The Rhine Valley
Getting There from Belgium:
- From Brussels or Liege take the train to Koln (2-2 1/2 hours); change there for the train to Koblenz (1 hrour). Outside the station in Koblenz is the Tourist Information Office, where you can get information about cruises down the Rhine, sailing times, etc.
- The train service along the Rhine is fairly reliable and regular. Trains service connects St. Goar, Bacharach and Bingen with Koblenz and Mainz.
- Cruising the Rhine:
The biggest line (and the one which has the most frequent stops along the Rhine) is KD. Tickets can be purchased in advance on-line or by phone [tel: + 49 (0)2 21-20-88-318; fax: +49(0) 2-21-20-88-345; web: www.k-d.com; email: email@example.com]. A one-way ticket from Koblenz to Bacharach during peak season (April-October) will cost about 25 euros [1/2 price for students].
Note: It is a much better deal to purchase a round-trip ticket, since it is only a few euros more than roundtrip. You can get on and off the boat as many times as you want as long as you do it in the same direction, so, if you have the time, the buying a round-trip ticket makes a good deal of sense.
Sites [Standard 2 day trip]
- Day 1: South from Koblenz:
- Skip Koblenz completely. Most of the city was destroyed during the way and is relatively charmless.
- You first stop should probably be in Bruback to see Marksburg, one of the best preserved of the Rhine castles (plan on spending about 2 hours here).
- Bacharach is a wonderful place to spend the night, since it has so many pleasant restaurants and hotels [see below].
- Day 2: From Bacharach
- Option 1: take the train or boat south to Bingen or Mainz and then take the train back north to Koblenz stopping briefly in St. Goar for a late lunch or early dinner.
- Option 2: Take the boat or train to St. Goar, a delightful town founded in 570 AD. You will definitely want to visit the ruins of Rheinfels Castle (1245), which is located on a hill above the town (20 minute walk or you can take a bus).
- If you decide to spend a second night along the Rhine, Boppard has numerous hotels to choose from.
- Hotel Kranenturm [Langst 30, Bacharach / tel: 06743-1308 / fax: 06743-1021]: inexpensive and cozy hotel with doubles, triples and quads. The hotel is part of the town's original medieval fortification. Try to get a room facing the street if you want to avoid the sound of trains passing by a night. The restaurant in the hotel also serves surprisingly good meals at a reasonable price.
- Rhein Hotel [Langstr 50, Bacharach / tel: 06743-1243 / fax: 06743-1413 / www.rhein-hotel-bacharach.de]: a bit more expensive than the Hotel Kranenturm, but more comfortable.
- Huppertz Loreley Apartments [tel from US: 011-49-6744-8029; web: home.t-online.de/home/huppertz-niederburg/index.htm; email: firstname.lastname@example.org ]. Mr. Walter Huppertz rents four attractive apartments along the Rhine in St. Goar that are a wonderful deal if you are planning to spend a few days in the area or if you have a large family. The "Rhine View" apartment on the fourth floor is a bit more money, but provides a nice view of the Rhine.
- Weingut Fritz Bastian [Bacharach]: four or five people can order a carousel of 15 local wine to sample in this delightful wine bar with an outdoor terrace. Try the dry (trocken) local Rhine wines if you want to be pleasantly surprised as how good wines in this region can be.
Buying German Souvenirs:
- Wine and Christmas Paradise in St. Goar has a nice selection of steins, Rhine wine glasses and Christmas items [Heerstrasse 57 / web: www.wine-and-christmas-paradise.de]. They will ships delicate items back to the US for you.