Two days on the Rhine were somehow how too much and not enough time for me. On one hand the area we visited between Koblenz and Bacharach is absolutely gorgeous and has villages that are the definition of quaint (in a good way). On the other, we discovered that we can’t stand driving vacations anymore.
Unfortunately I’ve been trying to type this blog post for two days now, but despite the trip’s obvious charms and my desire to camp/bike in the area, I can’t come up with something appropriately poetic. Instead, here are my Do & Don’t takeaway impressions from the trip.Don’t drive! That means you Americans. Yes you might get their faster (if you can navigate the roads) and a car may seem like a sensible way to get around (beware narrow “two way” streets and pedestrians), but there are very few bridges over the river and most of the towns and roads are not made for automobiles. Some still have their medieval walls. Spare yourself the headache and use the train to get to your destination. There’s a line running down both sides of the river.
Do seek out English language tours, if you want to visit some of the many many castles built along the river (we saw at least 14 between Kolbenz and Bacharach alone). In the region we visited, most castles only offer tours in German, unless an English bus tour comes through. We saw one castle and it was interesting but not being able to understand the guide makes tours much less engaging. If you’re really into castles, a bus tour might be the way to go actually.Do try the wine. Dan doesn’t like wine but he was all over the sweet Reislings they make.
Do try the Peach Brandy as well; it’s a lesser known product of the region and very rich.
Don’t buy too much junk. The quaint villages are full of tourist traps. Keep your purchases to a minimum and try only to buy things you can’t get anywhere else.
Do some biking. The area we were in was easier to bike than Maastricht, fun, and it didn’t take long to cover a significant stretch of land. I’m inspired to spend a lot more time in the Rhine region biking. The towns will be very accessible although the castles are mostly too high up the steep mountains to bike to. You can approach most of the public castles by hiking or taking a special bus.Do try a boat ride, but unless you really, really love cruising Don’t make this the main focus of your time. We took a three hour ride and I fell asleep (ok, so the wine might have had something to do with it). I can’t imagine how boring a week long cruise on the river would be. At least by bike or train or (shutter) car, you can stop whenever you want.
Camping? You could. We saw lots of campers along the river. Most even had TV dishes and are located near the towns.
Do take lots of photos. You know you want to.
Have you been to the Rhine (any part of it)? Share your thoughts below in the comments section.