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How to visit Burg Hohenzollern within my itinerary?

How to visit Burg Hohenzollern within my itinerary?

Old Jan 20th, 2021, 02:33 PM
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How to visit Burg Hohenzollern within my itinerary?

Looking forward to a trip in August or September 2022. I've planned to stay 3 nights in Mainz, 3 in Strasbourg, and 3 in Luxembourg, with day trips to Cologne, Rhine KD cruise, Colmar, Trier and Cochem respectively.

Hohenzollern and Lichtenstein castles are on my "must visit" list, and I'm having a hard time figuring out the best way to see them. There doesn't appear to be an easy way from Mainz or Strasbourg that doesn't involve 5-6 hours of travel in a day, so it seems like I need to add an overnight somewhere near. Is Stuttgart, with direct trains from Mainz and to Strasbourg, or Tubingen, with a shorter drive, offer the best option for an overnight stay?

Thanks for your time and suggestions!
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Old Jan 20th, 2021, 03:26 PM
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Hi Sam, I would pick Tübingen over Stuttgart any day generally for how picturesque it is (I personally don't think much of Stuttgart), but as I haven't been to Burg Hohenzollern myself I can't speak to ease of access. But of course you know Tübingen is closer to the Burg than Stuttgart, and there is also a train that runs from Tübingen to Hechingen, which is the closest town to the Burg. Have you tried plotting out day by day which cities you will visit? Happy to assist. Also one more question: will you have a car or stick to train? A lot of your problems might be resolved by driving.

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Old Jan 20th, 2021, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by lavandula View Post
Hi Sam, I would pick Tübingen over Stuttgart any day generally for how picturesque it is (I personally don't think much of Stuttgart), but as I haven't been to Burg Hohenzollern myself I can't speak to ease of access. But of course you know Tübingen is closer to the Burg than Stuttgart, and there is also a train that runs from Tübingen to Hechingen, which is the closest town to the Burg. Have you tried plotting out day by day which cities you will visit? Happy to assist. Also one more question: will you have a car or stick to train? A lot of your problems might be resolved by driving.

Lavandula
Tübingen has a Europe Car rental location a short taxi ride from the train station I planned on renting from. Looks like 30-45 minute drives between each stop: Tübingen-Lichtenstein-Hohenzollern-Tübingen

I think the overnight in Tübingen will be best, allowing a leisurely day with plenty of time to spend at the castles catch the 17:57 train to Strasbourg (xfer Stuttgart) arriving 20:13.

I also see a tempting option of returning the car to Offenberg and taking the short train into Strasbourg.

If not adding a night in Tübingen, driving from Strasbourg seems the easiest, at ~2.5hrs each way, but that still makes a very long day.

I have most of the other days more or less mapped out via train. I chose my hub cities due to their transport options as well as my interest in visiting them. I’ll post that at another time after figuring this day out.

Last edited by SamRothstein; Jan 20th, 2021 at 04:26 PM.
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Old Jan 21st, 2021, 01:55 AM
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There is actually a bus from Hechingen - if you have a look at bahn.de (bahn.com) you can plug in the end destination and get information about your whole route, including buses, so I guess you could in fact dispense with the rental car altogether if you didn't have to take luggage with you. I think the distance from Strasbourg would still be a pain if you were just going to do a day trip from there (5 hours round trip!), I agree that a night close to the Burg would be a good idea. If you were instead planning to stay somewhere close to Burg Hohenzollern (another possibility) and want to go 'freestyle' there, i.e. off the rail line, you would definitely want a car. Your other destinations are all worthy in their own right IMO so make sure you don't just do the side excursions and neglect the destinations. Mainz in particular has a lot to offer the visitor, even if it is the rather tempting gateway to the rest of the middle Rhine gorge. I would also factor in less time for Cologne unless you are a museum fan, the city itself is not so attractive but the museums and the cathedral are the drawcards, so perhaps a cruise up the Rhine to Cologne and sightsee there on the same day. That way you might win some time for Mainz. I also like Luxembourg, is that where you will do your trip to Cochem and Trier?

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Old Jan 21st, 2021, 06:02 AM
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Originally Posted by lavandula View Post
There is actually a bus from Hechingen - if you have a look at bahn.de (bahn.com) you can plug in the end destination and get information about your whole route, including buses, so I guess you could in fact dispense with the rental car altogether if you didn't have to take luggage with you. I think the distance from Strasbourg would still be a pain if you were just going to do a day trip from there (5 hours round trip!), I agree that a night close to the Burg would be a good idea. If you were instead planning to stay somewhere close to Burg Hohenzollern (another possibility) and want to go 'freestyle' there, i.e. off the rail line, you would definitely want a car. Your other destinations are all worthy in their own right IMO so make sure you don't just do the side excursions and neglect the destinations. Mainz in particular has a lot to offer the visitor, even if it is the rather tempting gateway to the rest of the middle Rhine gorge. I would also factor in less time for Cologne unless you are a museum fan, the city itself is not so attractive but the museums and the cathedral are the drawcards, so perhaps a cruise up the Rhine to Cologne and sightsee there on the same day. That way you might win some time for Mainz. I also like Luxembourg, is that where you will do your trip to Cochem and Trier?

