A few years ago in 2011 we spent four nights staying in Koblenz. One of the highlights of that trip was taking the local ferry down the Rhine stopping off at the pretty old town of Bacharach for lunch. We enjoyed the region so much we always said we would return some day and indeed we did in May this year though this time our base was further upstream in Mainz – the photo of Bacharach below was taken on this latest trip.
The beautiful 65 km stretch of the river from Koblenz through the Middle Rhine Gorge area as far as the charming town of Bingen has UNESCO World Heritage Centre status. Gorgeous old towns with half timbered facades, sloping hillsides dotted with vines and imposing castles overlooking the valley add to the special charm of the region. The scenery is simply stunning!
Fortunately I’ve managed to dig out some photos from the 2011 day trip, which I’ll share in a later post. Today, however, I’m covering our recent day trip from Mainz up to Bacharach (which is in the UNESCO section of the river) and back again. The local ferry service is operated by the K.D.Rhine company, which plies the river from various points including Bonn, Cologne, Koblenz and Mainz.
May was still considered low season and we found there was only one service a day starting at Mainz at 8.30am and returning at 8.30pm (check the timetables if you are planning a trip). The boat from Mainz travels up as far as Boppard (about half way between Bacharach and Koblenz) before turning round for the return journey to Mainz. We bought our tickets before departure from the office on the quay at Mainz. It was a long day out but well worth it and our tickets were valid throughout the day for hopping on and off at the various stops as we pleased.
We certainly did not enjoy the same glorious spring weather this year as we had in the spring of 2011. It was far was too chilly with the fresh winds to spend much time out on deck. However there is something so relaxing (even indoors) about sitting on a boat watching the river as the scenery gently passes by. Although not part of the UNESCO heritage area until you reach Bingen, the views are still enchanting with rolling hills, castles and old towns with pretty cobbled squares. If you are feeling energetic you can cycle the route or if short of time take the train instead (they run along both banks of the Rhine).
Since we were about the only passengers on board, apart from a small group at a neighbouring table, we had more or less personal service from the waiter (who happened to come from Moscow and was very excited to learn that we came from Perth in Western Australia!). You don’t have to eat or drink anything on board if you don’t want to (and it’s certainly not cheap) but it is part of the experience!
Since I came back with a plethora of photos and couldn’t decide what to leave out here is a pictorial montage of the morning cruise up to Bacharach.
We arrived in Bacharach about 11.30am and set off to reacquaint ourselves with the pretty town. More photos to follow in Part 2!
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