We are doing the Germany, Austria, & Switzerland 14 day tour in late June. We are flying into Frankfurt and will have a day and a half before taking the train to to Trier to begin the tour. Looking for suggestions of where to stay and what to do after getting to Frankfurt.
jlawband, rather than staying in Frankfurt, we took the train right from the rail station in the airport, to Bacharach on the scenic part of the Middle Rhine and stayed there two nights. You'll be going in that direction anyway.. Then we went on to Trier from there. Easily done. There are other equally interesting options for towns on the Rhine.
There are all kinds of things to see and do in Frankfurt. What are your interests? Historic, nature, museums, architecture, churches?
In late June, there may be a festival next year.
What is your budget for a hotel?
Consider Limburg an der Lahn. It‘s an easy train ride from Frankfurt. The ride to Trier would be down the scenic Lahn River to Koblenz, then up the Mosel to Trier.
We are open to to traveling somewhere else as well after arriving in Frankfurt. Budget not an issue for hotel and mainly interested in historical and nature.
Actually, I’d go on to Trier. There is a lot to see there an really very little time. You’ll have a walking tour the first morning but then leave for lunch along the Mosel and Burg Eltz. There are Roman baths, a nice museum, a couple of big churches. I spent 2 nights there ahead of the tour and wished I had had one more.
Another vote for heading straight to Trier! Frankfurt left me decidedly underwhelmed... There are things to do, the reconstructed historical center is nice enough, but I would not travel halfway across the world to visit somewhere merely "nice enough".
All good suggestions, but the last thing I want to do after a long, trans-Atlantic flight is to travel some more, even if it is just a few hours by train. No one mentions that you might have to wait an hour or two on those specific trains. I want to check in to a hotel, take a shower, have some good food, and walk around. There are many good hotels in the city center of Frankfurt, from chains to small private ones. For June, I would go with one that had AC.
So, what does Frankfurt have to offer besides the newly reconstructed Alt Stadt?
It is one of Germany's oldest cities and certainly one of the most historic. It was a free, Imperial city and so was chosen to be where the Holy Roman emperors were elected since the 1300s and after the 1500s, also crowned. Most of this took place in the Kaiserdom. It sits next to archeology where the Romans lived. There has been a church and a palace here since around 680. The Jewish history of Frankfurt is extensive, with the location of the first walled Ghetto in Europe as well as the 2nd largest Jewish cemetery. A later cemetery has the graves of many of the Rothschilds as well as Paul Ehrlich, Bertha Pappenheim, WWI soldiers, and many other famous Jewish citizens. You could go view the house where Anne Frank was born. Is Goethe of interest? Gutenberg sold his bibles at the Frankfurt fairs.
What about the largest religious wall paintings north of the alps located in the Karmeliter Cloister? Interested in one of the oldest churches in Germany, the Justinus church in Höchst?
Other sites? The Klein Markt Halle, Eschenheimer Turm, the Alte Oper, Deutsche Ordens Church, the Palmengarten, or maybe just a wonderful farmers market with local produce that certainly equaled anything I saw at the markets in Paris.
If none of this sounds interesting, then go the other direction from the airport to Mainz. Ignore the advice of Rick Steves to not visit this city, as I sincerely doubt he has even been here. It has a beautiful, 1000-year-old cathedral, a church that has gorgeous windows created by Chagall, the Gutenberg museum, and other sites that might interest you.
Welcome to the forum.
About your tour: Check the itinerary and I think you'll see that there's a good amount of time spent right in Trier already - as much time as you will have in Munich and in Salzburg! Day 1 includes an evening walk through Trier after your 4 pm meet-up. Day 2 includes a walking tour and a winery visit, with the rest of the day and evening open to explore the sights of the city on your own. You actually will not leave Trier until the morning of Day 3.
About the train trip from FRA to Trier: After your lengthy, transatlantic red-eye flight, then getting through baggage and security, and then making your way to a FRA rail station, this trip will tack on 3-4 more hours. If you choose this option, look for the simplest, fastest AND most scenic route: FRA > Koblenz + Koblenz > Trier by RE (regional express) train requires only one change of train. And the route to Koblenz takes you on one of Europe's most scenic train rides - the Middle Rhine Valley route. Note that in the morning, the current schedule shows this routing on these trains only at 7:08, 9:24 and 11:23 am. At other hours, you may have a longer ride on 3-4 different trains or journeys that include bus transfers.
Where else you might stay: My advice is to break up this trip with your first night somewhere nice on this FRA > Koblenz > Trier train route. Jo has mentioned Mainz, which is a good choice only 25 minutes from FRA; go there NOT for scenery or nature but for a pleasant urban landscape with some interesting history, churches and museums. Stan has mentioned Bacharach, a small, old-world wine town in the scenic part of the Rhine just one hour from FRA with extra-nice half-timbered buildings. The neighboring towns of Oberwesel, St. Goar, and Boppard are also good choices for nature and scenery and only a few train minutes from Bacharach. Of these scenic spots, I prefer St. Goar and Boppard for several reasons. Both of these places have hotel rooms near the river that overlook some unforgettable river scenery (this is not the case in Bacharach or Oberwesel.) St. Goar also has Rheinfels Castle (see Rick's book.) Boppard has the greatest variety of hotel choices and dining options, a handsome river promenade, and a thrilling chairlift ride to a lookout high above Boppard and the river (and Gedeonseck terrace-restaurant.) Boppard is also unique in that you get a free train/bus pass for outings to the other nearby towns.
