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Itinerary help Rhein river & Heidelberg

My daughter is living in eastern Germany this year . I will be visiting her for three days en route to another destination, arriving Wednesday noon in Frankfurt, departing Sunday morning on a 10:00 a.m. (international) flight. On this and previous trips she has seen Frankfurt, Marburg, Berlin and area, and a good bit of Bavaria. One part of Germany that she has never seen includes Mainz, Heidelberg, the Rhein, etc. So I was thinking that this might be a good area for us to visit together. I am looking for some advice on an itinerary. Here's one thought.

DAY 1: Arrive FRA at noon. Train to Mainz; if not too tired, sightsee Mainz; sleep in Mainz? (thinking of leaving my suitcase either in FRA or Mainz and picking it up on return).

DAY 2: Boat from Mainz or Bingen to either Sankt Goar or Boppen; spend the night. (It's not clear to me how much one can hop on and off a boat and what folks would suggest for such a trip).

DAY 3: Train to Heidelberg. Sightsee/spend night Heidelberg.

Day 4: Maybe a side trip to Ladenburg (suggested by a friend). Later, train to somewhere not too far from FRA so I can get to the airport and she can get a train back to Jena on Sunday.

Does this sound feasible? interesting? what would you change? I know some of it's probably too fast. I was just hoping to show her a few things before she returns to the States in July. Any hints on the train travel, too, that'd be appreciated. She has a Bahncard 25, but it sounds like some group/regional tickets would be more economical. Thanks.

Posted by
5603 posts

Mainz is the "somewhere not too far from FRA" that you should head to on Day 4. It's only 20-25 min. to FRA by direct train.

Day 1: Just take the train up to a Rhine village that day - Boppard (not Boppen) or St. Goar are both nice places. It's about 1.25 hours away from FRA. Bingen would work too - it's only 1 hour from FRA...

Day 2: ... and in Bingen you could just step out your hotel and board a cruise boat there in the morning. Starting the cruise in Bingen is a good idea (no matter where you stay) as it eliminates a lot of dull cruise scenery you would have to endure and pay for if you started in Mainz. Take the train back to Bingen after the cruise to Boppard, stopping in St. Goar as well if you want. The NH hotel in Bingen (on has an outstanding view and location - and an amazing breakfast experience as well:

NH dining room

If you opt for Boppard or St. Goar instead, then just take the train down to Bingen to start your cruise that morning.

Day 3: I think a visit to the Mosel River might be more interesting than Heidelberg - and a less expensive trip as well. Cochem and Burg Eltz (castle) are two outstanding destinations. You could stay in Cochem overnight and travel to Mainz on Day 4, or simply day trip up the Mosel from your Day 1 & 2 base on the Rhine, spending a 3rd night in the same place.

Burg Eltz

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks for the suggestions; very helpful (I don't know why I wrote Boppen!).

Tom, were you responding to my original itinerary or the revised plan?

Posted by
12040 posts

I'm responding to what you wrote at the top of this thread.

Because you've already seen Frankfurt, you might consider Wiesbaden or Darmstadt for your final night.

Posted by
4 posts


I think now we may spend the first night in Bacharach. The next day, boat to St. Goar and overnight Boppard.

Then, if we were to do the Mosel Valley instead of Heidelberg to see Cochem and Burg Eltz, etc., what's the best way to get from Boppard to Cochem? Would you do this by train or boat (presumably from Koblenz)?

Posted by
5603 posts

"I think now we may spend the first night in Bacharach. The next day, boat to St. Goar and overnight Boppard."

You CAN do it that way if you wish. But Bacharach, St. Goar and Boppard are very close to each other. If your 1st night is in Bacharach, why not leave your bags there for a second night? The return to Bacharach takes only 10 minutes by train from St. Goar, 20 min. from Boppard. This seems simpler than spending the time packing, unpacking, lugging your bags around and onto the cruise boat, etc. Or stay in Boppard 2 nights instead.

Cruise: if you start in Bacharach and end in St. Goar, you will only have 40 minutes on the boat and cover only a small part of the good scenery. Suggest you catch a train south from your home base to Bingen to start the cruise to St. Goar (85 min.) for more excellent scenery, like THIS SPOT near Bingen.

"...if we were to do the Mosel Valley instead of Heidelberg to see Cochem and Burg Eltz, etc., what's the best way to get from Boppard to Cochem? Would you do this by train or boat (presumably from Koblenz)?"

The boats are very slow - they are for sightseeing excursions, not transportation - and the scenery north of Boppard isn't that great. Definitely by train (or bus+ train combo at certain hours.) Train from Boppard or Bacharach to Koblenz, then use the train for Koblenz - Cochem. (There's a handy 9 am bus on most days from Boppard into Koblenz in lieu of taking a later train.) Trip takes 70 - 90 minutes depending on which local trains/buses you use. Scenery along the Mosel by train will be very good - like it does along the Rhine, the train hugs the river bank the whole way.

TICKETS: From Boppard: two adults can make this trip cheaply on the VRM minigroup ticket (a daypass, €21.80)
From Bacharach (which is outside the VRM zone) you will need a Rheinland-Pfalz ticket (€27, daypass for two) instead. Both are good at any hour on Sat or Sun, after 9 am weekdays. Buy them from any ticket machine. More info here:

Rhine/Mosel day pass info

Posted by
4 posts

Ah, I didn't realize everything was so close together. Thanks! Will reconsider the plans to start the boat trip from Bingen. Thanks for the hints on the train passes, too. This is all very helpful.