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Rhine or Wein(strasse)?

Chesterfield...
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Rhine or Wein(strasse)?

We will be in the region the first week of November and will be driving from Tübingen to Koblenz. I did not want to drive straight from Tübingen to Bingen which would be the first city on the Rhine that we would be visiting, so I found that Neustadt seemed to be a good stop over point for the night. Research on Neustadt and it's hotels introduced me to the Weinstrasse. We will depart Neustadt on Wednesday morning for the Rhine. We will ultimately be ending our Rhine river drive on Friday afternoon as we depart for Brussles at that point.

Here is my dilemma. On Wednesday, do I get on the autobahn and race up to Bingen to start the Rhine river drive that morning? Or, do I leisurely make my way up the Weinstrasse, visiting the villages on that route, arriving on the Rhine as night falls?

I realize that if this is the worst problem I encounter this week, I am a very lucky guy. But any advice would be appreciated.

Denver, Colorado
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1. Re: Rhine or Wein(strasse)?

One question, do you speak a little German? If you do, great food and wine await you on the wine road.

I have been visiting this area for years and keep going back. Lots of small castles, cute villages filled with half timber houses, miles of rolling hills covered with vines. To do the road you really do need two days. I would also recommend staying in some smaller town on the road instead of Neustadt. Sadly you are too late in the year for the wine festivals held in the area. This area is a tourist area, but for the German's. A little German is needed here. You may want to check into a boat trip on the Rhine from Koblenz to Bingen and back, an easy way to get the best views of the towns and castles and in one day.

Edited: 19 September 2013, 15:01
Boppard, Germany
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2. Re: Rhine or Wein(strasse)?

In the Middle Rhine Valley, the season ends on October 31st. In November many attractions will be closed and there are only very few, if any, boat trips. You can still enjoy the peaceful atmosphere in the towns along the river. Marksburg castle at Braubach should be open even in winter.

Chesterfield...
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3. Re: Rhine or Wein(strasse)?

Yes, I saw when arranging my trip that the Middle Rhine valley would be quiet that time of year and that the wine festivals on the Weinstrasse would end in October. But the charming towns in both areas will still be there, and I am looking forward to wandering along their streets.

I understand enough German in order to survive. As long as a native can forgive my use of the wrong definite article, or a sloppy verb conjugation, I can get by. "Bitte sprechen Sie langsam" is my favorite phrase.

But we will be entering the road at Neustadt and heading north towards the Rhine. Will probably get back on the autobahn in the Monsheim area to continue up to Bingen.

Thanks for the advice!

Denver, Colorado
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4. Re: Rhine or Wein(strasse)?

Yes survival German will make it much easier in this area. I would still not recommend Neustadt, but that is a personal taste. Bad Durkheim is on your way and only a few minutes north of Neustadt. This is the site of the largest wine fest in Germany. For your trip this means a very large and empty parking lot by town center. The town itself is small and a charmer. I would not eat here, but you can see the worlds largest wine cask made into a restaurant, to many other, better places to eat. Lots of hotels of various grades also. You will be about 45 minutes from Bingen at this location.

Edited: 19 September 2013, 18:16
Paradise, California
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5. Re: Rhine or Wein(strasse)?

Neustadt actually has a very handsome Altstadt - nice for a walk, IMO. Not sure you need to stay there though.

I'm of the opinion that from November on, the daylight hours tend to be too short to justify a stay in places as small as Bingen, perhaps even as small as Neustadt. Not that Bingen is terribly exciting in the summer, for that matter. As far as the Weinstrasse, goes, it really is a seasonal place, IMO.

So... I actually think you'd be better off with a stopover in a city like Heidelberg - nice old town there too. Drive north along the Neckar River to get there - it's very pretty, and you'll spot castles on the way. Stop in fairy-tale Bad Wimpfen on the way as well.

Then drive north - stop in Ladenburg for a couple of hours - it's a gem of an old-world town - and then spend a night or two in Mainz, a lively town with another great old town and lots to see and do. You can daytrip from there to the Rhine villages (Bacharach, Oberwesel, St. Goar, Boppard) and to Marksburg Castle (in Braubach, open through the winter) but get an early start to take full advantage of the limited daylight hours.

Chesterfield...
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6. Re: Rhine or Wein(strasse)?

Neustadt was chosen because we will be driving from Tübingen that day. The original plan was to make it to the middle Rhine and stay in a village there. However, because of the shorter days that you refer to, I didn't want to spend so much time traveling in the dark. I figured that leaving Tübingen around 4:00 would get us to Neusdtadt area around 6:00. A handsome Aldstadt is a plus as I can enjoy it on my early morning walk.

Since we need to be in Brussels Friday evening, our trip continuously takes us north.

