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Little town to chill out along Moselle or Rhine?

After 2 busy weeks in Belgium and Luxembourg in September 2014, we will have three nights to fill between leaving Lux City and arriving in Amsterdam for our final busy week. We think it might be a good time to find a pretty little town along the Moselle or Rhine and just chill out for a few days. We have never been to this part of Europe, so we're wide open to suggestions.

One possibility seems to be Cochem, but I wonder if anyone has other ideas? And hotel recommendations for any of them?

We will be traveling by train or bus, on September 24-26. We're in our late 60's; we'd love to work in some wine tasting or a little boat trip. We enjoy historical sights. Appreciate your help!

Posted by
15573 posts

There are many such towns along the Mosel River. I see there is a Strassenweinfest beginning September 26 in Neef. These are weekend events in towns along the Mosel, and a lot of fun. Neef has a train station (hourly trains running between Trier and Koblenz). It's the next town south of Cochem on the train. There are a few guesthouses in the town. These places usually have a few rooms with breakfast for around 30 euro per person/night. Prices go down for stays longer than 2 nights.

Posted by
1803 posts

I knew someone would have a great idea for me. Thanks, Sam. Neef looks exactly like what we're looking for. And a wine festival! This is why we love the Helpline/Forum. Rooms for 60 euros a night would be a welcome contrast to what we'll pay for the rest of this trip. I may have to cut Lux City down a bit and spend more time on the Moselle.

Posted by
17642 posts

If you want to go from Trier to Neef, check the train schedules carefully. The REs from Trier to Cochem do not stop at Neff (only the slower RBs do). If you get on an RE, you'll have to get off in Bullay (before Neef) or Cochem (after Neef) and take an RB the rest of the way.

By the way, Weingut Rademacher is right across the parking lot from the Bahnhof in Cochem (and they have rooms).

Posted by
15573 posts

Yes, the RB originates in Trier, where you connect from the RE from Luxembourg. There is only one IC train a day and it connects in Bullay. Like I said, hourly RB service. 2 hours +/- a few minutes.

Posted by
1803 posts

OK, I'm going to cut some time from Luxembourg and give it to Germany! This looks like much more fun. Sam, is there a Strassenweinfest anywhere in this area on the 20th? Can you tell me where to find this information?

Lee, I love these ideas you are coming up with. Looking forward to talking about this at the meeting next week.

Posted by
15573 posts

Lots. Maring-Noviand, Minheim, Uerzig, Graach, Wintrich. These are on the upper Mosel downriver from Trier. A couple are near the major wine towns of Piesport and Bernkastle-Kues. The train doesn't run in the valley here, but there is bus service. Here is the Mosel Land Tourist Board search engine for events.
http://www.mosellandtouristik.de/en/veranstaltungen/optionalcontent.aspx?url=http%3a%2f%2fweb.deskline.net%2fmosel%2fen%2fevent_calendar&hdl=Calendar of Moselland Events

Posted by
1803 posts

Sam, that link to Moselle tourist information is wonderful. Who knew Germans were so much fun? A "wine and shooting match" in Kolv. "Wine slurping days" in Burg. Lots of street festivals and wine fairs in late September.

We have now officially reorganized our itinerary; we can't completely drop Luxembourg, as we want to look up two little towns near Diekirch where my husband's ancestors lived. So we'll cut it down to three days, base ourselves in Diekirch (with just a day-trip to Lux City) and that gives us seven days for the Moselle.

Now I have some work to do. Am totally unfamiliar with Germany. I reserved a Lonely Planet German guidebook from the library, and I know Lee will be a great help. We're looking forward to this!

Posted by
17642 posts

Charlene, how's your German (as if I had to ask)? The Cochem website has a calendar of events at www.cochem.de/tourismus/veranstaltungen_alletermine.php?ort=Cochem, but it's only in German. If there is a special event in Cochem it could be difficult to find a place to stay. I checked Rademacher's website for a weekend in September, and it said there was no availability (but it could have been too far in advance).

In 2008, I tried to find a room in Cochem long in advance and everyone said they were booked. When I got there, they were having a Neue Wein festival and very busy. There were, however, lots of Zimmer Frei signs out. Most of the places only had double rooms and I suspect they didn't want to commit them to a single person that far in advance.

Posted by
1803 posts

Lee, I suspect my German is equivalent to your Greek! So this will be an adventure. Lots of websites are only in German, so I'm doing lots of translating. Just downloaded Google Chrome, which I think translates automatically??

I've started sending some emails (in English) to little places recommended by you and Sam. Will be interesting to see if (a) they know English and (b) if this is either too early or too late to make reservations. What is a Zimmer Frei? Sounds like a room in a private home, but is it like a B&B, separated from the family rooms? And do they normally include a private bathroom??

Current plan is to spend 3 days on the Mosel and 4 days on the Rhine, and do day trips from each. I like the little place you recommended near Marksburg, and another friend recommended Bad Salzig. So I'm off to the library now to pick up my Lonely Planet and hope it has a good map!

Thank you for all of your help.

