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Rhine Valley --- driving or cruise

by ieee3 Online Now Apr 18, 2009 at 10:34 AM


I am planning to drive from Frankfurt to Brussels.

1. How much time would you suggest I spend in Rhine Valley / Cologne
2. Would it be better to take a cruise in the Rhine Valley or driving would be just as good. If cruise then, is there a way we take our car along on a one way cruise to Bonn.


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5 Answers
  • Kakapo2's Profile Photo

    Re: Rhine Valley --- driving or cruise

    by Kakapo2 Online Now Apr 18, 2009 at 5:30 PM

    I am no cruise expert, do do not know if there is a way to take the car up north on a cruise ship.

    However, it is also absolutely nice to drive up the Rhine valley by car, as you can criss-cross the Rhine by ferries at several places, so you do not have to drive big detours to picturesque villages or castles on the other side of the river.

    In two or three days you can see and do a lot between Frankfurt and Cologne. If you have time on your hand, you might want to cruise the Mosel from Koblenz for some hours.

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  • Kathrin_E's Profile Photo

    Re: Rhine Valley --- driving or cruise

    by Kathrin_E Online Now Apr 19, 2009 at 5:22 AM

    There is definitely no way to take a car on a Rhine river cruise boat.

    A cruise is the best way to experience the Rhine gorge. In the car one of you, the driver, will not have much chance to enjoy the landscape. Since you have to get back to your car I'd recommend doing a short round-trip cruise from, for example, Bacharach or St. Goar. Besides K-D there are also smaller local boat companies that offer such trips.
    If you plan to stay overnight you can also do a longer cruise all the way downstream to Koblenz and return by train.

    I'm giving you a link to my favourite Rhine gorge website. This link will take you to an overview page about river boats with links to all the boat companies that operate here:
    Have a look at the rest of the website, too, it is a goldmine of information and inspiration.

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  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    Re: Rhine Valley --- driving or cruise

    by Trekki Online Now Apr 19, 2009 at 8:00 AM

    Depending on the time when you want to drive from Frankfurt to Brussels, I would even strongly object to drive along Rhein river. During weekends, the roads are full with cars and it is more of a nightmare because of constant traffic jams. The roads (both, left and right of the river) have one lane in each directions and many of the drivers will drive rather slow to catch glimpses of the castles or lookout for possibilities to park the car.

    A good idea is to take the boat trip with KD-Line:
    (look for river cruises, then scheduled cruises and then timetable Rhine) from Bingen to St. Goar or Boppard and then back by train. If you depart in St. Goar it will include passing Lorelei.
    Bingen to St. Goar is approx. 1,5 hours, the train back (every hour at xx:20) needs 30 minutes. Bingen to Boppard is approx. 2 hours and train back (at xx:09) needs 40 minutes. Train ride is approx. 8 €, boat ride is 16,30 € (to St. Goar) and 19,90 € (to Boppard). All in all you need approx. 2,5 hours for the round trip boat + train to St. Goar and 3 hours for the one to Boppard
    The parking in Bingen is next to the KD pier and the train station (get off at Bingen-Stadt!!). And from Bingen, it is only 10 minutes to get back on the highway/Autobahn A 61 via Cologne to Brussels.

    Ingrid :-)

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  • Kakapo2's Profile Photo

    Re: Rhine Valley --- driving or cruise

    by Kakapo2 Online Now Apr 19, 2009 at 1:06 PM

    Although I fully agree that it is more relaxing to cruise on the Rhine, of course, I have not made any bad experience with driving along the river on several days during the week (no weekend experience though).

    Not to forget: The OP would be one of those trying to get a glimpse of the castles, so he would be one of those slowing the traffic down ;-)))

    There are lots of lay-byes to stop and look around. I did not find the driving neither stressful nor dangerous.

    If you drive and look around you should also be considerate of locals or through-traffic you could annoy, so be prepared to stop and let them pass.

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  • RhineRoll's Profile Photo

    Re: Rhine Valley --- driving or cruise

    by RhineRoll Online Now Apr 20, 2009 at 4:16 AM

    Hm ... I must beg to differ with the previous posters, but they are definitely right in that there is no way to take the car on a cruise ship, so you really must decide whether to drive or to sail. And contrary to the previous opinions, I would not opt for a cruise and suggest going by car. At least not on one of these typical river cruise companies like KD. First of all, the roads are certainly not empty, but it is not true that they are clogged or terrible to drive. I drive up and down both the B9 (left bank) and right bank (B 42) all the time and I love it -- these are certainly slow and busy roads, but you're not in a hurry anyway. Moreover, if the roads are busy it's a busy weekend or holiday(s), then the cruise boats will tend to be clogged up too and that means fight for good spaces and overpriced service on board. Avoid the on-board food -- it is twice as expensive and generally sucks. Going by car will give you a much greater flexibility and my feeling is that you just need this flexibility in the Rhine valley. Some of the best sights are up on hills and mountains. These are hard to reach by boat, it is not possible to get out and hike up and down and just take the next boat. As has been rightly said, there are many ferries so you can criss-cross the valley which is especially important in the gorge section from Bingen to Oberwesel.

    You might wanna consider leaving out Cologne and instead driving through the Moselle valley to Trier, then to Luxembourg and through the Ardennes towards Brussels. Lovely territories.

    I would say:
    day 1: Frankfurt - Bingen (short drive, will give you possibilities for many stops)
    day 2: Bingen - Koblenz
    day 3: Koblenz - Trier
    day 4: Trier-Brussels

    A 4-5 day cruise on a ***real hotel ship *** from Frankfurt to Trier or Cologne now that would certainly be worth it. You could then simply rent the car for the driving tour to Brussels (although Cologne has a pretty good rail link with Brussels -- no car needed for that)

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