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Road trip: Rhine Valley and Alsace in 3 days (Visit Germany & France)

posted by Liza 8th September 2019 0 comments
Road trip: Rhine Valley and Alsace in 3 days (Visit Germany & France)

Hi guys, in this post, I would like to share with you our road trip itinerary for 3 days in Rhine Valley and Alsace starting in Luxembourg and visiting the best of West Germany and East of France. We took this road trip at the end of May, for the late May bank holiday and it was the best decision ever.

Where to start the road trip around Germany and Alsace (France)?

If you’re thinking where to start the road trip around Germany and Alsace, you can do it at Cologne airport or you can do it as we did and start the road trip in Luxembourg. We rented a car through rentalcars.com (they have the cheapest full insurance option) and we also get 10% cashback through Quidco. If you haven’t used Quidco before, you can sign up here. Our car was with Avis and we got a brand new Ford Focus, which was great. 

We found some very cheap flights to Luxembourg (around £60 return per person) through Skyscanner and since our flight arrived late (after the car rental offices closed), we stayed the first night in the Hotel Campanile. Having stayed in Ibis Luxembourg Airport before, I must say, that hotel Campanile was way better and we had a decent sleep there. Also, it’s just 7 minutes walking from the airport (there is a footpath, so no walking on a highway). 

Road trip: Rhine Valley and Alsace in 3 days (Visit Germany & France)

Our road trip route: 3 days in Rhine Valley and Alsace (amazing parts of Germany and France in 3 days)

As I mentioned above, our trip lasted for 3 nights and 3 full days. We departed London on Friday after work and arrived back in London around 10 pm on Monday.

ACCOMMODATION: We stayed our first night at Hotel Campanile @ Luxembourg Airport, the second night at the hotel Römerhof in Bingen am Rhein and the last night at Colmar Hotel in Colmar. 

OUR ROUTE: BEST OF GERMANY AND ALSACE IN 3 DAYS:

Our Germany and France road trip itinerary:

Luxembourg Airport -> Trier -> Cochem Castle -> Eltz Castle -> Geierlay Suspension Bridge -> Bingen am Rhein -> Rüdesheim am Rhein -> Heidelberg -> Schiltach -> Colmar -> Strasbourg -> Luxembourg Airport

Our Germany & France road trip included a lot of castles, amazing villages and towns and it was also quite busy, so if you feel like it’s too much for you, you can stretch it over 4-5 days.

Without further ado, let’s get started with the itinerary for Germany and France in 3 days!

Our road trip route: 3 days in Rhine Valley and Alsace (amazing parts of Germany and France in 3 days)

Road trip: 3 days in Rhine Valley and Alsace (Germany & France)

Day 1: Luxembourg Airport, Trier and the best of Rhine Valley (Rhineland-Palatinate) in Germany

Getting started – Renting a car in Luxembourg

I won’t mention much about day 0 when we arrived in Luxembourg at 10 pm and headed to the Hotel Campanile to sleep. The hotel had a shuttle (although, it’s just 7 min walking on a sidewalk – so no need for the shuttle, unless you have a lot of heavy bags). We paid something like £55-60 for a night and it was a great deal.

On the next day, we headed to the airport in the morning to pick up our rental car. As I mentioned above, we rented a car with Avis via rentalcars.com and got a Ford Focus (and £10 cashback with Quidco, I’m not working with them or promoting them, but I got already £60 back 3 months after I signed up), which is quite good.

We decided to start our Germany and France road trip with a place that is very close to Luxembourg – beautiful Trier in Germany. We didn’t see anything in Luxembourg this time, but that’s because we visited Luxembourg before. You can read my post about the best things to see in Luxembourg in one day here.

Dreamy Luxembourg castle
Luxembourg in winter

Visiting Trier – an ancient German Roman city

We decided to start our Rhineland-Palatinate (or Rhineland-Pfaltz) road trip with Trier – an ancient German “Roman” city. Trier is a very touristic city and we’ve seen organised tours everywhere. These were mostly local tourists – and that’s for a reason. There’s a lot of German Heritage in Trier, e.g. Saint Peter Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in Germany.

THINGS TO DO IN TRIER: There are plenty of things to do in Trier and you can easily spend 5-6 hours there exploring Roman heritage in Trier, Oldest Churches and Porta Nigra, however, we didn’t have that much time, so we only spent about 2 hours in Trier. Trier is one of the cities that are very nice to walk around. However, if you want to learn more about the history of the city, you can sign up to one of the tours.

