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tc12 Feb 20th, 2008 05:50 PM

Rhine for 4 Days - Any Suggestions?
My wife, 3 kids and I have 4 days to spend between Heidelberg & Koln; we've booked a hotel right at the Koln Hbf for our S-Bahn to the airport, but I'm having trouble identifying a good itinerary for the preceding 4days/3nights. We'd like 2 places to stay, one for 2 nights & the other for 1 so we're not packing & unpacking too much; We'd also like to see Rudesheim, but we'd spend 4 hours on the K-D line by boat & the transit connection from Mainz looks to be 3 hours+. BTW, we'll be on the train, don't want to rent a car. Possibilities - Mainz, Bonn, Dusseldorf, maybe a 2nd night in Koln before we leave?

Appreciate any suggestions - thanks!

JN Feb 21st, 2008 07:33 AM

I'll toss in my two cents worth:
1. I wouldn't do a 4 hour boat ride I lose interest after an hour and have heard others say the same. Also, the most scenic part of the river is between Boppard and Ruedesheim.

2. If I had three kids in tow and only two nights, I'd pick one spot and stay there. The hassles of packing/unpacking and schlepping can be great time and energy eaters.

3. If you stay in one place, Koblenz has the advantage of easy access to Rhein towns and Mosel places. The disadvantage is that it is not as atmospheric as, say, Sankt Goar or Bacharach on the Rhein or Beilstein or Cochem on the Mosel.

4. I think you and your kids will enjoy a castle tour. Marksburg on the Rhein is really cool. I haven't been to Burg Eltz on the Mosel, but most rave about it. Getting there without a car is tougher, though. The Rheinfels castle ruins above Sankt Goar is really fun for kids to explore.

JN Feb 21st, 2008 07:34 AM

OOPS--I meant THREE nights, not TWO. I should learn to proof before posting. Sorry.

bilboburgler Feb 21st, 2008 07:46 AM

A few thoughts

Burg Eltz is a walk in the park. search this thread and work out ages and distances. Eqaully at the right time of the year you can fly over the vines at Rudesheim in cable cars and walk back down. (now if I was a kid I would chose the second)

Mosel and Rhine have boats and trains. So go up one way and back the other. Also Train stations have bike hire points and for money you can leave bikes at another station. So a great way to get our on bike lanes get fresh air, eat in little bars and catch the train home. For me try the Mosel as smaller and more endearing

Larryincolorado Feb 21st, 2008 08:31 AM

With only three nights, I'd spend them in St. Goar. See Rudesheim on day one, on the way to St. Goar. Day 2, take the train to Bacharach, explore, then come back on the boat. In my opinion, that is the part of the Rhein (Pfalzgrafenstein and the Loreley) worth seeing. Upstream, against the current, from St. Goar to Bacharach, is slow and tedious; do that stretch down the river. Day 2: Go across the river on the ferry to St. Goarshausen, then take the train to the Marksburg. Come back to St. Goar via Koblenz. Stop in Koblenz to see Deutsches Eck and the old town in General.

Gary_Mc Feb 21st, 2008 09:55 AM

Larry and others,

Could you say why you would choose St. Goar, Bacharach, Oberwesel, or ???

Thank you, Gary

JN Feb 22nd, 2008 08:39 AM

I chose Sankt Goar twice because I thought it was quieter, more visually interesting and had more hotel choices that seemed interesting. I liked the compact shopping area, too.

rachw Feb 22nd, 2008 09:29 AM

I've stayed in vacation apartments in both St. Goar AND Bacharach on separate trips and I much preferred Bacharach. St. Goar is tiny and great to totally veg in nature walks, see the castle ruins, river/boat watch, but Bacharach had far greater choices of restaurants, wine tasting bars,a walled city walkway, stores, yet was still small and eminently walkable. There's a nice little walk uphill to the next tiny hamlet, passing through original town archway with great views of the river down below, and the same possibility for quiet river watching from grassy promenades...oh yes, and the Wernerkapelle ruins, reflected in my bathroom medicine closet each morning as I brushed my teeth....ah, memories!

rachw Feb 22nd, 2008 10:03 AM

I agree with the other posters to stay just in one place and daytrip up and down the Rhein and Mosel rivers...the area is compact and well-served by trains.
That said, a LITTLE time on a boat cruise, to see the most scenic stretch is heartily recommended. Bingen to Boppard will showcase the most castles along the Rhine, departing 9:30 am and arriving 11:50 am. If even this is too long (pack a picnic and eat on the boat, everyone does!), I'd go Bingen to St. Goar (9:30-10:55), just for the experience and leisurely change of travel pace.
Boat travel on the Mosel is even slower, and IMO not worth the complete veg with children in tow (Is biking a stretch along the Mosel a possibility for your children??? A lovely flat riverside path runs for kms. and most trains have a car for bringing on the bikes). Along the Mosel,
Burg Eltz, a walk up from Moselkern is a huge highlight(if there are not enough visitors to warrant an english toue, ask for the one-page english explanation sheet). Continuing down the Mosel, Cochem is a bustling town with much shopping, eating, vineyards and another tourable castle above. A bit further is Trier, with its ancient Roman roots and ruins for something different(Porta Nigra, Ampitheatre and Baths).

missypie Feb 22nd, 2008 10:22 AM

Bookmarking. Gotta start planning our trip!

