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Where to stay between Cologne & Frankfurt

Couple looking to enjoy the Rhine for 2-3 nights

Will be landing in Frankfurt, and stop after our River smaller town visit will be Cologne.

I was looking at Boppard, but noticed a town like Koblenz is much easier to get 1 direct train to/from the connecting towns.

If I am trying to avoid a lot of train transfers with luggage is there a town that is a good choice? Or am I better off to stay closer to one of the larger towns and just day trip down/up the Rhine?

Posted by
7500 posts

Here is one of many discussions here:

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/germany/rhine-cruise-logistics-and-st-goar-lunch

Short answer, Koblenz has a few things to do if you wish, but it has nothing to do with the scenic part of the Middle Rhine. Boating to there is a waste of touring time. Any pokey local train will be at least five times faster than the boat. Use the train when it's needed.

Whether you take the shorter boat ride with luggage is up to you. Many people take their luggage, but it depends on how much time you want to spend on the river. We did not, because we had a substantial day out, from Andernach. (special flower show situation, not for you.) But we only boated from Bingen to Boppard. (Downstream) Here's just one link of many on where you could stay. The search box top left can be very helpful.

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/germany/sleep-in-bacharach-st-goar-or-boppard-in-the-rhine-valley

Posted by
8208 posts

I would stay in Bacharach at one of their fine B&B's. Every one in that city is very nice. It's a city with a train stop and the Rhine River is in their front yards--just south of Koblenz.

You can find accommodations online and at Booking.com. I've stayed in Bacharach 4 times over the years. It's about 45 minutes on the train to Frankfurt from there too.

Posted by
2354 posts

I would stay in Boppard. There are regional trains from Frankfurt airport to Boppard with no connections. Koblenz is not particularly charming. Boppard has many lovely hotels right on the river. It’s a charming little town with easy connections by train or boat to other very cute towns like St. Goar and Bacharach. We’ve stayed in Boppard twice now, and will return next year. Take the train from Boppard to St. Goar, explore the ruins, then take the train to Bacharach and explore for a while. Then take the boat back to Boppard. A lovely way to spend the day.

Posted by
6749 posts

"I was looking at Boppard, but noticed a town like Koblenz is much easier to get 1 direct train to/from the connecting towns."

Your source of information might be weak. What date are you traveling?? Here's what the DB site indicates tomorrow's date for the locations you mention. All are direct / transfer-free trains: board once, get off in Boppard:

FRA airport > Boppard direct at 7:08, 9:24, 11:23, 13:23 etc...
Boppard > Cologne direct at 7:07, 8:12, 9:12, 10:12, 11:12, etc...

If you are already using the DB site, these trains are easier to find if you click "only local transport" when you do your search.

Maybe by "connecting towns" you are referring to towns on the opposite side of the river? After your direct train deposits you in Boppard, a subsequent train trip to Rüdesheim or to Braubach will require a change of train, certainly. But you will not have your luggage with you at that point.

"...am I better off to stay closer to one of the larger towns and just day trip down/up the Rhine?"

Probably not. If you book in Boppard as planned, you aren't going to just stay in town the whole time, right? You're going to day trip down/up the Rhine anyway, I imagine, to take a Rhine cruise, or to visit Rheinfels Castle in St. Goar, Marksburg Castle in Braubach, Bacharach, Rüdesheim, Oberwesel, etc. But as a rule, these day trips will be shorter from Boppard.

If you stay in a larger place like MAINZ, your train trips will definitely much longer. If you stay in KOBLENZ, you'll be closer than from Mainz - and maybe closer than from BOPPARD for one or two of these destinations (like Koblenz > Braubach, only 10 minutes.) It just depends on which towns you plan to visit.

Have a look at the map below. It shows towns, railways, ferry crossings (red) and day cruise stops. Find Koblenz and Boppard. Then look for the places you hope to visit. St. Goar, Oberwesel, Bingen (for your cruise departure) and Bacharach, all good "left-bank" towns to visit, are CLOSER to Boppard than Koblenz by roughly 15 minutes in each direction - so your travel time on a day trip from Boppard saves you roughly 30 minutes.

http://www.loreley-info.com/eng/rhein-rhine/walking-hiking.php

The other thing about staying in Koblenz is that the more desirable old-town zone (near the Deutsches Eck) is a fairly long distance from the train station; stay there and you have a fairly long walk to the station or a bus transfer to make. There are hotels near the Koblenz Hbf station, but most of us would probably that agree that the atmosphere there isn't nearly as nice as the one you'll find in Boppard.

What you don't say is WHEN you plan to travel. In the off-season, Koblenz might be your best choice, simply because the smaller towns, though lively in summer, are not very lively and lots of restaurants and sights are hibernating.

Posted by
365 posts

Russ thank you- this is very helpful. We are traveling in May

Posted by
8594 posts

Russ, is there a reason Rudesheim is not a good choice? I've not stayed there, but visited twice and thought it might be a good place to stay.

Posted by
6749 posts

stan: I have occasionally recommended Rüdesheim as a place to stay in certain situations, but I wouldn't normally do so during the May > September travel season for visitors with 2 or more days and with intentions of seeing the Rhine beyond R'heim. R'heim is an attractive town with lots of restaurants and places to stay, comparable to Boppard in this regard. There are some worthwhile sights and the lift is enjoyable. However, its "too-touristy" reputation is an earned one. It's a major tour bus stop, which means nutty crowds at times and a tendency toward souvenirs and overpricing. Also, it's on a less scenic part of the river than the other Rhine towns, and unlike Boppard or St. Goar, or even Bingen across the river, there's no pedestrian/visitor-friendly waterfront with river-view hotel rooms or spots where you can hang out and fully enjoy the "Rhine vibe."

A few other advantages come with staying in Boppard and other Rhine towns to the north of R'heim... shorter day trips to Burg Eltz Castle, to the Mosel River towns (like Cochem) and to Cologne, as well as inclusion in the RMV travel zone (inexpensive day passes.)

Posted by
19151 posts

In 2004, I spent 4 nights in Boppard and visited Koblenz, Braubach (Marksburg), Bacharach, Oberwesel, and St Goar (Rheinfels) and took the boat from St Goar to Bacharach. In 2017, I spent 2 nights in St Goar and did a river cruise from Bingen back to St Goar.

There are no bridges between Bingen and Koblenz, but there are train lines on both sides of the Rhein, so you are sort of constrained to stay on your side of the river unless you stay in one of the towns (Boppard or St Goar) which has a ferry crossing to the other side.

Of the two, Boppard and St Goar, Boppard is a larger town with more places to stay and eat, and more to do, but somehow I preferred St Goar. I don't know why, atmosphere maybe, but I just did.