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Germany in April

Next month, I will be purchasing flight tickets for the month of April. I have 2 weeks off from work from April 8th to April 22nd. I was thinking of going to Germany, my only concern is the Rhine River in Bacharach for that month. Is it worth going in April to see the Rhine River or am I better off to go somewhere warmer like Greece or Spain and book my Germany trip more in the fall season where the weather will be more cooperative?

Posted by
8497 posts

April can be a total mix of weather, from sunny and warm, to cold, rainy and even snow. Some years the tulips and all of the trees are in full bloom in April, other years not. It is the luck of the draw.
The Rhein might be quite pretty mid April. We just never know. All of the castles, etc and the day cruises start at Easter or 1 April, so this may be a plus for you.

Posted by
5954 posts

I was thinking of going to Germany, my only concern is the Rhine River in Bacharach for that month.

Where else will you be traveling? September is a nice month to travel, but April is too.

Germany has 2 separate Köppen climate categories, and the Rhine lies in the more favorable zone, but April is one of those months when differences from place to place tend to be pretty small. No matter where you are, high temperatures in April average 58-60 F, with average lows of 40-41. Rainfall differences are also pretty small. On average, you're going to have one day of rain for every 3 days you are in the country, no matter where you are, and no matter what month it is. And April has lower rainfall/precipitation totals on average than October and the other 10 months of the year.

Here are the climate data charts for Germany's main cities. You can look at Frankfurt and Cologne to get a pretty good idea of what you'll find in Bacharach.

https://en.climate-data.org/europe/germany-232/

Posted by
39 posts

@Russ Well I intend to do the Best of Germany RS guide book suggested itinerary (by public transportation) which includes sleeping in Munich, Fussen, Rothenburg,Bacharach and Berlin....and I was wondering if I should book it for April or it's better off in September and simply go to Greece in April instead.

The downside of going to Greece is I can't go to the beach in April which is why I wanted Germany in April and greece in September. I just don't know if the Rhine river cruise could be compromised with the weather.

Posted by
6383 posts

One possible plan is to build in the flexibility to go on the Rhine boatride on two or more possible days. You certainly don't need to prebook, although there may be fewer departures in April, the month when the timetable (I think) begins.

I personally am unimpressed by Munich, so you might save some travel time (and open up more fruitful destinations) by omitting it. Note that it is frequently the case (of course it depends on where you live) that an extra flight segment can take you to and from two terminal cities at little or no extra cost. Of course a place like Berlin is not a problem to get to by plane. Be sure you buy an open-jaw ticket, not a Round Trip.

There is nothing wrong with Rick's list of towns and cities, but you should not limit yourself to those. As a matter of practicality (not "policy" or "poor work") he has to leave a lot of things out. This TR reflects my personal biases, but it might give you some independent ideas:

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/baltic-germany-fachwerke-landesgartenschau

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/germany/can-i-see-enough-of-cologne

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/germany/dusseldorf-9efb2569-f179-468c-a306-f809014610b5

Posted by
2746 posts

Tossing caution to the wind, our trip to Germany is the 1st of April to the 15th. Sunshine would be nice, but not counting on it. As long as it is not too hot or too cold, we are good.

Posted by
6679 posts

We lived in Augsburg, (Bavaria) Germany for four years and always went to Italy in the Spring. Germany Winters are long. We loved it once we crossed the Alps and hit sunny Italy.

Still, April is fine for Germany.

Posted by
5954 posts

"The downside of going to Greece is I can't go to the beach in April..."

Assuming that is so, then assigning the Rhine and the rest of Germany to April makes perfect sense. The things you'll want to see on the Rhine will be open.

"I just don't know if the Rhine river cruise could be compromised with the weather."

Use the 2022 KD Cruise schedule as a guide for 2023. As you can see, the low-season schedule began on Saturday April 9, on Easter weekend. So I'm supremely confident that 2023's schedule will begin that same weekend on April 8 (Easter Sunday is April 9 this time.) That is the weekend that kicks off tourism for the season, and everything will be open.

The best Rhine cruise begins in Rüdesheim or in Bingen (just across the river from R'heim) and takes 1.5 - 2.3 hours, depending on whether 2023's boats cruise as far as Boppard or terminate in St. Goar (as they did this year.) If they do cruise to Boppard, you can always choose to disembark in St. Goar if you like. But for the best scenery and castle spotting you should definitely cover at least Rüdesheim or Bingen > St. Goar.

