The Moselle River meets the Rhine at Koblenz, Germany. Often paired with a cruise through parts of the Rhine, the Moselle offers uniquely fascinating sights all its own.
Why the Moselle?
The Holy Roman Empire had one of its major capitals here, the magnificent city of Trier, and tidy villages emerged on its fertile shores to produce what would become some of the world’s most loved wines.
Depending on the length of the cruise, you may start your itinerary in the fascinating city of Strasbourg in Alsace, France, ending in Frankfurt, or you may embark in Luxembourg and end in Basel, Switzerland. You may even see the Moselle during an extended Rhine cruise between Amsterdam and Basel, making it easily combinable with a number of popular bucket list attractions on the rivers of Europe.
Here are a few sample highlights of what awaits you on a Moselle River cruise:
Trier’s fascinating ruins from its days as a Roman capital
Germany’s oldest city, where you can discover on a city tour why it has been called the “Rome of the North” or “Second Rome” as it has impressive Roman relics and nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Alternatively, go in search of the secrets of the Porta Nigra Gate on a tour that takes you back to a time when Rome ruled the world from the Emperor’s seat in Trier. You may also have the choice of a bike tour through the historic city center and along the Moselle River or hike high above Trier to Petrisberg.
The fairytale charms of Bernkastel-Kues
Bernkastel is located in the middle of the Moselle Valley’s wine-producing region. Explore by foot its scenic streets, taverns, and vineyards, and enjoy a tasting of exceptional regional Rieslings. Aside from the medieval marketplace, a must-see is the Graach Gate, the last remaining town gate of Bernkastel-Kues. Its original purpose was that of protection, helping to ward off foreign aggression in the 1300s, but now it’s a museum of local history and a beloved landmark. If a bike is your transportation of choice, cycle along the dreamy paths of the Middle Moselle, and hikers can opt to trek up to the ruins of Landshut Castle.
Luxembourg City’s elegant and stately architecture
The world’s only remaining grand duchy, Luxembourg was also once one of Europe’s most strategic and greatest fortified sites. Luxembourg City, the duchy’s capital, is also the first city to have been twice named ‘European Capital of Culture,’ as designated by the European Union. A blend of French, Belgian, Austrian, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, and Prussian architecture, the city reflects its multi-national heritage – having been under the rule and influence of many of its neighbors throughout its history. A modern city, high-tech buildings now stand near the historic ones in a fascinating melting pot of the times.
The stunning medieval town of Cochem
The picturesque town of Cochem is nestled in a particularly scenic area of the Moselle Valley. The Moselle River cuts through the town, leaving Cochem in two distinct halves on two steep hills. Discover Cochem’s perfect quaintness on foot, with stops along with the city wall’s medieval gates and Marktplatz. Uncover Cold War secrets in the quiet residential area of Cochem-Cond, the location of a bunker that held replacement currency during the war. Or opt for an active jaunt along the Moselle with a bike tour, mountain golfing, or hike.
Millennium-old Reichsburg Castle, perched on a hillside
Like King Ludwig II’s famed Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Reichsburg Castle (aka Cochem Castle or Schloss Reichsburg) was purchased by a visionary dreamer who wished to recreate the area’s previous grandeur, build upon ancient ruins, and create a stunning new retreat for himself and his family. Overlooking the scenic Moselle River and picturesque town of Cochem, the Reichsburg Castle has a long storied history.
The quaint Old Town of Koblenz, where the Moselle and Rhine meet
Watch the waters of the Moselle meld with the Rhine’s as you stand on the spit of land called German Corner: It’s the perfect spot for a symbol of German unity, an equestrian statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I, who united the nation in the 19th century. (There’s another symbol of German unity here too: three panels of the Berlin Wall.) Behind it is Koblenz’s oldest church, St. Castor’s Basilica, first erected in the ninth century, and just one of the charming churches and squares you’ll encounter as you wander through Old Town. Like many Rhineland towns, Koblenz suffered at the hands of Louis XIV’s forces—that’s why you’ll see so many baroque features in the buildings you pass since so many needed to be reconstructed after the French left. That’s also why the Church of Our Lady has twin onion domes. Despite their travails over the ages, though, Koblenz’s citizens kept their sense of humor: One example of it might catch you by surprise as you pass the fountain known as the Spitting Boy, which spits water without warning.
The refined, sweet flavors of the world’s best Rieslings
Of Germany’s 13 regions for quality winemaking, the Mosel wine region may be the most renowned. Known for age-worthy Riesling and terraced vineyards along the Moselle, Saar, and Ruwer rivers, dramatic steep slopes line both sides of the rivers adding to the stunning landscape as you tour through the valley. Winemaking has been a dominant presence in the region since the 2nd century when the Romans started planting vineyards along the Moselle river.
The Moselle has a lot to offer and I’m here to help you get started on a plan to experience this magical area of Europe. Message me today to get started.