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Bacharach to Trier - Burg Eltz

Taking a train from Bacharach to Trier next weekend. Would like to stop in between to tour Burg Eltz. Is there a logical way to do this with our luggage?

Thanks!
Scott

Posted by
20339 posts

You may find it easier to go straight to Trier, check in and stash your luggage, then take the train back to Hatzenport and the bus to Burg Eltz, then return to Trier. You can do the whole thing with a Rheinland-Pfalz Ticket for 32 EUR for 2.

Take 8:04 train from Bacharach to Trier (change in Koblenz) arriving at 10:30. Drop bags at hotel, then 11:41 train to Hatzenport, then bus to Burg Eltz, arriving at 13:38. Tour the castle and return on either the 15:22 or 16:22 bus to Hatzenport connecting to train to Trier getting you back at 17:19 or 18:19.

The other option is to store your bags at Koblenz in a locker, then return to Koblenz to retrieve your bags after your castle visit. Both ways involve back tracking, but going straight to Trier saves the locker fees.

Posted by
6850 posts

Someone asked about going to Burg Eltz with luggage a few months ago, and was told that they do have a place to hold luggage for people if needed. I can’t remember if there was a fee or not. I’ll check and see if I can find the post as soon as I get to my laptop.

Posted by
19156 posts

Going from Bacharach to Trier you will have to change trains at the Koblenz Hbf, which is about an hour closer to Moselkern (hiking path to Burg Eltz) or Hatzenport (bus to Burg Eltz) than is Trier. There are luggage lockers (124) in the Hbf at Koblenz.

Here is a map of the station layout at Koblenz Hbf. The lockers (symbol of a suitcase in a box with a key above it) are located in the station building itself and out near the platforms.

And here is shown the size and number of lockers at the Koblenz Hbf.

I think I'd use the lockers at Koblenz Hbf before I'd go all the way to Trier.

If you take the bus from Hatzenport and don't have too much luggage, you could take it with you. I don't think I'd want to hike from Moselkern to Burg Eltz and back carrying luggage (But I could because I use a convertible backpack, but I still don't think I would want to).

Posted by
6850 posts

Scott, here is the thread about storing luggage at Burg Eltz (which is possible) and the 2 relevant posts.

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/germany/upper-rhine-valley-burg-eltz

I wrote: Hatzenport is a very small station with no building or attendants. I'm not sure about leaving luggage at the castle - I checked the website and it does say that child carriers and backpacks must be left in the office so it sounds like they do have someplace to keep them. https://burg-eltz.de/files/pdf/hausregeln_en.pdf You could always email them, too - they're closed until April but I would imagine they check email periodically. Their email is [email protected]

The OP who asked the question did contact Burg Eltz: thanks for everyone's suggestions
I have a response from Burg Eltz and they are happy to look after our bags while we tour the castle.

Posted by
70 posts

Thanks for the responses. We are staying a few nights in Bacharach, then moving on to Trier. Eventually working our way back east to Cologne and our ancestry home of Siegburg. I'm trying to eliminate as much backtracking as possible (as there is plenty already) but it looks like that may be difficult in regards to Burg Eltz.

Perhaps the best thing might be to squeeze in a hotel night in Cochem. We're not on any set schedule other than flying out of Frankfurt on the 21st or so (airline employee... plans are flexible. )

I've done the Rhine myself about 5 years ago but my family has never been. I'd been wanting to do the Mosel as well since I had to skip it last time! Too much we want to see!

Posted by
6757 posts

I have a response from Burg Eltz and they are happy to look after our
bags while we tour the castle.

I remember reading that too. But as you know by now, Scott, the train doesn't get you to the castle... the connecting bus in Hatzenport gets you most of the way... but you will still need to walk about 1 km with your "luggage" from the final bus stop to the castle. Can you do that? Something about the root word of "luggage" makes me think this might be problematic. It should be walkable if you have packed as Rick Steves instructs...

And by now, you've seen from Sam's post that going to Trier to drop your bags, then returning to Eltz and eventually back to Trier, takes up an entire day when your day begins in Bacharach.

