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Car rental in or near Bacharach

We have reserved a room at Pension IM Malerwinkel in Bacharach. We could drive from Frankfurt Airport but the Pension folks will pick us up from the train station so we could save a day of rental if we rented a car nearby the next day. Has anyone got information on or has anyone done a rental car in or near Bacharach? We will be dropping the car off near Dresden about two weeks later.

Posted by
18371 posts

A local ticket to Bacharach purchased in the Regional Bahnhof under the building across the access road from Terminal 1 at the airport is 11,20€ per adult. The trip will require one change of trains either at Mainz Hauptbahnhof or Bingen Hauptbahnhof.

Once you get to Bacharach, are you sure you need a car there? Most of the sites normally seen by tourists in this area are easily accessible by train or boat. There are rail lines on each side of the Rhein and local trains connect the towns hourly.

I wouldn't rent a car if I could get where I wanted to go by train. Germany has probably the best rail system in Europe, if not the world. It's probably the last place where a car would be necessary. Use the German Rail website to find connections.

I've spent 21 weeks in Germany including about a week in the Rhein/Mosel area since 2000 and never needed a car, so I have no idea where you could rent one - possible in Koblenz or Mainz, both of which you can get to by train.

Posted by
16941 posts

Yes, tell us where you are going. A car could be handy in a few out-of-way places in Germany. Maybe you'll only need it for a few days. In larger cities, there are often rental locations located near the main train station.

Posted by
6950 posts

When traveling, I'm one of those that prefers to control every situation. And that includes having a rental car to take me to off the beaten path--even if fuel's $8 per U.S. gallon equivalent. We're just trying to travel a little slower and shorter distances now.
We've stayed in Bacharach twice and south of Koblenz once. I would imagine the nearest car rental would be in Koblenz. I suggest you check with AutoEurope.com or Hertz.com to see who has the most reasonable rental prices after all charges.
Bacharach is a very nice little town on the side of the Rhine. They have parks running between the river and the train that runs beside the 2 lane highway.
You will love Pension IM Malerwinkel, as it and just about every other accommodation in this city is great. I suggest you catch a meal over at Hotel Kraneturm's restaurant, as Fatima's husband, Kurt, is a great chef. You'll have a memorable experience there.

Posted by
5602 posts

"When traveling, I'm one of those that prefers to control every situation. And that includes having a rental car to take me to off the beaten path--even if fuel's $8 per U.S. gallon equivalent."

I'm of the mind that driving offers the illusion of control; once you learn a little about the German train system and how to use it, you'll have lots of control - more than you do with a car - and lots of access to the road less traveled. There are 5,500 train stations in Germany's train network - clearly those include hundreds and hundreds of lesser-known locations. By train, your arrival in Village X is normally predictable within a few minutes. I've never heard of a train taking a wrong turn. No traffic jams. No parking. No surprise parking fees, no radar speed traps. No need to trust the skills of drivers in other cars, or your own, no measurable potential for a nasty wreck or even a door ding (and if you ding a train door, who cares?) No concerns that you'll misread an important traffic warning sign, or that you had one glass of Mosel wine too many (wine is welcome on the train, by the way.) No worries about shady rental agents doing you wrong either.

NO, you can't get on the train and tell the driver to leave when you want him to, so there is at least a modicum of planning involved. But train frequency is normally every hour or better. Railpasses, daypasses and most other tickets allow hopping off and back on if you have a spontaneous twitch to explore some town.

Speaking of daypasses... The Rheinland-Pfalz daypass(€27/day for two adults) permits nearly unlimited rail travel on local and regional trains throughout a very wide area surrounding Bacharach. Rail lines connect towns of all sizes along both Rhine riverbanks near Bacharach.

The most compromising part of train travel involves accommodations. You may find it difficult to reach that one particular mountaintop farmhouse that you'd like to stay at.

To answer your question... Europcar (Autoeurope uses Europcar) has an agency in Bad Kreuznach, about 30 minutes by train south of Bacharach. You can rent in Koblenz as well.

