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How busy are the Rhine & Mosel River Valleys in early May?

How busy are the Rhine & Mosel River Valleys in early May?

Old Oct 25th, 2016, 10:39 PM
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How busy are the Rhine & Mosel River Valleys in early May?

We need some help planning. My husband and I want to leisurely explore parts of Germany's Rhine and Mosel River Valleys for about a week starting May 2nd. We will be coming from Antwerp, so can travel by train to Koblenz. From there, any combination of train, boat or rental car travel seems possible. Would love to spend 3-4 nights in Cochem on the Mosel.and need a car for Burg Eltz, at least. . Also want to cruise a good section of the Rhine. We are flying out of Frankfurt at the end of the week.

So my question is, during the first week of May, will it be too busy to go without reservations for the Rhine part of our week, and find something for a couple of nights? Also, since we don't know exactly how long we will need the car, is it a possibility one might be available without a reservation?

If not, we need to know where to to go first! Maybe ......after arriving in Koblenz, cruise down the Rhine, stay in Bacharach or????, circle back to Koblenz, rent a car, visit the Mosel Valley, return the car to Koblenz and take the train into the Frankfurt airport--...that's the plan so far....all thoughts are welcome!












Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks.
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Old Oct 25th, 2016, 11:08 PM
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Are you vising places other than Burg Eltz from Cochem?

I have stayed in Cochem and visited Burg Eltz. I wanted to hike down from Burg Eltz through the forest, have lunch in the forest at Landhotel Ringelsteiner Mühle, then continue hike down to Moselkern. In which case, a car would have been totally counter productive, so I just took a one-way taxi from Cochem to Burg Eltz.

>>> after arriving in Koblenz, cruise down the Rhine, stay in Bacharach

From Koblenz to Bacharach is going UP the Rhine, the slow direction. If you are flying out of FRA, it seems it makes more sense to hit Cochem first, then stay somewhere on the Rhine. You have a straight shot to the FRA from the south/west bank of the Rhine. In my opinion, the pretty part of the Rhine are where castles are. If you turn on "castles" on google map, there are many between Bingen and Sankt Goar. That is also the faster down river direction.
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Old Oct 26th, 2016, 12:06 AM
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May, during the week I've cycled down the Mosel without reservations and always found a place to lay my head. Weekends probably a little harder but even then should be fine.
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Old Oct 26th, 2016, 12:30 AM
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Monday, 1 May, is a public holiday in Germany, so we have a long weekend from Friday, 28 April, to Monday, 1 May, which usually attracts people to spend these days in popular regions like the Rhine and Mosel valley.

Also, during the whole first week of May, there will be quite a few people on vacation, because you can travel for 9.5 days with just 4 days taking off.

So, this week will be busier in 2017 than in other years. Many hotels on the Rhine and Mosel are small, so they are fully booked quickly.

If I were you, I would carefully research for a beautiful hotel and make a reservation.

And you cannot really be wrong with that, because distances are short and there is good public transportation in the region. When you stay on the Mosel and have a car, make a trip to Trier.

On the Rhine, stay in a village with a train station (most of them have one) and a stop of the Köln-Düsseldorfer boat company (most of them have one). Then, you can easily travel up and down the river to interesting places like Marksburg castle (in Braubach), Rüdesheim (picturesque village, cable car above the vineyards), Eberbach Monastery (Oestrich-Winkel) or Cologne (Cathedral, romanesque churches, Roman ruins, art museums and more). Also, Bonn, has several fine museums.

It may be attractive, to take the boat to cruise along the Rhine and to take the train to return to your base.

If in doubt, a day more on the Rhine would be better than a day more on the Mosel, because from the Rhine you have more options to take public transport to many places of interest.

For the boat schedules, look here:
https://www.k-d.com/en/

And for trains, here:
https://www.bahn.com/i/view/USA/en/index.shtml
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Old Oct 26th, 2016, 12:41 AM
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After reading your post for the second time, a few more thoughts:

The question is, do you want to stay at one place (on the Rhine) for the whole week or do you want stay a few nights on the Mosel and the rest on the Rhine?

Technically, one base (preferably on the Rhine) would be okay, because driving time from the Rhine to the Mosel is modest, e.g. from Oberwesel to Burg Eltz it is one hour.

In any case, I would start with visiting the Mosel first, because from a place on the Rhine, without a car, the train to Frankfurt Airport is easier.

Also, I would not take the boat when having baggage.

The wisest thing to do is to rent a car in Koblenz, then load it with your bags and drive to your hotel. If you opt for just one base on the Rhine, make two daytrips to the Mosel and Trier from there, return the car in Koblenz and take the train back to your hotel. Then explore the Rhine Valley by boat and train.