It's not uncommon for people to be in this situation AFTER booking their accommodations. This would be MUCH simpler if you had a room reserved in Hatzenport on the night before. ONE suggestion: on the day before your planned visit Burg Eltz, do whatever you planned to do on the Rhine, but instead of hanging out in Bacharach for the evening, take the train to Hatzenport and sleep there. From Hatzenport, it's only a 24-minute bus ride to Eltz. You'll arrive early, do your tour, leave early, and arrive earlier in Trier this way.

Alternatively, you could cancel the first night in Trier in favor of a night in Hatzenport.

A third option allows you to keep the booked nights in Bacharach and Trier...use the Koblenz station lockers (see Lee's post) to visit MARKSBURG CASTLE in the town of Braubach, which is just 10 minutes from Koblenz by train. As a big Rhine/Mosel fan and frequent visitor who has been to Rheinfels, Eltz, Marksburg, Reichenstein, Rheinstein, Reichsburg, Arras, and a few other castles in the area, I have to say that Marksburg was the most "must-see" of them all, IMHO. It's an intact medieval castle that oozes the "Middle Ages" in a way that Burg Eltz (a much fancier palatial place that of course makes for an enjoyable visit) does not.

https://www.marksburg.de/en/circuit/#/

Like Burg Eltz, Marksburg has a self-service restaurant as well; seating is on a nice patio with a scenic view. Or... Braubach itself is a gorgeous town with several restaurants to choose from.

Leaf through the pages at the link below for photos of Braubach:
https://www.stadtbild-deutschland.org/forum/index.php?thread/7322-braubach-am-rhein-und-marksburg-galerie/

Posted by
70 posts

Oh, we have the RS packing method mastered! 1km is doable. Marksburg is under serious consideration. I’m hoping we can squeeze in both.

Edit… sorry for the short posts, we’re (lightly) packing! Leaving very soon! Last minute trip!

Posted by
70 posts

We ended up renting a car in Koblenz from Enterprise. Worked out well. We kept it "one way" to the Frankfurt airport at the end of our trip. So it solved a lot of logistical issues and we were able to see far more than otherwise. But, it created an entire new set of logistical issues as well, in regards to hotel parking and getting into cities efficiently. In hindsight, I'd do a Koblenz rental for the weekend and drop it off again same place to proceed with the rest of our trip via train.

Getting fuel at the Frankfort Airport was an adventure. Set your GPS to the Shell station on the west end. (https://maps.app.goo.gl/yoLHpHiw8AzkArGb7) It's off the Cargo exit from the freeway. They take credit cards right at the pump. From there it's only 2 minutes to the rental drop off. It took us about 45 minutes and many kms going zigging and zagging to figure this out in the moment! Most frustrating part of the trip!

Posted by
6757 posts

Good to hear you enjoyed your time. Thanks for the report. I have a few questions, if you have the time...

  • Were you able to pick up the car at Koblenz Hbf station?

  • So it was...1) train from Bacharach > Koblenz, then 2) car from Koblenz > Burg Eltz > Trier, then 3) car from Trier to FRA airport... do I have that right?

  • jAfter parking at Burg Eltz, how was the walk to the castle entrance... would it have been doable, if you had had your bags with you?

  • You mentioned driving into cities... Were there additional places you found time to visit as well? Marksburg? Rüdesheim? Or???

Posted by
70 posts

Thanks for the questions…

We took a cab from the Koblenz hbf to the Enterprise location. It was 14 euro. I’m not sure if they would have delivered it to the station itself. I never asked. Cabs were readily available.

Our itinerary was complicated. This was all planned last minute, long story. Our exact itinerary ended up being…

Flew into FRA, train to Bacharach for two nights. Explored Sankt Goar and Oberwesel via train.
Train to Koblenz, got the car, went to Burg Eltz. Ideally we wanted to stay in Cochem a few nights but being the weekend and last minute, best we could do was an apartment in Nehren, about halfway to Trier. It was outstanding.

Then, gorgeous drive to Trier for two nights. On the way we stopped in Traben-Trarbach and Bernkastel, both towns difficult to get to via public transit. Found free parking in each. In Trier, we stayed at the northern edge of town… parking was 9 euro per night. We bought the Trier Card for 30 euro and it was worth it as we took the bus in and out of town plenty of times (we’re traveling with two teenagers.) Otherwise it was a 30 minute walk from the hotel to the center.

