Help for Rhine/ Mosel Itinerary

Jan 14th, 2008, 06:26 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 65
Help for Rhine/ Mosel Itinerary

Hi. Thanks to everyone's help the trip is booked, and the France leg is pretty much planned. Now to Germany: Here is the plan so far:

We leave Colmar, France on Wed June 18th, by car (I think). Our next two nights are spent in Castle Hotel Auf Schoenburg on the Rhine. We have one more night to spend (in Frankfurt or Mainz I guess), and we leave the next afternoon from Franfurt airport.

We would like to see Burg Eltz, and take a short boat trip on the Rhine or Mosel. We have two girls, age 5 and 8.

Is there a scenic route from Colmar to Oberwesal (hotel)? Do you think traveling by car is our best bet? Any suggested stops along the way?

Would you suggest the boat trip on the Rhine or Mosel? Will the Burg Eltz take a full day, or is there something (or a town) we should stop in nearby.

As you can see any direction will be of great help....
dcmom8 is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2008, 08:36 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 96
I'm sorry I didn't see your previous posts on France, been traveling myself. But Colmar is wonderful and the whole Alsace-Lorraine region is terrific for scenery and culture. I also wasn't aware from your other posts on auf Schonburg that you were staying there just prior to flying home... are you aware that the hotel's only about an hour from the airport via autobahn? I like to spend my last night in Germany there because it's like being literally transported from one millennium to another: magical 1000-yr-old castle to jet plane.
Anyway, the drive from Colmar to Oberwesel takes about 3 hours if you go straight up the autobahn via Strasbourg. If you want to see some of the countryside, you might think about leaving the highway (A35) at the second exit for Hagenau, onto the small highway N63, which takes you into Soufflenheim, and from there take D344 to the little village of Betschdorf, which is extremely scenic and the home of the famous potters of the region. If you want to buy any typical Alsatian pottery as a souvenir, this would be the place... you can get it anywhere, including in Colmar and Strasbourg, but you can see it made here, in little half-timbered houses dripping with flower boxes and doorways hung with wisteria, with huge stork nests on the chimneys. Adorable. It's a nice lunch stop (I can recommend the restaurant Au Boeuf, right on a main corner, for good food and a nice atmosphere, esp. outside under the arbor. This is where a lot of US military go on weekends from nearby German bases. See for more info, although their comments about the colors of the pottery are incorrect.
When you leave, you might think about taking the D263 north towards Wissembourg for another very scenic drive. This is good wine country with pretty little wine villages. As you near Landau, you will see Burg Trifels, which is most famous as being where England's Richard I was held captive (during the Robin Hood days) on his way home from the Crusades. But this is a twisty-turny road (not dangerous, just slow).
If none of that appeals to you, you could go further west to the town of Bitche, through which area the Maginot Line ran (it's still there) and which has a huge citadel. Tours of this massive fort are self-guided with headphones, and kids I went there with usually liked it because it included "sound effects" of castle life. At any rate, use for good driving directions, or another possibility is to see if the famous Grand Prix circuit Hockenheim-ring, very near Heidelberg... there are times you can drive your car on the ring, or rent a go-kart, if it's not raining. And there's always Heidelberg! Just depends on whether you want sightseeing, activities, or a little shopping!
p.s. the town of Baccarat is nearby, too...
FlaAnn is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2008, 09:07 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 16,513
Two choices for me head north to join up with the Moselle and then follow it and the mosel. Or

Cut more East and pass through idar-oberstein.

For me the Mosel is prettier and the ferries link up with train/buses so you can go back to your car that way
bilboburgler is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2008, 09:45 AM
Join Date: May 2004
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I don't think you'll need a car, unless you really want it, once you get to Oberwesel. Trains run very frequently along the Rhine to Koblenz (north), and then up the Mosel (south), toward Burg Elz, Cochem, and ultimately to Trier.

The trip to Burg Elz could take a full day, depending on your mode of transportation. My wife and I took the train to Moselkern, then walked to Burg Elz. It's a really nice walk, and some good exercise - took us about 1.5 hours going, and a little less coming back. I'm guessing about 4 miles each way. You can figure about 2 hours or so for the tour of the castle. If you don't think your kids could handle the hike, it may be best to have a car, since the train doesn't get any closer than Moselkern.

There are several great locations along the Rhine that would involve a very nice short boat trip from Oberwesel, including St. Goar, Bacharach, and Boppard toward the north, or south toward Rudesheim. These would mainly be on the K-D line. There is a great concentration of castles along the River between Bacharach and Boppard, for viewing from the boats.

One other idea is to take the train to Cochem, which is a very nice town on the Mosel, with a restored castle (Reichsburg Cochem, I believe). From there you can catch a boat that goes farther up the Mosel to Beilstein, a pretty little town with castle ruins you can walk to. The boat trip is about an hour, and also goes through a lock, which is pretty interesting.

My wife and I stayed in Mainz for our last night during our last trip there, and liked it just fine. There are two train stations close to the altstadt, and from either you can catch a Frankfurt S-bahn train to the airport. Mainz had some good shopping and restaurants, and also it has the Gutenberg museum.
smetz is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2008, 11:40 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 65
Fla ann - thanks for all of the great info.

I have been working and re working the itinerary. I was now thinking of leaving colmar and driving to Bingen. Take the boat to oberwesal- then train back to car (in Bingen) and drive to auf schonburg. Does this seem crazy? I was thinking the kids might really appreciate the area by boat the first time. Thoughts?
dcmom8 is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2008, 12:48 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 96
You're very welcome, and no, I don't think it's crazy at all to get your first introduction to the Rhine by boat. I know from your other posts that you've already got a Mosel tour planned, so I'm not addressing any of that.
It's so spectacular to see one Rhine castle after another, on one side and then the other of the river... like watching a tennis match. You will miss some notable castles if you stop at Oberwesel, however. You might want to look at how the day will break out--it is a fairly long trip all the way to Braubach. Maybe just the hour or so trip from Bingen to Oberwesel would work for your little girls. The K-D site has good info on timetables/fares:
The only other thing I would tell you, and I mean it in the kindest way, as I am an inveterate planner (as you seem to be), is to stay flexible. I'm deep into Ireland planning right now, but I know we'll never stick to the plan. Some of the best times we've spent in Europe were spur-of-the-moment when we happened upon a fest or a parade or a church concert and just threw our itinerary to the winds...
Happy trip!
FlaAnn is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2008, 02:34 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 65
I appreciate the reply! And I am in total agreement on your suggestion to remain flexible. I am a planner (in all aspects of life)- and my goal is not to have to scramble for things to do, or spend a lot of time in the guidebooks while we are there. I know we will end up seeing less & changing our plans- but I must go prepared!

Have fun in Ireland- we went almost 10 years ago & hopefully will be returning in Summer 2010.
dcmom8 is offline  
Feb 7th, 2008, 06:20 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 96
I hope you'll post back to let us know how the trip goes and if you were pleased with all the stops/activities. I think you'll have a wonderful time and you've certainly got all the highlights selected! Thanks for the good wishes for Ireland... I'm also like you, I think, in that there's never enough time! So planning is very important!
Best wishes.
FlaAnn is offline  

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