If you opt for two bases, rent a car in Koblenz, drive to your base on the Mosel, explore the Mosel, drive to your base on the Rhine, unload your bags, then drive to the nearest rental car station and take the train back to your hotel.
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Old Oct 26th, 2016, 11:21 AM
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I cannot tell you how helpful this is. These are answers to questions I could not even form clearly, but you both "get it". I will digest and rework. Many, many thanks for these replies, Traveller 1959 and Greg

P.S. I am also going to have to understand Up and Down the River---on the map the towns I mentioned seemed "below" Koblenz, so I thought they would be Down the River. I will have to get a paper map maybe.
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Old Oct 26th, 2016, 11:21 AM
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And also thank you, Bilboburgler!
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Old Oct 26th, 2016, 01:22 PM
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" I am also going to have to understand Up and Down the River"

This refers to direction of flow, not to compass directions. Generally speaking, the Rhine and Moselle flow from South to North although both turn and flow East and West at times, and even, though briefly, South. Thus upstream and downstream are much more useful terms.
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Old Oct 26th, 2016, 01:37 PM
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Just remember that the Rhine river flows toward the Netherlands. Then you can remember which way is the down stream.
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Old Oct 26th, 2016, 03:13 PM
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need a car for Burg Eltz, at least.>

Yes take the train Cochem to Moselkern then either a shuttle bus or taxi or do a lovely few-mile walk that greg describes up to Burg Eltz - no need for a car.

Like bilbo says May and early June are off-season in Mosel except maybe on weekends, especially holiday weekends - certainly can find places as you go.

For lots of good info on trains and boats and the region in general check www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com (the German section of their free online European Planning & Rail Guide).

www.k-d.com for Rhine boat schedules. Boats on Mosel may not be running early in the month.
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Old Oct 27th, 2016, 01:25 PM
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Also want to cruise a good section of the Rhine.>

the best of the Rhine Gorge is rather short- a few-hour downstream boat trip between say Rudesheim/Bingen and Boppard will cover it-train stations in each to get back to where you started.

The Mosel is where a car would be sweet- not needed for Burg Eltz but to meander along the sinuously twisting Mosel, going thru innumerable cute tiny wine towns- drive to Bernkastle-Kues if possible and back- the best of the Mosel from Cochem. Bernkastle is a neat old town.

Don't neglect Koblenz IMO - a really nice if not awesome large city- can take boats to Koblenz instead of Boppard and visit one of the most famous places in Germany -Deutsches-Eck- German Unity Corner located smack at the confluence of two legendary rivers - ther "Father Rhine' and the more languide 'Mother Mosel":

q=deutsches+eck+images&espv=2&biw=1920&bih=950&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj12oG26PvPAhVJfiYKHa4QATkQsAQIGw
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Old Oct 27th, 2016, 01:30 PM
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https://www.google.com/search?q=deut...HfofCycQsAQIHQ

This link should work -from Deutsches Eck you can take a cable car up to the huge Ehrenbreitstein Fortress topping a high cliff on the other side of the Rhine- a military museum and sweeping views -If cable is not running take the pedestrian ferry over from here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deutsches_Eck

https://www.google.com/search?q=ehre...HYrtCcYQsAQIHg
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Old Oct 27th, 2016, 01:45 PM
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Ehrenbreitstein Fortress - I used to sleep inside the fortress when I was young, it was a youth hostel, and the worst youth hostel ever. We had about 20 beds in one room and I could not find any sleep at all.

Well, that's a personal memory.

The scenic part of the Rhine - the Middle Rhine Valley (UNESCO World Heritage) is between Rüdesheim (in the south or upstream) and Remagen (in the north or downstream). Anything in between is scenic - cliffs, vineyards, castles (most of them ruined), villages. Maybe the part south of Koblenz is a bit more scenic.

The Marksburg in Braubach (south of Koblenz) is special, because it is the only intact castle and a most authentic example of a true, sturdy medieval castle. A visit is highly recommended.

There are several historic villages in the Rhine Valley, Oberwesel is one of the most beautiful ones. In Oberwesel, you can actually sleep inside a castle - and much more luxurious than in Ehrenbreitstein: http://www.hotel-schoenburg.com/
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Old Oct 27th, 2016, 02:37 PM
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I too remember sleeping in Ehrenbreitstein's youth hostel which may still be there and those huge dorms and early curfew and rules and...and...cheap.
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Old Nov 8th, 2016, 06:30 PM
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Many thanks to all replies. They will be very helpful.