Day trip to Luxembourg City via train. We could have driven but Enterprise was going to charge 9 euro extra per day and with a week rental, the train was cheaper. And easier. Until I messed up the train tickets, fun story. DB conductor cut us a huge break.

One night in Cochem on the way back north. Apartment in the city with free parking via booking.

One night outside of Cologne. The primary goal was to visit Siegburg, land of my ancestors, with a quick visit to the Cologne Dom since it’s right there. Free parking at an in between hotel and we bought a day pass on the train to go hotel, Cologne, Siegburg, hotel.

Last day was a drive to Boppard, south along the Rhine, Burg Sooneck, which can only be done by car, and then to the airport. Flew out the next morning.

So the car solved a lot of logistical issues, but driving into Trier and Cologne was something I wanted to avoid. Parking is a pain.

Burg Eltz parking to the castle… there are two options. Walk about a mile or take the tram for 2 euro. We walked. It’s doable with backpacks, impossible with rollaboards. Maybe you can take bags on the tram? Not sure. I think most people walk, it’s not exactly flat but not difficult.

The car was amazing and a pain at the same time. We got to see so many places… so much scenery which can’t be seen otherwise. I would do it again. But it was also stressful… the driving rules, being unsure exactly what I’m supposed to be doing sometimes, parking, parking fees, and driving into Frankfurt were maddening. And we still ended up using public transport a lot anyway, just for simplicity.

Had we not gone last minute, using Cochem as a hub for three or four nights would have been a solution but we couldn’t find anything available for more than one night on a weekend. I’d definitely do the car again down the Moselle but I would do a Koblenz rental for 3 or 4 nights and return it right back.

With four of us, we maybe saved money by renting but at the cost of having to stay outside Trier and Cologne due to having to figure out parking. With gas it was probably a wash, the advantage being going on our own schedule and seeing far more of each river than we otherwise could in 9 days.

[Just a side note for explanation, I’m an airline employee so we nonrev in available airline seats. Our original plan was Munich but when that flight filled up, Frankfurt was wide open, well over 100 open seats round trip, so it was a no brainer (Costa Rica was option number 3.) So that’s why it all got planned last minute. Certainly not a relaxing way to do it but booking hotels at the last minute actually saved a lot of money and of course, the flights are free. Dirt cheap vacation. We did a cruise earlier this year in the same time frame and this ended up being 1/3 cheaper.]

Posted by
6757 posts

Wow, I very much appreciate the comprehensive response. Being logistics-curious, I now have even more questions that I will try to stifle. Below are some comments for others with Rhine/Mosel intentions who might stumble upon this thread sometime...

Last-minute summertime planning in the area is terribly tricky, especially with a family of 4 and especially with the pent-up post-covid demand for travel. The car likely eliminated a number of uncertainties and permitted "by-the-seat-of-your-pants" decisions about booking and sightseeing. I'm guessing the weak hotel location in Trier was inevitable. Finding a suitable apartment for 4 on the fly, one with a public-transport-friendly location, in Nehren or anywhere else, might indeed have been miraculous given the time constraints. What is not surprising to me is that Scott also loved the apartment. In Germany, the average apartment rental is well-kept and desirable; dumps are very rare, and IMHO there is no reason for visitors to assume that staying in places that are not Rick-Steves-approved is somehow risky.

With four of us, we maybe saved money by renting but at the cost of
having to stay outside Trier and Cologne due to having to figure out
parking. With gas it was probably a wash, the advantage being going on
our own schedule and seeing far more of each river than we otherwise
could in 9 days.

I counted 8 nights... 2 in Bacharach, 1 in Nehren (near Cochem,) 2 in Trier, 1 in Cochem, 1 near Cologne, and 1 at FRA.

That's a lot of packing and unpacking... With more advance-planning time than Scott B had, most visitors can likely do a Rhine/Mosel/Luxembourg/Cologne trip with fewer overnight stops, and they can surely do so by public transport for less money. Here's a template with 1 Rhine base town + 1 Mosel base town + a final night (at FRA airport or Mainz) that should be quite feasible... and desirable as well, especially for the many wine-fans who should not be pushing the envelope by car...

