Please sign in to post.

Austria & Germany : The Middle Rhine Valley & Boppard - Part 7

Leaving Rothenburg, we began the 4.5 hr train journey to Boppard, with 3-4 connections. [Coming into Rothenburg our last connection was only 3 minutes, & the platforms weren't adjacent, so we learned to be ready to jump off a train, grab our carry-ons, have our platform #'s, & attack those steps.] We also appreciated the over 65 yr discounts on the train fares.
The Boppard train station is 3 blocks above the town, so it's an easy walk downhill to the Rhine. There is a Penny's grocery store on the way. Boppard is a lovely river town, with cafes situated right on the river, & our Hotel Bellevue was immediately adjacent to the KD boat landing. A Forum contributor recommended Boppard, and it was a great choice, as it has a friendly buzz, with shops and restaurants & streets to wander, plus a free local transportation pass. Our hotel was actually the busiest hotel we had stayed in during our trip. The Bellevue Hotel is rather grand, with a stately staircase, beautifully decorated, with a small sofa seat in the elevator, and excellent wi-fi. Our balcony room was right behind the "L" on the Bellevue sign, facing the Rhine. The hotel has a sauna, heated pool, & a wonderful, large buffet breakfast, in the restaurant facing the river. The hotel also has a garden cafe outside on the Rhine banks, with very reasonable prices, where we had several meals, watching the barges navigate the very fast current, & marveling at the skills of the ferries and KD boat captains bringing their boats in against the currents. The Rhine is a very busy, working river, & showcases some of the industry which is the backbone of Germany.
Planning our activities, we found that the TI is closed on Saturdays & Sundays- very strange indeed. However, we found the folks at the KD ticket window to be more than helpful, & somewhat colorful, giving us advice on trains, boats, the area, - they were our TI's!

We chose the Marksburg Castle to visit, as I'd been to Berg Eltz. Marksburg retains its original construction materials. Our day started out windy, gloomy, cold, & never got better, altho we had no rain. I had problems with the travel logistics, even with the help of Forum members. We finally took the KD boat to Braubach, about a 30 minute delightful ride, & would try the train back. Once in Braubach, the town seemed deserted, & we found no transportation to the top. The castle seemed straight up! Whatever, we did the trail climb, almost 30 minutes, on the rocky path. Once at the castle, there were additional steps, even for those with car/tour bus transportation, & the castle itself had more step & uneven flooring- just a warning for those with mobility challenges. Tours were required; we knew they were in German in the off-season; we had the RS Guide and an English text from the castle. The view from the castle would have been spectacular on a good day; for us it was windier and colder, so we didn't appreciate the magic. We missed much of the color commentary not having an English tour, altho the guide was friendly & encouraged us to ask questions.
Getting back to Boppard was a bit awkward & time-consuming: a bus, a wait in Koblenz, and a train.

Our next day for the KD river cruise to Bacharach, & return, saw better weather, and was relaxing. Scores of castles marked the route, including Rheinfels, altho I'm told many more are further east. Bacharach is an RS favorite for tour lodging, as it's a charming very small town. We had lunch and climbed the tower of the town walls, which yielded spectacular views. After exploring, we waited the return of the KD boat. [We could have returned by train.]

On our final half day, we walked 15 min. to the Boppard chairlift, [which can be seen from the riverfront.] It was a scenic ride over the vineyards, up to the hilltop restaurant with 180 degree views, & we toasted farewell to the Rhine with our last glass of Riesling & a German beer!

Posted by
2857 posts

Great reporting Pat!! 😊 I get the sense that the transportation in that area is a little more challenging than we experienced in Switzerland.

Posted by
7031 posts

Pat, nice trip report!!! By the way, I went to Burg Eltz castle today and wow!!! So glad I did!! And it is so easy to get to with the new 365 bus service. I'm leaving tomorrow for Cologne but will miss this place.

Posted by
5162 posts

Mardee, I did Berg Eltz a few years ago, and also enjoyed the tour. When we got off the train, we called a taxi to take us up, and the shuttle took us down. The train trip along the Mosel is quite pleasant.

Posted by
5162 posts

Carrie, I don't think transportation anywhere is an easy as Switzerland, but then again one [gladly] pays the CHF price.
You will be amazed how much cheaper Germany and Austria are than Switzerland, and the EU-US Dollar exchange rate is currently about 1.06, which is great! I found eating out to be cheaper than at home.

Posted by
9044 posts

Thanks for all of the details. May I ask why you only went to Bacharach? You missed 2/3rds of the Rhein and all of the castles?
Yes, the walk up to the Marksburg is tough on the best of days and there often is no transportation. The steps in the castle are also steep, so this is surely not a place to visit if you have any kind of mobility issues. The logistics of getting here can be time consuming and frankly, though the castle is nice, I seldom feel like it is worth all the hassle of getting there and back, especially if all you get is the German tour. It is hard to walk, look at the print-out and look at the rooms as they kind of rush you through there. Have been on some English tours where no one could understand the guide. I much prefer Burg Rheinfels, as it is easy to roam around on your own and is magnificent in its' massive size. St. Goar has more things to look at then Kaub, which is a ghost town.

Posted by
7574 posts

Thanks for the report. Was the Rhine-facing room noisy at night?

Did you find the roundtrip KD ride to be too much viewing of the same scenery? Did your KD boat have food and beer?

Posted by
5162 posts

Mrs Jo, I wanted to spend time exploring Bacharach, but in retrospect, it is a very small town, especially on a Sunday when the shops are closed. I did enjoy climbing the tower of the town wall, and getting a great pix of the vineyards and town against the Rhein and having lunch with local Reisling. I felt we saw enough castles.
I agree we should have explored Rheinsfeld Castle instead of Marksburg.
Tim, The Rhine River boats do have full menu, food and alcohol. We boarded at Boppard at 10:00 am, arrived at Bacharach at 2.50 hours later. Rudesheim would have been an additional hour. The return trip to Boppard was faster because of the current. I think round trip on the boat all the way to Rudesheim would be a lot, and many folks take the train one way, which is amazingly fast.
In retrospect, we should have taken the boat all the way to Rudesheim on our day heading to Frankfurt. Even tho we would have had luggage, that would have been a better option. I'm assuming getting from the KD dock in Rudesheim to the train station isn't a hassle.
I really enjoyed that area of the Rhine, and was fascinated by the volume of river traffic and the captains' skills manuvering those barges.
Tim, the Rhine-facing room was very quiet at night, and I 'd gladly stay there again.
Safe travels.

Posted by
3363 posts

Gee Pat, part 7….. somehow I’ve missed other parts of your report. I’ve searched for them, but can’t find. Can you either PM me the links or post on the forum as I’m sure others have missed parts of it too.

Posted by
5162 posts

Tammy, I thought late April was a lovely time to go. The tulips were beautiful, all the gardens were in spring bloom. The weather was brisk, so this Californian would call it a "Michigan spring". We avoided Easter week and those crowds. Safe travels!