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Upper Rhine Valley - Burg Eltz

We are staying in Bacharach and then moving to Cochem by train in the first week of April. We would like to visit Burg Eltz on the way to Cochem however there don't seem to be luggage lockers in Hatzenport train station.
Does anyone have a suggestion - is it better to go to Cochem drop the luggage and then back to Hatzenport or any alternatives?
Are there bus services every day of the week from Hatzenport to Burg Eltz?

Posted by
19167 posts

is it better to go to Cochem drop the luggage and then back to Hatzenport

If you mean go to Cochem and check into your hotel and leave your luggage there, yes.

However, it doesn't look like there are any lockers at the Cochem Hbf, so you couldn't stash your luggage there while you went back to Hatzenport. However, there do appear to be lockers in the Koblenz Hbf. You could leave your luggage there, go to Hatzenport, then go back to Koblenz to get your luggage before going on to Cochem.

Posted by
6791 posts

Lockers: Not available at small-town stations along the Mosel and Upper Middle Rhine train routes. Koblenz, Trier and Mainz have lockers.

Burg Eltz Bus: the stop is "Burg Eltz, Wierschem" if you're using the DB site for travel schedules. Bus 365 for the week in question operates between Hatzenport and Eltz on April 1&2, then takes four days off and resumes from April 7-10 (per the DB website.)

Alternatives: You are seeking to economize on travel time and expense as well as fussing-with-your-bags time, correct? The attractive town of Boppard, if used as a travel base for both river valleys, can resolve certain logistical dilemmas like yours.

From Boppard, a round-trip journey to Burg Eltz and/or Cochem isn't nearly as long as it would be from Bacharach. - it will in fact be 40 minutes shorter since the Bacharach > Boppard train segment (20 min. on average) is excluded. Just leave bags in your Boppard room when you visit these places.

Rail + bus costs from Bacharach... One day pass covers both services...

  • One-way trip to Cochem for two with a stopover at Burg Eltz = €32 with a Rheinland-Pfalz Ticket for two (day pass, buy at station.)
  • Round-trip to Cochem with a stopover at Burg Eltz = also €32 (again with a R-P Ticket for two.)

Rail + Bus costs from Boppard for the same destinations: €0.00 for any/all one-way trips or round-trips within the local VRM transit zone. Travel at no cost to these other places as well...

St. Goar (Rheinfels Castle,) Oberwesel, Braubach (Marksburg Castle,) Koblenz, Cochem, Rüdesheim, Remagen, Linz, Limburg, and anywhere else within the travel zone outlined below...

https://www.vrminfo.de/fileadmin/data/pdf/2021/Schienennetzkarte_Gaesteticket_2021.pdf

This free use of trains comes with the VRM Guest Card, which all Boppard innkeepers issue to their guests.

Bacharach: Not part of the VRM zone. Guest Ticket not available from hotels there. You can (and IMHO you should) visit Bacharach while you're in the area - its half-timbered buildings are special. If you are taking a northbound river cruise from BINGEN (most often recommended on this forum) you can make a luggage-free stopover there by boat for no additional cost. Alternatively, use your Guest Card to travel from Boppard as far as Oberwesel - and pay €2.90 (each, one-way) for a supplemental rail ticket to cover the 5-minute train ride between Oberwesel and Bacharach.

Boppard has a very wide selection of restaurants and accommodations, including riverfront lodgings (not available in Bacharach.) The chairlift ride there is wonderful. In light of its advantageous location and the travel perks that come with a stay in Boppard, it continues to surprise me that Rick Steves basically ignores it. It's a very handsome and convenient place to stay.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1s0ReHNdLQ

Posted by
3899 posts

I spent 8 days on the Rhine a few years ago and stayed at an AirBNB above St Goarshausen. We debated on dividing our lodging time between the Rhine Valley and the Moselle Valley. We decided to skip the hassle of moving and just stayed on the Rhine. We had a rental car, but we used it only to get to the St Goarshausen train station. Train connections were great. We caught an early train, visited Burg Eltz (doing the "hike" between the rail station and the castle both ways), visited Cochem for a few hours, and had a great dinner at a farm-to-table restaurant at Winningen on the way back. It was a great day.

Posted by
6791 posts

Dave's positive experiences in St. Goarshausen and in Winningen, a gorgeous little place where I also remember having a nice walk and a meal one day, make a point about the Rhine/Mosel area, I think - don't be timid about exploring - or booking a stay - in places that go unmentioned in the guidebooks. Several years ago I stayed at a B&B in the tiny wine town of Osterspai (north of St. Goarshausen on the east Rhine bank) and did similar day trips from my mini-apartment with deck. My research for this stay was minimal. I knew only that the B&B was a 5-minute walk to the train station - that the rail hub of Koblenz was 17 minutes away by train, which meant very quick access to the Mosel and the Rhine towns to the north. (I guess I also knew that it was a very small place I'd never heard a word about, which was kinda what I was looking for then... some peace and quiet.) It was a great stay, a small leap of faith that had very good results.

Winningen, it seems to me, might also be a convenient base town for both Mosel and Rhine if you want something small and un-touristy and find accommodations you like. It's just 17 train minutes from Hatzenport and 12 train minutes upstream from Koblenz, giving you good access to Eltz, Cochem, and the Rhine towns as well.

