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Germany-Cologne/Cochem/St.Goar/Frankfurt - Rental Car or Train?

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May 16th, 2016, 07:25 AM
  #1
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Germany-Cologne/Cochem/St.Goar/Frankfurt - Rental Car or Train?

We are leaving next week for Amsterdam and Germany. After 3 nights in Amsterdam we head to Cochem for 3 nights, St. Goar for 2 nights and Frankfurt for 1 night departing for home the next morning.

Two couples in our early 60's and very mobile regarding walking, hiking, etc. Original plan was to use train travel completely vs rental car. Revised plan *seems* to be take the train from AMS to Cologne, have lunch, see the cathedral, and then rent a car for the remaining travel to Cochem and onward. However, some in the group are still questioning if we should rather rent a car in Cologne for our German travel. (Renting the car in AMS is cost prohibitive due to drop charge when returning to a different country from which the car was rented.)

In Cochem we intend to see the castle, travel to Burg Eltz to see that castle, travel to Trier for a day to see the city and ruins, and of course take a trip up the Mosel to Beilstein for a leisurely lunch and to see the sights.

Onward to St.Goar after 3 nights in Cochem. We would perhaps like to stop briefly in Koblenz to walk the city center and have lunch, then onward to St. Goar for two nights. Other than a Rhine River boat day trip we have no plans in St. Goar other than to drink Riesling. After two nights in St. Goar we will hop to Frankfurt where we have a hotel for one night within 200 meters of the train station. Leisurely evening and dinner in Frankfurt and then home the next morning.

Train or car? Help us decide?

Thanks!
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May 16th, 2016, 07:46 AM
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None of the things you plan in Cochem/Rhine area needs a car as public transit to all those places is superb - even Burg Eltz (take train to Moselkern and then go a gentle enough but sweet walk up thru forests to the castle or take mini-buses or shared taxis or taxis from Moselkern station to the castle, about two miles away.

Trains go to Trier all the time and you need no car once there of course - train via Koblenz to St Goar then take K-D boats (www.k-d.com) up and down the Rhine, stopping at all points of interest.

Check out regional train passes for travel on regional trains all day for a pittance.

For lots on trains and especially in the Mosel/Rhine area check www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com. For schedules www.bahn.de/en for train schedules and fares. You are not traveling enough to look at any German railpass or the Germany-Benelux Pass. Again check on regional passes once in Cochem.
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May 16th, 2016, 08:06 AM
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For the Cochem part, as PalenQ says, you really don't need a car. We did as he suggested and trained to Moselkern and walked to Burg Eltz - easy and fun walk. We also rented bikes and enjoyed the riverside bike path from Cochem to Bielstein. We did not use the river boat because it actually took (much)longer to get to Bielstein from Cochem, biking was faster and on our own schedule.

Have fun!
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May 16th, 2016, 09:00 AM
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Thanks for the early responses. I appreciate the input. Can anyone comment on how easy/difficult driving into/out of Cologne, Koblenz etc might be? Parking? Degree of difficulty for someone not familiar with European driving or parking?
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May 16th, 2016, 09:26 AM
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Can anyone comment on the Rhineland-Palatinate special fare of 24 euros for a full day of train travel on local trains and only 5 euro more for each additional passenger?
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May 16th, 2016, 10:21 AM
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We did not use the river boat because it actually took (much)longer to get to Bielstein from Cochem, biking was faster and on our own schedule.>

Buses also ply that route I believe. Bikes can go on the boats I think,not sure, bike up boat back! bike rentals easy to find in Cochem- some hotels may have them.
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May 16th, 2016, 10:22 AM
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This is one of the normal Laender-tickets. All the usual rules apply: valid from 9am (Sat. and Sund. unlimited validity), valid in regional trains only (not in IC, EC, ICE). For more information see:
https://www.bahn.com/i/view/USA/en/p...e-ticket.shtml
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May 16th, 2016, 11:34 AM
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@sla019 Thanks for the update on the regional tickets. I see that there is an All Germany one day ticket for €44 + €8 for each of the other three in our party for a daily total of €68. That will be a savings of €8 over a straight fare on the Cologne-Cochem leg. I love saving money.

I have made the final decision to travel by train vs car and in fact just cancelled our Sixt car reservation. Thanks for the tips and advice. Feel free to chip in with other tips, too!
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May 17th, 2016, 02:40 PM
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dwz:
I have traveled in this area more than four times, always using the trains...smooth and easy peasy, as long as no troubles with walking in your group!
Parking is often quite expensive and patience-trying what with one-way streets and pedestrian-only zones.
You've made a good choice!
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May 17th, 2016, 02:52 PM
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Yes, there are some nice group travel ticket bargains in Germany...it looks like you discovered the Quer-Durchs Ticket.
Also investigate savings with the Schoenes-Wochenende Ticket for weekend travel!

Love, love, loved my apartment stay in Bacharach-a quick hop from St.Goar, and may be even cheaper just to buy individual train tickets from the machine. Great wine cafes here, a bit more to see/do than sleepy St.G!
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May 18th, 2016, 11:29 AM
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Koblenz is a nice nice but not spectacular town situated at the confluence of the Rhine and Mosel rivers - the so-called German Unity Corner that many Germans flock to - there is a huge monument there to German Unity - really close to K-D boat docks- really nice Rhine Ufer or esplanade here too and the Altstadt has many cafes and restos -if transferring between train and boat it's about a mile between them but can be a nice walk via Deutsches Eck and the and pedestrian shopping area.

https://www.google.com/search?q=deut...HZH_De0QsAQIHg

No one ever seems to have Koblenz on their list for the area but IME it is worth a few hour look.
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May 18th, 2016, 01:01 PM
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About the Rhine towns - there are two busy rail lines and roads on each side of the gorge - a NYTimes article recently said that the noise can affect some hotel rooms - be sure you hotel in not near the railways or busy roads -kind of hard to do in some of these towns where the gorge is so narrow and towns are hemmed in between cliffs and river.

I would ask the hotel about that to guarantee no loud noise.
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May 18th, 2016, 01:10 PM
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Parking was bad in Cochem for us and we went this time last year. Our hotel said there was parking but it was two blocks away! I would use train.
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May 18th, 2016, 01:49 PM
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bookmarking!
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May 18th, 2016, 07:06 PM
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Thanks again to everyone! I think we made the right choice to stick with the train. I will report back after our return.
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May 19th, 2016, 10:23 AM
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Good choice - especially in the tourist season - trains and boats go everywhere you want or rent a bike -a top bike venue in Europe the Mosel Valley is.
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May 20th, 2016, 10:08 AM
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I agree with all who recommended train. And I also agree that Koblenz is worth at least a couple hours. Will look forward to your "trip report" when you return.
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May 20th, 2016, 11:16 AM
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Be sure to take the K-D boats on the Rhine and go downstream from Rudesheim, where many services commence to Koblenz - get off see Deutsches Eck monument, wander thru the Old Town and thru the oft thronged pedestrian shopping zone to the train station to return to your base by train. Trains to Rudesheim from Koblenz
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May 20th, 2016, 04:48 PM
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Oh, and if you're stopping in Cologne to see the cathedral, there is luggage storage in the train station; not your normal lockers. It's interesting. You'll see. �� And Trier is an interesting very walkable city. Have fun!
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May 21st, 2016, 07:01 AM
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Yup put your bags in that Cologne station luggage thing and see them disappear into the underworld - wondering if you will ever see them again! Never seen one like that anywhere.
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