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Germany Trip to the Rhine River Valley

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Dec 14th, 2010, 02:19 PM
  #1
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Germany Trip to the Rhine River Valley

Hello All - would just like some comments on my idea for part of our 2 wks in Germany. We are flying into Frankfurt in early June and I was thinking we would travel by train to Bingen. I am thinking we could spend 5 days in Bingen and use that as our starting and stopping point each day. Day 1 take the boat (that is included on the rail pass) on the Rhine North to Koblenz and stop at some of the small towns...Bacharach, etc. and then take the train back to Bingen that evening from Koblenz. Is that too much for one day if we include touring castles and such. The second day I was thinking we would take the train to Koblenz and then take the same kind of boat trip down the Mosel visiting the big Castle there...Burg Etz I think it's called. Again - is that too much for one day?

Also - is it reasonable for a day trip to Koln from Bingen by train and tour around the City and return to Bingen at night?

I don't want to rush anything so have no trouble spending two days on the Rhine between Bingen and Koblenz. My husbands idea is to just "wing it" and stop wherever we feel like it each day but I like having a place to return to each night especially to house my luggage!

Thanks everyone appreciate thoughts and comments.

Julie
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Dec 14th, 2010, 03:18 PM
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I suggest cruising for no more than 2 hours or so. It can get crowded, hot, and dull on the cruise boats. Bingen to St. Goar is good, or maybe to Boppard. But I'd suggest changing your base to somewhere a little further north, like St. Goar or Boppard, especially if you intend to visit the Mosel too. Bingen is OK but not all that interesting anyway; I'd much rather stay in the other villages. You can always start from St. Goar or Boppard by taking the train south to Bingen or Bacharach, then cruising north to wherever, and returning by train.

And as for the Mosel, don't bother with the boat from Koblenz - it's more than 3 hours just to Moselkern, where you disembark for Burg Eltz, then a 1 hour walk each way to and from the castle. Use the train, and include a visit to Cochem on the same journey. A Rheinland-Pfalz ticket for two will cost you 24 Euros for two and allows all-day (after 9 am weekdays) train travel throughout the Rhine/Mosel region on the local trains.
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Dec 14th, 2010, 03:32 PM
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Yes, yes and yes to all thre OP's questions and I have done similar several times. and I agree with Russ about Burg Eltz and Cochem - Cochem is a real gem IMO and I would make that my base - much more romantik IMO than any Rhine town. Unless you are traveling more than outlined by rail a German Railpass may not be your best option as regional tickets like Russ outlines are dirt cheap and includes I believe up to five passengers for one cheap price. You cannot use the fastest trains but then your plans do not really call for them - except perhaps going to Cologne and back - an easy day trip from any Rhine/Mosel base. Great sites IMO for planning a German rail trip are - www.seat61.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com. www.k-d.com for the K-D boat schedules - there are other boat companies as well but only K-D boats honor railpasses (and not all of them, such as the hydrofoils and dinner cruises, I believe.
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Dec 14th, 2010, 05:36 PM
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In May 2009, we stayed in St Goar, Bacharach and Mainz on the Rhine. We enjoyed all three towns but St. Goar was our favorite. It is a scenic section on the Rhine. There is a castle ruin there (Rheinfels) that was one of my favorite sights of the vacation. Our Pictures of St. Goar and Rheinfels:

http://mcchelsea.smugmug.com/Germany.../8284489_fmKAz

http://mcchelsea.smugmug.com/Germany.../8284651_PiUwq

I am an impatient soul, so we took the train over K-D. We used the Rheinland-Pfalz Ticket that Russ mentioned.

Our hotel-restaurant had a clear view of the Rhine from the dining room, which fascinated me. Hotel am Markt St. Goar:

http://www.hotel-am-markt-sankt-goar.de/

There were other recommended hotels in the same area.

Regards, Gary
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Dec 14th, 2010, 07:18 PM
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Cochem is indeed my favorite town in the region and has very good train connections, and I think for 5 days, it would be a good base town for you if you plan to visit Trier. If you plan to spend the bulk of your time on the Rhine, and there are many ways to spend that time, then Boppard or St. Goar are better located for Rhine outings (Rheinfels Castle in St. Goar, Marksburg Castle in Braubach, Bacharach and Linz, the Peace Museum in Remagen.) St. Goar has an especially scenic location on the river, with 3 castles visible from town. Boppard is a very pleasant, somewhat larger town with lots of character.

