Our German River Cruise Experience
Five years ago, as an extended family, we took an amazing two-week river trip down the Danube. While we were by far the youngest travelers on the ship we found the relaxed pace and force-fed charm was a perfect way to see the villages of Germany.
So, you can imagine our delight when we learned that DIY single-day River Ferries for the more adventurous set are available as an alternative to the two-week leisure cruise.
Correction: Now having done the river ferry, the set is not “more adventurous” apparently river cruising is something most often done by the senior set.
About the Rhine a River Ferries
Each morning, starting in Cologne and Mainz KD Ferry operates boats heading up and down the Rhine River. Most people prefer to start their ferry experience in Mainz and head north to Cologne (getting the prettiest portion of the route earlier in the day and taking advantage of the quicker speeds the follow traveling with the current). But, we were traveling from Brussels and Bruges, so beggars can’t be choosers.
P.S. – the additional speed of the current once you leave Boppard is nominal, don’t believe the people who make it sound like disaster will ensue if you take the Ferry “upstream”.
Rhine River Cruise Itinerary
We started the day in Cologne and took an early morning train to Boppard, skipping some of the earlier but less high-impact stops so that we could allow our boys a little sleeping-in time (to ensure domestic tranquility) and arrived in Boppard at 11:00 AM.
Our day in the Rhine was made en-route from Belgium to Switzerland where we’ve planned to spend two nights and three days, so we were traveling with luggage; and although we are a carry-on family, we’ve decided to focus our Rhine stops in cities that offer luggage storage which meant St. Goar and Bacharach where we stowed our luggage at the Tourist Information offices.
Tips for Luggage Storage in Bacharach and Saint Goar
I did a lot of research before the trip and had a hard time understanding the logistics, so I’ll break it down for you for convenience:
Saint Goar offers luggage storage (free) upstairs at the Saint Goar Tourist Information Center. They close for lunch from 1:00 – 2:00, and for the day at 5:00 PM, so plan accordingly. There is a convenient shuttle stop to Burg Rheinfels Castle, just a half block down from the TI (at the gas station) so it was super easy to hop off the Rhine Ferry, walk 1/8 mile to the TI, Store our bags, and go up to the Castle.
Bacharach also offers Left Luggage services at the Bacharach Tourist Information Office just a few blocks south of the Cathedral on the Main drag. Once again, they close for lunch mid-day, and have a hard stop at 4:59 for luggage storage pick up, but it’s free (though the attendant is about as unfriendly as they come) and a convenient way to take the Rhine Ferry and still find workable luggage storage.
Taking the KD Rhine Ferry
I purchased our Ferry Tickets in advance through KD Rhine (I’m a fan of skipping lines wherever possible and tend to get a better conversion rate when I book in the USA). The process of turning in our voucher for tickets in Boppard was easy and painless.
To cap off our exciting day on the Rhine we spent the evening at the Hotel Lindenwirt of Rudesheim am Rhein.
TBH: I would have skipped Bacharach if I’d known Rudesheim would be so charming, but it was cool to see the Werner Cathedral Ruins.
Cologne to Mainz KD Rhine Ferry Schedule
Favorite Rhine Travel Video