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Best base for Rhine/Mosel area?

I am in the process of planning my honeymoon, and I am having trouble with the first few days. Our plane arrives in Frankfurt at 10am on June 2nd and then we are taking a night train out of Frankfurt the evening of June 5th. So we have about 3.5 days.

I would like to stay in a city close to Frankfurt, and we are using public transportation. The cities I have considered are Mainz, Bacharach, or Cochem. Any recommendations on which city has best access to Frankfurt and allows for easy day trips to Burg Eltz and castles along the Rhine river? I have also looked into a day trip to Trier but it seems a little far away.

We would like to stay in a city with nice places to eat dinner and nice budget accomodations. Would also love a city with good wine or wineries nearby we can visit.

Posted by
10344 posts

Of the 3 you mention, I'd vote for Bacharach (but you said "city" and it's a town). You can read up on Bacharach in Rick's book Germany & Austria 2009.

Posted by
3551 posts

I would sugggest Bacharach. I drove to Cochem and Burg Eltz as they are in the mosel area. you may look into perhaps a cruise tour thru there. but driving is a cinch on Rhine and Mosel areas, if you are willing. You will not be disappointed and parking is easy in Bacharach.

Posted by
588 posts

I would say Bacharach or St. Goar. St. Goar is quieter because of the trains. Both towns are lovely.

Posted by
19169 posts

Mainz, Bacharach, and Cochem are not the only towns in the Rhein/Mosel area. If you want to see Burg Eltz and the Rhein castles (the Marksburg is the only authentic one; all the others were destroyed and rebuilt, except for Rheinfels, which is still a ruin), stay closer to Koblenz (Braubach or Boppard). Burg Eltz is a little "unhandy" to get to without a car, and I don't think it alone is worth the cost of a car rental. Other castles are easily accessible without one.

As for good wines, any restaurant in the area will have them, at a price.

As for wineries, unlike California, where they blend from year to year to get a consistant, although mediocre taste, the wines in that area are by the year. One might be great; another a dog. You go to wine tastings to find out which year's taste, and the price, you want. There is more difference between years than there is between types. Unless you are bringing back a case, forget it.

Anyplace on the Rhein, on the left bank, between Bacharach and, Koblenz will give you good access to Frankfurt. My choice for a romantic venue would be one of the hotels facing the river in Boppard.

Posted by
62 posts

Since you said you are using public transportation, I have one comment about train in Bacharach. We had to wait about 1 hour before train arrived. It was the only one we took out of Bacharach. They did announce it was running a few minutes late after about 20 minutes so if you stay there without car leave with plenty of time to make other trains. I really like Bacharach we have stayed at Kranenturm I would not stay again train noise kept me up. We have also stayed Im Malerwinkel but this is a walk from train with suitcases. So this year since we are using public transpotation we are staying in Mainz and using sbahn and RE80 trains to FRA airport and using train to go to rhein. Mainz is covered on Rheinland platz card.

Posted by
9038 posts

Well, have you thought about staying in Frankfurt? You have easy access to the trains that go everywhere you want to go. Nice places to eat dinner, nice budget accommodations, plenty to see here in town, especially in the evening as Frankfurt is certainly not lacking in cultural activities such as theatre or concerts, public transportation is efficient and easy, there are lovely neighborhoods to stay in if you do not want to be in the city center - Bornheim, Sachsenhausen, Westend, or there are even the suburbs, like Hofheim, Langen, Bad Homburg, Königstein and so on. The scenery in the Taunus mountains is beautiful.

We do have some wonderful historical sites here - dating back to 70 A.D. and onwards, great museums and galleries, beautiful old churches and fabulous shopping too. It is sad that people give Frankfurt such short shrift without ever really coming here and exploring what is available. It is a fascinating city, perhaps without a major "must see" site like the Eiffel Tower, but that leaves you with more time and more choices about what to do with your day here.

Posted by
9038 posts

"I would like to stay in a city close to Frankfurt" is a question from the poster. I answered it.

Posted by
6793 posts

I like the Rhine very much, and have stayed there often, but I think based on what you've said above that Cochem is your best choice. Cochem is closest to Burg Eltz (remember, no luggage storage at the Burg Eltz stop, Moselkern, so close is good.) It's also closest to Trier, if that's a place you want to visit (very worthwhile.) It has the best train connections along the Mosel. Cochem has many sleeping and dining options. It has its own castle with tour (Reichsburg, towering over the town and with an excellent falconry exhibition.) And Cochem is consumately adorable and more scenically located. Bacharach is pleasant but besides rooms and restaurants there isn't much going on in town; in Cochem there are plenty of small diversions.

Here's how to get to Eltz, wherever you stay:

Here is a list of Rhine/Mosel accommodations with reviews, including several inexpensive places in Cochem.

I was at Frau Hilken's place at Löhrstrasse 20 this summer - lovely little 3-bedroom B&B just down the street from the Zum Fröhlichen Weinberg mentioned at the above site. About 20 Euros/person.

Trier is only one possible outing from Cochem; there's also a 1-hour boat ride you can take to pretty Beilstein, and Bernkastel (train to bus connection in Wittlich) is delightful too:

The best castle tour on the Rhine is Marksburg in Braubach on the east bank (connect via train in Koblenz):

You'll need to leave a little earlier from Cochem to reach FRA on your last day than you would from Koblenz, of course. It's about 2 hours with the fastest connections, 1.25 hours from Koblenz. Bacharach, though geographically closer than Koblenz, will cost you 1.50 hours to FRA anyway because of the train connections you must make.