Hiking, by the way, is a good option in any of these scenic towns. River cruises are the most popular activity and a fun experience; cruise the 1.5 hours from Bingen to St. Goar, or a little longer to Boppard, for the best scenery.
Marksburg Castle in Braubach - just across the river and north from Boppard - is an outstanding place. Hope you have time for it. Getting there by train or by KD boat from Boppard or St. Goar is possible.
From any of these towns you can head to Trier by boarding a northbound train for Koblenz, then change there for Trier. Note that you could visit Marksburg on this day... Just leave your bags in a Koblenz station locker, take the 10-minute train ride to Braubach, then after the tour, return to Koblenz for your bags and the ride to Trier.
It's a shame that the GAS tour doesn't take you to this area. I wouldn't miss out on some time there.
Consider: what time does your flight arrive in FRA? If its morning, you might not be able to check into a hotel until the afternoon anyway. So, given that one way to beat jet lag is to keep moving, getting on a train for another hour or so, moving closer to your ultimate destination, is not a bad idea.
There're no bad choices here. It will all be good no matter what you end up doing.
My apologies to the OP! I based my recommendation on my experience on the GAS tour and see, post-pandemic, that the itinerary has changed. I like that they are allowing most of a full day in Trier. The walk on the arrival day is after the meet-up/introductions/etc and is a very short orientation walk to the restaurant for the welcome meal.
I like to visit Sachsenhausen when I'm there. Try some Grüne Sosse and Apple Wein when there at an Apfelweinwirtschaft. Lots of good tram transportation in Frankfurt. Easy to get around.
I'm in agreement with Russ, make an intermediate stop in one of the towns (Bacharach, St Goar, or Boppard) in the Rhein Gorge. Two reasons,
- Although the trip from FRA to Trier is only a little over 3 hours, with jet-lag it will not be fun. And you have a quick train transfer in Koblenz that will not be easy with the fog of jet-lag. Better do it after a good night or two of sleep.
2.That part of the Rhein is as close to a "must see" as there is in Germany. The GAS tour does not include it. If you stop there on the way, you could include a boat trip as well.
I did do a trip from FRA to a town about 15 minutes north of Cochem in 2008, but the trip from FRA to that town was about half the time to Trier, I had spent 4 days in Boppard a few years earlier, and the change in Koblenz in 2008 was longer than it is today.
Of the three towns, there are direct trains (no jet-lagged changes) to Boppard, but the walk down the hill from the station to the riverside hotels is longer. With St Goar, you will probably have a change in Mainz, but a lot of the riverfront hotels are a short distance down the hill from the station, and, of course, there is Burg Rheinfels just up the hill from the hotels. The hotels in Bacharach are not riverside, but there are direct trains from the airport, and trains to get to Bacharach are the least expensive because you can us an RMV (Frankfurt metro) ticket for 12,60€/P.
Thanks for all of the suggestions everyone!
The direct RE trains that Lee and I have mentioned which get you from FRA to Boppard now also stop in Bacharach and Oberwesel as well (see my previous post with the departure times from FRA and the DB site for arrival times in those towns.)
Alternative arrival strategy: Take the train to Bingen (gateway town to the scenic part) - and the cruise boat from there to St. Goar or Boppard. This is a great way to see the valley for the first time. The only trick is arriving in Bingen at a good time for boarding a cruise. When your boat docks in St. Goar or Boppard, you will likely be even closer to your hotel.
1.) Train to Bingen (Rhein) Stadt station + 10-min. walk to the boat dock
2.) Buy cruise tickets at dockside kiosk.
In normal years, boats leave Bingen at 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, 14:30 and 16:30. Typical 2017 schedule at link below, scroll way down:
Walking from the station to your hotel will be easier or more difficult depending on the hotel's location and the type/weight of your baggage. Most people shouldn't concern themselves about the steepness of any of the walks, partly because the steep parts are so short. In St. Goar, the walk will be steeply downhill but most hotels are very close (getting back up to the station with bags may indeed be difficult for some.) In Boppard, the walk to the hotels around the Market Square (Marktplatz) like the Hubertus or the Sonnenhof is a couple of blocks further but involves almost no slope at all. The Ebertor is just .1km downhill from the station, near the river - just one block that's sort of steep. The Bellevue and the Garni Günther (near the river) are somewhat downhill from the Marktplatz but very close and altogether still less than .5km from station. In Bacharach the walks are generally flat. But some locations can be pretty distant from the station. The popular Im Malerwinkel is .8km.
Check hotel locations carefully. Some hotels are said to be in Boppard or St. Goar or Bacharach, but are actually located well away from the town center in some little burb... Boppard-Weiler, or St. Goar-Werlau, or Bacharach-Steeg, for example. None of these would be a good walk for you from the boat dock or the station.
These maps may be useful.