Lavandula
Im liking the “freestyle” option of having a car. I think being able to go at our own pace and not relying on the only two busses to/from the burg will be best. Plus I love the idea of a drive around a bit of Black Forest, even if very limited in scope.

After consideration, Cologne has been struck, partly in favor of more time to spend in Mainz. Ideally we’ll spend most of the first day, and the afternoons of the rest exploring Mainz. The flights I’m looking at arrive at 7am, and we expect to be out and about as much as possible after dropping luggage off. We both do shift work, so are easily able to transition to different schedules/times, even so I’d expect to stay near to the hotel

Luxembourg is the intended base for Trier and Cochem. Cochem is still under consideration, and I’m open to other suggestions from Luxembourg.

you’ve been a tremendous help!
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Old Jan 21st, 2021, 08:09 AM
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Why not stay at Trier and visit Luxemburg and Cochem from there? Cochem could also be reached by Mosel river boat from Koblenz.
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Old Jan 21st, 2021, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by neckervd View Post
Why not stay at Trier and visit Luxemburg and Cochem from there? Cochem could also be reached by Mosel river boat from Koblenz.
That's a good consideration, but I’ve read mixed reviews on whether Trier is more than a day trip, and the main reason is that we’re flying out from this last stop and Luxembourg has decent connections.

edited to add: I’d really like to make it to the Luxembourg American Cemetery to see Pattons grave.

Last edited by SamRothstein; Jan 21st, 2021 at 10:17 AM.
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Old Jan 21st, 2021, 03:03 PM
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Mm, a lot of people like the Mosel over the Rhine - slower, more dreamy. Don't drop it altogether. You could go up the Rhine early in the day (fast train or slow boat), drop your bags in a locker at Cologne Hbf, see the cathedral as it's just at the train station, and hop back into a train for Cochem (I think you change in Koblenz). There is only one boat from Koblenz to Cochem per day making it less viable, I think it leaves about 1pm. The Rhine from Koblenz to Cologne is unfortunately not so pretty at there are a number of factories and a nuclear power plant at that section. If you are travelling September or even October there will be opportunities to taste the new wine from the wineries along the Mosel (roter Rauscher and Federweisser), making it perhaps nice to stay the night on the Mosel. The Mosel will lead you on to Trier, and I think you could get away with a day, or just part of a day there. I think you could do that combination in about 2 days (having given Mainz and the Rhine their due beforehand). You could then move onto Luxembourg. So your nights would look like:
Mainz 3 nights with a Mainz visit and excursions
Cochem or Trier 1 night
Luxembourg 2 nights (time to see the American Cemetery, the casemates in Luxembourg and go down into the gorge in Luxembourg City), and leave from here.

OK, let me know how this suits, or does this get too far away from having your bases? I think it make sense to see Cochem on the way because the train from Mainz to Luxembourg (on one of its paths) goes via Koblenz and along the Mosel, and it's just taking advantage of opportunities. The other course is via Saarbrücken but the Rhine/Mosel route is prettier.

Lavandula


Last edited by lavandula; Jan 21st, 2021 at 03:22 PM.
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Old Jan 21st, 2021, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by lavandula View Post
Mm, a lot of people like the Mosel over the Rhine - slower, more dreamy. Don't drop it altogether. You could go up the Rhine early in the day (fast train or slow boat), drop your bags in a locker at Cologne Hbf, see the cathedral as it's just at the train station, and hop back into a train for Cochem (I think you change in Koblenz). There is only one boat from Koblenz to Cochem per day making it less viable, I think it leaves about 1pm. The Rhine from Koblenz to Cologne is unfortunately not so pretty at there are a number of factories and a nuclear power plant at that section. If you are travelling September or even October there will be opportunities to taste the new wine from the wineries along the Mosel (roter Rauscher and Federweisser), making it perhaps nice to stay the night on the Mosel. The Mosel will lead you on to Trier, and I think you could get away with a day, or just part of a day there. I think you could do that combination in about 2 days (having given Mainz and the Rhine their due beforehand). You could then move onto Luxembourg. So your nights would look like:
Mainz 3 nights with a Mainz visit and excursions
Cochem or Trier 1 night
Luxembourg 2 nights (time to see the American Cemetery, the casemates in Luxembourg and go down into the gorge in Luxembourg City), and leave from here.