As for the weather... well, you can be fairly sure that it won't be too hot - and very possibly cold - on the cruise boat deck. So my advice is to plan for the warmest boat option - the 14:15 AFTERNOON boat from Rüdesheim (leaves 14:30 from Bingen) rather than one of the morning boats (9:00, 11:00 from R'heim, or 9:15, 11:15 from Bingen.) You can board the cruise in either town, but if you are in fact staying in Bacharach, or in another west-bank town like St. Goar, Boppard, or Oberwesel, then boarding in Bingen is easier - just catch the train there. Your train ticket to Bingen earns you a 20% cruise boat discount. I wouldn't book in advance; you won't get a particular seat anyway, and no train discount is possible online.

I don't know how many days you're allotting for the Rhine, but you should probably add some onto whatever Rick has probably suggested in that guidebook... He tends to overlook this area quite a bit in his other materials...

Marksburg Castle (Braubach) is the top Rhine Castle to tour.

Burg Eltz (Mosel River Valley) is the top Mosel Castle. See nearby Cochem while you're in the area, maybe visit Cochem's Reichsburg Castle as well - the "Imperial" Castle in English. Cochem has other good options as well, including a cool chairlift ride and the German federal bank bunker

In St. Goar, Rheinfels Castle Ruins are also worthwhile.

Boppard, another river town near Koblenz and one that I prefer to Bacharach, serves as an efficient travel base for all these places and for the cruise too. The Mosel destinations and Marksburg Castle are all easier to reach from there than from Bacharach. Most train outings from Boppard come free of charge, as all hotel/apartment/B&B guests in Boppard receive a free travel pass good throughout their stay. Read about the visitor card / guest ticket here.

Boppard is somewhat unique on the Rhine because of its waterfront promenade, located just a couple of blocks from Boppard's market square and old town zone. It's lined with river-view hotels and restaurants.

Posted by
1411 posts

April is our favorite month for traveling in Germany. You can experience snow, rain, or mild and sunny. It has never been too cold or too warm to enjoy the travel. A couple different layers of clothes make it work.

Trees will be just starting to bud in most places. Many trees and flowers will be in bloom.

Bacharach is at a lower elevation in the Rhein Riiver valley and will tend to be milder. However, it might be too early for some hotels to be open; I would verify that you will have a place to stay. You might stay in Boppard or Mainz, and visit Bacharach.

Posted by
39 posts

Thanks for all of your suggestions. I will go to Germany. I am only analysing whether I should go see the Rhine River or replace those 1-2 nights for that with going to Salzburg. I am not hurry, but I will weigh the pros and the cons.

Posted by
1063 posts

April is not high season. If you are not picky about accommodations, then maybe you can make your decision on the fly weather wise?

Posted by
5954 posts

"I intend to do the Best of Germany RS guide book suggested itinerary (by public transportation) which includes sleeping in Munich, Fussen, Rothenburg,Bacharach and Berlin...."

The pacing is too aggressive, I think.

April 8 - fly out
April 9 - arrive, travel do destination, adjust to new time zone. MAYBE see something.

Your actual sightseeing days begin on the 10th and end on the 21st (12 days total.) Each "move" you make will require not just a train ride but checking out/in, transport between accommodations and stations, a meal here or there, so I'd estimate roughly half a day for each one, a bit longer in the case of Berlin. You will have 4-5 moves, so you can pretty much count on spending 2 days' time on the logistics of getting from hotel to hotel. That leaves you about 10 days for sightseeing.

Berlin: 3-4 days is the standard minimum. That leaves 6-7 days for everything else on your plate.

So my best advice would probably be to leave Berlin out altogether. Of course it's an interesting place. But it's better to drop just one "outlier" that eats up a disproportionate amount of time.

Posted by
8497 posts

Not sure if you are aware about Easter in Germany, but on the 9th, which is Easter Sunday, stores of course are closed like every Sunday, but Monday is also a holiday, when stores will still be closed. Most museums are open on this holiday as are other tourist attractions, but do check their websites to be sure. Restaurants will be dong a booming business. Kids will be on school break that following week, so trains may be full.