Rhineland Pflaz beautiful views of the vineyards

The Perfect Day Trip Itinerary For The Rheinland Pfalz, Germany

The Rhineland Palatinate (Rheinland Pfalz in German) may just be Germany’s most underrated and most picturesque region of Germany. Adorned beautiful rivers, stunning German castles perched on the hillside, quaint little villages, and of course endless amounts of vineyards growing Germany’s favorite grapes, it’s hard to come up with a reason not to visit this part of the country.

Rheinland Pflaz Germany
Rhine region Germany

You could spend a week traveling through the Rhine region, especially if you’re a wine lover. Easily. However, it’s more than likely that you’ve focused most of your time on the Bavarian villages, Munich, Berlin etc. But if you want the most picturesque landscapes, castles, and everything that screams Germany, then you should definitely consider making a trip to the Rheinland Pfalz area. In fact, I think the Mosel wine region is one of the most picturesque wine regions in Europe, along with places like Burgundy in France or the Piedmont in Italy.

wine in the rhine germany
Rhine region Germany

Although I highly recommend more time in this wonderful part of the country, if you have a day or more, then it is enough to get a flavor of the land. For this post, I will focus on doing a day trip to the region and some of my absolute favorite stops along the way.

Rheinland Pfalz One Day Itinerary

rheinland itinerary

For the purpose of this itinerary, I’ll be starting it off in Frankfurt as I live here and and makes for an easy jumping off point to exploring the Rheinland Pfalz. From Frankfurt, it’s a roughly one to two hour drive to the first destination by car. Frankfurt itself is also worth a visit! Follow my Frankfurt itinerary for how to spend a day or two in this Hessen city!

For this trip, I visited four different places in the day including the following:

It’s quite a jam packed day but it’s meant to give you a solid taste of what the Rheinland has to offer and then some. In the summer months, this will be easy to do as the days are long and the sun won’t set until late into the evening. For the colder months, I’d recommend only doing three of the four as you won’t have enough time there.

Renting a car in Frankfurt

First step’s first, renting a car. You can’t do this trip without a car, at least the way I’ve structured it.

Renting a car is quite easy in Frankfurt. There are numerous options at the airport of course, but also at the Hauptbahnhof. In addition, there are numerous Sixt locations in the city center if you want to rent higher end cars. Regardless, you should be able to find a one day rental for under 50 euros, especially if you can drive manual.

If you absolutely cannot rent or drive a car, then I would recommend just taking a day trip to Cochem by train. The train ride along the Rhine and Mosel rivers are a breathtaking view. The city of Cochem is just the absolute cutest and a perfect way to spend a day away from the cities.

Depart Frankfurt at 7:00am

The itinerary starts early. If you’re already staying in the Rheinland Pfalz in one of the main towns like Koblenz, then there’s no need to get up this early! However if you’re driving from Frankfurt or Cologne, then you’ll want to leave on the earlier side to maximize the day.

Make sure to bring some snacks on the trip as there will be long stretches where food isn’t readily available.

From Frankfurt to the first stop at the Geierlay Suspension Bridge, it is a two hour drive.

Geierlay Suspension Bridge – 09:00 to 10:00

geierlay suspension bridge

The first stop is to the Geierlay Suspension Bridge. This is not really wine related but I think it is one of the more unique things to do in the area. From Frankfurt, it is roughly 2 hours driving to the Geierlay Suspension Bridge.

geierlay suspension bridge

There isn’t much to do here besides visit the bridge. From the town of Morsdorf where you can park your car, it’s a rougly 15 minute walk to the bridge. The bridge itself was modeled after the Nepalese suspension bridges and is one of the largest in Germany. It doesn’t serve much purpose as far as I know but just as a foot bridge with breathtaking views.

Make sure to read my Geierlay blog post for more details and pictures!

Cochem Town – 12:00 to 16:00

Cochem is one of countless ridiculously cute villages in the Rheinland region. It is one of the larger villages and is definitely home to all the tourists, but it is worth seeing in my opinion.

The beautiful Cochem castle perched at the top of the hill is home to its own vineyards. You can drink wine in the castle with views of the Mosel river. The town itself is also just ridiculously cute and screams everything Germany.

Cochem downtown
The city center in Cochem
Cochem castle germany rhine mosel region

I’d recommend a hike up to the castle, which is no more than 10 minutes to soak in the views. I’ve taken a tour of the castle as well and it is worth the €5 or so. There are English tours every hour and it lasts for roughly 30 minutes.