Posted by
17642 posts

Bad Salzig is on the Rhein, a little upstream (SE) of Boppard.

This map might help you with the Rhein-Mosel area. Hint: the map loads excruciatingly slow over the internet. The first time you download it, save it for future use.

A room in a private home is called a Privatzimmer. In most places I've stayed in Germany, one entire floor of the home has been remodeled with rooms, usually all with ensuite baths. When a Haus has a room to rent out, they put out a sign saying "Zimmer". After the word Zimmer is a space to show whether the room is Frei (available, usually in green) or Belegt (occupied, in red). Hence "Zimmer frei" is like saying vacancy.

Treis and Karden are two small towns across the Mosel from each other about 10 min by train down reiver from Cochem. The rail line goes down the left bank of the Mosel and the station is actually in Karden, but there is a nearby bridge to Treis. A little ways down from T-K is Moselkern, from which most people start their hike to Burg Eltz. A few years ago, they started having buses on the weekend between T-K and Wierschem, above Burg Eltz. The bus makes four trips each way per day on Sat and Sun.

Posted by
1803 posts

That map is very helpful. Thanks, Lee. Places are booking up quickly for that week. I did get a reservation at Rademacher in Cochem through Booking.com (cancellable) ... still waiting to hear back from the Gasthaus in Neef. Could find no available hotels in Neef for the weekend of Sept. 24-27. Rademacher is close to the train station so it would be easy to get to Neef.

One final question. I found rooms in both Boppard and in Braubach for Sept. 20-24. Would you recommend one town over the other, as a base for 4 days on the Rhine? In Braubach it's Weinhaus Wieghardt; in Boppard it's a room with a balcony on the Rhine, in Rheinhotel Lillie. A little more expensive, but willing to pay it if this would be a better base.

Posted by
17642 posts

What else do you plan on doing while you are on the Rhein. If you are going up to Bacharach and taking the K-D boat back down to St. Goar, Boppard is well situated for that - on the same side of the river and there are hourly trains. Braubach is also well situated. It's about a 20 min train ride up to St. Goarshausen, from which there is a ferry across the Rhein to St. Goar. From Boppard to Braubach (to see the Marksburg) is not so easy. The ferry from Boppard to the opposite bank is pretty primitive. Then you have a km walk to the station in Filsen to catch the train to Braubach. The other options, take the train to Koblenz Hbf and another train (or a bus) to Braubach. Or, catch the K-D boat from Boppard to Braubach. The advantage of the boat is that the trolley that ferries you up to the Marksburg meets the boat at the dock.

On the other hand, Boppard is a much bigger town. There is a tree lined "river walk" along the Rhein and big hotels facing the river. If you stay there very long, there are more places to eat in Boppard. It was founded as a Roman garrison and there are excavated walls of the earlier Roman fort and also a town museum, which was closed the day I wanted to see it.

Posted by
119 posts

Holy cow, Charlene, we stayed in Bacharach for 4 nights in 2012. We took a river boat cruise for
a few hours stopping at St. Goar and back to Bacharach. We had a car so we took day trips but the train might be a possibility for getting around. We had already been to Cologne before or we would have gone there this trip. We went to Cochem and also Trier.
See you Saturday at the meeting.
D

Posted by
4968 posts

"One final question. I found rooms in both Boppard and in Braubach for Sept. 20-24. Would you recommend one town over the other, as a base for 4 days on the Rhine?"

As Lee says, Boppard is larger with more lodging and dining choices. There's a cool chairlift ride there to a lookout point, a lot of wineries, and like other Rhine towns a good number of fine old half-timbered buildings that make a stroll around town very interesting.

Boppard half-timbered house photo

It's also just a few minutes by train from other interesting Rhine towns on the same bank (St. Goar, Oberwesel, Bacharach) whereas staying on the other river bank in Braubach is a little less convenient to these places.

This would matter to me a lot on that weekend because there's a huge wine market/festival in Oberwesel with fireworks on Saturday 9/20, and I'd want to be present. And it's not just any fireworks show, but the Rhine in Flames event. Stay in Boppard instead of Cochem or Braubach, and you are infinitely closer to all the festivities, which include wine stands, food, music, and on Sunday a big parade. After the firework show on Saturday night, the last train headed for Boppard leaves Oberwesel at 22:27 and takes about 15 minutes.

Wine fest photo

Posted by
1803 posts

OK, Boppard it is. Russ, thanks for the info about the wine fest and fireworks in Oberwesel. And the parade ... we stumbled upon the Oktoberfest parade in Munich years ago by accident, and absolutely loved it. So now we are even more excited. We get a wine festival one weekend on the Rhine, and then the next weekend on the Mosel (in Neef)! I think we are going to really enjoy our week in Germany.

Looking forward to all the help from Dawn & Lee & Frank on Saturday.

Posted by
19 posts

I've only been to Cochem, and it was a day trip, so I can't speak for the hotels, but it is a neat little town if you just want to hang out for a couple of day. As for the Rhine? We went through so many little towns looking at castles and the general sights (another day trip) that I can't really recommend one, but that area is neat and well worth it.