We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Need Input on Rhine/Mosel/Wine Road/Black Forest Itinerary

New England
Level Contributor
15 posts
42 reviews
Save Topic
Need Input on Rhine/Mosel/Wine Road/Black Forest Itinerary

Using guidebooks and TA forum posts I've cobbled together a preliminary itinerary for a 12 night trip to Germany in September 2014 and would like input from those who have actually travelled in this area before locking things in. Please comment on:

- Itinerary realistic?

- Any glaring oversights or ommisions in terms of overnight towns selected, must-see stops or order of things?

- How can day trips best be combined for greater efficiency?

- Best wineries and wine towns to visit?

- Note: Order of selected overnight towns driven by priorities to attend Oberwesel's Rhine in Flames and Durkheimer Wurstmarkt on specific dates but open to suggestions on better way to set that up.

My husband and I are late 50's/mid-60's, travel light, are up and out early each day and like to walk (no mobility issues). We enjoy staying in and exploring quaint old towns/villages; traditional local food, wine and beer; wineries; beer gardens; castles; local markets and gardens/parks. We're not so big on museums (unless small and/or unique); shopping; noisy, congested cities; overly commercial crowded touristy places (although we loved Rotherburg).

Flights are booked. All travel will be via public transportation - not planning to rent a car.

OVERNIGHTS IN BACHARACH (4)

Sept 11 (Thurs) - Arrive Dusseldorf, train to Bacharach, explore Bacharach, early dinner and to bed after long travel days

Sept 12 (Fri) - Boppard, Rheinfels Castle/St. Goar

Sept 13 (Sat) - Marksburg Castle, Oberwesel late afternoon/evening for Rhine in Flames

Sept. 14 (Sun) - Train to Rudesheim to explore town and Rhine cruise back to Bacharach

OVERNIGHTS IN COCHEM (3)

Sept 15 (Mon) - Train to Cochem, explore town

Sept 16 (Tues) - Burg Elz, Beilstein

Sept 17 (Wed) - Trier (for market), Bernkastel-Kues, Zell

OVERNIGHTS IN BAD DURKHEIM (2)

Sept 18 (Thurs) - Train to Bad Durkheim, explore town and also Deidesheim

Sept 19 (Fri) - Durkheimer Wurstmarkt (dates of market are 19 - 22), side trip to Wachenheim

OVENIGHTS IN GENGENBACH (2)

Sept 20 (Sat) - Train to Gengenbach (time for trip to Freiburg?)

Sept 21 (Sun) - Freiburg and/or Vogtsbauernhof (other suggestions??)

OVERNIGHT IN ZURICH (1) (Better small town to stay in close to airport?)

Sept 22 (Mon) - Train to Zurich (Konus card good for this trip?)

Sept 23 (Tues) - 11 am flight from Zurich to U.S.

Any and all comments, suggestions and observations welcome! Thanks in advance for your help.

Barbara A.

Mentioned in this post
Germany
Germany
Europe
Bacharach
Bacharach
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Dusseldorf
Dusseldorf
North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Boppard
Boppard
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Rheinfels Castle
Rheinfels Castle
409 Reviews
Sankt Goar, Germany
Marksburg Castle
Marksburg Castle
752 Reviews
Braubach, Germany
Oberwesel
Oberwesel
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Cochem
Cochem
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg (Spreewald)
Burg (Spreewald)
Brandenburg, Germany
Beilstein
Beilstein
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Trier
Trier
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Bernkastel-Kues
Bernkastel-Kues
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Zell (Mosel)
Zell (Mosel)
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Bad Durkheim
Bad Durkheim
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Deidesheim
Deidesheim
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Zurich
Zurich
Canton of Zurich, Switzerland
Boppard, Germany
Destination Expert
for Boppard
Level Contributor
2,334 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Need Input on Rhine/Mosel/Wine Road/Black Forest Itinerary

You have really thought through your itinerary. I have a few suggestions for the Rhineland part:

The cruise from Rüdesheim to Bacharach takes only an hour. You could continue to St. Goar and take the train back to Bacharach. Rüdesheim can be very crowded.

