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Rhine cruise - where to leave the car?

We fly into Frankfurt 9am & pick up our car. The first night we are staying at Burghotel Auf Schoenburg. We want to do the Rhine cruise from Mainz - Koblenz and also see Burg Eltz. I can't figure out what would be the best way to do this. Where do we leave the car?
Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

Posted by
5472 posts

It sounds like you have Rick's book. Don't waste time on the boat with the loooong route you list. Take his advice, something like Bingen to Boppard, and the fast, frequent trains take care of the car. (There are trains on both sides of the Rhine, but I've only used the East side ... I consider Oberwesel on the "wrong" side, but that's not really fair.)

Burg Eltz is almost a different excursion. Have you looked up the different castles he also recommends, and not as far out of the way? It's not a must-see if you do other castles. But B.E. is no fun in a rush.

Are you going anywhere else on the Mosel? That would affect any answer about Burg Eltz. If you are absolutely committed to six hours on the river, you should pick up the car in Koblenz and spend the first night on the Mosel. But you risk missing the boat with a flight delay. I would not schedule my arrival day that tightly or such a long day. But I'm 62.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you for your advice. I'm just in the planning stages, so this is really helpful. Yes, I was concerned about flight delay - and I just want to see the "nicest" part of the Rhine with our limited time. We can schedule BE for the next day - if it's worth seeing. Yes, it's Rick's fav, but that doesn't mean it is really worth the time. :)

Posted by
1878 posts

We took the Rhine cruise between Bacharach and St. Goar, round trip, and it was very memorable. Probably a couple of hours total. There was plenty of riverside parking in Bacharach, but I am not sure about other towns. Burg Eltz is absolutely worth a visit.

Posted by
16790 posts

Since you have a car, you might go ahead and do you your Rhine cruise on your first day if you feel up to it. Board the boat right at Oberwesel either at 3:35 pm or 5:35 pm. Its 2 hours down river past the Lorelei to Rhens where you can get the train back to Oberwesel. Get off at Rhens, because it is only a 100 yards or so from the dock to the train station. If you stay on to Koblenz, you'll need to take a taxi to the train station. You can drive over to Burg Eltz the next day. That will shoot the morning, then you can continue your journey.

Posted by
12040 posts

"Yes, it's Rick's fav, but that doesn't mean it is really worth the time. :)" Wow, I thought I would never read something like that on this Helpline from anyone else but James from Kentucky (formerly of Ansbach, Bavaria).

But to answer your question, if you would like to take the boat from Oberwesel, there's plenty of public parking in the town, provided you're not there during the medieval festival.

If time is tight, consider visiting Marksburg on the Rhine instead of Burg Eltz. Disadvantage, though, is that Marksburg doesn't offer English tours as frequently. And if you're relying on Mr. Steves' book, note that he fails to mention the parking lot just below the castle (my nearly 70 year old mother didn't appreciate seeing that parking lot after we had walked all the way up hill). Or at least, the edition that she used didn't mention the parking lot.

Posted by
8114 posts

If you are going to cruise the Rhine, then getting on the ship at Bingen or Rüedesheim and cruising to Boppard or Braubach makes the most sense. This lets you see all the castles and is a beautiful trip. Just going between Bacharach and Ober-Wesel for example is such a short trip, that is hardly worth doing.

Coming from the airport, I would take the train and pick up your car the next day in Koblenz. Safer and easier. After a trans-Atlantic flight all night, then a long boat ride and train ride back to your car, you become a high risk driver.

Posted by
5560 posts

Auf Schönburg is an amazing place and a good choice. Just one night there?

I'm with Jo. The train is best - and there are some DIRECT trains to Oberwesel from FRA. Auf Schönburg, though, will require a car (or taxi from the train station.) Your transatlantic flight (from SFO??) means some level of sleep deprivation and an inner clock that is way off... I think by doing an extensive amount of driving and sightseeing on your first day that you are undertaking far more than is wise for most people. Your flight may or may not arrive on time. Luggage retrieval, passport control and customs typically take a while at FRA. The cruise from Bingen to Boppard takes 2.5 hours - and before that you have to drive to Boppard, then take the train south to Bingen, then get to the dock. Then you're going to drive to Eltz, take a 1-hour walk-through tour, and drive back to Oberwesel... What time is it now, anyway?? I've never driven drunk, but I have driven groggy, and I tend to equate the two experiences... Knowing how I normally feel after crossing 9 time zones on a red-eye and spending 12-15 hours in planes and airports, I absolutely wouldn't try to squeeze all that in one day and drive nearly 100 miles too.

If I had to drive, I'd load up on caffeine at the airport and head straight to Oberwesel and drop bags at the castle-hotel front desk. Then I'd drive down into town, look around, grab a bite, walk the old town wall (really nice walk) and see how I felt. If I felt like a cruise, I'd take the train to Bingen - there are about 5 different trains between 11:30 and 1:30 - and catch the 14:30 boat north. Maybe I could stay awake for all the castles. I'd probably get off in St. Goar at 15:55 - I will have seen the most intense part of the river already - and then maybe visit Rheinfels Castle there before returning to Oberwesel by train and driving back up to enjoy the amazing views from Schönburg for the rest of the day (and an evening meal there.)

The train fare to Bingen is 4.20€ - but show your ticket at the KD dock, and you'll get a cruise fare discount for about the same amount.

Burg Eltz: I'd see it the next day. You can see the Rhine castles north of St. Goar on the way to Eltz by car or by train.

Posted by
18304 posts

"the parking lot just below the castle"

I assume you are talking about the Marksburg here. There is also a trolly from the K-D dock in Braubach (timed with the boat arrival) up the hill to the castle.

See (click on "Approach".)