OK, let me know how this suits, or does this get too far away from having your bases? I think it make sense to see Cochem on the way because the train from Mainz to Luxembourg (on one of its paths) goes via Koblenz and along the Mosel, and it's just taking advantage of opportunities. The other course is via Saarbrücken but the Rhine/Mosel route is prettier.

Lavandula
That’s a little far afield and would knock out Hohenzollern and Strasbourg.

I have been looking at Mosel cruises either from Trier or Cochem, so it’s definitely on my radar.
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Old Jan 21st, 2021, 05:19 PM
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How many days do you have on the ground? I probably should have started with that. And where do you enter and depart from (Luxemburg)?

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Old Jan 21st, 2021, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by lavandula View Post
How many days do you have on the ground? I probably should have started with that. And where do you enter and depart from (Luxemburg)?

Lavandula
Well the trip isn’t until 2022, so nothing is booked yet. My aim is to have 9 or 10 nights. Mainz 3, Tübingen 1, Strasbourg 3, Luxembourg 3. Looking at flights to Frankfurt and out of Luxembourg, but obviously both are open.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2021, 03:25 AM
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As an alternative, you could do the whole trip the other way round:
Train from Frankfurt airport to Tuebingen (2 1/2 hrs), spend the afternoon at Hohenzollern castle etc. and sleep at Tuebingen.
Train Tuebingen dp 9.57 - Strasbourg ar 12..13. Stay at Strasbourg.
Train Strasbourg dp 12.27 - Luxembourg ar 14.15. Stay at Letzenburg.
Train Luxembourg - Trier - Cochem (1 3/4 hrs) plus(not daily) afternoon boat from Cochem to Koblenz (4 1/2 hrs). Go on by train to Mainz ( 1 hr) or sleep at Koblenz and reach Mainz the next morning by Rhine river boat Koblenz dp 9.00 - St. Goar 12.20/14.20 (lunch stip) - Mainz ar 19.30.
Stay at Mainz and fly back from FRA
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Old Jan 22nd, 2021, 07:04 AM
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Are you aware that both Hohenzollern Castle and Lichtenstein Palace are not the real thing? Both are fake. They suffer from the Neuschwanstein syndrome as I would call it. Admittedly, they both look great from the valley, but HC was built in the 1850s and LP in the 1840s. In German LP is called a 'Schloss' (a palace). Its interior is similar to Neuschwanstein's very kitschy. The interior of Hohenzollern Castle doesn't look like a castle, either. I don't want to keep you from going there, but I want you to not being disappointed when going there. Most of the real castles in Germany (I'm afraid there aren't many left) are from the high Middle Ages (about 1100 - 1300 AD).
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Old Jan 22nd, 2021, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Swabian View Post
Are you aware that both Hohenzollern Castle and Lichtenstein Palace are not the real thing? Both are fake. They suffer from the Neuschwanstein syndrome as I would call it. Admittedly, they both look great from the valley, but HC was built in the 1850s and LP in the 1840s. In German LP is called a 'Schloss' (a palace). Its interior is similar to Neuschwanstein's very kitschy. The interior of Hohenzollern Castle doesn't look like a castle, either. I don't want to keep you from going there, but I want you to not being disappointed when going there. Most of the real castles in Germany (I'm afraid there aren't many left) are from the high Middle Ages (about 1100 - 1300 AD).
Do you have any suggestions of “authentic” castles that aren’t in ruin, and are as beautiful as either HC or LC?

Marksburg is in my plan, and I understand it is one of the few castles that’s never been destroyed. Cochem Castle is also in the plan.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2021, 07:51 AM
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Good point, Swabian.
May be the OP could check the castles of Eltz or Marksburg which are much closer to his Mainz - Mosel - Elsass itinerary.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2021, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by neckervd View Post
As an alternative, you could do the whole trip the other way round:
Train from Frankfurt airport to Tuebingen (2 1/2 hrs), spend the afternoon at Hohenzollern castle etc. and sleep at Tuebingen.
Train Tuebingen dp 9.57 - Strasbourg ar 12..13. Stay at Strasbourg.
Train Strasbourg dp 12.27 - Luxembourg ar 14.15. Stay at Letzenburg.
Train Luxembourg - Trier - Cochem (1 3/4 hrs) plus(not daily) afternoon boat from Cochem to Koblenz (4 1/2 hrs). Go on by train to Mainz ( 1 hr) or sleep at Koblenz and reach Mainz the next morning by Rhine river boat Koblenz dp 9.00 - St. Goar 12.20/14.20 (lunch stip) - Mainz ar 19.30.
Stay at Mainz and fly back from FRA
The 10 hour day on the river boat doesn’t sound appealing, but the idea of reversing the trip is an option. Preferably whichever city we land in we can set up in right away without worrying about making a long train journey after being on a long flight.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2021, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by neckervd View Post
Good point, Swabian.
May be the OP could check the castles of Eltz or Marksburg which are much closer to his Mainz - Mosel - Elsass itinerary.
Eltz is a top choice as well, and I’ve considering driving there from Koblenz after the K-D river cruise. It will be a long day though.

edit to add: Mainz seems like the ideal choice for this it provides a quick train to Bingen to start the river cruise going upstream, which is much quicker than downstream, allowing more time afterwards to explore nearby attractions.