Posted by
590 posts

WE stayed in Bacharach and had no problems reaching Burg Eltz via trains. Trains leave every hour from the station, and it helps to know the schedule before you head out so you don't miss it!. We took the connecting train (via Koblenz) to Moselkern and hiked to Burg Eltz from there. It was a beautiful hike up through the forest! When we returned to Moselkern we just missed our train, but that gave us an hour to kill and enjoy a beer in an outdoor cafe by the Mosel!

Bacharach was great, but alot of the towns along the Rhine and Mosel are just as nice as well.

Posted by
62 posts

Thanks for all the great advice! I'm going to look up all the other cities/towns mentioned. I think I narrowed out Mainz. We are also spending our last day/night in Frankfurt before we fly out so we'll see it then.

I didn't even think about Koblenz or Boppard probably because they aren't mentioned as much. They both look like good central places to stay.

Keep the advice coming!

Posted by
22 posts

Since you will be on your honeymoon, you might want to consider spending one night in a castle hotel -- The Castle Hotel Schoenburg in Oberwesel is beautiful. It is not a budget accomodation, but for one night it could be a wonderful start to your tour of the beautiful Rhine/Mosel River valleys.

Oberwesel is easy to get to by train from Frankfurt, and although the town does not have too many sights to see, St.Goar, Marksburg Castle and Bacharach are a short boat or train trip away. I guess my second choice would be Bacharach since it is quaint and has a selection of hotels and restaurants.

The Mosel is also very nice, but a bit further from Frankfurt. We stayed in Beilstein, which is a lovely town on the Mosel. We had a car to get to Burg Eltz, so I'm not sure about the train transportation.

When in Frankfurt, be sure to take a nighttime stroll along the Main River and enjoy a dinner in one of Frankfurt's Apfelwein Taverns or many international restaurants.


Posted by
62 posts

So I think I'm leaning towards Koblenz due to how easy it is to get to everywhere we want to visit.

Does anybody know of good hotels or B&B's to stay at? Or what location we should stay in town? We are spluring on a hotel on the coast of Italy later in our trip, so here I'd really like to keep it under 90 euro a night for a double if that is possible.

We have a place we think we would like to stay in Bacharach that we can always fall back on if we can't find a place in Koblenz.

Posted by
19169 posts


in a way, Koblenz is a good choice because it is kind of the "hinge" between the Middle Rhine and the Mosel. If you go from one to the other you have to go through Koblenz anyway, so why not start there? On the other hand, you might find that accommodations in the town are more expensive than in the smaller towns right outside.

I am planning a future trip to that area and I have been looking at small towns around there. A particularly attractive town to me is Braubach. If you stay in town, you are just a short climb or shuttle trip from Marksburg castle. Getting into the station in Koblenz is by regularly trains or buses. But be aware that if you are returning to Braubach late, the trains and buses don't run that late at night.

As for wineries, if you have never been to one, or just want to see how wine is made in Europe, it might be OK, but if you just want to taste wines, I'm not so sure.

Posted by
1633 posts

As Lee mentioned, there are several small towns along the Mosel that would be a great base to stay in. I enjoyed the small town of Zell several years ago. You can check out some penions and zimmers on the town's website: or for the town of Cochem The accommodations in these smaller, more quaint towns would be less expensive. However, make sure they are NOT located above, or near, the train tracks. Have fun making memories!

Posted by
19169 posts

One thing to consider about staying in Bacharach:

The local transit district, Verkehrverbund Rhein-Mosel (VRM, consists of the area from Oberwesel, just down the river from Bacharach to Remagen, near Bonn, and up the Mosel beyond Cochem. You can buy an all day pass, a Gruppentageskarte for all of that area for €20, but you have to be inside the VRM to buy it. Bacharach is not inside the VRM.

If you stay in Bacharach and want to travel anywhere toward Koblenz or up the Mosel to Cochem you either have to buy the more expensive (€27) Rheinland-Pfalz-Ticket or get a Bahn ticket to Oberwesel, get off the train there, buy the VRM Gruppentageskarte, then get on the next train to where you are going.

St. Goar, however, is inside the VRM.

Posted by
506 posts

I concur, if you do a daytrip to Cochem to go to Weingut Rademacher. The owner is wonderful and we had a great time tasting his wines. We found a few we really enjoyed and brought back with us to the states!

We stayed in both Bacharach and Cochem during our time and liked Cochem more than Bacharach, but it sounds like it doesn't make the most sense for your travels to stay in Cochem. We will definitely go back to Cochem though!

Posted by
12172 posts

Mainz is the easiest from Frankfurt.

The Bacharach area is one of the best for the Rhine.

Cochem is very nice and somewhat less touristy, Trier is an easy daytrip from here.

Of the three, I'd choose Cochem or possibly spend part of your time in Cochem and part in Bacharach.

I wouldn't choose Koblenz. IMO it's not romantic at all - just a place to change trains at the confluence of the rivers.

Posted by
19169 posts

There are many places called "Zell". The one on the Mosel river is or is in the Schwarzwald.

Cochem is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't stay there. There are a lot of things to see on the Rhein (Marksburg, Rheinfels, Bacharach), and it is too far away. However, in Cochem you might want to visit Weingut Rademacher. It's right next to the station.

As far as a romantic place, I don't think you can beat one of the hotels on the "river walk" (Rheinalee) facing the Rhein. Bellevue is a four star Best Western Hotel, and a little above your price range, but there are a number of other, less expensive ones (see here).

Some places in St. Goar might have river views, but other than some rooms in Am Markt, I am not sure which ones. I don't think many hotels in Bacharach, other than those right next to the train tracks, like Kranenturm, will have river views.

Posted by
62 posts

So for Boppard and St. Goar you can stay along the river and not have train noise like Bacharach?

If so, that is awesome!

Now I'm looking at those two...

We also talked and I believe we are going to do a Burg Eltz/Cochem day trip from somewhere along the Rhein instead of staying on the Mosel.