Rhine River Day Cruises, Germany

April 21, 2023 5:16 pm98 commentsViews: 158

For many tourists, a cruise on the romantic Rhine River (Rhein) is highlight of a trip to Germany. The Rhine is a 1,320 kilometer (820 miles) long river of which the river downstream from Basel is fully navigable by riverboats.

Multiple-day cruises down the Rhine River on luxury riverboat liners such as Peter Deilmann or Viking River Cruises are popular but many visitors do not have sufficient time (or funds) to enjoy such trips. Fortunately, many daytrips are possible on the Rhine taking from minutes to a full day at a fraction of the cost of multiple-day cruises.

The most popular section of the Rhine for daytrips and day cruises is the Mittelrhein (Middle Rhine). This section of the Rhine Valley between Rüdesheim / Bingen and Koblenz is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. This part of the Rhine is the most beautiful with the narrowest valley and steepest hillsides. It is also the most romantic – on average, a castle can be seen every two kilometers (1.2 miles). Good transportation links provide for easy access by rail or road from major cities such as Frankfurt, Mainz, Wiesbaden, and Cologne.

The high season for Rhine day cruises is May to September but boats generally cruise on the Rhine from late March to late October. Occasionally, boats are available in winter – mostly around Christmas time.

Timetable for Middle Rhine River Day Cruises

The following is a basic guide to the times required on day cruises on the Middle Rhine River between Mainz and Koblenz based on the standard Köln-Düsseldorfer (KD) timetable. Not all boats stop at all towns, some boats are slightly faster or slower than others are, and some lines may reverse the order of stops of towns on opposite sides of the river.

Town – Left / Right bank – minutes downstream (minutes upstream)

Mainz – L – 20 (25)
Wiesbaden-Biebrich – R – 20 (20)
Eltville – R – 50 (80)
Rüdesheim – R – 15 (15)
Bingen – L –15 (30)
Assmannshausen – R – 20 (50)
Lorch – R – 10 (10)
Bacharach – L – 10 (25)
Kaub – R – 10 (15)
Oberwesel – L – 20 (30)
** Passing the Loreley Rock **
St Goar – L – 10 (10)
St Goarhausen – R – 25 (45)
Bad Salzig – L – 10 (15)
Kamp-Bornhofen – R – 10 (10)
Boppard – L – 30 (55)
Braubach – R – 10 (15)
Rhens – L – 10 (10)
Oberlahnstein – R – 10 (10)
Niederlahnstein – R – 20 (30)
Koblenz – L

It is generally possible to interrupt cruises at any stop but this must be specified when purchasing tickets.

Currently only one boat per day during the high season cruises all the way from Mainz to Cologne (Köln) – an eleven-hour trip. (The longest upstream cruise is from Bad Breisig to Mainz.) This riverboat operated by Köln-Düsseldorfer (KD) departs Mainz at 8:45 am to arrive in Cologne at 8 pm.

Köln-Düsseldorfer (KD) is the largest operator of Rhine pleasure boats but several other Rhine day cruise lines operate along the river. Luxurious multiple-day cruises are also very popular on the Rhine and tributaries such as the Moselle and Main (and on to the Danube).


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