The Rheinland-Pfalz ticket (the daypass for trains and buses) pricing has been restructured. It will now cost 21 Euros for one, then you add 3 Euros for each additional person, so for a couple, it's 4 Euros cheaper than the previous price (28) and you buy it trackside at any DB ticket machine (takes credit cards, English interface) or any VRM (local transit authority) machine.

There is also the VRM mini-group pass (mini-gruppenkarte) for 2-5 people for 3 consecutive days, priced at 40 Euros; it covers St. Goar to Cochem and north of Koblenz along the Rhine. It costs 20 Euros for the one-day version. Buy it trackside at any VRM machine trackside.
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Dec 15th, 2010, 01:24 AM
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The german tourist info service is pretty good. I'd surf for wine festivals or just festivals in Germany and see what is on during your week there.

I have staid in Koblenz for a couple of days and from a travel point of view it is great but not as nice as staying in Bingen or say Boppard.

The train is the thing and while I have used the boats once you have photoed and had a beer it is time for a sleep.

I think you sound more comfortable having a base but I aree with your DH and like to wing it or at least move every so often. Colmar is a good place (I don't like it myself) and there are others up Moselle Traub and Trabach for example
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Dec 16th, 2010, 01:12 PM
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I'd surf for wine festivals or just festivals in Germany and see what is on during your week there.>

I have biked several times along the Mosel and inevitably, at any time of spring, summer or fall there seem to be Wine Festivals featuring the local delicacies - the vaunted white Mosel wines - rather sweet but still a favorite with many.
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Dec 16th, 2010, 02:28 PM
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Thank you everyone for your comments they are very much appreciated. We were doing the Rail pass because we will be going to Baden-Baden area and then heading up to Hamburg for a couple days....is it still worth getting the rail pass?

Julie
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Dec 16th, 2010, 05:55 PM
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Instead of the Rhine, have you considered spending some time in the Mosel River Valley instead? We found it much more charming than the parts of the Rhine we saw - smaller in scale, more charming villages etc.
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Dec 17th, 2010, 09:11 AM
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As Germans call the lazy Mosel 'the Mother Mosel' and the much more fast-flowing Rhine 'the Father Rhine'.

The Rhine is more industrial, being a major commercial inland shipping routes - industrial detritus dot it banks. No so on the Mosel, though barges certainly do ply it - but the sinuous Mosel twists and loops thru deep narrow gorgoes up to about 1,000 feet high - often carpeted with vineyards and dotted by ruined castles. The Rhine rushes mainly straight - in all two very difference river valleys and what frogoutofwater (guess he or she is French?) found - the Mosel much more charming many others report as well and so do I, after hving bicycled several times along both stretches of river. Not to say the Rhine Gorge is not worth exploring but that most find the Mosel even more charming and laid back.
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Dec 21st, 2010, 11:45 AM
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If looking for a really small village gem then look at Beilstein, on the Mosel upstream from Cochem and the Haus Lippmann, which I have not stayed in but is a family-run smaller hotel it seems that everyone raves about. I mean there have been dozens and dozens of Fodorites who have simply raved about their stays there - and Beilstein IMO is situated at the very most gorgeous part of the gorgeous Mosel River Valley.
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Jul 2nd, 2012, 10:31 AM
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Jul 6th, 2012, 12:11 PM
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I just returned from a stay on the Rhine. I stayed 4 nights in Boppard and made a day trip to Cochem and Burg Eltz. I also have stayed in St. Goar on a previous trip.

Personally, I was surprised just how beautiful and lively Cochem was and regretted that I didn't choose to base our travels there. Cochem just seems both more quaint, but somehow more fun. I found Boppard frankly somewhat dull and St. Goar lovely but small. The atmosphere in Cochem is really special.
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Jul 6th, 2012, 12:17 PM
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Moselkern can also easily be reached by train from Koblenz in a few minutes - the boat ride though nice is not dramatically scenic much of the way until the Mosel Gorge begins and the train tracks right along the river too. and since there is only one daily boat trains give you more flexibility.

Your day on the Rhine in OP sounds fantastic and very doable.

For lots of info on trains and boats in this area I always spotlight these fantastic IMO sites - www.ricksteves.com; www.seat61.com and http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/id9.html. And with a pass I have always just hopped on the boat, flashing the pass when going down the gang plank - never had to go to a ticket window but perhaps that has changed?
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