Read my post about the best European destinations for off-season travel >>>

Our road trip route: 3 days in Rhine Valley and Alsace (amazing parts of Germany and France in 3 days)
Our road trip route: 3 days in Rhine Valley and Alsace (amazing parts of Germany and France in 3 days)

Cochem – one of the most beautiful towns in the Moselle Valley and Rhine Gorge

One of the most beautiful towns in the Moselle Valley and Rhine Gorge if not in entire Germany is Cochem. Cochem is quite a famous town with a very beautiful castle overlooking the river Mosel (Moselle) and a very picturesque town centre. Just like Trier, Cochem was jam-packed with tourists, but in this case, they were a bit more international.

TIP: this region of Germany is known as the Wine Region of Germany, so don’t leave it without trying the famous German white vine and bubbly prosecco!

So make sure to pick one of the restaurants facing the river Moselle and enjoy the view with a glass of wine.

Moreover, in Cochem, you can take a river cruise. There is a range of cruises that you can purchase directly at the pier and you can get a short cruise for one hour or longer ones or even a long day cruise. You can also book one online here.

Read my post about the most underestimated cities in Europe >>>

Cochem Castle

Burg Eltz – the most Instagrammable castle in the world

Even if the name Burg Eltz doesn’t ring the bell, chances are, you will recognise it from the photo. Let’s try! Do you recognise the castle below?

Most instagrammable castle in the world

If you do, you have probably seen it all over Instagram, as Burg Eltz is one of the most Instagrammable castles in the world. I’ve seen it gaining popularity a couple of years ago, but it’s still circulating all over the Internet. What’s the reason? Well, this castle is really beautiful! I honestly didn’t think that it would look so great in real life, but it did.

TIP: don’t bring a drone to Burg Eltz, as it’s strictly prohibited to fly it there.

Once you park your car at the designated parking (you need to pay 2 euros for parking), you can either take a shuttle down (another 2 euros per person) or walk for about 15-25 minutes depending on your pace. There are really beautiful views of the castle along the way, so make sure to have your camera ready. I must admit, that Burg Eltz is really one of the most Instagrammable castles of the world.

If you’re interested, what gear do I use to take photos, I have Sony A7 III with Samyang 35 mm prime lens.

The most instagrammable castle in the world

Geierlay suspension bridge – the longest hanging bridge in Germany

Another bucket list destination in Germany was the Geierlay suspension bridge. The bridge has opened in 2015 and became very popular in an instant.

Geierlay suspension bridge

HOW TO GET TO GEIERLAY SUSPENSION BRIDGE: To get to Geierlay suspension bridge, you need to drive to Mörsdorf, park your car at the main parking area and walk for about 20 minutes. The bridge is open 24/7, so you don’t need to hurry up to visit it before X time, however, of course, it’s better and safer to visit it in the daylight.

We actually managed to fly our drone there and the views were stunning!

I’m also not afraid of heights, so I walked the bridge, but I saw people getting sick around me.

Also, on the way to the Geierlay bridge, there are some really beautiful yellow rape fields (the rape rapeseed is made from), so you can stop for a photo or two.

Geierlay suspension bridge
Geierlay suspension bridge

Staying overnight in Bingen am Rhein

After visiting the Geierlay hanging bridge, we drove to Bingen am Rhein that is located in the heart of the Rhine Valley. We decided to stay there, because there were affordable properties and because there were quite a few gorgeous castles nearby that we were planning to visit next morning.

We checked in at our hotel Römerhof and went for dinner to the restaurant called Gaggianer, which looked very pretty both inside and outside. After dinner, we went for a walk around Bingen am Rhein. There is not that much to do in the town, however, it’s pretty at night and there are a couple of really beautiful castles nearby.

Day 2 of our Rhine Valley & Alsace Road trip: The best of Rhine Valley, Heidelberg and Schiltach

The best Rhine Valley castles: Rheinstein Castle and Reichenstein Castle

Rhine Valley is full of castles. Honestly, some castles are located just 1km away from each other! We decided to visit the best Rhine Valley Castles (or at least two of them) during our 3 days in Rhine Valley and Alsace.

Initially, we just wanted to see the Rheinstein Castle, as it’s one of the most famous castles in the Rhine Valley and it had the highest rating in Google reviews, however, there was no decent parking lot, so we drove a bit further and discovered another castle, Reichenstein Castle that had a bigger parking lot.

We also decided to fly our drone there, as the views were incredible! There’s also camping for camper vans (caravan park) just steps away from the Reichenstein Castle, so if you’re thinking of doing a Rhine Valley tour in a caravan, you can stay there.

Reichenstein Castle

Rhine Valley is amazing for cycling. We’ve seen so many cyclists around and I can imagine how nice and refreshing it is to cycle along the Rhine, witnessing some of the most beautiful castles in Germany! For more information about the cycling routes, check this website.

