 is offline  
May 5th, 2010, 05:13 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 7,156
For the castle lovers, be sure to go to Burg Eltz when you get to the Mosel.
Mimar is offline  
May 6th, 2010, 05:43 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 308
Definitely lots of castles to see in the mid-Rhine valley. I was first there in 1988 and then in March 2010 on a snowy weekend. I re-toured Marksburg in the snow and feel down (no injury) on the slippery, rocky entryway. The view from Marksburg is great. The Marksburg tour is strictly guided so Rheinfels may be better for the kids.

Here is a helpful map of the castle locations along the Rhine river:

As we drove down B42 along the Rhine’s west bank, my co-pilot snapped many pictures that required research later to identify. I found this site very helpful to match up with my pics:

Further north the Mosel River enters the Rhine at Deutsches Eck. Burg Eltz is upstream near the Mosel river a ways, southwest from Koblenz. The view there is not so great, but the walk to the castle through the woods reminded me of the Smokie Mountains. The castle itself is very interesting and, like Marksburg, never razed.
VolCrew is offline  
May 19th, 2010, 09:24 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 47
Definitely Burg Eltz!

VolCrew -- what a great castle website! http://great-castles.com/index.pl?gallery.html I love it!

Gute Reise!
dfw17 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:06 AM.