Help with Rhine/Mosel River itinerary

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Aug 2nd, 2014, 08:50 PM
  #1
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Help with Rhine/Mosel River itinerary

We have 2 nights in the Rhine River Valley (mid September). On the first day, we will be driving from Lucerne (4 - 5 hr drive). And on the third day, we need to return our rental car and catch an afternoon train to Paris.

Looking for the most scenic drive in the the Rhine Palatinate to experience "storybook" Germany. From what I’ve read, the stretch between Bacharach/Rudesheim and Koblenz and then along the Mosel from Koblenz to Cochem (or further?) seems to be a beautiful route with all the castles, vineyards, hillside towns, etc. For having only 2 nights, would you say this is the best area to focus on?

Coming from Lucerne, should we drive to Cochem and then drive east along the Mosel to Koblenz then drive south along the Rhine to Bacharach/Rudesheim? Or should we drive to Bacharach/Rudesheim first, drive north along the Rhine to Koblenz, and then west along the Mosel to Cochem?

With limited time, what are the best places to visit? Where should we spend the night? Should we stay both nights in the same place or 2 nights in different places?

And then I need to take train service to Paris into consideration. Are there any TGV trains in the area going to Paris? Or will be have to take a local train to a larger city and then take the TGV to Paris? What would be our most efficient option (fastest, least amount of changes, etc) for getting to Paris?

I would love to hear your suggestions!
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Aug 4th, 2014, 06:14 AM
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Any advice would be extremely helpful.
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Aug 4th, 2014, 07:01 AM
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Well I would base in Cochem, by far the most dreamy town on this part of the Mosel and certainly more so than Rhine-side towns IME and IMO (though this is always a subjective thing) - cochem is the fairy-tale town of your dreams and by car is a short drive from the Rhine Gorge - the best part of the Rhine - you can drive over the hills to the Rhine one way, start at the best part of The Rhine - Bingen and drive along either shore by using the car ferries there - the only bridges are in Koblenz and Mainz I think - but car ferries let you cross the Rhine.

Near Cochem itself be sure to hit Burg Eltz, one of Germany's most famous castles and unlike most on the Rhine, actually in tact and not in ruins.

the drive between Cochem and Beilstein is incredibly beautiful - much more so IME than anything on the Rhine. Spend a day on the Rhine from a Cochem base and a day doing Burg Eltz and the short drive to Beilstein, a cute wine village. The Mosel valley features steep often vineyard-carpeted slopes on each side t=of the languid sinisterly sinuous river which tsists in loops in a deep valley much of its way.

Wineries featuring the vaunted Mosel white wines are everywhere - pop in for a sample and to buy from the vintner.

Along the Rhine I'd aim for Marksburg Castle on the eastern bank - the only castle on this part of the Rhine not to be decimated in war and left in ruins - park right in front.

https://www.google.com/search?q=coch...w=1455&bih=977

The Rhine towns are nice but not nearly so tranquil and dreamy IME as Cochem - two busy rail lines and two busy roads hug each side of the Rhine Gorge and there are many noisy freight ships as well - kind of interesting to me but not to many - Cochem is church-mouse quiet compared to them - it has many family-run guesthouses with nice down feather comofrters and humongous breakfasts.

Don't get me wrong - I think the Rhine Gorge is nice and good for a whole day, stopping at some of the nice riverside towns and castles, etc but the Mosel is far far more beautiful and dreamy.
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Aug 4th, 2014, 10:49 AM
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Coming from Lucerne, should we drive to Cochem and then drive east along the Mosel to Koblenz then drive south along the Rhine to Bacharach/Rudesheim? Or should we drive to Bacharach/Rudesheim first, drive north along the Rhine to Koblenz, and then west along the Mosel to Cochem?>

You could if you left Lucerne early enough go down the Rhine from Switzerland (nothing much exceptional though until Rudesheim/Bingen and the Rhine Gorge) -drive along either side of the Rhine - it's hard to see both sides when driving on one side though (this is a reason to do the Rhine as a separate day and do it by boat - boats frequently ply the Rhine Gorge Rudesheim/Bingen to Koblenz - www.k-d.com) - then drive along the north side of the Mosel (I think the only side with a proper road along it at this point) to Cochem - spend one whole day on the Rhine and one on the Mosel and Burg Eltz).



Then it's from Cochem to Beilstein and a bit beyond - one of the most scenic arts of the awesomely scenic Mosel - roads hug the river the whole way.



The quickest route I think would be to take a train Cochem to Koblenz - an easy change of trains for a train direct to Cologne - then high-speed Thalys trains to Paris' Gare du Nord) - put your bags in a station locker in Cologne and spend an hour or so visiting the Uber famous cathedral smack next to the train station - one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in the world and bop around Cologne's neat pedestrian shopping street right there too or visit the famous museum also nexzt to the cathedral.

For lots of good train info check out: www.seat61.com (good info on discounted tickets you may want to book weeks/months in advance to get deep discounts); www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

Just show up for Thalys tickets and you may be literally $100 more or more tp.p. than by booking months in advance!) www.thalys.com.
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Aug 4th, 2014, 11:29 AM
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Thanks for all the helpful advice.

Someone else had mentioned taking the train out of Saarbrucken. It's TGV service, direct, and under 2 hrs.

Saarbrucken vs Cologne vs another option? Thoughts?
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Aug 4th, 2014, 12:41 PM
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Well yes that seems to be perhaps a faster option - you could also go Cochem to Luxembourg City and get TGVs from there to Paris-Est and perhaps throw you bags in a station locker and look around one of Europe's most gorgeous cities - lovingly bisected by a deep gorge.

Saarbrucken does not offer much to pause there but it could be the fastest way I guess. Go to www.bahn.de/en and check on schedules - the German Railways online schedule page for all European trains and also offers deep discount tickets if you book far in advance - lots cheaper than just walking up and buying tickets.
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Aug 4th, 2014, 01:31 PM
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Interesting idea about stopping in Luxembourg City. Is the train station near the city center? We'd only have 2-3 hours to walk around, do you think it'd be worth it to see?
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Aug 4th, 2014, 02:13 PM
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Yes the train station in Luxembourg City is very close to the heart of town - the Grand Place (not sure if that's the exact name) - a stately square peppered with nice outdoor cafes and restaurants (and indoor ones too) and the views over the deep wide ravine separating the city into two distinct parts.

Have a look at the awesome views - a cafe in the Grand Place and amble back to the station - trains that run to Luxembourg from Cochem go frequently - no need to buy tickets in advance - cheap regional trains but be sure to book Luxembourg to Paris to save a lot of money - www.voyages-sncf.com or www.capitainetrain.com - same trains, same fares, latter easy for foreigners to get to work.
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Aug 5th, 2014, 08:00 AM
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If you want to go the Saarbrucken route then you would have to change at Trier for Saarbrucken and Trier makes another possible few-hour stop - the train station is right near the town center and its stsellar relics from Roman times - like the Porta Negra or Black Gate for the black stone blocks it is made from - a Roman gateway that was once the 'gateway to the eastern part of the Holy Roman Empire' and a Roman arena and former Roman temple later converted to c Christian church in Charlmeagne's time.

Then the train to Saarbrucken tracks down the scenic Saar River Valley to Saarbrucken - so either route you can stop for a few hours in a neat place - Luxembourg or Trier.
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Aug 5th, 2014, 11:51 AM
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You obviously could also get out at Trier on the route via Luxembourg but overall that route may be slower and involve an extra change of trains - not worth it - note you do have to change at Trier usually when going by rail Cochem to Luxembourg.
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