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Rothenburg to Rhine - Home base & accommodations

I will be leaving Rothenburg on a Wed and have until Friday when I fly out of Frankfurt. I'd like to stay at the same home base on Wed. and Thursday somewhere conveniently located for exploring around the Rhine towns (we will not have a car). It would be helpful to be convenient for a Friday morning departure to Frankfurt airport for a 10:30 AM flight.

Accommodations recommendation along the Rhine?

Best place for home base?

I think I have a handle on the castles via other posts and Rick Steves' recommendations but if anyone has "must sees" along the route or in the Rhine for a mom and two tween/teenagers, that'd be welcome too.

We enjoy charm over modern accommodations and budget minded choices are certainly a consideration too.

Thanks so much!

Posted by
806 posts

Bacharach also has a youth hostel in a castle, Burg Stahleck, which sounds like a lot of fun to me though I've never stayed there.

Posted by
5257 posts

Bacharach is fine, and it nearly guarantees some level contact with other Rick Steves devotees because of the heavy promotion Rick gives it in his books and videos. But it is far from the only option. Oberwesel, Boppard and St. Goar (home of Rheinfels Castle,) all north of there and on the same riverbank, are also very charming; the last two might be more conveniently located for exploring the area in part because of the ferries there that make it easier to access the east bank of the Rhine and Marksburg Castle - the only never-destroyed Rhine Castle offering tours.

In Boppard there's more to do than in Bacharach. Boppard has wineries and some fine old half-timbered buildings as well, but unlike Bacharach it also has a chairlift ride, a fine river promenade, some Roman ruins, and a wider choice of dining and lodging options. Because of the location of the rail lines relative to Boppard's old town, it is also much less impacted by train noise, a common complaint you will no doubt read about in reviews from many folks who have stayed in Bacharach, where some establishments are just a little too close to the tracks.

VIEW from Gedeonseck terrace near top of Boppard's chairlift
TEA HOUSE in Boppard's old town
Charming: The Ohm Patt inn in Boppard gets excellent marks. So does Weinhaus Weiler. I can recommend both the Hotel Sonnenhof and Hotel Hubertus as clean/simple budget options in the old town zone.

But OBERWESEL and ST. GOAR are also good choices.

Posted by
7979 posts

Have a look at Eltville. Has a lovely old town with lots of half-timbered buildings, a castle tower and dry moat which today is filled with gorgeous rose bushes, church built in the 1300's, and a great river promenade, minus the train tracks and roads, but lined instead with wine cafes. The trains that come through here get to Wiesbaden in only 15 min. and going the other direction, get to Rüdesheim in just 17 min. and this is where you can catch a Rhine cruise, or continue on up the Rhine by train, or take a ferry across to Bingen and continue down the Rhine on this side of the river. Lots of pretty B&B's and small, cosy hotels here, and you don't get the touristy feeling of Rüdesheim.

Near Eltville is Eberbach Monastery, an impressive, massive building from the 1100's. There is a bus every hour from the main train station that goes up to Eberbach. Also near-by is Kiedrich, on this same bus route. Both are well worth a visit.

Posted by
18060 posts

If I were going to stay on the Rhein, I would definitely choose somewhere along the classic Rhein gorge (Bacharach to Boppard). In my opinion, the most interesting boat ride is between Bacharach and St. Goar, where you get to ride under the Loreley and right past the mid-river toll castle, Pflazgrafenstein.

Bacharach, on one end of the boat trip, would make an excellent base. If you stay here, at Pension im Malerwinkel, you'll be away from the train noise without having to climb a long dirt path to the Hostel.

St. Goar, on the other end of the boat trip, has a lot of hotels clustered around the market square, on the river, next to the boat dock and away from the train tracks. If also has the ruins of Rheinfels castle, a worthwhile site.

Boppard, as mentioned by Russ, is a little bigger, with a of more expensive hotels right on the waterfront, as well as some less expensive places back from the river. It's outside the boat trip that I recommend, but convenient by train to both St. Goar and Bacharach. Boppard is also closer to the Marksburg, the only undestroyed castle on the Rhein. The Marksburg sits above Braubach, which is a 55 min boat ride from Boppard. You can also get to Braubach by train (21 min) from St. Goarshausen, which is a ferry ride across the Rhein from St. Goar.

Posted by
12040 posts

Speaking of Eltville, check out this month's issue of "German Life" magazine. There's a good article on this oft-overlooked (by Rickniks) Rheingau town.

Posted by
75 posts

Yep, stay Bacharach. It's a great place and Rick really likes it. There is lots of stuff to do around there as well that is not hard to get to such as Rheinfels and Burg Eltz.

Posted by
139 posts

We stayed in Bacharach recently and while it is a lovely place with some very nice hotel choices and it is located along the most scenic section of the Rhine - I'm not sure how convenient it will be to get to Frankfurt airport by 1030 - and that will be true of any of the small towns along the river. Bacharach is about 10 minutes by local train from Bingen - which I think is where you would be able to catch a direct train to Frankfurt airport - but the trick will be does the local train to Bingen start running early enough to get you to your connection to the airport on time?

On our recent trip we had taken the K-D cruise from Bingen to Braubach, visited Marksburg and then worked our way back down the Rhine to Ruedesheim for some dinner and music. The plan was to take the ferry across to Bingen and then the train back to Bacharach, but our timing was off. The last train on a Saturday night for Bacharach left Bingen at 2205 (10:05pm for us Ugly Americans) and we got to Bingen Hauptbahnhof at 2230...fortunately there was a pizza place open across the street and we were able to call a cab to get us back to Bacharach.

So check the train information first!

Posted by
5257 posts

" I'm not sure how convenient it will be to get to Frankfurt airport by 1030 - and that will be true of any of the small towns along the river. "

Actually, there are big differences between the small Rhine towns in terms of transport. Some towns (Bingen, Oberwesel, and Boppard) are served by express and/or and high-speed trains; these three towns offer DIRECT trains to FRA... how many depends on the day in question.

Bacharach is served only very occasionally by an express train; there is normally one direct train to FRA on weekdays at 06:54. Everything else leaving Bacharach is a milk-run MRB train. St. Goar and several other towns are served only by "milk-run" trains that connect elsewhere on the way to FRA. There's nothing wrong, generally, with connections, but there's always the potential that you will miss a connection if your train is late, and doing that on a flight day can have serious consequences.

It is indeed important to heed the train schedule and to choose your overnight towns accordingly. You may also wish to consider Mainz for a final night. Mainz is a nice city only 25 minutes from FRA and offers far more numerous departures to FRA in the morning hours.

Posted by
201 posts

I think we've decided on Boppard for two nights rather than switching for each night. It meant 30 more minutes on the train and leaving at 6:20 instead of 6:45 AM on Friday, July 18. But, for the ease of not moving our luggage twice, I thought it was worth it. And, Boppard has an express train straight to the Frankfurt airport.

Posted by
51 posts

Hi Dana,

As mentioned previously, Rick does recommend Bacharach as a base while exploring the Rhine. However, your choice of Boppard is also a great one. It is a lovely town, from which you can hop on the KD Rhine cruise boats and use as a base to explore the other areas of the Rhine Valley. And, as you mentioned, it does have train access to Frankfurt airport. (Be sure to check train schedules at

Have a great trip!