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Ideas for a mellow teenager (Rhine area and Bavaria)

Originally my daughter was going to do a trip to Europe for three weeks to several countries, touring as part of a high school band. My mom and I also planned a trip at the same time, but just for one week in July, in Germany. We planned to go to one of the concerts but then do out own thing, touring Germany.

The school trip is cancelled now due to the coronavirus. I talked to my daughter and she wants to go with me and her grandmother for the week tour. We can do it (and still even get seats on the plane together).

The whole trip was planned around what me and my mom wanted to do, but I would like for my daughter to have some say. Luckily, my daughter is pretty mellow and an old soul of sorts. For example, when we were in England she really enjoyed walking that gardens at Leed's castle and feeding the ducks. She loved the shops in Bath and wished she could walk around more. She also liked having tea in the afternoon. She wants to do similar things in Germany.

I am trying to think of things to suggest to her. We are staying two days in Rudeshiem, three days in Nuremberg, and finally in Munich for two days. We can change this if need be. The train is how we are getting around, using the towns I mentioned as bases. The hotels I have booked are all refundable if we make a change.

Things my mom and I planned to do (but we could change) include a Rhine River Cruise from Rudeshiem to Koblenz, Rothenburg, Nuremberg (castle), Weltenburg Abby, Dachau, and go to the top of Zugspitze (by train and tram) for a day.

Of these things, Rothenburg caught my daughter's eye the most. Then the abbey (because she wants to hang out on the beach and just "chill out" while my mom and I tour the abbey). She also thinks she might want to go to Burg Eltz (which we could do from Rudeshiem. We planned to go to my daughter's concert in Koblenz, so Burg Eltz could be a good substitution). My daughter also really loves music and concerts. But has a preference for classical music and jazz. She also likes just sitting and drinking coffee while people watching.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

Posted by
4962 posts

With 7 nights, 3 base towns is a little snug. Sure would like to see a more precise time frame so I can be sure any suggestions would be doable.

Where are you starting from on the day you plan to reach Rüdesheim - and what time do you plan to arrive?
Where are you going after your last night in Munich - and what time of day do you think you will leave town?

Nuremberg: If you don't mind stealing most of a day from N'berg, you can do a day trip to Rothenburg by train. Figure about 3 hours round trip train travel.

Rhine Cruise: I suggest you don't waste 4+ hours and all that cash on the cruise all the way to Koblenz from Rüdesheim. You'd be wiser to do a shorter cruise that includes just the best part and omits the redundant stuff. Often it's best to cruise right when you arrive on the Rhine if you have time (but right now only you know what time that might be.)

Burg Eltz: What day of the week would you be visiting? Burg Eltz is heckafar from Rüdesheim and you can't get there on weekdays without at least 2 hours of walking from the nearest train station; on weekends there's a shuttle bus from the train line, but the schedule is skimpy and inconvenient. It sounds to me like your entire trip is very transit-heavy already, and I'd hate to see you spending the better part of a day just to do this castle tour.

Rüdesheim: Tends to be very touristy (foreign and older day-tourists pour off the tour buses there with regularity) and overcrowded in summer. A more centrally-located base town, Boppard, would put you closer to Burg Eltz, Koblenz, and Rheinfels Castle in St. Goar (only 10 minutes to the south.) Boppard has an attractive old town center and developed waterfront with lots of good hotel choices (river views) and dining choices within steps of the river:

http://schnuggel-elsje.de/upload/Bilder/IMG_0131.JPG
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2IjTma6VRY

All Boppard guests receive a free transport pass (Gästeticket) from their hosts upon check in. You can use the trains for free to travel to Koblenz, St. Goar, Burg Eltz, and other towns too: https://www.boppard-tourismus.de/2-1-Gastgeber.html

Boppard does get tourists (cruise customers) but it's more laid back than Rüdesheim. One of the nicer things to do there is the chairlift ride - great views from up there - and maybe get some refreshments at Gedeonseck Terrace, a short walk from the top:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g198627-d3306006-Reviews-Sesselbahn_in_Boppard-Boppard_Rhineland_Palatinate.html

Boppard has some nice places for trying the wine too:
https://www.deutschlandgourmet.info/bilder/gross/5710-Restaurant-Weinhaus-Heilig-Grab-Boppard.jpg

The best medieval castle in the entire area is probably Marksburg in Braubach (10 minutes south of Koblenz by train, just across the river from Boppard and a little north) and it's much easier to get to than Eltz as well:

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

Anyway... I think you'd have a better shot at seeing things in your limited time on the Rhine with a Boppard base.