Russ Feb 22nd, 2008 05:05 PM

I'd probably stay in one town as well, especially if you only plan to see the Rhine.

Koblenz is the easiest town by train but lacks the Rhine atmosphere you are there for.

Without a car, St. Goar is best for a Rhine-focused trip; the ferry takes you across the river to a train station for that side, making a trip to Marksburg (indispensible) most convenient.

Bacharach is quite nice, with very attractive buildings, but a bit far south especially if you plan to visit the Mosel, and St. Goar has a more attractive Rhine Gorge setting, IMO. American tourists tend to predominate in Bacharach - probably a Rick Steves phenomenon. But the restaurant choices there are better if that's a concern. I'd stay in St. Goar and daytrip to Bacharach.

If you plan to see Trier - you'd be better off staying in Cochem than on the Rhine; Cochem is s near Burg Eltz and very worthwhile in its own right. Not hard to daytrip to the Rhine from there.

But if you don't mind staying in two different places, you could split your time between Cochem and St. Goar (or maybe Bacharach.)

MarkvonKramer Feb 22nd, 2008 09:06 PM

St. Goar is a nice place but we found Bacharach to be ideal for a "train-only" group.

We spent 3 nights in Bacharach, training to Burg Eltz (Moselkern) and north/south from there. We took the boat from Bacharach from St. Goar (only an hour or so) for one day and returned by train. The train only takes 11 minutes to travel from Bacharach to St. Goar and runs hourly.

We tried to get to Cochem but poorly utilized our time so we (sadly) didn't make it this trip.

Bottomline, I'd spend the entire 4 days/nights in Bacharach, but St. Goar might be more centrally located for your taste.


Larryincolorado Feb 22nd, 2008 09:19 PM

I said St. Goar for basically the reasons listed by Russ, plus one other. A lot of the Rhein-Mosel area is inside the transit district Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Mosel (VRM). It covers most of what you want to see, the Rhein from Oberwesel down to Linz and up the Mosel to about Traben-Trarbach. For €17 single, or €20 for up to five people, you can buy a day ticket for the entire Verkehrverbund. Thus, if you stay in St. Goar, you can buy the ticket at the station and travel anywhere within the Verkehrsverbund for the day. However, if you stay in Bacharach, if you want to take advantage of the day ticket, you have to buy a DB ticket to Oberwesel or St. Goar, get off, buy the ticket, then wait for the next train to go onward.

Larryincolorado Feb 23rd, 2008 07:50 AM

A DB ticket from Bacharach to Koblenz is €8,10 one way. So for one person, it's 16,20 RT. A VRM network Tageskarte from St. Goar is 17,00, no savings, but a 7 zone VRM Tageskarte, which would included St. Goar to Koblenz and back, is only €12,40.

However, for 2 people, DB from Bacharach to Koblenz and back would be €32,40; a VRM Minigruppenkarte from St. Goar would be €20,00.

Travelnut Feb 23rd, 2008 09:10 AM

We liked St Goar, too. Stayed at the Hotel am Markt - could see the river and a castle across the way from room window. No noise from the road or the train tracks. Walked uphill to the Rheinfels ruins*, ate at an Italian rest. one night and the hotel's own (German) restaurant the other. Very small but very attractive little town.
* Rick Steve's website has a 'tour' written up for the ruins, very handy to have.

Laurie Feb 23rd, 2008 09:35 AM

Here is another vote for staying in St. Goar. We really liked this small German village. We thought the restaurant choices were fine.

There are several interesting shops in the town that we enjoyed looking around in.

We especially enjoyed the food and the view from the Rheinfelds castle restaurant.

We stayed at Walter Huppert's apartment which was very near the river. It was a very large, clean and well stocked apartment and the best part was that it was only 45 Euro per night!

Gary_Mc Feb 23rd, 2008 10:09 AM

Thanks the info, especially on the VRM and the Minigruppenkarte.

Regards, Gary

Russ Feb 23rd, 2008 10:54 AM

"We stayed at Walter Huppert's apartment which was very near the river. It was a very large, clean and well stocked apartment and the best part was that it was only 45 Euro per night!"

I should have mentioned this place myself given your kids in tow - a great spot. We spent 3 days there and had a very comfortable stay. Get the Rheinblick apt and you'll have a view and lots of room.

NOTE: search under "Walter Huppertz" with a "z" for apt. details

tc12 Feb 23rd, 2008 03:35 PM

Wow! Thanks everybody, for the great suggestions. I think i'll look further into St Goar & / or Bacharach and save the Mosel (Trier) etc for another trip. I see now that the regional services offer a lot more optiond than Die Bahn alone. Thanks again!

Maudie Feb 23rd, 2008 03:46 PM

Can I just pop in here? I was unaware of the VRM too, does anyone know where I can read more about the regional services around Germany, I need to get my head around this? Is it on the DB site and where do I look?


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