Posted by
12040 posts

Ignore the horror stories about driving in Germany from people who never drive in Germany.

Where are you headed after Bacharach and how much time do you plan to stay in the Rhine area? That might determine a good location to pick up a rental. Because you're not renting a car directly after your flight, it's probably easier and a better use of your time just to use the frequent trains that run up and down the Rhine to explore that area. You can then grab the car on your way to the next destination. If you're headed north, maybe Koblenz, Bonn or Köln, if south or east, Wiesbaden, , Mainz, Frankfurt or Mannheim.

Posted by
5602 posts

"Ignore the horror stories about driving in Germany from people who never drive in Germany."

D & M: I'm not sure what driving "horror story" Tom refers to. I don't see one here anywhere. For some horror stories, you can check out this thread (there are dozens of others as well.) I've rented cars in Germany on several trips, but there's no horror story to tell - nothing really bad ever happened. I've fortunately never been ripped off by one of several agencies in Germany that have well-documented reputations for shenanigans. I've been in some extreme traffic delays, but that's about it. My comments above addressed only the dubious notion expressed above that one can't get off the beaten path by train and the equally questionable notion that drivers have more "control" over their circumstances than train passengers. I just don't see how that's possible when there are so many variables that can affect a driving trip, and when train trips are so enormously predictable. (That said, I'm surely willing to listen to anyone's argument to the contrary.) Anyway, there's nothing wrong with driving if that's what you want to do. But as you can see, pick ups and returns can sometimes chew away at your day.

Posted by
8 posts

We have driven in many countries of Europe and enjoyed it. We have also traveled by train in all the countries we visited and truly understand not driving in large cities when public transportation is great.

Our real question was a car rental place near our Pension. If this isn't convenient then we will drive from Frankfurt to Bacharach and use the car on some hard to get to places and the train for easy access places.

After 6 nights in the Rhine and Mosel area we will spend five or six nights heading to Dresden/Gorlitz/Berlin for 10 nights. Any suggestion for places to see on the way to Berlin?

Posted by
6950 posts

We'll let Russ answer that question. I've only stayed three times in Bacharach and Koblenz, and am not that familiar to the northeast toward Dresden and Berlin.

Looks as if the train is going to deliver you more efficiently and faster than you really want to get to get there.
We'll be into Dresden in 2 weeks for the first time via train from Prague. We're looking forward to seeing it. The country southeast of Dresden on the Czech border looks to be especially beautiful.

Posted by
12040 posts

OK, stuff to see after the Mittelrhein and before Dresden...

Many of these places aren't necessarily worth an overnight visit, but at least deserve an hour or two stopover. Moving roughly west to east from Koblenz:

-Limburg an der Lahn: nice old town and a beautiful cathedral. This small city has been in the news quite a bit over the past year because the former bishop spent several million euro building himself a lavish new residence. Pope Francis wasn't too happy.

-Dillenburg: nice old town, and an interesting monument and museum dedicated to hometown hero Willem van Oranje-Nassau, the leader of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish Hapsburg rule. I love the fact that his favorite dog never left his side, and the statue of the man outside the museum, of course, includes the pooch.

-Braunfels: Huge castle overlooking the town

-Wetzlar. Beautiful and rather large old town

-Marburg: This might be an option for an overnight stay. A stunning old univesity town that wraps around the side of a hill, topped with a castle and Schlossgarten.

-Fritzlar: (a little further north) One of the best preserved walled towns in Germany, but one that's rarely visited by foreign tourists. The nearby castle of Felsburg is also remarkably well preserved from it's late medieval state. The outer walls are somewhat ruined, but the keep is in very good condition.

-Bad Hersfeld: attractive old town, large ruined cathedral used to host a summer music and drama festival.

-Eisenach: nice old town, Bach birthplace, and the magnificent Wartburg overlooking the city.

Further east, I'm less familiar with the territory until you enter Saxony. From Dresden, also consider a daytrip to Meissen and Scloss Moritzburg. I visited Chemnitz to confirm or deny rumors that it's Germany's ugliest city. Rumor denied, it isn't exactly pretty, but maybe worth a quick visit to see how the former East Germany tried to centralize and manage everything.