Posted by
16 posts

Thanks for the input. I really don't have a concrete schedule. We land at noon on July 5. We spend July 5-6 in Rudeshiem, July 7-9 in Nuremberg, and July 10-12 in Munich. I didn't want to over plan at this point. I feel like I did that when we all took a trip to England. While we had a great time, I also felt it left little for spontaneity.

We land in Frankfurt and leave from Munich.

The only reason we were even going to Rudeshiem was because my daughter's concert was near there and mom wanted to take a Rhine river cruise. We could forgo that all together. Although I think mom would like some kind of river cruise where she could see castles. Maybe there is something on the Danube?

It stinks that we are still landing in Frankfurt, but we could just take a train to Nuremberg. It looks like a 2.5 hour train ride. But that would give us 5 days in Nuremberg as a base.

Posted by
447 posts

I've been to both Boppard and Rudesheim as shorts stops on longer Rhine river cruises and enjoyed both towns. We rode the chair lift in Boppard and the gondola in Rudesheim. Well worth it for both. Also really enjoyed Siegfrieds Mechanical Music museum in Rudesheim. Shopping in Boppard was less touristy than Rudesheim. More the places locals go to. Probably better people watching in Rudesheim.

Rothenburg is fun and very much tourist oriented. Not a lot of sights ( church, the walls, gate, etc) to see but nice town to walk around. Lots of shops and restaurants.

Posted by
4962 posts

...mom wanted to take a Rhine river cruise. We could forgo that all together.

I very much like the idea of extra time in Nuremberg - it's my favorite city in Germany, to be honest. But by dropping the Rhine, you really would be pruning the bloom off the rose! The Rhine Valley offers Germany's most scenic cruise and train ride and several lovely old-world towns - and it is a UNESCO World Heritage site for good reason: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1066/

"July 10-12 in Munich." ?? Previously it was, "...and finally in Munich for two days." So I assume you have two days in Munich (which includes a train trip from Nuremberg on the first day) and you fly out on July 12 - is that correct?

What you have "planned" after Nuremberg... Weltenburg + Dachau + the Zugspitze + Munich... if you have only two nights in Munich... that is probably more "imagined" than realistic.

Moving to a two-base plan makes a lot of sense to me. You said you prefer a trip that allows "for spontaneity." But the Munich area activities will deny you spontaneity altogether. And the Rhine is one of Germany's great places to chill out - you can pick and choose what you like there. It's only if you attempt Burg Eltz that you will be put on the treadmill.

So if you were my very best buddy, I'd advise you to try this on for size using the Rhine and Nuremberg as your main bases.

7/5-8: 3 nights in Rüdesheim or Boppard.

7/5: It might be enough for you to just get through the day after a long overnight flight. Get to your base town, drop bags, see the town. Try to stay awake a little ways into the evening.

7/6 option: Rhine cruise from R'heim (or Bingen) to St. Goar (for lunch and Rheinfels Castle, with a stop in Bacharach on the way, if you choose.) Return to your home base by train (or ferry + train.)

7/7 options... Train trip to Braubach for Marksburg Castle, or train trip to Cochem - or hang out in your base town... be spontaneous.

Boppard: https://www.boppard-tourismus.de/21-1-Sehenswuerdigkeiten.html
Rüdesheim: https://www.ruedesheim.de/en/see-discover/ (Hildegard von Bingen Abbey?)

7/8 - 10: Nuremberg

So much to choose from, or you can choose to do little... https://tourismus.nuernberg.de/en/
Do a day trip to Rothenburg on one day.

7/11: Leave early for Munich. Drop bags at station lockers. Spend the whole day, or just part of it, as you please. Head to the airport for a final night there. The Novotel was good for us, but there are other good options as well.

Posted by
7625 posts

If you get the chance, I would plan some time visiting Eltville on the Rhein, it is about a 10 min. train ride from Rüdesheim. For me, it is the most charming town along the Rhein and you have easy access to Eberbach Monastery, a true hidden gem that I think Rick has never seen or he would put it in his books.