Alternatively, take the boat from Bacharach to Braubach. You could be in Braubach about lunch time, visit the Marksburg in the afternoon and take the train to Oberwesel in late afternoon or early evening.

You could easily spend a day or more in Trier, so doing Trier, Bernkastel-Kues and Zell all on the same day is probably too much.

Edited: 21 November 2013, 16:16
Mentioned in this post
Bacharach
Bacharach
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Braubach
Braubach
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Oberwesel
Oberwesel
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Trier
Trier
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Bernkastel-Kues
Bernkastel-Kues
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Zell (Mosel)
Zell (Mosel)
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Paradise, California
Destination Expert
for Rhineland-Palatinate
Level Contributor
6,894 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Need Input on Rhine/Mosel/Wine Road/Black Forest Itinerary

Sept 15 (Mon) - Train to Cochem, explore town

Sept 16 (Tues) - Burg Elz, Beilstein

Sept 17 (Wed) - Trier (for market), Bernkastel-Kues, Zell

"You could easily spend a day or more in Trier, so doing Trier, Bernkastel-Kues and Zell all on the same day is probably too much."

Quite right. Transport would also be problematic as Bernkastel and Zell do not line on the Koblenz-Trier train line but would require bus connections and consequently more time than you have.

What's this market on Wednesday, anyway? Tuesday and Friday are market days at Trier's Viehmarktplatz; Monday and Friday for the Hauptmarkt. Trier seems a long way to go for such markets anyway, IMO, so if you have no other interest in Trier, then I'd say skip it and visit Bernkastel. You can visit Boppard's market on the Friday prior.

Also, I would visit Burg Eltz on Monday afternoon (drop bags at hotel in Cochem first, then train at :26 after every hour to Moselkern for the walk to Eltz.) See Cochem on Tuesday instead, mainly because on Monday, there is no falconry show at Cochem's Reichsburg Castle. See photos, and hours (at top of this page under "Flugvorführungen"):

falknerei-reichsburg-cochem.de/flugvorfuhrun…

Walk to Eltz: bensbauernhof.com/burgeltzfrommoselkern.html

Beilstein is accessible from Cochem by a pleasant 1-hour boat ride with Personenschifffahrt Kolb:

http://www.moselrundfahrten.de/en/index.php

Mentioned in this post
Cochem
Cochem
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg (Spreewald)
Burg (Spreewald)
Brandenburg, Germany
Beilstein
Beilstein
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Trier
Trier
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Bernkastel-Kues
Bernkastel-Kues
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Zell (Mosel)
Zell (Mosel)
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Koblenz
Koblenz
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Hauptmarkt
Hauptmarkt
842 Reviews
Trier, Germany
Burg Eltz
Burg Eltz
1,355 Reviews
Wierschem, Germany
Reichsburg Cochem
Reichsburg Cochem
1,441 Reviews
Cochem, Germany
Paradise, California
Destination Expert
for Rhineland-Palatinate
Level Contributor
6,894 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Need Input on Rhine/Mosel/Wine Road/Black Forest Itinerary

"OVENIGHTS IN GENGENBACH (2)

Sept 20 (Sat) - Train to Gengenbach (time for trip to Freiburg?)"

Sept 21 (Sun) - Freiburg and/or Vogtsbauernhof (other suggestions??)

You can get to G'bach by around noon. I would visit some other BF villages on or near the BF railway line. I would see Freiburg on Monday on the way to Zurich since it's on the same route (stow bags in station locker.) You can use the KONUS card to reach Freiburg and even Basel by regional train. But not Zurich.... Look into advance-sale DB tickets for Freiburg-Zurich - as low as 19€ each from Freiburg! as long as you buy at the best price, 92 days out... That leaves Sunday open for Gengenbach and for villages you might have missed on Saturday.

