German Sights

Travel to Rhineland-Palatinate

The Rhineland-Palatinate is located in the western region of Germany. It borders Belgium, Luxembourg and France to the west.

It borders Saarland to the southwest. Baden-Württemberg to the southeast, Hesse to the east, and North Rhine-Westphalia to the north.

The capital of the state is Mainz, which is also the largest city. The nearby cities of Worms and Speyer on the Rhine are some of Germany's oldest settlements, while Trier and Koblenz are both important tourist destinations in the Mosel valley.

Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany

Flying to Rhineland-Palatinate

Hahn Airport is the only international passenger airport actually located in the state. It is situated near the centre of the Rhineland-Palatinate and is mainly used by budget airline Ryanair, who somewhat controversially refer to it as Frankfurt Hahn. (The airport is more than 120 kilometres to the west of Frankfurt.) The airport is convenient for the Moselle valley and offers flights from a limited number of European destinations.

The most popular option in a neighbouring state would be the airport at Frankfurt, the largest in Germany and one of the busiest in the world. Although it is located in the neighbouring state of Hesse, the wide range of airlines and international destinations and the short distance and good connections to towns along the Rhine make it a good alternative.

Stuttgart Airport is centrally-located on a main motorway connection and with regular regional train services into the city. The airport would be an option for destinations in the southern part of the Rhineland-Palatinate, such as Speyer. The airport is one of the largest in Germany and offers a range of flights within the country and some scheduled options around Europe (including various budget airlines).

Cologne-Bonn Airport is located midway between the two cities to the east of the Rhine river. It is a good alternative for those wishing to travel to the towns and cities in the northern Rhineland-Palatinate. Flights are available from a wide range of European destinations and a limited number of airport in the Middle East.

Luxembourg may be a very small country but Luxembourg city hosts a number of important European institutions and the airport serves a wide range of European destinations. Luxembourg may be a good choice for those travelling to southern and western Rhineland-Palatinate.

Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden Airport is the second-largest airport in Baden-Württemberg situated on the French border slightly to the west of Baden Baden and 40km to the south of Karlsruhe. It is a smaller hub for Ryanair's European flights, but otherwise mostly offers summer sun destinations.

Rhineland-Palatinate by Train

The state benefits by being part of some of western Germany's most important high-speed rail links. Services linking the Ruhr region to the Rhine-Main area run along the Rhine valley and also help connect most of the major cities in the Rhineland-Palatinate.

Services run along both the left and right banks of the Rhine. There is also an express line further to the east which links Cologne airport and Frankfurt airport through the town of Montabaur.

Mainz, Worms, Ludwigsburg and Mannheim are all connected by the regional RheinNeckar S-Bahn service, which mostly runs a little to the west of the Rhine.

The Moselstrecke line links Koblenz to Trier via Cochem. Although it stops at a number of Mosel valley towns it operates slightly to the west (on the left bank) of the river.

One of the best rail bargains in any state is the day pass for the (slower) regional services. In Rhineland-Palatinate's case this is called the Rheinland-Pfalz-Ticket and offers unlimited travel on local services in Rhineland-Palatinate and neighbouring Saarland from 09.00 to 03.00 the following day (or from midnight on weekends).

The single price is low (26 Euros at the time of writing) but the real bargain is that extra people can be added to the ticket up to a maximum of five for only 6 Euros a person. Thus five people can have unlimited travel for a day in Rhineland-Palatinate for only 50 Euros. (Note that Intercity services are not included.)

A similar ticket is offered for those planning to visit Luxembourg. This costs the same amount, also offers travel in Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland as well as Luxembourg, and is called Rheinland-Pfalz-Ticket Lux.

Driving in Rhineland-Palatinate

Rhineland-Palatinate is located in such an important position between the cities on the Rhine, the settlements in the Frankfurt area and the Ruhr that it has nearly 900 kilometres of motorway in the state.

The following major national motorway routes run through Rhineland-Palatinate:

  • the A1 motorway runs from Cologne south through the state to Saarbrücken. The Rhineland-Palatinate section has a break in the motorway near the Eifel mountains and restarts near Blankenheim in North Rhine-Westphalia
  • the A3 motorway is a direct connection between Cologne and Frankfurt and crosses the northeastern corner of Rhineland-Palatinate
  • the A6 motorway runs from the French border near Saarbrücken and passes near Kaiserslautern on its way to the Czech border (and on to Prague)
  • the A8 motorway runs from Luxembourg and runs through the southern part of Rhineland-Palatinate. It breaks just outside Pirmasens and recommences at Karlsruhe on its way to Salzburg in Austria
  • the A48 is an important motorway connection between Koblenz and the A1 down to Trier
  • the A60 links the Belgian border to the A1
  • the A61 connects the Cologne-Bonn region to Koblenz, Mannheim and Speyer

The German automobile club is called ADAC and it offers information on traffic and road conditions on its website (German only):

Map of Rhineland-Palatinate