This is a fun fest in Eltiville while you are here. Make sure you go down in the dry moat which is planted with 1000's of roses and other flowers. Have lunch at the Gelbe House, visit the St. Peter & Paul Church, stroll along the promenade, or sit and watch the ships go by. (no trains to interfere with your view, no tourist buses, no souvenir stores)

3-7.07 Sekt & Biedermeier Fest, Eltville

Am a huge fan of Burg Rheinfels in St. Goar. Such a massive fortress and though much is in ruins, there is still a lot of this castle that is intact. The Great Hall blows me away every time I descend the stairs into it.

Posted by
16 posts

Sorry, I really didn't know that my detailed (albeit rough) itinerary would be critical to my question. I am not much of a world traveler. This is only my second trip overseas (and the last one I let a travel agent completely plan). I didn't realize that would be so key.

Again, The only things pretty much determined are the flights. The original purpose of the trip was to see my daughter do one of her concerts and then just spend a few days doing some highlights in Bavaria since that's where my mom's side of the family is from. Since the concert is no longer, we could alter all this. All the hotels I've booked need to be changed since I booked for two. I could change things even more.

We land in Frankfort on July 5 at noon.

July 5- head to Rudeshiem by train. Take Rhine River Cruise

July 6 - second day in Rudeshiem. this used to be the day of my daughter's concert and we were going to go to go by train Koblenz to see her perform. This is now a free day

July 7 - take train to Nuremberg tour the castle in Nuremberg. Stay there that night

July 8 - Nuremberg (take a day train trip to either Weltenberg Abby or Rothernburg) back to Nuremberg for the evening

July 9 - Nuremberg (take a day train trip to either Weltenberg Abby or Rothernburg) back to Nuremberg for the evening

July 10 - Train to Munich check in to hotel, head to Dachau for the day. Maybe Munich for the night (none of us are really keen on big cities, we just picked it because it's closer to Dachau and Zugspitze than Nuremberg).

July 11- Train from Munich to Zugspitze spend the day there.

July 12 - Fly from Munich back home

Again, except for the flights, this is all pretty flexible at this time. I have totally refundable hotel reservations.

A few key things, my mom is elderly and she has mobility issues. Most of the places we were staying are very close to the train stations (across the streets) and air conditioned. A lot of what I picked to do, I think, requires limited walking. We won't be able to climb hills to big castles (although my mom is fine staying in a town if my daughter and I want to go explore). She's also been working on her walking (joined a gym and walks on a treadmill, on an incline, every other day). Plus, her doctor cut back on the medication that slowed her heart so much that she used to get winded easily (she still takes it, but he cut the dose).

My daughter is pretty mellow and doesn't want to party, do loud and wild stuff, etc. She thinks sitting in cafes and people watching or looking at pretty scenery is the height of a fun vacation. She and my mom are kind of the same "speed."

I am the adventurous one who wants to explore and learn. But, I am also flexible and am happy to go with the group. I mainly want everyone else to have a good time.

Thanks again!

Posted by
4962 posts

The information and the wide-ranging itinerary you have shared are helpful, but not so much because of your daughter's needs (which you asked about in this thread.) I just now reviewed some of your previous posts, which are full of concerns about your mother's ability to get around. My take-away is that your itinerary is creating some huge hurdles for all of you - and you should simplify this overly aggressive plan. You really have only have 6.25 days once you reach Rüdesheim.

Planning hotels near the station is a smart move. But with your short stay, you have too many moves for this group - it's all far too heavy on logistics. Even on Day 1...

"We land in Frankfort on July 5 at noon... July 5- head to Rudeshiem by train. Take Rhine River Cruise"

Sounds simple if you haven't done it... Here's how I see it: If your flight is on time, you may be able to get through security, pick up bags, take care of personal matters, get to the rail station, get tickets, and be on a train by around 1:30. It's about 80 minutes to Rüdesheim (with one change of train on the way.) So maybe you finally get to R'heim by 3 pm or so, walk to your hotel and check in (and freshen up?) then hustle down to the KD boat dock for the last cruise of the day at 16:15 (arrives 18:05 at St. Goarshausen, on the same side of the river as R'heim.) Then you walk a few blocks to the station and board the 18:26 train back to R'heim (arrive 18:51.)

