Boppard: Very fine on the Rhine
Stars and Stripes August 18, 2009
Perched along the banks of the Rhine River is a scenic town that is ideal for taking in views of the surrounding hills, hopping on a boat for a cruise or just kicking back and enjoying a local, palate-pleasing Riesling wine.
That place is Boppard, Germany. Getting there is a bit of a challenge, as the town lies along a road wrought with sharp twists and turns through vineyard-covered hills.
During a recent glorious weekday, the sun was shining and people were riding bikes along the area’s riverside bike path or strolling along the town’s river walk, which is dotted with eateries featuring outdoor seating ideally located to take in the sun and view. Not a bad way to spend a workday — or any day, for that matter.
The town is along one of the biggest bends on the Rhine, so one can drive northwest along Koblenzer Strasse, which turns into Highway 9, toward the Bopparder Hamm winery vineyards and take a gander at the town. From here, too, one can snap a photo of the town, with the Rhine in the foreground, and still be on the same side of the river as the town. The view with the green hills in the background is beautiful.
There is also a chairlift that offers a view of the Rhine and nearby lakes. You can get to the lift by taking a little train, called the Rhein Express, that also takes visitors on a 30-minute tour of the town.
Boppard is a place rich in history, with medieval fortifications that, in one area, seem to conceal a separate little town in itself. Underneath an archway is a narrow alleyway-like community with wine rooms, residences and hotels. That area of town is where the streets Blutgasschen and Binger Gasse converge, and is highlighted by the Binger Tor, a gate that was built in the city wall in the Middle Ages.
Boppard’s Web site boasts that the town also has more than 2,000 years of "cultural history." A good place to learn about some of it is in the city museum, which for the past 100 years has occupied a small fortress built near a defensive tower in the 14th century. Among the items is a collection of Brentwood furniture made by Michael Thonet (born in Boppard) and his sons.
The town’s landmark buildings include St. Severus Church, with its two white towers topped with black spires. According to the tourism Web site, the church was built during the 12th and 13th centuries over Roman baths.
Boppard also has plenty of choices of foods, with Chinese and Italian restaurants as well as traditional Germany eateries along the river and in the town’s main square next to St. Severus. The choices also can fit anyone’s budget with dishes such as wild boar for 13.50 euros at the Hotel Rheinlust or quick meals elsewhere for less than 3 euros.
I ate at the Restaurant Alte Schmiede and I wasn’t disappointed with the Canadian Men’s Plate — a smorgasbord of meats — and a dry Bopparder Hamm Riesling. They don’t hold back on the wine portion. Sure, it was a little pricey at 13.50 euros for the food and 3 euros for the wine, but it filled me up and then some.
On the QTDirections
Boppard is northwest of Frankfurt. Follow Autobahn 61 toward Koblenz/ Koln and take exit 41-Boppard toward B.-Buchholz/Boppard/Rhein/B.-Oppenhausen. Head toward B327 Koblenz, Boppard, Oppenhausen, Herschwiesen, Udenhausen. Continue on Hunsrückhöhenstraße and turn right on L209 toward Boppard.
The Boppard City Museum is open 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30-5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday from April 1 to Oct. 31. It is in the Elector’s Castle on Burgstrasse, near Rheinallee, which is the main road along the river. The chairlift is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from April 1 to Oct. 31. Wine festivals are scheduled for Sept. 25-28 and Oct. 2-4 in Boppard.
The "Rhein Express" train is 4 euros for adults and 2 euros for children up to 14 years old. The chairlift is 6.50 euros round trip for adults and 4.20 euros for children up to 13 years old. Admission to the city museum is free. Parking starts at 20 euro cents for each half-hour from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. There is a free lot on Rheinallee, about 700 meters south of the Boppard City Museum.
There are a variety of restaurants to choose from along the river.
Boppard’s tourism Web site is www.boppard.de , with an English-language option. For information on Rhine River cruises, go to: www.loreley-linie.loreleyvalley.com or www.kdrhine.com; both have English sections.