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Rhine and Mosel Germany

Old Jul 19th, 2014, 10:44 AM
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Rhine and Mosel Germany

We will be in this part of Germany in mid-september. is there a town that's in the perfect location to explore both of these areas? Can we get around on public transportation our do we need a car?
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Old Jul 19th, 2014, 10:57 AM
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Koblenz is the train hub at the confluence of the Rhine and Mosel and is "ideal" transportation-wise. IMO it is less desirable as a place to settle in - a larger, mostly modern city that was largely flattened in WW II and somewhat hastily rebuilt with a lot of shopping zones; only a small area of the old town remains.

If you head south from Koblenz along the west bank of the Rhine 15 minutes by train you'll reach Boppard, a very nice old-world town with a pleasant river promenade, a cool chairlift ride, some Roman ruins, numerous half-timbered buildings, a fine old town center, and lots of dining and lodging options. So you'd have a 15-min ride from there to Koblenz and a short layover there before proceeding up the Mosel to Cochem, Burg Eltz, etc.

Gedeonseck cafe at top of chairlift: http://pic.pimg.tw/samlucky5711/1379...g?v=1379089585

Tea house in Boppard: http://www.holidaycheck.com/data/url...1157457092.jpg

My second suggestion would be Braubach, home of Marksburg Castle and only about 10 minutes south of Koblenz on the east bank. For the Mosel you'd connect in Koblenz again. Braubach is however a bit less convenient for visiting the most visited west-bank villages (Bacharach, St. Goar, Oberwesel, Boppard) since you'd need to connect in Koblenz for that or cross over on the St. Goarshausen - St. Goar ferry (or the Filsen - Boppard ferry.)

Marktplatz in Braubach: http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4143/4...980aa49f_o.jpg

www.marksburg.de

Staying in St. Goar, Oberwesel or Bacharach is possible but will lengthen your day trip to the Mosel substantially.
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Old Jul 19th, 2014, 11:00 AM
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Note that from Boppard or Braubach (or St. Goar or Oberwesel) an insanely inexpensive 3-day transit pass (mini-group ticket) will cover your train (and bus if any) outings along the Rhine as far south as Oberwesel, as far north as Remagen, and as far southwest as Bullay (which includes Cochem and Burg Eltz.) €43.60 for 2-5 people for 3 whole days:

http://www.vrminfo.de/en/tickets-and...eisure-ticket/
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Old Jul 19th, 2014, 12:17 PM
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Thank you so much. Very helpful information. Which is the more interesting area to explore - rhine or mosele? We want to see both but I understand one is prettier with more to do and see than the other. Do you think Kochem is also a good base? Thank you for all your help.
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Old Jul 19th, 2014, 12:59 PM
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The Rhine and Mosel are different. The Rhine has always been a major European commercial shipping route and - cargo trains and barges figure prominently in the landscape. Nature purists may be put off by this element - but of course if humans had never seen fit to use the Rhine for shipping, the area's main draw - the castles that dot the cliffsides - might never have dotted the cliffsides at all. For me, the land and water shipping is a tradition that belongs there today, and the Rhine is as lovely a place I can think of to spend a few days.

The Mosel also has barges and signs of human manipulation - locks here and there make navigation possible. But barges are far less frequent and do not provide the same low-level background "hum" you experience on the Rhine. The Mosel is much smaller and much windier, and after a certain point around Cochem, the railway gives up trying to follow the river and starts plowing through hillsides and countryside, occasionally returning to the river. Some castles are here as well but not nearly as many, and they are generally not as impressive - and like the Rhine, the Mosel has a large number of nice villages, some (like Cochem and Bernkastel) as busy with visitors as the Rhine villages, many somewhat simpler and quieter.

The Rhine is much more popular with visitors overall and for river cruising; the towns there generally are more developed for this purpose as a consequence. But they have generally been developed with a kind hand.

I would definitely want to spend some time on both rivers. A day trip from Boppard is totally feasible. You COULD stay in Cochem on the Mosel instead, but that would put you nearer one "end" of the area most visitors like to see and train trips to the southern part of the Middle Rhine Valley would take a good while. Boppard is definitely more central for visiting BOTH rivers.

That said, a town like Winningen on the Mosel might work OK for seeing the whole area - but I've never stayed there or tried it that way. Winningen is less than 15 minutes upstream from Koblenz on the Mosel.

