I am trying to plan a short trip from Brussels to see the Rhine Valley and then on to Luxembourg. I have found the KD Rhine boats and I'm trying to figure out the best way to see the most in such a short time. We are going in mid-October and would like to travel by train from BRU to perhaps Boppard. We can then take the boat either to Rudesheim or Mainz or we can do a circle and end up back in Boppard. We would then overnight wherever we end up and the next morning take the train to Luxembourg. Would Boppard to Bacharach to Boppard be a pretty trip or should we go Boppard to Rudesheim? or Mainz? Since we have just one day to see the Rhine I want to focus on the prettiest part! Any help you can offer will be truly appreciated!
If it were my trip, I would want to combine the cruise with a stop to tour a castle as well. You're planning to cruise from north to south - the slow direction. It would be wiser to travel from Brussels to Bingen (or maybe Rüdesheim) and start a northbound cruise there. The differences in travel time are significant - 6 hours from Koblenz to Bingen, 3.5 hours from Bingen to Koblenz! That said, I don't think you need to cruise the whole route. The segment just south of Koblenz isn't all that scenic. If you start in Bingen, you can cruise the most scenic section to St. Goar (about 1.5 hours) or Boppard (about 2.5 hours.) Mainz lies well outside the scenic area, so don't bother with that. There are 14:30 and 16:30 boats out of Bingen. So one option is to catch the 14:30, get off in St. Goar at 15:55, tour Rheinfels Castle, then either stay there (and maybe take the train to Boppard for the evening) or proceed to Boppard by train for overnight (the TI will keep bags during regular hours as you visit the castle.) Using the later boat from Bingen, you could just cruise all the way to Boppard - but there wouldn't be time to visit Rheinfels. Cruise schedule (low season): http://www.k-d.de/english/kd-scheduled-cruises/kd-rhine-timetable/#c572
Russ, thanks very much for the reply. How long would you allow for the castle tour? I'm thinking we will overnight in Boppard so I would like to get in early enough to enjoy the local town.
A thought, you can boat up the Mosel and end up in or around Trier or so and it is a quick hop to Luxembourg.
Donna: I think 60-90 minutes would be about right for Rheinfels, including the museum.
Be aware the KD Rhine stops running on October 21st and has a limitied schedule Oct 4 - 21st. Scroll down to the second schedule on this page: http://www.kdrhine.com/rhineschedule.htm I found the most scenic area started after Bingen through Koblenz. I would go that way (downstream, but "south to north"). If you're lucky maybe you can catch the earliest boat from Ruedshiem at 9:15 am, that would give you time for one or two stops on your way to Koblenz. You could also save yourself an hour and a half of travel time and get off at Boppard, that would still be hitting the highlights of the trip.
I noticed the comment about the Mosel. I'd second that, although I don't know how the geographic logistics work out versus the Rhine. Years ago I looked into both the Rhine and Mosel, and thought the Mosel seemed far more spectacular. And it was spectacular. We went Luxembourg to Trier to Bernkastel to Cochem and back.
I did the Rhine and Mosel in one trip this July. Scenery-wise, I'd say the Rhine has the Mosel beat, big time. The scenery is just more dramatic, there's a ton of castles that you can see from the river, where there's only a few on the Mosel. That said, for staying, I preferred the Mosel, it was slightly less touristy during the height of tourist season than the Rhine. And I really wanted to go to Trier so that was a big deal for me. There is no doubt in my mind that a boat trip on the Rhine is better than a boat trip on the Mosel, however.
Thanks for all of the advice. Here is our revised itinerary, thanks to your suggestions: Train Brussels to Luxembourg to visit the American Cemetery. We may take a Hop on Hop off tour of the city if we have time. It looks quite expensive to take a taxi so we'll try to figure out the busses. Afternoon train from Lux to Bingen, GE. Overnite in Bingen - any hotel/restaurant suggestions? Any chance of doing a wine tasting - this will be Sunday evening so I'm guessing there won't be anyplace open. The next morning we'll take the boat up to St. Goar, getting off there to tour the castle. Train from St. Goar back to Brussels.
"Overnite in Bingen - any hotel/restaurant suggestions?"
"The next morning we'll take the boat up to St. Goar, getting off there to tour the castle. Train from St. Goar back to Brussels." 1.) There are no station lockers in St. Goar for the time you'll spend at the castle. You DO NOT want to drag them up that steep hill either. You'll need to leave bags with the Tourist Info office (closed weekends; weekday hours here: http://www.st-goar.de/18-1-tourist-info.html 2.) No rec's in Bingen. What makes more sense to me is to stay over in St. Goar instead of Bingen. Then in the morning, catch a train to Bingen (23 min., 5.50€ each) to board your cruise boat. Since by showing your train ticket at the docks you'll get a 20% discount on the cruise - a reduction of about 4€ on a Bingen-St. Goar cruise, the train is almost free. The 8:20 train from St. Goar will get you to Bingen for the 9:30 boat, or catch the 10:20 train for the 11:30 boat. Or maybe better yet... take the 8:20 train or the 9:20 train from St. Goar, stop off in attractive Bacharach for an hour or two, then get back on and catch the 11:30 boat (your ticket allows such stopovers.) The beauty of doing it this way is that you don't have to drag your luggage around between your hotel in Bingen and the cruise dock, or while you're on the boat, or worry about dealing with TI office hours. If you stay at the Hotel am Markt in St. Goar, for example, you'd leave bags at the front desk that morning, walk a few steps to the station, do your train-boat thing unencumbered, then get off in St. Goar, walk to the castle (without bags!), then return to the hotel to fetch bags, and then it's just a few more steps to the station.
Thanks to everyone for the good advice. Here is what we ended up doing: Morning train from BRU to Luxembourg. Hopped on the bus which takes you within about a mile of the cemetery. We walked from there...but it's a good long hike! The cemetery is beautiful and we spent about an hour there. After walking back to the bus stop, we got back to the train station with just enough time to grab some lunch and hop on our train to Bingen. Arrived in Bingen around 6pm and unfortunately found ourselves at the main station (HBF) instead of the one closest to our hotel. Had no idea there were two train stations! A quick (and cheap 6 Euros) taxi ride got us to the hotel. We stayed at the Hotel Cafe Konditorei Koppel which was a cute little family run hotel in the Pedestrian area. The desk clerk recommended the restaurant Swollen Heart where we enjoyed a wonderful German dinner. In the morning we had time to shop a bit for some German chocolates before boarding the boat to St. Goar. Amazing views!! Loved the boat trip, although it was only about 2 hours long. In St. Goar we visited the castle and still had time to shop (bought beer steins and other souveniers) and have lunch (Bratwurst, kraut and fried potatos) at a little cafe. St. Goar is a cute little town and I would have liked to have more time to enjoy. In the afternoon we hopped on a train to connect through Cologne and back to Brussels. All in all, it was a very QUICK trip, but we saw everthing we wanted to see and had a wonderful time.
Again, thank you all for your ideas and suggestions. I will definitely go back to Germany when I have more time to see the sights and enjoy the wonderful food!! Donna
Thanks for reporting how it went. I wish more people would do that!