The 761 mile-long Rhine River has played a huge role in European history as it flows from the Swiss mountains to the North Sea. It is simultaneously a major water and rail corridor, tourist attraction and home to medieval castles, battlefields, vineyards and commerce.
The most charming part of the river, the Middle Rhine gorge between Bingen and Bonn, about 80 river miles, has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2002 and often referred to as the “Romantic Rhine.” It is a wonderful place for a visit.
The delightful city of Boppard is situated in the heart of the region. Situated on a sweeping bend in the river, this charming city of about 15,000 people is filled with picturesque half-timbered buildings, enticing shops, mostly-riesling vineyards, taverns, restaurants and hotels.
One of the highlights of our trip was just relaxing on our hotel room’s balcony after a day of shopping and exploring. Our riverfront hotel room proved to be an ideal place to enjoy a nice glass of local wine while watching the steady parade of boats on the Rhine, the local ferry scurrying back and forth while it dodged river traffic and the pedestrians strolling along the river promenade.
This frequent stop for Rhine river cruises is an ideal place to base yourself for exploring the Middle Rhine Valley. Boppard is a good place to stay because of its scenic attractions and surroundings, many good hotels and restaurants, local hospitality and friendly people. Throw in its central location along this scenic stretch of the valley and its excellent transportation connections, and it becomes an ideal place to call home-away-from-home as you explore this endlessly fascinating region.
Among the nearby not-to-be-missed nearby attractions whether you travel by train, boat or car are the castles along the river (especially the Katz Castle at nearby St. Goarhausen), the storied Lorelie Rocks, great wine taverns and vineyards and excellent eating and shopping in nearby towns and cities.
Getting there and getting around:
Boppard and the Rhine Valley can be reached by highway, air or train.
Boppard has a busy main railway station, as well as five nearby stops. Railroad lines run on both sides of the river. There is intercity service to Frankfurt and very frequent DB Regio and other local service on the Koblenz-Bingen-Mainz-Frankfurt route. We used our Eurail pass for day trips up and down the valley and enjoyed the convenience and exquisite scenery along the way.
By car, Boppard is on the Bundesstraße (federal highway) 9 which follows the left side of the Rhine. To the west is an interchange with Autobahn A61, and to the east is one with the A3.
The nearest major airport is Frankfurt-Hahn Airport (HHN) in Kirchberg, Germany served by mostly budget airlines. It is about 25 miles from Boppard. International flights are found at Frankfurt Airport (FRA) about 45 miles away and Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN) is about 49 miles away.
The Rhine is a major river cruise artery. In Boppard, ships dock on the river bank next to the old town within walking distance to hotels. KD Day Cruises between Rudesheim and Boppard and return are recommended for those who want a short but scenic all day river cruise experience.
Must-sees for a short trip:
Among attractions that you should take in are:
The Boppard Center and Market Square
The Rhine Allee riverfront promenade
The Electoral Castle
The Boppard Museum
The Roman Fort
Dinner at the Römerburg Weinhaus and Restaurant and/or at a riverfront restaurant
If you have several days:
A visit to St. Goar and its across-the-river neighbor St. Goarhausen, 10 miles by car, train or boat. Check out Katz Castle and enjoy the river traffic from an outdoor waterfront café.
Visiting the pretty and historic city of Rudesheim m Rhein car or train) 30 miles away by train. Explore the impressive old town. Plan on a full day there.
Taking a day trip to Koblenz, 14 miles away.
Enjoying a day cruise along the river in either direction. Be sure to note the castles and at a boulder-strewn bend in the river — “The Lorelei” — where legend has it that a nymph with an alluring voice lured boatmen to their doom.
Tips for dressing for the Rhine Valley:
There are a lot of steps into buildings and hills along the Rhine Valley. Comfortable shoes and clothes are a must. Neat casual will work well.
This destination at a glance:
Over 50 advantage: Unhurried shopping, gorgeous scenery and excellent hospitality
Moderate. Some hills and cobblestones streets will be encountered.
When to go: By the end of September, many inns and restaurants already start closing for the winter. The best time to go to Boppard from April through September. The temperatures are pleasant, and there is not much rain.
Winters are cold, with some powder skiing in late February and early March.
Where to stay: We loved the riverfront Hotel Rheinlust with its spectacular views. The riverfront has many such hotels and many more are in the town We recommend staying along the river.
Special travel interests:
German history, castles along the Rhine, Riesling wine. JN
Jeffrey and Virginia Orenstein are travel writers from Sarasota, Florida.