Bacharach is an adorable small town near Mainz and Koblenz in Rhineland-Palatinate. The town is characterised by its little alleys and historical architecture. Bacharach had its first documentary mention in the 11th century and had historically been an important transfer point for trading wine. Nowadays the town still kept its beautiful historical character. There are a few guesthouses and small hotels which makes Bacharach a perfect spot to spend the day or night during a Christmas market road trip along the Rhine river from Cologne down to Heidelberg.
Cologne is easy to fly to, so it is best to start your Christmas market trip in Cologne and then drive south along the Rhine. A potential itinerary for a long weekend of a jolly German Christmas experience could look as follows:
Christmas Market Weekend – Friday: Arrive in Cologne during the afternoon and spend the evening at the Cologne Christmas market.
Christmas Market Weekend – Saturday:
- Pick up your rental car in the morning and drive to Koblenz for a late brunch at the Koblenz Christmas market.
- After brunch head down to the castle Schloss Rheinfels for some coffee and cake in the afternoon. Make sure you arrive there via the route along the river. The route has one of the most beautiful sceneries in Germany, so you don’t want to miss it. I know you are eager to drive on the Autobahn, but save this for your next trip to Germany.
- Continue driving on the river and enjoy the scenery. You might want to stop alone the way around Burg Katz or at some other castles that you see on you way. Arrive in Bacharach in the early evening.
- Check into your guest house in Bacharach and then take a walk through the town’s little alleys and hidden gems. Later during the evening enjoy some local food and wine from the region in one of Bacharach’s historical restaurants.
Christmas Market Weekend – Sunday:
- Have a long breakfast in a cosy place in Bacharach and then make your way down to Mainz. It is still pretty on the river but you might want to arrive in Mainz by early afternoon, so this time you are allowed to take the Autobahn ;)
- Stroll through the pretty Christmas market in Mainz and have some Reibekuchen for late brunch. Then relax in one of the mulled wine places and soak in the ambience. Don’t drink too much though – you will still have to drive a couple of hours today!
- Around late afternoon it’s time again to hit the road and make your way to Heidelberg.
- Arrive in Heidelberg in the early evening and check into your hotel. Then spend the night on the Heidelberg Christmas market and drink as much mulled wine as you can (without having a headache the next day!).
Christmas Market Weekend – Monday:
- Sleep in, have a long breakfast and then make your way up to the Heidelberg Castle. From there you will have a beautiful view over Heidelberg which is super romantic during the Xmas season.
- During the early afternoon walk around the beautiful city centre of Heidelberg. Finish your Christmas market experience by taking a last stroll through the Heidelberg Christmas market during day time. Get some food. And head to Frankfurt to catch your flight home.
The above Christmas market weekend itinerary is super flexible. The proposed route will lead you through lots of little and cosy villages that each have their own little Christmas market. So it is easy to customise your Christmas market trip and get lost in what is one of the most beautiful areas in Germany. Below are photos of beautiful Bacharach during December :)
The best way to Bacharach is via Cologne, Mainz or Frankfurt. Make sure you get a rental car so you can enjoy all the beautiful scenery on the car route along the river. Do you see the little castle on the top of the hill below? This is not the only castle in that area ;)