If you have several days in the Rhine/Mosel area, particularly with a car, also look into the nearby wine/spa town of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler. Another stake into the heart of the idea that Rothenburg is a one-of-a-kind must-see. Also, the abbey of Maria Lach, and Bonn are worth your consideration.

Some of the locations I mentioned are very time consuming to reach via public transportation. I'm all for using trains when it makes sense and particularly when transitting between major cities. But for reaching many smaller destinations, a car is so much more convenient and allows you to adjust plans much easier if you see something along the way that interests you. For example, Fritzlar would take you about 4 hours to reach via a train/bus combination from Koblenz, but it takes about an hour to drive there. And driving through the heart of central Germany, you will almost certainly come across plenty of fascinating stuff that you didn't read about beforehand.

Posted by
1064 posts

Dave and Mary, it is a short, not very difficult drive from the Frankfurt AP area to Bacharach, and if your flight is early, you can be in Bacharach before travel fatigue sets in. But if you think jet lag could be a problem, take a regional train to Bacharach, take a KD boat ride on the Rhine that afternoon, then take the train to Koblenz the next morning and pick up the rental car there.
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This conversation drifted far beyond the original question, but since the debate over cars vs. trains has been revived, I will toss in my bit as it relates to the Rhine.
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The advantages of trains for smaller towns are that they deposit you in the center of town and you don't have to worry about parking. The disadvantage is that you are restricted to roughly a one-mile radius unless you are up for long hikes. The Rhine gorge between the mountain tops is enough for many travelers; if it is for you, stick with trains and add a boat ride, then move on.
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But a car sure helps if you have more than a day to devote to one of the most scenic places in Europe and want to vist historic and beautiful places beyond the mountain barriers, such as Maria Laach Abbey and Berg Eltz. For that matter, much of the countryside enroute to these places west of the Rhine is well worth the drive. And the prettiest stretch of the Mosel is after the train tracks turn away from that river west of Cochem; that part is accessible by car but not by train.

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you for these last postings. We are finding each of them extremely valuable and look forward to all other thoughts. You are truly a helpful forum.

Posted by
1064 posts

When you consider other transportation options, there will probably be little cost difference between renting at Frankfurt AP or time and taxi-fare to an off-airport rental in Frankfurt or two days of train travel and picking up a car in Koblenz. I have had success with VWs from EuropCar, but I almost chose Sixt a couple of times in the hope of getting a BMW in the same category. (That's a gamble; instead of a German car, you could end up with a Spanish-built vehicle, instead.) In the end, I wound up back at Eurorpcar. Either way, a compact VW Golf or equivalent would be about $230 for a week in June, picking up from the Frankfurt Airport and dropping off a week later in Dresden. An economy VW Polo, which I love driving but my wife hates sitting in, or equivalent would be about $15 less.
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You could save a few dollars by picking up at a Frankfurt-area off-airport site or in Koblenz, but, if I were doing it today, I would skip the off-airport sites and get on the road sooner. Some people prefer to go through a consolidator. If this is your first rental in Germany, I would recommend Gemut, others recommend AutoEurope, but you should have no problem going directly through EuropCar, Sixt, Hertz or whatever. But by all means check the TripAdvisor Forum for Frankfurt before renting from Thrifty or Budget. There are complaints against every car rental company, some of which are due to unrealistic expectations of customers, but these two companies seem to draw the most complaints.

Posted by
8166 posts

Renting from the airport is more expensive than renting some place else.

I would go ahead and train to Bacharach after you arrive in Frankfurt, and rent the car in Koblenz. You save time and money. If you feel like you would like to have the car while on the Rhine, Koblenz is just a short, cheap train trip away and you could get the car the following day after a good nights sleep.

Posted by
1064 posts

One caveat about the Frankfurt airport: I have heard they have made some improvements since 2008, when I rented a car there, but the rental area at that time was a confusing maze that took a bit of effort to figure out. A little research would have made things easier. The same goes for getting to off-airport sites, as well.