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RhineSwitzerland Jun 18th, 2007 05:44 AM

Rhine valley by train
I want to know if the castles are visable from the train, I have read that they are from the boats. Does anyone know?


canterbury Jun 18th, 2007 05:56 AM

Hi Rhine

Yes, you can see some castles as you whiz by. If you're on the ICE, look quickly! They're gone before you know it.

Hopefully, you are planning to see some up close and personal, too, yes?

born2wonder Jun 18th, 2007 05:56 AM

Yes, the castles are visible.

If you take the train that runs along the west side of the Rhine (the side with Bacharach and St Goar), you will see the castles on the east side of the river.

Late afternoon is best so the sun is setting in the west, thus shining on the castles, and not in your eyes.

Of course, the castles are not really close enough to see any detail, which begs the question, why not pick one out and stop and go for a closer look?

altamiro Jun 18th, 2007 06:14 AM

>Yes, you can see some castles as you whiz by. If you're on the ICE, look quickly! They're gone before you know it.

If you are on a direct ICE you won´t follow the Rhine valley - the high speed line is in the hills to the east, going from Frankfurt to Cologne as the crow flies (but significantly faster than a crow flies)

Use Koblenz as a "via" station to make sure you are on a train that actually goes along the rhine and past the castles.

Robespierre Jun 18th, 2007 06:27 AM

In fact, you might want to make Ehrenbreitstein Fortress at Koblenz your "castle stop" as you go downriver.

Russ Jun 18th, 2007 07:02 AM

Boats are pretty slow - okay if you have the time and don't mind overcrowded, sometimes really hot boat rides. The train is good for a superficial overview - take the RB trains for the slowest ride with the most stops. The other trains zip through a bit too quickly.

The view is good from the east bank as well. You can ride the train north to Bingen on one side and south on the opposite side. On the east bank is Braubach, the best town to get out at for a castle tour - . Use the ferry in St. Goar if you want to cross over to continue by train on the other side.

DAX Jun 18th, 2007 08:14 AM

I absolutely prefer seeing the Rhein from the RB train than the snail pace boat (boring). The train gives a better view of the Rhine river and the floating barges/boats plus the sloping vineyard across the river. The IC train is not that bad either if you don't have the time for the RB train.

quokka Jun 18th, 2007 09:24 AM

... but not along the Swiss part of the Rhine.

RhineSwitzerland Jun 18th, 2007 10:14 AM

Thanks for the info. I am really green, what does ICE, RB & IC stand for?
Also, we don't have a lot of time (2 weeks) we are landing in Amsterdam and taking the train to Switzerland and plan to spend most of the time seeing Sw and we want to go to Ludwig's castle and possibly see some of the Black Forest.
We don't know whether to do any driving, any ideas? I found a 6 day Eurorail pass for both of us for around $650usd for Switzerland and Germany, sound reasonable?
We think we will take a tour for 5-7 of the days in Sw so that both of us can watch the sceenary.

When I was there 34 years ago we just rented a car and drove around, sleeping wherever we found a B&B. Just don't know if that is still realistic.

And info is greatly appreciated.

Robespierre Jun 18th, 2007 10:27 AM

ICE is Inter-City Express
IC is Inter-City (more stops, less luxurious)
RB is Regional Train (still more stops, spartan)

How about this: a German Rail pass covers all of Germany plus Salzburg and Basel. A 4 day/4 week Twin Pass (for two traveling together) is 250€. So (with a ticket from Amsterdam to Germany) you could travel all the way to Switzerland, buy single tickets or a Swiss Twin around the country, then go back through Bavaria with a day trip to Austria and maybe down the Rhine on the way back to Amsterdam. Details here:

altamiro Jun 18th, 2007 10:39 AM

>I am really green, what does ICE, RB & IC stand for?

RB is a local train that stops at every milk can.
RE is a local train that only stops at bigger milk cans.


Larryincolorado Jun 18th, 2007 11:09 AM

For comparison, I think there are more castles on the right (east) bank of the Rhein. If you go down the left bank by train, you will see all of them plus several others on the right bank (Stahleck for sure, probably Schönburg). So, from Bacharach to Koblenz by boat you see less the twice as many, but it takes 4 times as long (2hr 55 min vs. 41 min) by boat vs. RB and costs 3.3 times as much €26,40 vs. 7,90. You see more castle per hour and more castles per Euro by train.

Robespierre Jun 18th, 2007 05:51 PM

Castles per €, that's funny!

But whatever RhineS does, s/he should get a copy of the accordion-fold map of the Rhine valley to keep track of which castle is what. Such as the ones at

RhineSwitzerland Jun 19th, 2007 05:44 PM

I love all your suggestions and jokes, they are great. I tried to buy the folded map with the website suggested but they only deliver inside Germany but I am sure I can get one. Thanks. Also, do I have a choice of which bank of the river I can take the train on? Are you saying they have 4 trains, going each way on each side?

canterbury Jun 19th, 2007 06:19 PM

Hey RhineS

I just remembered seeing something in Rick Steves book on Germany. I believe he had a time-chart of sorts for seeing the castles. Something like, "after the ABC castle, wait 2 min, turn to your right and you'll see XYZ." I believe it was the 2005 edition - I don't know about the newer ones.

JoeE Jun 19th, 2007 07:22 PM

The following link is probably the one that Canterbury is referring to:

kkukura Jul 3rd, 2007 11:22 AM

Does anyone know which towns you can get a ferry to go by car from one side of the Rhine to the other? I am planning a backup plan for my trip this week to Germany. I have planned to go by train throughout the country but with the strike going on I have made a car reservation for pickup upon arrival at the Frankfurt airport. We will be spending the first two nights in Bacharach. I have heard that I should drive from the airport on the Wiesbaden side of the Rhine and then take a ferry over to get to Bacharach. What times do the ferries run? Thank you!

PalenQ Jul 3rd, 2007 11:35 AM

I don't think you want the Wiesbaden side of the river - i'd head to Mainz then follow the west bank of the Rhine right to Bacharach - no river to cross it seems - maybe i don't understand however.

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