We plan to spend our first night around Bacharach after flying into Frankfurt. Hope to seen castles along the Rhine before driving the Romantic Road. We also want to see Burg Eltz. How much backtracking is necessary to do this? We have a Michelin map but can't quite guess the distance and which road to take. Advice anyone? Thanks!
Bacharach is about 1 hr by train from the Frankfort airport. (I would not rent a car.) I would suggest that if you want to see the castles by the River is to train to Koblenz from the airport and take it back to Bachrach. It will takes about 4.5 hr by boat and a perfect way to handle the jet lag. Check the times in Ricks book. The tickets can be purchased at the ticket booth in Koblenz. You can also see some of them by train whizzing by the window.
The only castles that are worth your time is Burg Eltz in prestine condition and still privitly owned, accessible by train then about an 45 min walk mostly through the woods. The other is Rheinfels at St Goar, also accessable by train and a walk up hill. It is in ruin but worth the visit as it is high and hugh!
The Romantic road is in the opposite direction. What you would have to do is to train back to Frankfort airport and from there I would rent a car and drive the romantic road 108 miles 3hr to Rothenburg and spend 2 nights there.
I loved Eltz and the Mosel... and St Goar and Rheinfels was great too. It can be a bit of planning to do both the same day, as the Burg Eltz takes some time (and aventure) to get to... Id agree the Train or Ship is best. Frankfurt to Bacharach is nice and fast by train. Take the ship or train to St Goar for that castle. If you leave early in the AM you can do both no problem. Just leave plenty of time for Eltz. The walk is great from the river (follow ricks guide - you wont get lost if you trust him!)... It can get busy so maybe even go their first thing in AM if you can do St Goar in the late afternoon on the way back.
I also enjoyed Marksburg - between St Goar and Koblence. It is also well preserved and great to compare with Eltz - a few centuries apart.
hope it helps!
You can get detailed driving directions with mileage and driving time at www.viamichelin.com
Susan, you realize that Burg Eltz is on the Mosel river, Bacharach is on the Rhine! Drive downstream (north) from Bacharach on the B9 to Boppard, then up the hills toward the A61 Autobahn, cross it and back down to the Mosel valley at Alken/Löf. There is a bridge to cross the Mosel. On the other side you follow signs upstream to Hatzenport, the next town. From there, it's uphill again to Münstermaifeld (my birthplace) and follow signs to Burg Eltz. The advantage is that you are now coming from the Eifel plateau and can park on a parking area above the castle instead of hiking uphill from the Mosel valley, take a nice 15-20 min walk downhill to the castle, take the tour (some are held in English), have a cup of coffee and then return. Total travel from Bacharach to the Eltz parking area would be about 1 hr but there are many places along the route with spectacular vistas so you might want to stop, so 1.5 hrs are more realistic. Enjoy the trip!