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A Guide to Moselle River Cruises

  • Discover the scenic charms of the Moselle river as it meanders past picturesque medieval towns, rolling hills, and sloping vineyards
  • Expert tips and advice including when to travel, what to pack, and festivals to look forward to along the Moselle river
  • Learn about the highlights of a Moselle river cruise, from Cochem and Trier to the romantic town of Bernkastel

The Moselle river meanders through France, Luxembourg and Germany, flowing 545km (339 miles) from the Vosges mountains down to Koblenz, where it joins the Rhine river. Moselle river cruises typically focus on the scenic, peaceful stretch through Germany’s spectacular wine region, with visits to Cochem, the historic heart of the Moselle wine trade, as well as Bernkastel and Trier on the itinerary.

Cruising leisurely through the Moselle river valley is a memorable, life-enriching experience, as you pass terraced vineyards on steep rugged slopes. From the river, it’s easy to access charming villages and medieval towns – and Germany’s oldest city.

Explore the historic cities of the Rhine and the charming, scenic beauty of the Moselle on our Rhine & Moselle River Cruise, including visiting Cochem and UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site Trier.

Why cruise the Moselle river?

Moselle river cruises are a relaxing and luxurious way to explore one of Germany’s most picturesque river valleys. Board your five-star ship, then settle into your stylish cabin or suite and simply unwind. You need to unpack only once and with full-board and onshore excursions included in the price, you can rest assured that you’re in expert hands.

Passengers are well-cared-for every step of the way, with attentive crew always willing to be of assistance. Make the most of the services of a friendly cruise director and concierge too – everyone wants you to return home with unforgettable memories.

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The Moselle river loop

What’s the best time of the year to cruise the Moselle?

Our Moselle river cruises set sail from late April through to the end of October. The climate in the Moselle valley is perfect for growing grapes, which means the weather is generally warm and pleasant. Daytime temperatures in Cochem will be around 17°C in April, but rise closer to 22°C as June arrives and often hit 24°C or above during July and August. September is a pleasant 20°C in the city, with October a few degrees cooler.

Whatever time of year you choose for your Moselle river cruise, pack comfortable clothing. Layers are always a good idea when the weather is a little cooler, and a warm jumper will be appreciated on chillier evenings if enjoying a nightcap on deck. A lightweight waterproof jacket will come in handy if you’re caught in a rain shower while sightseeing.

The summer months of July and August are, unsurprisingly, a popular time of year for river cruises. German schools are also on holiday then, so do be aware that some destinations may be busier in the summer than in spring or autumn. That said, excursions ashore are at a relaxed pace, and expert guides have local insider knowledge, so it’s easy to avoid any crowds.

Wine festivals are held in many Moselle towns throughout April to October, and if you visit in late summer or early autumn, many vineyards will be celebrating their harvests so you can join the festivities. An extravagant five-day event takes place in and around Bernkastel from 3 September 2020 – expect firework displays, a magnificent parade, bands and, of course, wine tastings.

Don’t fret, however, if your getaway doesn’t coincide with a special event, our best Moselle river cruises will offer the chance to personalise your holiday and organise a wine tasting experience for you. Many of the Moselle vineyards were first planted by the Romans in the 4th century and high-quality vintages can still be sampled today.

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Vineyards along the Moselle

The Moselle and the Rhine

As the Moselle river joins the Rhine at the German city of Koblenz, our Moselle river cruises sail along this famous river too – you’ll also be able to discover the delights of destinations located on the Rhine’s riverbanks. Koblenz itself is a 2,000-year-old city with beautiful squares and fine examples of Renaissance and early Baroque architecture in its Old Town.

The well-regarded wine town of Rüdesheim is another highlight, as is Boppard. Found on a long, looping bend of the river and appropriately named the ‘Pearl of the Rhine’, here you’ll find half-timbered houses lining cobbled streets and an impressive preserved Roman wall, the finest in Germany.

You’ll also be impressed by the spellbinding natural beauty of the Rhine Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site – it’s an exceptional high point of Rhine and Moselle river cruises. The gorge is home to medieval legends, tales of mysterious happenings, fairy-tale castles and fortress ruins. Prepare to be filled with awe.

Highlights of a Moselle river cruise

There’s much to see and do on a Moselle river cruise. Carefully planned itineraries, well organised by experts, take passengers to fascinating towns and villages, and vineyards too, to learn more about Germany’s history, culture, architecture and, of course, the local wine.

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Tatse local wines along the Moselle river

Cochem and Cochem Castle

Our first port of call is Cochem, the epicentre of the Moselle wine trade and much admired for its hilltop turreted Cochem Castle (aka Reichsburg) – a shuttle bus avoids the need for a steep walk. The attractive town has many pretty pastel-coloured houses, so wander the narrow streets where you’re also sure to discover a quirky shop and inviting wine cellar. A chilled glass of aromatic Riesling is a popular tipple – best savoured after a satisfying day’s sightseeing.

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Cochem Castle

Trier, next on our Moselle river cruise itinerary, is one of Germany’s oldest Roman cities. On a guided tour you’ll get the chance to see its remarkably intact amphitheatre, imperial baths and Roman city gate, the Porta Nigra, considered to be the largest and best-preserved example north of the Alps.

Keen historians will be enthralled, as the UNESCO-listed city also has an archaeological museum housing the world’s largest Roman gold coin collection, and its cathedral is the oldest bishop’s church in Germany. If time allows, the birthplace of communist revolutionary Karl Marx, who was born in Trier in 1818, is also worth a visit.

If you’re travelling with a loved one on your river cruise, then the romantic town of Bernkastel is sure to enchant. It’s a joy to walk through its cobbled streets, full of ornate half-timbered buildings, which transport you back in time to the 15th century. The most photographed home in the medieval town is the historic Pointed House, built by a wine merchant in 1416. Narrow at the bottom, wide at the top, don’t just admire the exterior – there’s a family-owned tavern inside.

A two-minute walk away, a local history museum can be found in the Graacher Tor, Bernkastel’s last surviving town gate. Maps, coats of arms, furnishings, and old photos are all on display. Make sure you also take time out and enjoy a freshly brewed coffee in one of the town’s many welcoming cafés.

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Trier Market square

Love every moment of our Moselle river cruise

Ready to immerse yourself into the tranquil heart of historical Germany and its magnificent wine region? Explore our Rhine & Moselle River Cruise to start planning a memorable river cruise holiday.

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