What do you think? This all sounds like a lot to handle in an afternoon for the average family after a transatlantic flight. Will all of you have gotten adequate sleep on the plane? Few people actually do. I don't see much room on this afternoon for a meal anywhere. And what if your flight is late? That's happened to me quite often.

"...none of us are really keen on big cities..."

But you have only the first 2 nights in a smallish place, which you plan to leave abruptly for two additional big-city base towns to spend your 5 remaining nights? Getting around on foot in these cities at all is going to be a serious challenge for your mother. I don't understand why you are booking in these large cities in light of your mom's condition and your own interests. Why not just stick to some nice, smaller places where you can manage more easily?

I will stick with my suggestion that you stay in only two base towns - one on the Rhine for maybe 3 nights... Boppard is best IMHO, but if it's Rüdesheim, you could maybe day trip to Eltville as well, as Jo suggests. And a second base elsewhere in Bavaria (but not Nuremberg, which I had suggested before re-reading your most recent comments and previous posts.)

Posted by
16 posts

First of all, I just what to personally thank you Russ. You are very helpful and I appreciate you taking the time to answer.

Just in case it's not clear, we don't really plan on walking around Nuremberg or Munich. We may spend one day in Nuremberg to see the castle, that's about it. My idea was that the hotels in both of those cities are right across the street from the train stations with easy access to the towns we want to see as well as frequent trains. Plus those hotels are air conditioned which is important to my mom (especially if Germany has a heat wave like it did last year). The problem I saw with staying in the smaller towns is we'd need to move around a lot and the hotels don't seem to have AC or elevators. I figured moving a lot would be more taxing that hopping on the train across the street.

But I it sounds like I am be wrong on that thinking. I will research those towns and see what the hotels are like and the train schedules.

I don't think anyone wants to spend 3 days on the Rhine. If there were no concert (and there isn't now because that trip is cancelled) we wouldn't have even gone there. We would just fly in and out of Munich and spend the whole week in Bavaria. Mom just wants to do a KB river cruise to see castles. If that can be done on the Danube (even if it's not as "grand"), that will work too. I don't even know if it's a feasible day trip by train from Nuremberg and we can skip staying in a Rhine town all together.

Posted by
4962 posts

"The problem I saw with staying in the smaller towns is we'd need to move around a lot and the hotels don't seem to have AC or elevators. I figured moving a lot would be more taxing that hopping on the train across the street. But I it sounds like I am be wrong on that thinking. "

I don't quite get the idea staying 5 of 7 nights in places that don't hold any interest to you... If you pick wisely, a small base town like Boppard would be no different from a big base town, except the small base town is a place that would be interesting to you in and of itself, a bit more of a joy to return to for the evening after outings. I happen to like both cities and smaller places. I have stayed at station-hotels like the Ibis and the B&B hotel chains, and occasionally in snappier places, in cities like Nuremberg, Düsseldorf, and cities of similar size, and done outings from these by train. But I generally share your preference for smaller places and I have routinely stayed in small places all around Germany, towns that I have used as base towns for spontaneous day trips by train - a few examples from recent trips, most with just a few thousand residents:

Bullay (Mosel River) with outings to Cochem, Traben-Trarbach, Bernkastel, and other small towns
Cochem (Mosel River, nice base for your daughter to visit Burg Eltz; river cruise to Beilstein? )
Herleshausen (near former E. German border, Eisenach, Erfurt)
Boppard (Rhine)
Neustadt-an-der-Weinstrasse (Franconia, near Nuremberg, Würzburg and Rothenburg)
Rilchingen-Hanweiler** (near Saarbrücken and the French border)
Steinach (Schwarzwald) (Black Forest)

If you just want to skip the Rhine and the Mosel and head to Bavaria, Bad Windsheim is a place I've had on my bucket list for a 3-4-night stay (a place I've only visited.) From there you can day trip by train to other small places (Rothenburg? What about the adorable art/wine town of Iphofen? both are less than 1 hr. away.)

Bad Windsheim itself is attractive as well and home to the excellent Freilandmuseum (open-air cultural/historical experience.)