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Old Jan 22nd, 2021, 03:53 PM
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A couple of points: if you are already fretting about a slow boat then take the train up the Rhine. You and your partner can travel together on a single Rheinland-Pfalz ticket, and it allows you some destinations on the right bank of the Rhine, on 2nd class trains as well as the whole left bank up to Koblenz. You won't whiz past anything and can get on and off as you like, even walking between stations. You get it from machines or the ticket windows in the station at Mainz, or if you reverse the order, the tickets are also at Koblenz.

https://www.vrminfo.de/en/tickets/ti...-pfalz-ticket/

Secondly, the boats also leave from Mainz, so you don't have to go to Bingen, unless you are trying to cut down the length of the cruise.

Regarding Burg Eltz - maybe you could keep the car between Koblenz and Trier, and do the Mosel Valley by car, so it becomes a convenience and not a long day. There are public transport options for Burg Eltz but they leave from the Mosel and you would have to get there somehow. I think that could work for you.

Lavandula

Last edited by lavandula; Jan 22nd, 2021 at 04:08 PM.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2021, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by SamRothstein View Post
The 10 hour day on the river boat doesn’t sound appealing, but the idea of reversing the trip is an option. Preferably whichever city we land in we can set up in right away without worrying about making a long train journey after being on a long flight.
You should probably figure on the first day being a slow day, where you don't drive and spend much of the day dozing, if you have been on a night flight and arrive in the morning. Either Tübingen (2 1/2 hrs) or Mainz (about 40 mins from Frankfurt Airport) would be good for this, but expect any sightseeing to be local as you could be tired. Mainz is also good as an end stop because it is so close to the airport.

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Old Jan 22nd, 2021, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by lavandula View Post
A couple of points: if you are already fretting about a slow boat then take the train up the Rhine. You and your partner can travel together on a single Rheinland-Pfalz ticket, and it allows you some destinations on the right bank of the Rhine, on 2nd class trains as well as the whole left bank up to Koblenz. You won't whiz past anything and can get on and off as you like, even walking between stations. You get it from machines or the ticket windows in the station at Mainz, or if you reverse the order, the tickets are also at Koblenz.

Secondly, the boats also leave from Mainz, so you don't have to go to Bingen, unless you are trying to cut down the length of the cruise.

Regarding Burg Eltz - maybe you could keep the car between Koblenz and Trier, and do the Mosel Valley by car, so it becomes a convenience and not a long day. There are public transport options for Burg Eltz but they leave from the Mosel and you would have to get there somehow. I think that could work for you.

Lavandula
Not fretting over a slow boat, actually looking forward to the roughly 2.5 hour boat from Bingen to Boppard. Picking the boat up in Mainz might be a great idea, as we'd have leave Mainz by 8:30 to catch the 9:30 sailing from Bingen, might as well start in Mainz at the same time. This route was chosen as it is by all accounts the best section of the Rhine for sightseeing, and the duration 2.5hr duration leaves a lot of time afterwards for further sightseeing, either at Marksburg or an attempt to go further afield and see Burg Eltz.

Originally Posted by lavandula View Post
You should probably figure on the first day being a slow day, where you don't drive and spend much of the day dozing, if you have been on a night flight and arrive in the morning. Either Tübingen (2 1/2 hrs) or Mainz (about 40 mins from Frankfurt Airport) would be good for this, but expect any sightseeing to be local as you could be tired. Mainz is also good as an end stop because it is so close to the airport.

Lavandula
Definitely planning on the first day to be a slow day. The intention is to get a hotel nearest the Mainz HBF, drop the bags and walk around. From the HBF, it looks like about a 20 minute walk to area of the Cathedral so that should be a good use of time before being able to check in. We normally sleep well on flights, and again, we are used to schedule flipping due to shift work, and experience tells me we'll be on good footing to start.

So here's my full intended itinerary

Day 1
  1. Mainz - 3 nights
    1. Mainz - arrival day (around 8am), easy day seeing sights within walking distance to hotel.
    2. Rhine river cruise from Bingen to Boppard - possibly Eltz
    3. Speyer & Worms or Heidelberg
  2. Tubingen - 1 night
    1. Day trip to Hohenzollern & Lichtenstein castles
  3. Strasbourg - 3 nights
    1. Strasbourg
    2. Colmar, possibly Haut Koenigsbourg Castle
    3. Relax day (open to solo side trips)
  4. Luxembourg - 3 nights
    1. Cochem
    2. Trier
    3. Luxembourg
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