Day-trip riverboat cruise excursions depart from Mainz and Wiesbaden on the Rhine to the Loreley Valley and on the Main to Frankfurt.
Boat cruises on the Rhein and Mainz rivers depart daily from Mainz and Wiesbaden in Germany. Köln-Düsseldorfer (KD) has excursion cruises downriver on the Rhine past Rüdesheim to the Loreley Valley, Koblenz, and Bonn. Primus boats cruise between Frankfurt am Main and Rüdesheim with stops en route in Mainz and Wiesbaden. Primus also offers event cruises from Mainz and Wiesbaden. It is no longer possible to cruise all the way from Mainz to Cologne on a single day-trip.
Cruising on the Rhine River from Mainz and Wiesbaden
The longest possible day-trip cruise excursion on the Rhine River from Mainz or Wiesbaden is to Boppard just downriver from the Loreley Valley. This includes the most scenic part of the river – the narrow, steep valley with endless castles and picturesque villages and vineyards between Rüdesheim and St Goar / St Goarhausen near the Loreley Rock. The once-popular eleven-hour cruise from Mainz to Cologne (Köln) is no longer possible, although with a boat change, it is possible to continue all the way to Koblenz (around 80 minutes downstream from Boppard).
Cruising on the Rhine River is possible daily from Mainz and Wiesbaden from late April to early October with a few cruises per week during the rest of April and October. In the off-season, special events may bring the boats out but in winter, cruises are more likely from Rüdesheim, Frankfurt or Cologne. Cruises are usually more frequent over weekends especially during the spring and autumn seasons.
The main cruises from Mainz and Wiesbaden to Boppard are on the Köln-Düsseldorfer (KD) riverboats. During the main season, a daily boat departs from Mainz at 8:30 am with a second departure on some days, as well as weekends during the lower season, an hour later. The boats return from Boppard at 13:00 and 14:00 respectively.
Some of the stops on the Mainz to Boppard route include:
|Down River||Up River|
During the main season, a second boat departs an hour later from Mainz and Wiesbaden. This cruise is the main cruise during the spring and autumn shoulder seasons but sometimes only operates Fridays to Mondays.
The Rhine Valley is wide with the river fairly slow-flowing from Mainz to Rüdesheim. Travelers with limited time should consider taking the train from Mainz or Wiesbaden to Rüdesheim or Bingen from where many more cruises are available per day. Boats from here cruise the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage-listed Middle Rhine Valley, the most beautiful part of the Rhine with endless castles and the famous Loreley Rock.
See timetable on German Railways website.
KD is the largest operator of Rhine River pleasure cruise boats and offers many special discount fares worth considering.
Mainz to Boppard on KD is around €55 one way (only €60 return) but it is possible to save with the KD Rhine Pass, which is only €30. This pass is valid for a day but not available from KD ticket windows. Buy it in advance from travel service providers, e.g. Get Your Guide.
Cruising on the Main River from Wiesbaden and Mainz
Mainz is at the confluence of the Rivers Main and Rhine with Wiesbaden only a few kilometers downstream. Primus Line offers cruises a few times per week from Frankfurt am Main to Rüdesheim with stops en route in amongst others Mainz and Wiesbaden.
The cruise time from Frankfurt am Main to Mainz is around two hours (three hours for the upriver cruise). In contrast to KD, tickets on Primus are almost always for return journeys. It is possible to return by train for the same price but this must be indicated when the tickets are bought.
Primus and KD cooperate closely making it possible to change in Rüdesheim from a Primus line boat to a KD boat to cruise down the Middle Rhine and Loreley Valley. However, note that some discount offers and bicycle policies may differ.
Event Cruises from Mainz and Wiesbaden
Several regular event cruises with food and drinks mostly optional are possible on Primus Lines from Mainz and Wiesbaden. These include:
- Coffee & Cake Cruises (Kaffeehaus auf dem Wasser) on most Wednesday afternoons with stops in Ginsheim (Altrhein), Mainz-Fischtor, and Wiesbaden-Biebrich. The cruise from Wiesbaden is around two hours and an hour longer from Mainz.
- After Work Shipping cruises on Wednesday nights depart from Wiesbaden at 18:45 and Mainz at 19:15 to return to Wiesbaden at 22:15 and Mainz at 22:45. DJ music is played on these cruises.
- New Year’s Eve / Silvester Party boats cruise on December 31 each year. The boat leaves Mainz and Wiesbaden around 8 pm and return well after midnight. Cruise fares usually include dinks and an open buffet.
Cruising from Mainz and Wiesbaden in Germany
Mainz, the state capital of Rhineland Palatinate, and Wiesbaden, the state capital of Hessen, are located on opposite sides of the Rhine River in Germany. However, both cities somewhat turned their backs on the famous river with the town centers away from the Rhine itself. Getting to the boats from the relevant main train stations (Hauptbahnhof) is fairly easy:
- In Mainz, Rhine and Main boats depart from quays (Pier) behind the Rathaus / Rheingoldhalle on the left (west) bank of the Rhine River. It is around half an hour’s walk from the central train station to here. As buses 28,54,55,56,57,60,61,68,70,71,90,91 all stop at Rheingoldhalle/Rathaus a suitable bus departs almost every minute for the 15-minute journey. The old town center with cathedral is close enough to the piers for easy walking.
- In Wiesbaden, the center of town and main train station is even further away from the Rhine River and not a simply stroll. Here, boats depart from quays in Wiesbaden-Biebrich. It is a 15-minute bus ride from Wiesbaden Hauptbahnhof (Main Station) to the stop Biebrich Rheinufer. Buses 4 and 14 make the journey several times per hour.
Boat cruises upriver from Mainz and Wiesbaden are very rare, although a few special excursion cruises are available each year mostly heading to Heidelberg. Multiday boat cruises frequently sail between Mainz and Strasbourg in France and Basel in Switzerland. Cruises upriver from Mainz are possible at larger Rhine towns such as Mannheim (and Worms & Heidelberg) and Speyer.
- Traveling Along the Rhine River
- Buy the KD Rhine Pass from Get Your Guide
- Day Trip Rhine and Main River Cruise Boats from Frankfurt
- Cruising on the Middle Rhine Valley in Germany
- Top Sights to See in Mainz
- By Bus from Frankfurt-Hahn Airport to Mainz & Wiesbaden
- Cruises from Heidelberg, Worms and Mannheim on the Neckar River
- Cruising on the Rhine River from Speyer