Long weekends are for travelling – somewhere further than usual weekend getaways, but without having to spend a whole day on the road. This post is about our long weekend in a picturesque area around Koblenz, Germany, one nap away from Amsterdam.
The Luxury of Choice and Getting There
Having done city tourism (Belgium) not long ago, we wanted to see more of nature this time around. We consulted a map and picked Koblenz area as a promising destination for our long weekend getaway, within 3,5 hours drive from our place.
We prefer driving during our toddler’s nap time – it’s a win-win solution – the kid sleeps well in the rocking and humming car, doesn’t get bored and we can listen to audiobooks or music, the passenger(s) can sleep or just relax.
3,5 hours is longer than our toddler naps. That means, at least one stop on the way is inevitable. Those parkings along the highway, or Autobahn in German, have everything you need for a comfortable stop – toilets, tables with benches, some green patches to walk your dog. Most people sit while eating there, but it’s a good idea to walk yourself between the drives as well. We didn’t have the luxury of choice here – a toddler requires constant moving, so sitting is not an option anyway.
The remaining 2 hours on the road were less relaxing. Little toys, books, and snacks came to the rescue, singing and looking out the window also helped to entertain the little one.
We decided to stay in Braubach, at a small Hotel Bellavista, owned by an Italian family, situated on a bank of the Rhine.
Braubach is an old little town in Western Germany, not far from Koblenz, it is close to hiking trails and is right at the foot of a mountain, with an ancient castle on top.
Every yard shows off incredible collections of cute decor and houses date back as early as 17th century.
Our room, facilities and the balcony were tiny and very basic but with a nice view over the Rhine.
The Majestic Rhine
The Rhine is busy – whenever you look at it, you inevitably spot at least one ship, with either cargo or elderly travellers on board.
And the banks of the Rhine are so good for a walk after dinner. In both Braubach and Koblenz it was a pleasure to stroll along the neat and nice esplanades.
Where to Eat
As for the dinner itself, we were not impressed with it at our hotel. Breakfast was fine but our next dinner we decided to have in town.
We liked it at Gasthof zum Goldenen Schlüssel. We were seated outside, right at the quiet Market Square in front of the restaurant. So, our toddler could play and run without disturbing others too much (though locals didn’t let their kids do it, they had to sit quietly at the table). The meal was generous, as a German meal usually is, and that’s when our toddler first agreed to eat meat. The schnitzel was that good.
We didn’t do restaurants in Koblenz but decided to have some street food – you cannot beat German sausages on a bun and with sauerkraut. We got them at the Esplanade.
Our lunches on the go (along with ice cream, fruit and food for our picky eater) we were getting at a supermarket in Braubach.
Things to do around Braubach
Even though we didn’t start our journey early in the morning and had about one hour stop on the way, it was still not late when we arrived at our hotel. So, after the check-in, we put our toddler in the backpack and went up the mountain toward the Marksburg castle.
Marksburg Castle is around 800 years old and has been preserved without any major damage since the 12th century.
We were lucky to get the last tour of the day (you can only get in with a guided tour), but our guide was not very child-friendly. Our toddler didn’t like the boring indoors of the castle and the guide was obviously annoyed that his lecture was being interrupted (we did our best to help the situation, promise, but nothing can beat a toddler’s will).
But the views are stunning from there.
On day 2 we went on a real hike. We chose the Ruppertsklamm trail, with an estimated duration of 1,5 hours, but, with a toddler and other challenges, it was a whole day adventure for us.
The adventure started with us getting lost even before we started the hike. That is, we couldn’t find the beginning of the trail. But eventually, we overcame this first hurdle.
Our toddler hikes in the backpack behind daddy’s back, but from time to time she needs to get out and run around, and the back also needs some rest.
Things to do in Koblenz
Koblenz is a nice little city on the banks of the Rhine.
There are various cruises and excursions to explore Koblenz and the area, but having limited time, we didn’t take any. They seem quite popular though.
We had a nice walk and spent some time at playgrounds.
Walking the city, Schloss Koblenz is hard to miss. It’s a beautiful neoclassical palace with a park and a great playground on its grounds.
Go over the Rhine
Get on the cable car to get to the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress on the other bank. We didn’t have time for this but will definitely do it the next time we happen to be in the area again.