So, Russ, Bikesontheroof, detbo, and any other kind respondents; allow me to pose it like this...

If you were waking up Wednesday morning in Neustadt (or it's surrounding neighbors) and had to depart the Koblenz area 3:00 Friday afternoon, how would you spend the next 55 hours? Would you race to the Rhine on Wednesday morning to spend the rest of most of your trip along the river, or would you take a leisurely drive up the Weinstrasse? Would you stay in the same village (and which one) on Wednesday AND Thursday nights?

You know, it really stinks, having such tight time restrictions. I work for a German company that allows us a fair amount of vacation time, but my wife doesn't want to spend two weeks away from our cats.

But thank you such much for your help.

Paradise, California
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7. Re: Rhine or Wein(strasse)?

"I figured that leaving Tübingen around 4:00 would get us to Neusdtadt area around 6:00. A handsome Aldstadt is a plus as I can enjoy it on my early morning walk... If you were waking up Wednesday morning in Neustadt (or it's surrounding neighbors) and had to depart the Koblenz area 3:00 Friday afternoon, how would you spend the next 55 hours?"

If Neustadt is an absolute must, then fine, there's nothing wrong with it, but you'll find its Altstadt far less interesting in the evening than Heidelberg's, and Heidelberg can be reached directly in slightly less time than Neustadt (if you avoid the scenic route I suggested via Bad Wimpfen and the Neckar.)

"...Would you race to the Rhine on Wednesday morning to spend the rest of most of your trip along the river...?"

If you mean a Middle Rhine village, no. I would head to Mainz for Wed and Thur nights.

"...or would you take a leisurely drive up the Weinstrasse?"

There's not much reason to do this in November, IMO, so that's why I suggested a routing via Heidelberg on Tuesday and a stop on the way north to Mainz in Ladenburg on Wednesday morning (instead of the Weinstrasse.) The Christmas market there isn't going yet, but it's a very handsome village with lots of half-timbered buildings.

travunity.de/files/images/Der_Weihnachtsmark…

"Would you stay in the same village (and which one) on Wednesday AND Thursday nights?"

A Middle Rhine village is of course POSSIBLE instead of Mainz, but those will be some very dull evenings, and the evenings start early at that time of year - the sun is down and the towns mostly shuttered at 5 pm. Lots more to see and do in Mainz.

"Since we need to be in Brussels Friday evening, our trip continuously takes us north."

Clearly, but that doesn't mean you can't do a Thursday daytrip into the Middle Rhine valley from Mainz and then back to Mainz. A scenic way to do this is to leave your car parked in Mainz and use trains to make a loop up one side of the river to Koblenz and back down the other side, making stops in the villages and at Marksburg Castle in Braubach; you'll pay 26€ for a daypass for two for the whole trip. Trains run hourly or better throughout the day. Or drive if you prefer.

http://www.marksburg.de/english/frame.htm

If you would prefer to stay on the move north for some reason and don't mind spending Wed and Thu in different hotels, then you could leave Mainz on Thursday morning, visit the Middle Rhine Villages, and overnight in Koblenz instead. Koblenz has a small old town area and isn't a bad place to explore after dark. But there will be precious little to do in the smaller Rhine villages at night.

Whether you stay in Koblenz or Mainz on Thursday night, I would make a stop or two before you proceed to Brussels on Friday.

Remagen: WW II museum is open through Nov. 15: http://www.bruecke-remagen.de/index_en.htm

Linz am Rhein: north of Koblenz, the most attractive of all villages on the Rhine, in my opinion.

www.maennerchor1846hitdorf.de/Bilder/j/0.jpg

Or take a small detour along the Mosel River to amazing Cochem: http://www.cochem.de/tourismus/en_index.php

Chesterfield...
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8. Re: Rhine or Wein(strasse)?

You are making some very good points. And as long as you have good advice, I have questions. Monday we will be driving a family member from Aachen down to school in Tübingen. We will visit the town and spend the night in the area.

So... Instead of waking up Wednesday morning in Neustadt, suppose you wake up Tuesday morning in Tübingen. Do we pass up spending the day in Tübingen, instead heading towards Mainz on the Heidleberg route? Stay in Heidleberg Tuesday night?

Chesterfield...
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9. Re: Rhine or Wein(strasse)?

Russ

I have this map now with about 6 different route options highlighted. My wife asked if we are visiting or invading.

Boppard, Germany
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10. Re: Rhine or Wein(strasse)?

It really depends on the weather. If you are lucky and the weather is nice, both the Weinstrasse and the Middle Rhine valley are worth a visit. There may even be some golden leaves on the trees and in the vineyards left. Usually the weather does turn nasty in early November, though.

Russ is right that there is almost nothing to do in the evening, if you stay at one of the smaller places.