Innkeepers in towns like St. Goarshausen, Osterspai, and Winningen (all inside the VRM zone) do not uniformly offer the Guest Ticket to all guests (as they do in Boppard.) HOWEVER, there are SOME innkeepers in Winningen (as well as in Hatzenport, Cochem and other towns) who DO choose to participate in the Guest Ticket program. So if you like the idea of free outings by train, look down the center column of the chart I've linked to below for towns where the Guest ticket is selectively available. The name of the establishment appears in the 3rd column to the right of the town name. There are 6 in Winningen, 8 in Hatzenport, and 8 in Cochem.

https://www.vrminfo.de/fileadmin/user_upload/VRM-Gaesteticket_Vertraege_Dez__2022.pdf

Posted by
3 posts

thanks for everyone's responses
We have already booked in 3 nights in Bacharach and 1 night in Cochem.
The rough plan was to travel from Frankfurt and explore Bacharach the first day
2nd day - visit Bingen/Rudesheim then take the boat to St Goar - though schedules haven't been issued by KD on this route for April yet
3rd day visit Koblenz/ Oberwesel and possibly Braubach to see Marksburg
4th day depart Bacharach to Cochem via Koblenz, drop bags at hotel in Cochem and double back to Hatzenport to take the 365 bus to Burg Eltz

The walk from Moselkern sounds attractive though not sure all of our party are fit enough for it
I just went on the DB website to check routes from Bacharach to Burg Eltz and it does provide a route on the 4th April so maybe I'm missing something about the non service days that Russ advised of

Has anyone taken luggage on the 365 bus and left it with the castle office at Burg Eltz? It will take about an hour more to go to Cochem or Koblenz to leave bags.
Also any suggestions on the itinerary above would be appreciated, noting the accommodation is booked and unfortunately the VRM opportunities have been missed by staying in Bacharach. Noted it would be easier with a rental car but with a group of 6 with luggage, the train is preferred.

Posted by
3899 posts

Honestly, I preferred Marksburg over Burg Eltz. Marksburg feels a lot more like a real medieval castle than Burg Eltz. Outside of its exterior, Burg Eltz had kind of a Biltmore Estate feel to it -- at least to me.

I agree with the post above that the hike to Burg Eltz is great. There was a group of German senior citizens walking in on the day we we went to Burg Eltz. But German senior citizens maybe are not US senior citizens.

On the itinerary:

  • Rudesheim is super touristy. The coolest thing there to me is to take the cable car up to the Niederwalddenkmal, a memorial to the 19th century unification of Germany. It made my Irish-American heart swell with German pride.
  • As you probably know, St Goar has castle ruins that can be explored

If you are interested, here's a trip report for my visit a few years ago: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/a-week-on-the-rhine-rhein-rhein-in-flammen

Posted by
7011 posts

I really liked Burg Eltz but have not been to Marksburg. Regardless, I felt that Burg Eltz was well worth a visit - I enjoyed it a lot.

Hatzenport is a very small station with no building or attendants. I'm not sure about leaving luggage at the castle - I checked the website and it does say that child carriers and backpacks must be left in the office so it sounds like they do have someplace to keep them. https://burg-eltz.de/files/pdf/hausregeln_en.pdf

You could always email them, too - they're closed until April but I would imagine they check email periodically. Their email is [email protected]

Posted by
6791 posts

"I just went on the DB website to check routes from Bacharach to Burg Eltz and it does provide a route on the 4th April so maybe I'm missing something about the non service days that Russ advised of"

Sorry for the confusion. I was (incorrectly) looking at a day-by-day chart for ONE particular travel hour; if it's on DB, you can rely on that.

Luggage: Contact the castle office to request your luggage drop, as Mardee suggests, and see what they say.

The standard passenger ferry crossing from Bingen to R'heim is out of service. To reach R'heim, you will need to use the cruise boats, or take a long walk to the car ferry well to the south, or do a Bacharach > St. Goar > (ferry crossing) St. Goarshausen > Rüdesheim routing by train.

Oberwesel: Your cruise ends in St. Goar on Day 2 - so you can stop in Oberwesel on the train ride back to Bacharach. No need to squeeze in Oberwesel, Koblenz, and Braubach on Day 3.

Marksburg: a very good experience. Plan on a taxi ride up from town as the footpath up is much steeper than the one to Eltz.

Posted by
3899 posts

Marksburg: a very good experience. Plan on a taxi ride up from town as
the footpath up is much steeper than the one to Eltz.

Ah, yes. The one place we did use our rental car!

Posted by
2478 posts

I’d take the boat all the way to Boppard and take the chairlift

Posted by
5687 posts

In 2014, I got off the train at Moselkern (on my way to Cochem) and my luggage at a bar in town (there's a hotel there but it was not open in April when I visited). Then I hiked up to the castle for a few hours and back. I tried to give them some money at the bar for holding my bags for me, but they refused. I didn't have time to stop and have a meal or a drink there so I bought an ice cream bar to go.

Posted by
19167 posts

Bus 365 for the week in question operates between Hatzenport and Eltz
on April 1&2, then takes four days off and resumes from April 7-10

I think if you look just at the schedule for Apr 1 & 2, it looks like that bus doesn't run again until Apr 7, but if you look up the schedule for Apr 3, you'll find that bus running from Apr 3 - 6. I don't know if the times are different, or if the stops are different, or if the bus number designation is different (maybe the Apr 3 bus only runs on school days), but there does appear to be buses between Hatzenport and Burg Eltz on the 3rd through the 6th.

Posted by
3 posts

thanks for everyone's suggestions
I have a response from Burg Eltz and they are happy to look after our bags while we tour the castle. They didn't think there was an issue with luggage on the 364 bus but noted that it was up to the bus operator.

So we have a plan and now I think we need to make sure we go to Marksburg as well on our itinerary.

Posted by
7011 posts

I took the 365 bus in May of last year and was the only person on it for most of the trip until one stop when a couple got on with their luggage. They were going to their lodging which was on the bus route, but the driver was more than happy to take them there (with their luggage). I was excited because I got to translate what they wanted to the bus driver, since he didn't speak much English and they spoke no German. 😊