Destination villages/towns on/near the BF Railway, all accessible by direct train:

Haslach (town on the Fachwerkstrasse Theme Route - Half-timbered-town Route): http://www.black-forest-travel.com/haslach/

Villingen: lovely town: tourismus-vs.de/en/…villingen.html

Schiltach: exquisite: http://www.black-forest-travel.com/schiltach/

Triberg: http://www.black-forest-travel.com/triberg/

Wolfach (glassblowing): http://www.black-forest-travel.com/wolfach/

Hausach (the town you'll get off in to walk to (30 minutes) the Vogtsbauernhof (there are bus connections too.): http://www.black-forest-travel.com/hausach/

Sept 22 (Mon) - Train to Zurich (Konus card good for this trip?)

Sept 23 (Tues) - 11 am flight from Zurich to U.S.

Find ALL train and bus connections at the DB itinerary page:

http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en

You may need help figuring out the best train tickets for all this. Feel free to ask.

Edited: 21 November 2013, 17:21
Mentioned in this post
Zurich
Zurich
Canton of Zurich, Switzerland
Basel
Basel
Canton of Basel, Switzerland
Bergen County, New...
Level Contributor
4,455 posts
211 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Need Input on Rhine/Mosel/Wine Road/Black Forest Itinerary

Presumably, Rhein in Flames is a high-demand ticket and a crowded evening. Note also that the better wineries emphatically don't take walk-ins, especially in places like Bernkastel-Kues. Fancy hotels have concierges who book last-minute tastings all the time, I don't know about B&Bs and smaller hotels. Just don't be disappointed, especially with your busy schedule. Although we had a car, Trier seems like a long hop for a three-town day, even if Trier is a must-see. We enjoyed the Roman Amphitheater, which can make it a whole-day visit. Probably good food there, but we didn't stay in Trier for dinner.

I don't know if they're available in the Sept 20's, but look for partly-fermented new wine that time of year. It can't be bottled or shipped. Not complex, but unusual and "local".

Be sure you are using the correct (Calendar/season) boat and attraction timetables. If the weather forecasts are questionable, consider visiting a Rhine castle instead of Burg Eltz. B.E. is fine, but Rick Steves readers treat it like it's the only castle worth visiting. Check if the B.E. cafe is open in September, we enjoyed this informal, quick dining with plenty of choices.

There is a nice, if commercial wine cafe right across the street from the Boppard rail station, Weinhaus Heilig Grab, Zelkesgasse 12, D-56154 Boppard. Under the cool shade of huge trees, my lame German, "We're taking the train in 15 minutes, so we'd like to try wines 2 and 5 [menu on the garden doorpost...] and pay the bill right now" produced exactly that result, with good cheer from our waitress. The wines are great. They also have palatial, state-of-the-art toilets.

While touring Traben-Trarbach, (on the Traben side), we found a public path through a steep vineyard, from which we saw Weingut Trossen. Brauerweg 6, 56841 Traben-Trarbach, Tel. 06541/2937. Besides making wine, they have a large guesthouse (which looked promising) and a small restaurant. Ate snacks and wine only.

Mentioned in this post
Bernkastel-Kues
Bernkastel-Kues
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Trier
Trier
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz
Burg Eltz
1,355 Reviews
Wierschem, Germany
Boppard
Boppard
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Traben-Trarbach
Traben-Trarbach
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
New England
Level Contributor
15 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Need Input on Rhine/Mosel/Wine Road/Black Forest Itinerary

Detbo, Russ & obsoperator - thank you all so much for your input -- this is exactly what I was looking for! I will review your comments in more detail and tinker with my schedule and I'm sure I'll be back with some follow-up questions.

I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate your taking the time to respond and helping me out.