If Trier is in your sights it might be best to have both a Rhine base and a Mosel base (like Cochem) as it becomes a long train trip from Boppard to Trier.
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Old Jul 19th, 2014, 02:40 PM
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Thank you so much for your very thorough and informative response. Very nice of you to take the time. Two locations do make more sense. Hadn't thought of that before. Your comments are so.much more helpful than guidebooks. Thanks again.
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Old Jul 20th, 2014, 08:20 AM
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I would base all four days in Cochem, not far from the Rhine by train or car and a dreamy dreamy town that IMO has no parallel amongst the the Rhine towns.

Relocating takes a half a day - just base one place. Cochem is the picture-postcard town many dream of staying but rarely get to -

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

I may suggest there is more of varied interests along the Mosel - like Burg Eltz, one of the rare castles not destroyed in wars and one of Germany's most famous castles - once gracing the backside of Germany's 500 Deutsche Mark banknote.

Trier, one of Europe's oldest cities with some of the most remarkaable Roman ruins is a short train ride or gorgeous drive along the Mosel away - the Rhine to me for the average traveler can be a full day experience - do the K-D boats and stop off en route at places like Marksburg Castle, the only castle on this stretch of Rhine not to have been decapitated in war.

and you do not need to have a car when exploring this compact area - trains go up and down both sides of the Rhine and along the Mosel to Cochem. Boats on both rivers make great scenic rides (most consider the Mosel to be far more scenic than the Rhine - but moth are different - the Father Rhine fast-slowing and powerful and the Mother Mosel (as I've heard Germans call the two rivers) - more languid impossibly twisting in hairpins loops much of the ways with vineyard-carpeted cliffs rising up several hundred feet on each side.

For lots about these areas and transportation around check these sources that have great soverage: www.ricksteves.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.seat61.com - check www.k-d.com boat Rhine gorge boat schedules.
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Old Jul 20th, 2014, 12:36 PM
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I'm with P on Mosel over the Rhine. The Mosel and the side rivers, the "high walks", the sun baked wine "bowls", the little restaurants, the bike paths are just glorious.
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Old Jul 21st, 2014, 12:08 PM
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even though cochem is two hours plus from Rudesheim , the suggested starting point for K-D boats because many of them originate there and the town is tour-bus central for the whole area and groups swarm aboard snagging the best seats - those outside on the top front deck IME - to me one day on the Rhine is enough for most.

Many indeed get quickly bored on the boat trip - the Rhine Gorge pales in beauty to the deep Mosel Valley with sleep cliffs everywhere - often covered with vineyards - the Rhine towns are nice but not all in all nearly as cute as Cochem or other Mosel towns like Bernkastle, Traben-Trabach, etc.

And the boat takes you to Koblenz, a fairly short train ride from Cochem.

Burg Elta is a far more stunning castle than anything I saw on the Rhine, though Marksburg may give it a run for its money but the other Rhine castles are either ruins or partially rebuilt I think.

It's a very subjective thing but to me (and most of the over 1,000 folks I took on tours of both) the Mosel far far surpasses the Rhine in awesomeness - two major roads on each side of the Rhine and two at times loud rail tracks on each side on the Rhine plus numerous chugging barges and commercial boat traffic add to the noise - Cochem is far more quiet, cute and to most more romantic.

I'd spend a full day on the Rhine - getting off the boats and back on, etc but I'd spend three days on the Mosel:

1- Cochem the day of arrival - its castle though Ersatz, being reconstructed to look like a medieval castle, is stunning anyway as it regally caps a high hill in town - a vineyard carpeted hill.

2 - Burg Eltz (can go one way by K-D boat)

3- a boat ride = in tourist season - from Cochem to Beilstein over arguable the cutest part of the cute Mosel Valley or

a short train ride up the Mosel to Trier - if history perks you more than awesome scenery - Trier is a nice pleasant city but one whose old-world romance was largely ruined in recent wars - but for history buffs you have stunning Roman relics - the Porta Negra being one of the best preserved examples of Roman architecture north of the Alps - this 'gateway to the eastern part of the Holy Roman Empire' was built when Trier was the capital of a large chunk of the Holy Roman Empire and one of the most important cities in Europe.

It has a Roman temple that early on was converted to a Christian basilica - a Roman theatre and for modern history buffs the Karl Marx House where the German-born philosopher/economist was born and raised - now a museum and document center to him - plus a very pleasant pedestrian shopping center - though on the Mosel the Mosel here is rather ugly and is not apparent from the city center - so no cutesy Mosel wine town even though it is a commercial center for the Mosel-Saar--Ruwer wine region.
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