Check my post about my ultimate bucket list – places I want to visit in a lifetime!

Visiting Heidelberg in a half a day

After seeing some of the most beautiful castles in the Rhine Valley, we headed to Heidelberg. Heidelberg is a very beautiful city that is also home to the oldest University of Germany. A couple of my classmates went to study at Heidelberg Uni and their photos of the city were always amazing. After visiting Heidelberg, I must admit, that this city is great for a weekend break and only 4 hours there felt like too little. However, if you’re short on time (just like us), you don’t have another choice.

THINGS TO DO IN HEIDELBERG: Besides a beautiful and very old university, Heidelberg has a gorgeous castle (another of the most beautiful castles in Germany) and a very famous pedestrian bridge over the river Neckar. Heidelberg has a lot of nice restaurants, coffee places and sightseeing spots, so make sure to add it to your itinerary.

We didn’t have a chance to take the funicular ride up to see the beautiful panoramic views of the city, not we had a chance to visit the Castle, but we will return one day to see it all.

beautiful Heidelberg - best of Germany and Alsace road trip
beautiful Heidelberg - best of Germany and Alsace road trip

Schiltach – one of the most beautiful timber-frame villages in Germany (and a hidden gem as well)

Our next destination was Schiltach – a hidden gem and one of the most beautiful villages in Germany. Schilach is not a touristy place and it’s located in the heart of Schwarzwald. It’s a bit off-route, so if you feel like skipping it and staying a bit longer in Heidelberg, go for it.

We, however, really wanted to see Schwarzwald with its idyllic cycling routes and gorgeous forests and hills. I must say that the route is nice and I couldn’t stop filming. However, once we got to Schiltach, it got even prettier. Schiltach is a very small village with a population of about 3,000 people or even less and it’s famous for it’s Market square that is composed of only Fachwerk or timber-frame houses. Along with famous Rotenberg ob der Tauber, Schiltach is one of the best places to see timber-frame villages and towns in Germany. In my opinion, Schiltach is also one of the most beautiful villages in Germany!

Schiltach also has a couple of places where you can try the famous “Black Forest” cake and it’s really good!

Schiltach from the drone
Black Forest Cake

Staying in Colmar, Alsace for a night

After visiting Schiltach, we headed to Colmar. The drive took around 2 hours and by 8 pm, we already were in Colmar. In Colmar, we stayed in a hotel called Colmar Hotel and it was great. It had a huge parking, a very nice breakfast and the location was just about 15-20 minutes walking from the city centre of Colmar. Moreover, it was very affordable (we paid something like £60 or even less).

Colmar impressed us a lot. I was sure that Bordeaux was the most beautiful city in France, but after visiting Colmar, I changed my mind and now think that it is Colmar (or Strasbourg). There isn’t that much to do in Colmar, that’s why people mainly come for a day from different cities in France, however, the city was charming at night, when the crowds already left.

The only thing I didn’t like that much in Colmar was the food – the traditional Alsatian cuisine involves a lot of potatoes, cheese and salted ham and after a couple of meals like this, I couldn’t look at cheese and ham anymore (for a while).

Read this post about 5 charming villages in France near Toulouse >>>

the most beautiful city in France (Alsace)
The most beautiful city in France - Colmar
The most beautiful city in France - Colmar

Day 3: Strasbourg and getting back to Luxembourg

Initially, we had a lot planned for our third day of Germany – France road trip, however, once we saw Strasbourg, we decided to stay there for over 5 hours. The city is quite big and the city centre is large as well and very impressive.

We parked our car around the Opera (there’s big parking) and headed to the Notre Dame cathedral in the heart of Strasbourg. We were just walking around the city, discovering the best streets to visit and take photos of, however, my favourite part was, undoubtedly, Little France. It looked straight out of fairy tale.

If you have limited time in Strasbourg and you would like to learn more about the city, I recommend taking this tour.

Little France Strasbourg

We also had a traditional Alsatian lunch again, but this time is was tartee frambee (it looked like a thin pizza with no tomato) with ham and cheese. It was very delicious, so I would recommend Le Lohkäs (or just Lohkas) – the restaurant near Little France, where we ate it.

We continued walking around and walked the entire city centre in the end. Later on, we stopped in Patisserie Kautzmann for a coffee with cake (it was incredible).

best of Alsace

Our return drive to Luxembourg airport took about 3 hours, so we left Strasbourg around 4:30 pm to arrive on time for our plane back to London.

Overall, we enjoyed our road trip of 3 days in Rhine Valley and Alsace and would definitely recommend renting a car and driving there. Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

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