Barbara

greeley, CO
Level Contributor
2,967 posts
487 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Need Input on Rhine/Mosel/Wine Road/Black Forest Itinerary

Be sure to visit the Narren Museum in the Niggelturm in Gengenbach (http://www.narrenmuseum-niggelturm.de/) limited hours, very worthwhile

Rodelbahn Gutach (http://www.sommerrodelbahn-gutach.de/) - lots of fun

Check out my trip report at http://www.bensbauernhof.com/bigtyke2013.html

New England
Level Contributor
15 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Need Input on Rhine/Mosel/Wine Road/Black Forest Itinerary

I've combed through all of your comments and based on your collective input I've decided to drop Trier from my itinerary -- sounds like there are enough interesting small towns that would be more to our liking so I'll do a little more research and focus on those instead. You've also given me some great new ideas on to how to get to various towns (e.g., boat v. train) so that input was very useful. I do have some follow-up questions -- addressed to those who made the comments but all feel free to chime in, especially since some of you had some similar input. Also a few more general questions:

General

- Does anyone know of a website that tells you what cruise lines will be stopping in which towns on any given day? I'd love to avoid the influx of cruise pasengers whenever possible.

- Any other market days in the area other than Boppard's on Friday?

- Any experience with or comments on the Durkheimer Wurstmarkt? Good or bad idea to stay in same town as festival? What's a reasonable amount of time to devote to the festival? Better in day time or evening/night? (Note: we did Oktoberfest in Munich a couple of years ago and 3 - 4 hours not counting time watching parades was sufficient for us). Other things of interest to see or do in that area?

detbo

- Should I pass on Rudesheim -- is it that crowded? or is there a "best time" to go, e.g., early in day, late in day, not on weekend to make it worthwhile?

- Since you're the Boppard expert, anything specific in the town I should focus on -- especially things I might not find in a guidebook? (I've noted obsoperator's recommended wine bar across from the train station and the market day on Friday)

Russ

- Are Bernkastel-Kues, Traben-Trarbach and Zell, all requiring bus connects, doable in one day without feeling rushed? I tried looking at the bus schedule but I must say I found it somewhat confusing.

- You've spoken highly of Linz am Rhein in other posts. Do you see a spot in my schedule to include it? Should I scratch something else IYO in order to fit it in if things are too tight?

- I'll definitely need help with train connections so thanks for the offer. I'll work on booking the places to stay first (in case I wind up having to change overnight towns if I run into booking problems) and once that's settled I'll be back to you for train info. And thanks for all the links -- some great info there!

obsoperator

- Great advice on wines and wineries and will try to set things up in advance as you suggest.

- Re: your comment about considering castles other that Burg Eltz -- do you have a favorite to recommend?

bigtyke

- Thanks for your recommendations and for sharing your trip report. A lot of good info to consider -- and I'm still digesting it all. May have questions as I look into things a bit more.

Thanks again to you all -- you're so kind to spend the time responding. It's like having a friend who's been there!!

Barbara

Mentioned in this post
Trier
Trier
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest
977 Reviews
Munich, Germany
Munich
Munich
Upper Bavaria, Germany
Boppard
Boppard
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Bernkastel-Kues
Bernkastel-Kues
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Traben-Trarbach
Traben-Trarbach
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Zell (Mosel)
Zell (Mosel)
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Linz
Linz
Upper Austria, Austria
Burg Eltz
Burg Eltz
1,355 Reviews
Wierschem, Germany
Boppard, Germany
Destination Expert
for Boppard
Level Contributor
2,334 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Need Input on Rhine/Mosel/Wine Road/Black Forest Itinerary

I would not say you should pass on Rüdesheim if it fits in your schedule. Other places, such as Cochem, may be crowded too. Picture google "Rüdesheim" and "Drosselgasse" to get an idea.

As a local, I feel I should not recommend any particular restaurants or wine bars in Boppard. You will find quite a few along the Rhine, in the old park of town and in the street that leads to the chairlift.

The Friday market is not very big, but on September 10th and 11th there is a big market called "Zwiebelmarkt". You will be passing Boppard on your way from Düsseldorf to Bacharach, but there are no lockers at Boppard train station.

