Itinerary Suggestions Needed - Cologne

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Apr 18th, 2011, 07:02 AM
  #1
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Itinerary Suggestions Needed - Cologne

Our trip is set. Lodging, flight and most of our transportation is booked. Now the enjoyable struggle with what to do, what to see and where to eat can begin. A little help with our itinerary would be greatly appreciated.

We will arrive in Cologne on Wednesday July 13th, around 15:00, and depart Sunday, July 17th. There will be 7 of us, all adults in our early 30s. None of us have experienced Cologne or Western Germany. Our pace could be called leisurely active, hoping to experience as much as possbile while taking some time to reflect, digest and smell the roses.

In Western Germany, we have a few priorities. One full day, probably Thursday, will be spent exploring the prettiest and most castled section of the Rhine. We hope to take a train down to Bingen, then take a boat cruise up river to St. Goar or Koblenz. Depending on what time it is, we might try to reach Cochem & Burg Eltz from Koblenz. How practical is this plan?

Another half day trip from Cologne we hope to take is Aachen. This leaves us a half day, one full day and the remainder of Wednesday to explore Cologne. We will probably remain in central Cologne for most of the time.

Any and all suggestions on how to organize our days would be greatly appreciated.
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Apr 18th, 2011, 07:30 AM
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"We hope to take a train down to Bingen, then take a boat cruise up river to St. Goar or Koblenz. Depending on what time it is, we might try to reach Cochem & Burg Eltz from Koblenz. How practical is this plan?"

All that in one day is not practical. Refinements:

Train to Bingen to catch the cruise. Boats leave Bingen at 9:30 and 10:30. Don't plan to get off in Koblenz. The scenery south of there and north of Braubach, home of Marksburg Castle, is unremarkable, the trip is nearly 4 hours, and the trek from the Koblenz docks to the train station a long one. Get off in Braubach - a cruise of just under 3 hours - and tour Marksburg, the only Rhine castle in the area never destroyed by the French: www.marksburg.de

Braubach is a 12-min. train ride to Koblenz, where you can connect for a trip back to Cologne. On your way north I suggest a stop in Linz on the east bank (very attractive half-timbered village) or a stop in Remagen on the west bank (WW II museum - www.bruecke-remagen.de - very interesting, lots of displays in English) depending on your interests.

Burg Eltz requires a 45-60-min walk each way after a train ride up the Mosel River. It and Cochem are lovely but you don't have that much time, IMO. Plan it for another day?

http://www.bensbauernhof.com/burgeltzfrommoselkern.html
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Apr 18th, 2011, 07:33 AM
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Also, I suggest that you route yourselves through Aachen on the way to Cologne from Paris. Stow bags in lockers and have a look around.
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Apr 19th, 2011, 07:58 PM
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Thank you for your intelligent suggestions.

I think we will head to Bingen by train from Cologne as early as possible. Can we get to the Niederwald Monument easily from the train station?

We'll then take the train back following the much of the Rhine, stopping where we want.

When we get to Bacharach, we'll hop on a boat and cruise until St. Goar. Can we pick up some wine and picnic stuff in Bacharach and eat and drink on the boat?

From St. Goar, we'll take the train to Koblenz where I hope we can see the Deutsche Eck. Is it close to the station? Again we will stop on the way at places like Marksburg Castle.

The time of day we reach Koblenz will weigh into our next decision. If its early enough, maybe we will see some of the Mosel. More than likely though, we will continue on the train towards Cologne, possibly stopping at Bonn, Linz or another spot on the way.

We are young and don't mind being out all day exploring. Please share any thoughts or suggestions to help improve our plan. Also what day (Thursday, Friday or Saturday) would be best?
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Apr 20th, 2011, 03:25 AM
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Though others can tell you more definitely, I believe that the Niederwalddenkmal is accessible from Ruedesheim by chairlift or hiking trail, not Bingen? (Opposite side of the Rhein).
There are many small shops in Bacharach including wine tasting cafes where you ought to be able to purchase picnic provisions for your trip to St. Goar.
The train station in Koblenz is a good 15- 20 minute walk to the Deutche Eck on the river intersection with the Mosel.
In general, Saturday travel is more crowded as native peoples take advantage of time off and good weather (just like the US!)
I stayed on two different trips in an apartment in St.Goar and later, Bacharach.
Much preferred B as St. G was way too sleepy for me. Castle RUINS above St. G for quick exploration and views...
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Apr 20th, 2011, 03:42 AM
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Just checked Ruedesheim's website.
That is indeed where the Niederwald monument is visited, BUT this monument is closing (covered in plastic) on April 27th until Spring 2012 for restoration...oh well!
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Apr 20th, 2011, 05:53 AM
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"I think we will head to Bingen by train from Cologne as early as possible. Can we get to the Niederwald Monument easily from the train station? We'll then take the train back following the much of the Rhine, stopping where we want."

You'll need to take the ferry from Bingen to Rüdesheim. This is a good idea even if the monument is closed. R'heim will have places for getting groceries and wine, Bacharach not so many. Also, you can then take the train north on the OPPOSITE side of the river for a different perspective on the castles and landscape as you make your way north. (Get on the cruise at Kaub or Lorch, opposite Bacharach.)

"From St. Goar, we'll take the train to Koblenz where I hope we can see the Deutsche Eck. Is it close to the station?"

It's a VERY long walk through a mostly modern city. There is a nice old town in Koblenz west of the Eck, however. Personally, I don't think this is so worthwhile for such a short trip. Instead, perhaps you could make a stop on your way from Cologne to Bingen in the town of Boppard. Boppard is quite attractive and has a terrific chairlift ride for a bird's-eye view of the Rhine Valley and the village of Boppard. There's a nice little cafe up at the top. Good stop for a couple of hours.

http://www.sesselbahn-boppard.de/cha.../index_eng.htm

I haven't checked the train and boat schedules for you but I honestly don't think there's time for you to accomplish what you've proposed. I would drop the overpriced cruise - the same scenery is available from the train - and spend more time on land, focusing on the villages. If it were my trip, I'd train south to Bingen making stops in Boppard and Bacharach, ferry over to Rüdesheim, then train north stopping in Kaub and Braubach for Marksburg. North of Koblenz, Linz, as I said before, is a remarkable town as well.
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