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1st trip to Germany, 1st ?

Hi , my wife and I are planning our 1st trip and we have ?s We are going Sept. 2020 and the only thing we have booked so far is Munich 9/22 - 9/25, three nights. We plan to fly into Frankfurt in the AM 9/18, our first question, if we arrive at Frankfurt by 10:00 AM will we have enough time to take a train to Mainz and then a boat to ST. Goar, tour the castles in the area, spend the night and move on the next morning? Is that to much or too little to do our first day? After the Rhine we plan on going to Rothenburg. Thank you very much for any help, I know we will have more questions as plan each leg of our trip.

Posted by
6535 posts

I agree that you need to take it easy the first day. You might want to start by looking at a map of Germany. It's like France and Spain and a much larger country than many travelers realize. You want your trip to flow smoothly.
We usually start our trip in Munich, and we also prefer to fly into Munich (rather than Frankfurt.) We'll also often catch a little of Austria on the same trip to visit the Alps.

Posted by
4961 posts

There are no boats from Mainz after 10 am.

Your Day 1 plan for a cruise to St. Goar will work out alright - but you should take the train to BINGEN instead of Mainz. Use the Bingen Rhein Stadt station to be close to the cruise boat dock. Bingen is where the good scenery and most river cruising begins.

If your flight is on time you should be able to leave the Regionalbahnhof station at FRA airport by around 11 am. The train trip to Bingen takes about an hour (might not be direct, maybe a change of train in Mainz on the way.) Scheduled cruises to St. Goar include a Bingen-Rüdesheimer cruise at 1:15, then 2 KD cruises at 14:30 and 16:30. You should be able to catch one of those. It's about 1.5 hours to St. Goar.

You MIGHT have time and energy to see Rheinfels Castle in St. Goar that same day. But do yourselves a favor and book at least 2 nights - you will need another full day for seeing more. Marksburg Castle in Braubach is a must-see IMHO. Bacharach and/or Oberwesel are both handsome towns where you can take nice walks, like the one around Oberwesel's old town wall. The town of Boppard has a small amount of Roman historical sights as well as an amazing chairlift - ride up to have a short walk around for the views and some refreshments overlooking the Rhine Valley at Gedeonseck terrace. These towns are all well connected by the train system and easy to walk around once you are there. Here's a map showing railways, ferry crossings and more:

There are many other places you might visit if you have more than the 2 nights there, but the ones above are probably the best ones in the vicinity of St. Goar if you can swing only 2 nights.

September is wine fest month. Your arrival coincides with the weekend festivities and Rhine in Flames event. Book NOW if you haven't done so yet. These small towns fill up fast. If you need to book elsewhere, don't worry - it's easy to catch a train from St. Goar after your cruise to one of the other west-bank towns.

Personally - If I had to shortchange or axe either the Rhine or Rothenburg, it would be touristy Rothenburg, hands down.

Posted by
16555 posts

If this is your first trip to Europe, you may be unaware of how dreadful you may feel after the overnight flight. The combination of sleep deprivation and jetlag is brutal. Some people can sleep on a plane, but many cannot, or they only doze a bit. I am not one of the lucky ones. It is all I can do to remain awake until dinner time on my arrival day, and I often cannot even manage that. I think it is unlikely you'll feel like carrying out your plans for Day 1. I'd hate to see you miss out on the Rhine experience.

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you all very much, we are going to spend two nights touring the area. I booked two nights this morning and available rooms are starting to become scarce, thanks for the heads up. I feel we are off on a good start with our planning due to the help we have gotten from you, thanks again

Posted by
45 posts

You do not mention how much total time you have. I would fly into Munich--a great town but it will be packed with tourists for the Octoberfest. Actually you'll land north of the city so you could spend the first day visiting the spa at Erding or driving over to visit the concentration camp at Dachau. Stay in Erding if you can find a room (Octoberfest). Then I would drive to Salzberg, one of the world's most romantic cities, full of interesting things to do and see, and walkable. It's a short drive south to Berchtesgaden to visit Der Kehlsteinhaus and/or the documentation center. Another short drive will put you in Mittenwald, one of the most beautiful little towns in the area, and in the general direction of Rothenberg--you could travel the romantic road south to north. From Mittenwald, perhaps drive to Ettal to visit the monastery (abbey) and then drive 10 K to Linderhof Palace. You are headed to the most beautiful area of Germany but you need to take a good look at google maps to determine how much you can do in any one day. I'd be glad to answer any more questions as they might arise.