Boppard has long promenade along the Rhine. This is different from some other towns, where the railway line and the main road run between the town and the river

Mentioned in this post
Cochem
Cochem
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Drosselgasse
Drosselgasse
875 Reviews
Ruedesheim am Rhein, Germany
Boppard
Boppard
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Bacharach
Bacharach
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Paradise, California
Destination Expert
for Rhineland-Palatinate
Level Contributor
6,894 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Need Input on Rhine/Mosel/Wine Road/Black Forest Itinerary

"Are Bernkastel-Kues, Traben-Trarbach and Zell, all requiring bus connects, doable in one day without feeling rushed? I tried looking at the bus schedule but I must say I found it somewhat confusing."

From Cochem, you do not use buses to reach Traben-Trarbach. Take the train to Bullay (10 min.) and a connecting train (20 min.) from there. The train ride is lovely the whole way.

For Zell, take the train to Bullay again and one bus to Zell (10 min.) after that. (It's only a few km from Bullay; you can also walk or bike along the river if you allow yourself the time.)

If you want to make a Traben-Trarbach + Zell trip, there are a few direct bus connections on most days between Zell and Traben-Trarbach that take 30 minutes; other connections involve a change of buses :(. Be sure to check the German Railways page for your date and work out a schedule thoughtfully beforehand.

I have hiked between Traben-Trarbach and Bernkastel - a lovely jaunt through forest and vineyard that takes about 2 hours - but never tried public transport for this route. Again, there are some direct buses between Traben-Trarbach and Bernkastel that take 30-40 minutes each way and cruise along the river on the way. From Cochem, Bernkastel is most easily reached by taking the train to Wittlich and a connecting bus from there (about 1 hour for train + bus.)

So I think the answer is mostly "no" - all three would likely be too much. If I were to prioritize, I would put Bernkastel well above the other two at the top of my list. I would probably add Traben-Trarbach for a nice outing. It would look like this:

Cochem-Wittlich-Bernkastel (train + bus, 1 hr.)

Bernkastel-T.Trarbach (direct bus along river, 30-40 min.)

T.Trarbach-Bullay-Cochem (train + train, 40 min.)

To find schedules to Bernkastel: Use "Kues-Forum, Bernkastel-Kues" as your destination. It is this stop that gets the most bus traffic from other towns. There is an afternoon bus (#333-2, 13:09) that leaves from the "Kues-RWE, Bernkastel-Kues stop (a 4-minute walk from the Kues Forum stop) for Traben-Trarbach on most days. Both stops are on the "Kues" side of the river. You can cross over the town bridge on foot to reach old-town Bernkastel and to return to the bus stops. The little map below shows the location of the "Forum Alter Bahnhof" car-park where you'll find the Forum bus stop. Just above it is the "Aldi-Sparkasse..." car park, near which you should find the RWE bus stop:

volksfreund.de/storage/…

Mentioned in this post
Bernkastel-Kues
Bernkastel-Kues
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Traben-Trarbach
Traben-Trarbach
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Zell (Mosel)
Zell (Mosel)
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Cochem
Cochem
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Wittlich
Wittlich
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Paradise, California
Destination Expert
for Rhineland-Palatinate
Level Contributor
6,894 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Need Input on Rhine/Mosel/Wine Road/Black Forest Itinerary

"- You've spoken highly of Linz am Rhein in other posts. Do you see a spot in my schedule to include it? Should I scratch something else IYO in order to fit it in if things are too tight?"

It would make for a longer day, but you could see Linz "on the way" to Braubach. You have to change trains in Koblenz anyway - so detour north by direct train to Linz am Rhein from Koblenz (about 35 min. each way,) return to Koblenz, train to Braubach (11 min.,) see Marksburg in the afternoon, and then Oberwesel in the evening.

Mentioned in this post
Linz
Linz
Upper Austria, Austria
Braubach
Braubach
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Koblenz
Koblenz
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Oberwesel
Oberwesel
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany