Koblenz is a good departure port for day excursion riverboat sightseeing cruises on the Rhine and Mosel Rivers to see the Loreley, castles, and vineyards.
Koblenz, at the confluence of the Rhine and Mosel (Moselle) Rivers, has excellent transportation links making it a great departure port for day-trip riverboat cruises. Several day excursion cruise boat lines operate from Koblenz with KD (Köln-Düsseldorfer) the largest and best-known cruising company. Cruises are possible from Koblenz to the UNESCO-listed Middle Rhine with the Loreley Rock and endless castles particularly popular. Many short panorama cruises take in the sights near Koblenz. Currently, downstream cruises to Remagen, Linz, Bonn, and eventually Cologne (Köln) are very rare. Day-excursions boat cruises are also possible from Koblenz on the Mosel (Moselle) River with Cochem and Moselkern (for Burg Eltz) the most popular destinations.
Special savings deals are available on most lines with discounts for seniors, students, families, and on birthdays. Riverboat return tickets are only marginally more expensive than one-way boat fares but trains are a fast one-way transportation alternative when time is limited.
Rhine Riverboat Day-Trip Excursion Cruises from Koblenz
Rhine River day-trip boat cruises from Koblenz are possible in either direction but the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage-listed Middle Rhine with the Loreley Rock and many castles is generally the most popular routing.
The classic Rhine River day cruise is between Koblenz and Rüdesheim – this cruise takes just over six hours upstream but just less than four hours downstream. If time is limited, give preference to the section of the Rhine between St Goar / St Goarhausen and Lorch / Bacharach.
Rhine cruises downriver from Koblenz are currently very limited and mostly on days when boats are being positioned for firework displays. Such cruises usually terminate in Bonn but it is sometimes possible to cruise all the way to Cologne (Köln). The more interesting part of this section of the Rhine is between Linz and Bonn, where cruises are available frequently. Both towns are easily reached by train from Koblenz.
Panorama cruises of around an hour to two hours are also popular from Koblenz with several departures daily. Local Rhine cruises are also a good option to see some of the castles and sights in the vicinity of Koblenz.
Day-trip excursion riverboats depart in Koblenz from the Konrad Adenauerufer – the bank of the Rhine River just below Deutsches Eck where the Mosel flows into the Rhein. This is around 2 km from Koblenz-Hauptbahnhof or 1.5 km from Koblenz-Stadtmitte. Ignore Google maps suggestions — mostly head straight for the Rhine and walk next to the river for the best views.
Several cruise lines operate from Koblenz — prices, cruises, and boats generally don’t differ much making it sensible to simply take the first boat to depart.
Cruising Times on the Rhine River from Koblenz
The Rhine is a strong and at times fast-flowing river, as is obvious from the differences in upriver and downriver cruise times. On the longest sections: Koblenz to Mainz and Koblenz to Cologne, the upriver cruise times are 8:30 while the downriver cruise times are more than three hours faster.
Average cruise times to / from Koblenz from a select number of Rhine River towns, as well as train times, are as follows but do note that most cruises from Koblenz currently go only downriver to St Goar and Rüdesheim:
|To / From Koblenz:||Upstream||Downstream||Train|
|Köln / Cologne (L)||08:30||05:15||00:53|
|Bad Godesberg (L)||05:00||03:10||00:40|
|Bad Honnef (L)||04:25||02:40||00:47|
|→→→ KOBLENZ (L)||00:00||00:00||00:00|
|Bad Salzig (L)||02:25||01:40||00:21|
|St Goarhausen (R)||03:10||02:05||00:35|
|St Goar (L)||03:20||02:15||00:29|
|Passing the Loreley Rock (R)|
The order of stops may be reversed for towns, e.g. St Goar and St Goarhausen, which are basically on directly opposing sides of the Rhine.
The Rhine River mostly flows south to north so the left bank (L) and right bank (R) river towns are simply left and right on most maps. Between Koblenz and Mainz no bridges cross the Rhine but car and passenger ferries are available.
Trains to Koblenz from Rhine Towns
Trains offer a very good transportation alternative if time is limited. Trains are more frequent on the left bank between Mainz and Koblenz but even on the right bank trains operate at least hourly.
Train timetables are available online from the English website of German Railways – use the town name with the option KD, if available, for an indication of the distance between the boat landings and the railway stations. (ICE and IC trains are more expensive and often not much faster or over short distances even slower than RE and other regional trains.)
If arriving in Koblenz on a local train use the station Koblenz-Stadtmitte – it is a bit closer to the old town and boat landings than Koblenz-Hauptbahnhof (main station).
See also Transportation to Koblenz for information on the Rhineland-Palatinate ticket that often provides savings on local trains and buses, especially when traveling in a small group.
Mosel River Cruises from Koblenz
Day-trip riverboat cruise excursions on the Mosel (Moselle in French) are far less common than on the Rhine River. This is unfortunate as the smaller but meandering Mosel River is just as beautiful and at times even more spectacular than the wider Rhine. The use of locks on the Mosel means that up and downriver cruise times are more equal than on the Rhine.
Average cruise times from Koblenz to towns on the Mosel are around:
Mosel River excursion boat cruises are only available during the high season and usually not daily. Mosel cruises are also available from Cochem and much further upriver in Trier with its magnificent Roman monuments. See Day-Trip Cruises on the Moselle River for more on cruises upstream of Cochem to for example Bernkastel-Kues and Trier.
Rhine and Mosel River Day-Trip Cruise Season
Boat cruises on the Rhine from Koblenz are generally available from early April to late October (from late March if Easter is early). The high season is from mid-April to early October with even more cruises departing on the Rhine during July and August.
During the shoulder seasons, cruises are more common on Friday and weekends than from Monday to Thursday. During winter, cruises are sometimes available on advent weekends. During the rest of winter, cruises are very limited – and more likely from Rüdesheim or in Cologne.
More on the Rhine River
Day-Trip Excursions and Pleasure Cruises on the Rhine River:
- Middle Rhine (Loreley Valley) — UNESCO World Cultural Heritage-listed Area:
- Upper Rhine — Cologne, Düsseldorf, Bonn to Linz
- Special events: Cruises to Rhine in Flames Fireworks, Christmas and New Year’s Cruises in Cologne, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, and Rüdesheim
- Moselle River Cruises (Cochem, Bernkastel-Kues, Trier, Koblenz, Burg Eltz)
- Cruises on the Main River in Frankfurt (or better By Train from Frankfurt to the Best Rhine Cruises)
- Cruises from Worms, Mannheim, Heidelberg (on the Neckar River)
- Cruises from Speyer
- Rhinefalls (Rhine Waterfalls, Schaffhausen, Stein am Rhein, Kreuzlingen)
Tips and Savings on Day-Trip Rhine Cruises
- The best part of the Rhine for day-trip excursion cruises in the Middle Rhine between Rüdesheim / Bingen and Koblenz. See Savings Tips and the Best Cruise Lines cruising in the Loreley Valley.
- Save with a KD Rhine Pass on Rhine River cruises (unfortunately not always available but a potentially good savings deal on longer day-trip cruises).
- Check train times for Germany (and most of Europe) at German Railways.