Bacharach in a Blur

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Where to Go in Germany

Bacharach in Half a Day

Rick Steves, in one of his “Europe in the blink of an eye” itineraries that Europeans feel so smug about, suggests to his readers to spend two nights in the Rhineland town of Bacharach, as much time as you are allowed to dedicate to Venice and Amsterdam (only Paris gets more).

That, to me, seems a trifle excessive. (Not the two days in Venice but the two days in Bacharach, a town of less than 2000 inhabitants and little more than a single high street.)

We took the exact opposite approach: as part of our “The Rhineland in half a day on the return from a hiking trip” tour, we spent about an hour and a half there, enough for a sprint from the train station to the town centre and back while still finding the time for a quick cup of coffee.

Beat that, Americans!

"Burg Stahleck in Bacharach Germany"

Turn right out of the train station. The castle you see on top of the hill to your left is Burg Stahleck from the 11th century, although nobody appears to be quite sure how old exactly it is. (It is now operated as a Youth Hostel, so you could not visit it if even you had more time on your hands.)

"Ruin of the Werner Chapel in Bacharach Germany"

Burg Stahleck was destroyed many times over its 1000 year long history – what you see today is inevitably part Middle Ages, part modern fiction – but the ruin of the Werner Chapel a little further along your way only looks that way: in fact, it was intended as the nucleus of a major church project that never quite got off the ground. (The story of Werner of Oberwesel to whose memory the chapel was originally dedicated is actually quite fascinating.)

Bacharach’s town walls are remarkably well preserved …

"Town centre of Bacharach in Germany"

… and the market square is lined with beautiful old buildings.

Okay, I admit: two days may be a bit much, but you could easily spend a few hours here just walking through the lanes of the Old Town …

  "A side street in Bacharach Germany"

… which means: you could but we couldn’t because we had a train to catch. For us, it was gulping down our coffees and taking a few more photos …

"A side street in Bacharach Germany"

… before our return to the train station.

Bacharach in a blur. Now we know what it must feel like to take a whistle stop tour of Europe.

Everybody in Europe was absolutely lovely,” the US senator said, “only the King of Belgium was a little cool.” The senator frowned: “Or was that the King of Greece?

15 comments to Bacharach in a Blur

  • Well, I am one American that could actually see myself staying 2 nights in Bacharach! Not sure I’d spend the entire time in Bacharach but spending a relaxing couple days along the Rhine alternating between sipping coffee and wine sounds pretty darn good to me :)

  • Good call, Jenna. I wouldn’t either. And thanks for dropping by.

  • I spent about the same amount of time in Bacharach and thought it was the nicest town in the area, but we actually stayed at a great guesthouse in Oberwesel that I would definitely return to (mentioned it in my post on the area). We spent a weekend cruising up and down the Rhine on the hop-on-hop-off ferry, so two days made sense in the slow travel context. But would I allot two days if I only had limited time to see all of Europe? Umm, no :)

  • Oooooh. That town looks like it came straight out of fairy tale book. I’ve never heard of the place but I really want to go there now! :)

  • We’re not much of slow travelers either but I can spend a few hours or a day in this lovely town. Beautiful photos of a charming town that looks like it jumped out of a story book. I love how that castle looks.

  • What a fabulous tour of an enchanting village in Germany. Now, I have to add this one to my bucket list too. ; ) And you’re right, the story of Werner of Oberwesel is a fascinating tale indeed. Photo perfection as usual my friends!

  • OK, I challenge you! I am also quite adept at spending 1-1/2 hours in some places. Not much “slow travel” for me — unfortunately. :( Now I know how to spend a little time in Bacharach. It really looks quite lovely.

  • This looks like a really nice place to stay for a weekend and just relax. Assuming, of course, that you live in Europe and just want a getaway. …As opposed to Being On A Tour Of Europe, that is. Nice photos, adorable town!

  • What a beautiful bonus trip this was, eh Michael?
    I’ve always wanted to do that – get off a train, explore and get back on — but I’d be too nervous of getting lost or just getting lost in the beauty of the place and missing my train. It sounds like you Bacharach was the perfect place to do that. It is a beautiful little town.

  • Beautiful cozy town! Incredible traditional architecture all the way :)

  • I’m surprised you lived to tell the tale after rousing the entire town at the unholy hour of 9 pm, Jools.

  • Ha, love it, especially one in the eye for Rick Steeves and his minions! We actually did spend several days in Bacharach, largely by mistake…before going out one evening and realising our alarm clock was waking up the entire village at 9pm. Then we woke up ourselves and knew it was time to move on! Extremely pretty little place though, it’s true.

  • I’m so jealous! I remember getting a quick view of Burg Stahleck on a train from Frankfurt to Trier. If I’d known the town was so charming I certainly would have stopped for a quick tour, although the weather was not ideal. You seem to have had a perfect day. Your photos are spectacular!

  • This place looks pretty enough but I’m glad I don’t bother reading Rick Steve’s books.

  • I adore this town! But agree 2 days is a bit much, unless you plan to use it as a base for visiting the region.

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