If storybook castles, riverside towns and rolling hills full of vineyards sound like your kind of thing, then look no further than the lush Mosel Valley.
While there are many quaint, cobbled towns with fairy tales castles perched high up on hills to choose from in this area, I chose to explore the town of Cochem for a couple of days when I last visited Germany. Although, the main reason I chose to stay in Cochem, Germany was to visit a nearby attraction, I quickly fell in love with this little town with its medieval town center, colorful riverfront promenade and scenic vineyards.
Here are top 5 things to do in and around Cochem in Germany
1. Boat Ride on the Mosel
The Mosel river starts in northeastern France and twists and turns its way into western Germany. There are many companies that offer a variety of tours from short boat rides up and down the Mosel that lasts 1-2 hours to tours that let you hop from one riverside town to the next. All of these options are a great way to enjoy the castles and ruins that adorn the heights above the Mosel valley or to take in the beauty of the lush green vineyards wrapped around the region’s picturesque hills.
Here is the link for one of the main operators that run boat tours in Cochem, Germany.
2. Explore the Old Town
Cochem’s Altstadt or old town hasn’t lost any of its charm from the past. From the half timbered buildings in the Marktplatz to its narrow streets lined with shops, the town really is a picture perfect little German town.
3. Relax Along the River Promenade
Life is slow in Cochem and is the ideal place if you are looking for some rest and relaxation. One great way to do this is to sit on the grass along the river and watch the boats and people pass by.
4. Visit Cochem Castle
Cochem Castle or The Reichsburg Cochem was originally built in the 11th century and completely destroyed in the late 1600’s by the French. The present castle was rebuilt later in the 19th century.
There is a shuttle bus that takes you to the castle that runs from April to November. The schedule and cost can be found here. However, walk from the Marktplatz up to the castle for some scenic views of vineyards. Although it can be a bit steep at times, it’s a bit more rewarding if you are able and up for the walk.
Cost – €6 and includes a required guided tour. Schedule can be found here.
However, if you really want to see a German castle in all of its glory, completely preserved and untouched by both nature and man since the 12th century, head about 30 kms east to Burg Eltz. I have seen my fair share of castles and palaces in Europe, however, I can tell you that nothing comes close to Burg Eltz. What’s unique about this castle is that it has been owned by the same family for 33 generations and has never once been destroyed. Although you can’t takes pictures of the inside of the castle, its interior was so beautiful that it will be forever etched in my mind. I will post everything you need to know about getting to Burg Eltz in a separate post soon!
5. Enjoy Wine from the Region
The Mosel region is well known for its wine. There are a couple of wineries if you want to do tastings. The town also has a couple of great wine shops selling wine from the region as well.
How to get to Cochem
The closest airports are either Frankfurt or Cologne. These two cities will also have the best train connection into Cochem. Regionally Koblenz is also a hub that connects towns along the Mosel. The train ride into Cochem was really picturesque with the Mosel river on one side and lush green hills on the other.
Once you get there almost everything is walking distance. The town itself is about 500 meters from the train station. You can also hop on a boat if you want to see some of the other towns along the river.
Where to Stay
There are a lot of great bed and breakfast options along the river. I stayed at Beim Weinbauer. You can check them out here. I had a room facing the river and their breakfast was really amazing! They also have a restaurant downstairs serving good food and wine.
Do check out Cochem if you’re ever near this area and please let me know if you have any questions!
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