There are also restaurants and wine bars right next to the castle where you can yet drink more wine while admiring the views. You are in the wine country, so why not?

Burg Eltz Castle – 16:30 to 17:30

Next on the list is one of my favorite castles in the world, the Burg Eltz.

It’s a roughly half hour drive from Cochem to the quaint little village of Moselkern. From Moselkern, it is another 5-10 minutes drive into the woods where this castle is.

Burg Eltz castle Germany in the fall
Burg Eltz in the fall

This castle is special because it is literally located in the middle of the forest, away from any civilization. It is impossibly picturesque and looks straight out of a fairy tale. In the summer months, the castle is open from 9am until 5pm with tours of the castle happening regularly. While I never bothered to go on a tour there, there are two restaurants where you can enjoy a glass of local white wine from the region. Plus you’re drinking wine. Inside a castle. Doesn’t get much better than that.

As for pictures, the best time to get those incredible pictures without anyone in them is to come during the winter months, or wait until the castle closes (after 5pm) when all the swarms of tourists leave. Then you can grab photos like this.

Burg Eltz in the winter
Burg Eltz in the winter

Make sure to read my Burg Eltz guide if you want to know more about its history and see way more pictures!


Finally, the last stop of the day will be in the Rudesheim. The town has a number of notable vineyard sites planted mainly to Riesling, seven of which are classified by the VDP as Grosse Lage: Rosengarten, Kirchenpfad, Bischofsberg, Berg Rottland, Berg Roseneck, Berg Kaisersteinfels and Berg Schlossberg. Most of these are on the south-facing slopes above the town, but the best sites are on the banks above the Rhein river, to the west of the town itself.

rudesheim mosel rhineland

The main attraction here is the cable car that takes you from the cute old town to the top of the hill in the heart of the vineyards. The views on this cable car are out of this world.

The cable car doesn’t just stop at the top of the hill at the Niederwald monument. It keeps going throughout the Rhine region all the way to Assmannshausen but I’d recommend saving this for another day as it involves multiple cable cars, hiking, and the like.

Rheinland Pfalz One day Summary

To keep it simple and sum it up, here is how the day will look for this one day itinerary. I will break it down between seasons as the cable cars in Rudesheim have different closing times depending on the month.

Rheinland Pflaz beautiful views of the vineyards
Rhine region Germany

Summer months (Jun to September)

7:00  – Depart Frankfurt for the Geierlay Suspension Bridge
9:00 – Arrive at the town of Morsdorf, the gateway to the Geierlay bridge. Spend one to one and a half hours here
10:30 to 11:00 – Drive from Morsdorf to Cochem
11:00 to 15:00 – Spend a few hours in Cochem. Climb to the top of the castle, explore the cute streets of the town, have lunch at one of the traditional restaurants in town
15:30 – Arrive at Burg Eltz Castle: Spend a half hour here taking pictures or one hour if you want a guided tour through the castle. Make sure to grab a glass of wine in the castle!
16:00 – Drive to Rudesheim
17:30 – Arrive in Rudesheim, take the cable car up to the top of the Niederwald monument before coming back down
18:30 – Drive back to Frankfurt
17:30 – Arrive in Frankfurt

Winter Months (November to Mar)

8:00  – Depart Frankfurt for the Geierlay Suspension Bridge
10:00 – Arrive at the town of Morsdorf, the gateway to the Geierlay bridge. Spend one to one and a half hours here
11:30 to 12:00 – Drive from Morsdorf to Cochem
12:00 to 15:00 – Spend a few hours in Cochem. Climb to the top of the castle, explore the cute streets of the town, have lunch at one of the traditional restaurants in town
15:30 – Arrive at Burg Eltz Castle: Spend a half hour here taking pictures or one hour if you want a guided tour through the castle. Make sure to grab a glass of wine in the castle!
16:00 – Drive to Frankfurt
18:00 – Arrive in Frankfurt

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I'm a dual Canadian-American from NYC that moved to South Africa for work and ended up traveling all through the continent. I'm currently living the expat life in Frankfurt, Germany and traveling the world as much as I can. I'm a bit obsessed with scuba diving, churning credit cards so I never pay to fly, and eating the most questionable of foods in the most peculiar of places. My bucket list is the world, and some day I might make it there.

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