Köln or Cologne (Leverkusen)

We are staying at the Hotel Ibis in Leverkusen,  North Rhine-Westphalia. The hotel is a 6-block walk (along Dönhoffstraße) from the S6 line station at Leverkusen-Mitte.  

Cologne transportation info – covers Leverkusen, Cologne and Bonn.  Trips between Leverkusen and Cologne are in the 2b price tier (9.20 euro for 1 person or 14.10 euro for 5 people). 

In Cologne:

  • Köln’s Cathedral – free, open daily 6am-9pm. 
  • Spire Climb (Dom-Turm) – 3 euro, 9am-6pm.
  • Hohenzollern Bridge – – Chocolate Museum – e8.50, 10-6pm (last entry 5pm). Somewhat expensive. Review. 
  • Romisch-Germanisches Museum – e8, 10am-5pm.
  • Alter Markt – few blocks south of HbF – various beer-halls including Peters Brauhaus.

Romantic Rhine River:

– The section of the Rhine near Köln is not as scenic as the section further south near Bacharach. To save time, take a train south (up-river), take a boat down the Rhine, and return via train. The Rhine cruises are run by KD. (Get a 20% discount on cruise fares upon presentation of your valid train ticket.)

The Romantic Rhine runs from Bingen downstream to Koblenz.
– take train to xxx – take boats downstream- 

Rhine Castles Info

St. Goar – 

Rheinfels Castle – 4 euro, open from 9am – 6pm; 5pm last entry. Small tram to castle, e3. 

Marksburg Castle – 6 euro, 10am to 5pm. a sightseeing possibility as part of the Rhine cruise. Must take a tour that takes about 50 minutes.  English tours are offered at noon and 4pm. Either take the 20 min walk up to the Castle, or the Shuttle (4.50 Euro) from the Old Town of Braubach.

1)  Walk from the hotel to the Leverkusen-Mitte train station and take
the 9:14am train to St. Goar (arr 11:20). Since Leverkusen and the
Rhine river towns are in separate German states, we can’t use a
Lander-ticket as in Munich but must buy the more expensive
Quer-durchs-Land-Ticket. That is 42 euro, but since up to 5 people can
ride together for 6 euro extra apiece, the per-person cost drops to a
reasonable 13.20 euro. But you can’t leave until 9am. Since each
ticket group needs to travel together, we should form grouping of up
to 5 to buy the tickets.

2) At St. Goar, we walk 10-15 minutes (stairs & uphill) to the ruined
Rheinfels Castle (4 euro admission) arriving around 12:35.  This was
the largest castle on the Rhine until it was destroyed and then used
for building stone.  There is a tourist tram that runs every 30 mins
on the half-hour but if we miss it I don’t mind walking and don’t want
to wait around for 29 minutes.

3) From the castle, we either walk downhill or take the tourist tram
back to the train station.

– If the weather is iffy, we catch the 2:20pm train to Bacharach and
take the modern boat at 3:15pm downriver; the 1hr ride stretch from
Bacharach to St. Goar is rated the most scenic. I would stay on until
Boppard so the ride is 1-1/2 hours long. We get a 20% discount on the
boat ticket by showing our train ticket. (Bacharach -> Boppard is 15
euro)

– If the weather is nice, we can eat lunch at St. Goar/castle and
catch the 3:20 pm train to Bingen-Stadt (1st stop after the Hbf) and
take the 1913-vintage paddle-wheel boat at 4:30pm downstream to
Boppard for a 2-1/2 hour cruise.. (Bingen -> Boppard is 20 euro)

4) We can get off the boat at St. Goar or at Boppard and catch the
train back towards Cologne. Since sunset is around 7:30pm, the later
boat may want to get off at St. Goar if it is getting dark/chilly.
This is still a 1-1/2 hour ride. While we could ride all the way to
the end in Koblenz, the walk from the dock to the train is much longer
than at St Goar or Boppard, so in any event we get off at Boppard
latest.

5)  We can stop in Bonn or Cologne or go back to Leverkusen for dinner
depending on the time and how we feel.