I decided on two bases, one in Cochem, where I found a small apartment with a view to the city. We'll rent a car which we can return in Koblenz if we find it cumbersome. The second will be in Oberwesel, where we found a delightful lodging that is part of a vinyard and is just below the Ehrenbreitstein castle.

We have six nights, and look forward to leisurely exploration!
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Old Nov 9th, 2016, 07:29 AM
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Sounds sweet!
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Old Nov 10th, 2016, 05:46 AM
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"The second will be in Oberwesel, where we found a delightful lodging that is part of a vinyard and is just below the Ehrenbreitstein castle."

Ehrenbreitstein is in KOBLENZ, so if it's Oberwesel you're probably near Auf Schoenburg Castle/hotel.

Oberwesel is a nice town with a footpath that follows the old town wall:

http://www.oberwesel.de/en/wandern0/stadtmauerrundweg/

North of Oberwesel you can visit the Günderodehaus, which was the film set for a famous German TV series called "Heimat." Now an eatery, it's high on the cliffs above steep vineyards and offers a super view of the river and Oberwesel (you can see O'wesel in the background in the photo below. A trail from town takes you there, or you can drive.

http://www.christiane-geldmacher.de/...in2014-003.jpg
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Old Apr 12th, 2017, 07:32 PM
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Just nailing down the last few things about this trip and when I came back to the Forum, was so happy to find, especially, this last post on Oberwesel. YEs, I had the castle wrong. Fussgaenger's photo and suggested walks and stops are so perfect for us!

We don't relish returning rental cars on our return flight to the US, just because of the tension of possibly taking a wrong turn and then being late. (We have been epically ost on foreign freeways a number of countries...) Therefore, we are going to return our rental car the day before our train to the airport.

Trying to decide between Koblenz or Mainz--after which we could take the boat on the river back to Oberwesel for our last night. Which would be better? (Both have rental car returns.)

PalenQ, we are taking your advice, about the car on the Mosel. We changed approaches, and are taking a train from Antwerp through Luxembourg to Trier, picking up a car, and going from there. Thanks!
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Old Apr 13th, 2017, 08:09 AM
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"Trying to decide between Koblenz or Mainz--after which we could take the boat on the river back to Oberwesel for our last night."

I dislike the whole car pick-up/return routine. Uggh.

This cruise you have in mind isn't such a good idea - impossible from Mainz and time-wasting from Koblenz.

On that particular day, I suggest you first take the train from Oberwesel to Bingen (€4.80) and cruise north to St. Goar (1.5 hours.) THIS is the most scenic part to cruise. Show your train ticket at the KD boat dock to get a 20% cruise discount (€4 discount, which nearly pays for the train ride.)

When you get off in St. Goar you can sightsee there (Rheinfels Castle) or just take the train back to Oberwesel (€2.95.)

Now to dealing with the car that day...

Drop the car in Koblenz that afternoon; take the train back to Oberwesel (25-30 min., €8.)

Alternatively you might drop in either Bad Kreuznach (25 min. by train back to O'wesel) or Emmelshausen (train ride back to O'wesel via Boppard (45-min. train ride back.) This train ride negotiates the steepest railway north of the Alps between Boppard and Emmelshausen.

I have NO IDEA whether your rental company has outlets in these towns or how easy or difficult it will be for you in Koblenz, Emmelshausen or Bad Kreuznach (all Autoeurope towns) to drop the car and then get to the train station... That depends on the exact location of your car company outlets. I can only tell you that I have dropped a car previously (Autoeurope) right near Koblenz Hbf station at an auto dealership. But I had to negotiate that location. Their normal outlets are nowhere near the station.

WHAT I WOULD PROBABLY DO instead of the above...

1.) Drop the car in Koblenz the evening prior of the day before the day before your flight - then take the train to Oberwesel for your next-to-last night in Germany.

2.) Enjoy the following cruise/sightseeing day and night without the car; see St. Goar, Oberwesel, and/or Bacharach, all just a few minutes from each other by train.

3.) Departure day: catch your train on the morning of departure to FRA.
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Old Apr 13th, 2017, 05:45 PM
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Sandals,

I will be doing the same a week later. Training down from Amsterdam, picking up a rental in Koblenz, staying in Beilstein on the Mosel, and driving over to Oberwesel staying at the Schoenberg.

It's been hard to decide exactly how to do the trip, but I enjoy driving and if train lines on the Mosel are under construction while I'm there, plus now there is the possibility of no boats on the Mosel in May??? Guess I'm glad I chose to drive!

I'm going to check the boat schedule now. I just may bag it and go to Italy instead.
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