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g198421-d284746-Reviews-Frankonian_Open_Air_Museum-Bad_Windsheim_Middle_Franconia_Franconia_Bavaria.html

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/cd/Bad_Windsheim-005.jpg/1200px-Bad_Windsheim-005.jpg

Bad Windsheim hotels: The Hotel am Kurhaus Späth (AC) is a very short walk from the station. Reichel's Parkhotel (also AC) isn't much further. You can find these at hrs.com or perhaps other sites.

"I don't think anyone wants to spend 3 days on the Rhine."

If you are referring to your travel companions, possibly not, but that's definitely not so for many experienced European travelers and people who know the place. The Rhine towns offer many rentals which are commonly booked for a week at a time. One tour company offers 1-week or 2-week stays with multi-day rail passes so that their guests can get around and see everything:

https://www.untours.com/rhine

A number of years ago, we took my sister-in-law with us for a 3-day stay in a St. Goar apartment with a view of Katz castle. We used the trains on each of our 3 days, but still it wasn't nearly long enough to show her around fully.

When you haven't been before, there's really no way to know about such places, or whether they are good travel base towns - but I figure that's one of the benefits of forums like this.

Posted by
3306 posts

Russ said "With 7 nights, 3 base towns is a little snug."

Please allow me to expand on that thought. It is amazing how much time is consumed changing locations. It's not just the actual travel time, but much more. Packing up, checking out of the hotel, getting to the train station, waiting for the train, and then the actual travel time. At the destination there is time spent getting to the hotel, checking in and unpacking. Not at all uncommon to lose three quarters of a day just changing locations.

My suggestion is to limit yourself to only two locations that can be used for local interest and side trips. Just something to consider.

Posted by
16 posts

Thanks again.

The reason I picked Nuremberg was, originally, it was centrally located to all the possible places we wanted to visit and, like I said, it's a train hub with a hotel near the train. We were originally looking at Regensburg, Rothenburg, and Bamburg. We narrowed down where we were going, but I didn't change our hub. There is no reason I can't change that of course. Then again, if we don't go to the Rhine area, we have more time to visit those places.

And yes, I meant my group wasn't really focused on the Rhine. I plan to go back some day, I can see it then. My daughter's trip is postponed until next year and they are doing a Rhine cruise. My mom really wanted to spend as much time in Bavaria as we could (because that's where the family is from). The only reason we were going to be in that area was because of my daughter's concert and I thought a Rhine cruise would be a great way to see castles since that's also a priority for my mom. Like I said, if there is something on the Danube that's a day cruise where we can see castles up on a hill, I think she's be just as happy (if not happier) to see that since it's in Bavaria.

I will definitely check out Bad Windsheim. Iphofen looks right up my daughter's alley too.

Posted by
23243 posts

I hope you understand just how much vertical climbing is involved in visiting the castle in Nuremberg.

When I was younger I stayed in the stables of that very castle for several nights so I do know what I am talking about. From the Durer museum to the castle has got to be something like sixOr seven stories of Cobblestone Road climbing. I am moderately fit and in my 60s and I find it a real slog these days to get up there. If your mother has problems in those directions please understand that it is not a disabled friendly facility.

If you come around from the side or get a taxi up as far as it will go you may have somewhat less climbing but it is still not easy underfoot and certainly not in any way level.

Posted by
16 posts

Yeah, I know the castle will be a lot of climbing. But my mom is the one who has the strong desire to see castles and that seems like the most accessible one because you can take a cab to it. Everything else I looked into involves hiking up a hill. I was told Burg Eltz could be reached by cab from the train station (and when I wrote to the castle, they said they could call for a cab back to the train for me). But then someone else here said you have to hike in the woods for two hours too? So between that and it being out of the way, I crossed that one off the list. It looked perfect though, once you got there, it's on flat ground and the only obstacle would be stairs.

As for the castle in Nuremberg, I figured when we get there by cab and, after that, we'd just have to let mom set the pace. It will probably be an all day trip.

I should note that going on this trip has encouraged mom to hit the gym. She's up to walking for half a mile, non-stop, on an incline (at 2 mph though, so she's slow). It will also help that the doctor cut her back on the medication that slowed down her heart to 50-60 BPM. That was her main issue with being able to walk, her heart couldn't pump blood enough to get oxygen to her and she'd get winded. She says she has more energy now that she only takes that pill at night.