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Best Things to See and Do in the Moselle Valley

  • Visit the Moselle valley and explore fairy tale castles, bustling markets and a treasure trove of historical museums
  • What to see and where to go – from Germany’s oldest city Trier to Cochem’s famed hilltop castle, Reichsburg
  • Wine tasting and delicious cuisine abound – sample Riesling in Bernkastel and explore wine cellars in Traben-Trarbach

Visit the Moselle valley, or Mosel if you use its German spelling, and the area’s timeless natural beauty will leave a lasting impression. Add to that Moselle’s Roman heritage, dramatic castles and wine tasting, and it’s clear there’s lots to see, do and enjoy on holidays to Germany.

Moselle mosel river vineyard

Mosel River vineyard

Step back in time in Trier

An escorted tour around Trier is an enlightening and fascinating way to discover more about Germany’s oldest city, its links to Roman times and the eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites that can be found here. The most impressive is Porta Nigra, a magnificent fortified stone gate, but also take time to visit Trier’s imperial baths, the Roman bridge and amphitheatre, once the site of gladiatorial contests. The Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier has the world’s largest Roman gold coin collection. In the Aula Palatina, built in the time of Emperor Constantine, you’ll see an outstanding Throne Room.

Trier’s market squares are a joy too, many encircled by well-preserved townhouses – look out for the Steipe building in the city’s largest plaza, Hauptmarkt. Other notable landmarks include the High Cathedral of Saint Peter, Germany’s oldest church, and the nearby Church of Our Lady. The birthplace of Karl Marx, born in Trier in 1818, is now a museum dedicated to the communist revolutionary’s life and writings.

moselle porta nigra trier

Porta Nigra, Trier

Kick back in Koblenz where the Moselle and Rhine meet

Situated at the confluence of the Moselle and Rhine rivers, Koblenz dates back some 2,000 years and a leisurely stroll in the historic city centre is highly recommended. One enjoyable thing you’re sure to notice about Moselle river cruises is that the pace is relaxed and comfortable. While cultural excursions are included in the cost of your river cruise, these are never a rushed affair and you’ll also have opportunities to explore destinations alone.

While in Koblenz, take time to appreciate the many beautiful Old Town squares with late Renaissance and early Baroque house fronts, many painstakingly restored. Wander down to the German Corner (Deutsches Eck) to the point of land that separates the two famous rivers. Nearby, you’ll find the 9th-century Basilica of St Castor, the city’s oldest church featuring Romanesque architecture and vaulted ceilings.

For spectacular views of the Moselle and Upper Middle Rhine Valley, head up to the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress that towers over Koblenz. A cable car makes the journey easy. However, don’t board gondola 17 if you have a fear of heights – it has a glass floor!

Moselle moselle river loop

Moselle loop at Bremm.

Take a trip to Eltz Castle

Another castle worth exploring is Burg Eltz, perched high above the Moselle and around a 30-minute drive from Koblenz. Looking as if it has come straight out of the pages of a fairy tale, this splendid medieval castle is still owned and cared for by members of the same family who have lived there since the 12th century. Miraculously the castle survived unscathed from war through the centuries and today visitors can admire 800-year-old furnishings, armoury and gold and silver treasures. Castle tours last 40 minutes, and English-speaking guides can be requested. To avoid crowds, arrive before 11am or after 3pm.

You can also trek around the surrounding Eltz Forest on various trails. The ‘romantic’ short route takes approximately 35 minutes, with the more energetic ‘dream’ path a five-hour hike.

Go wine-tasting in Bernkastel

Take a look at a Moselle river map and one destination will stand out – Bernkastel. The Moselle valley is one of Germany’s most outstanding wine regions with vines being first planted on the riverbank slopes back in the second century by the Romans. The grapes that produce white Moselle wine including Riesling thrive in the flinty soils here and any good Moselle river cruise will provide opportunities to enjoy a tasting. Visit late August/early September and you can join the celebrations at the annual Bernkastel-Kues wine festival. Prost!

Other attractions to see in the pretty twin towns of Bernkastel-Kues include the Pointed House, an ornate half-timbered dwelling built by a wine merchant in 1416. It’s the most photographed building in the medieval town, and there’s a wine tavern inside. St Michael’s 14th-century church stands on the banks of the Moselle, and over a bridge, in Kues, the library of St Nicholas’ Hospital houses one of the world’s most valuable manuscript collections containing knowledge of theology, astronomy, medicine and ecclesiastical law.

moselle glasses of riesling

Be captivated by Cochem

Located on one of the prettiest parts of the Moselle valley, Cochem is the traditional centre of the Moselle wine trade and an attractive, romantic town. Its charming narrow streets are lined with pastel-coloured homes, medieval fortifications, quirky shops and wine cellars, and in the quaint old marketplace, there’s a historic town hall.

Cochem’s hilltop castle, Reichsburg, is the must-see attraction – a shuttle bus takes visitors from the town centre. Steeped in over 1,000 years of history, and falling foul of sieges and battles, the medieval fortress was loving restored in the neo-Gothic style during the Romanticism period of the 19th century. The interior rooms such as the Knights’ Hall and Trophy Room, as well as the courtyards, can only be visited as part of a 40-minute castle tour. English group tours are available hourly during the summer season from 10.30am.

moselle cityscape of cochem

Reichsburg Imperial castle Cochem

Tour around Traben-Trarbach

Escorted tours to Germany may also include a visit to Traben-Trarbach, which is often called the jewel of Central Moselle. Straddling both banks of the river, in its heyday the town was a world-renowned wine trading centre and today the wine cellars are still put to good use – they turn into a winter wonderland for Traben-Trarbach’s underground Christmas market.

Wandering around the little town, there’s much Art Nouveau architecture to marvel at, as well as the beautiful Brückentor city gate and Böcking House, an 18th-century mansion – now a museum – visited by Prussian royalty and German poet and author Goethe.

Start your own Moselle valley adventure

If you’re now keen to discover the Moselle valley for yourself, why not book a Riviera Travel’s Moselle river cruise? Or consider one of the escorted tours in Germany and explore more Deutschland delights.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.