  • Base #1, Boppard (3-4 nights) including a Rhine cruise to Bacharach and St. Goar + a day trip to Marksburg Castle + a day trip to Cologne. Local train outings - including the train trip to Cochem/Bullay - are free of charge thanks to the free VRM Guest Ticket that all guests receive. Boppard is a great town with waterfront hotels (none of those in Bacharach btw) and a cool chairlift ride.

  • Base #2, Cochem or Bullay (4-5 nights) with a day trip to Traben-Trarbach and Bernkastel (cruise?) + day trip to Luxembourg (direct train) + day trip to Burg Eltz (train + hike or bus) + day trip to Trier. (Do Burg Eltz outing right after arrival in Cochem?) Your outings here won't be free, but day passes here are incredibly cheap; one of them will even get you to Mainz for your final night:

https://www.vrminfo.de/en/tickets/tickets/leisure-tickets/

Everyone knows or can read about Cochem.

Bullay is a quiet non-touristy base town in a lovely setting, a minor train hub with direct trains to Traben-Trarbach (only 18 minutes!) and just 10 train minutes from Cochem. (I've stayed there myself on separate occasions and tossed in some hiking and biking in the immediate area.) Note that driving the Mosel isn't always time-saving... Cochem to Bullay by car takes half an hour!

From Bullay or Cochem you can of course DRIVE to and between T-T and Bernkastel, but both places are in fact very accessible by public transport, whether you stay in Bullay or in Cochem (consult the DB site for schedules.) Additionally, T-T to Bernkastel is a very pretty stretch of river, as Scott B points out, one that sees multiple cruise boats in each direction every day in summer and is deserving of a few Euros and 1 hr. 50 minutes of your time. Very worthwhile!

Posted by
70 posts

Agree with all of the above. It was a lot to squeeze in and a lot of logistics to solve. But in the end, it actually worked out quite well and was a phenomenal trip. Not at all relaxing, but that’s not what we were going for. Some people are content to sit on a beach for a week doing nothing. Fair enough, but I don’t find that remotely desirable.

We’ve gotten used to this type of travel being subject to the whim of open seats on airliners. On occasion we’ve been able to book a lot in advance… Italy a few years ago was 75% planned before we left. In contrast, Costa Rica a few years back, we had zero booked until the plane pushed back. You get used to the limitations in exchange for the free ride.

I guess we proved it can be done!

I’ll also add our only goals were Burg Eltz and Siegburg. Anything else we were able to see along the way was bonus. We were able to squeeze a lot in, but weren’t afraid to eliminate parts of our rough plan. In the end, we hit everything we could have possibly hoped for.

For the record, we never drank until we were done driving for the day. I don’t drink much to begin with but… when in Rome…

Great comments!

Fill me in on the free train tickets in Boppard. That is something I was unaware of. Edit… ah… never knew. Wouldn’t have mattered. Very little was available.
https://www.vrminfo.de/en/tickets/tickets/leisure-tickets/vrm-guest-ticket/

Rental car was also at the airline rate. It came to 217 euro plus 88 euro in fuel.

Posted by
6757 posts

@Scott... The VRM Guest Ticket is available in other towns within the VRM zone besides Boppard... but in those other places, participation on the part of innkeepers is optional. In Boppard, ALL 114 accommodations hosts are required to participate. (The same is true in Bad Neuenahr‐Ahrweiler, where all 220 hosts participate.) Below is a list of this year's participating establishments (town names are in the center column.)

https://www.vrminfo.de/fileadmin/data_vrminfo/PDF/Gaesteticket/230804_Uebersicht_Gaesteticketvertraege_August_2023.pdf

The reasons for a Boppard base go well beyond the Guest Ticket, but sometimes other towns are just better for individual tastes and travel goals - and it's worth checking this list if you decide a place like Braubach or Rüdesheim or Bullay is the best choice for your family.

Boppard's tourist office has this page on the Guest Ticket as well:

https://www.boppard-tourismus.de/en/accommodation/

Posted by
70 posts

It's this a recent thing? I've been through Boppard three times now in the last 6 years and never knew of this!

Posted by
6757 posts

I think the VRM Guest Ticket has been around for maybe the last 4 years or so... As I recall, the plan was discretionary among Boppard innkeepers in the beginning and became universal there a while later.

There are similar Guest Ticket programs that offer free transportation in other regions of Germany as well... the Black Forest, the Pfalz, and Berchtesgaden come to mind.