One of the most beautiful German river landscapes can be found along the Moselle River. With its 561 Km, it flows from the Vosges mountains in France to merge in the powerful Rhine in Koblenz, Germany. All along, it’s all vineyards, forests, castles, and picturesque towns looking like a fairytale!
The Mosel Valley is famous for being a prized wine-growing region producing the best German Riesling wines: bright yellow and with a distinctive aroma of honeydew and lime making them sweet yet pleasantly acid and fresh at the same time.
The vineyards are not entirely dedicated to Riesling though: Elbling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Kerner, and Auxerrois are among the other grape varieties you can find here.
Rural Germany is lovely and picturesque, and it’s a perfect destination for travelers wanting to step out of the beaten paths.
Let’s see a list of the most interesting activities you can enjoy in the Moselle Valley!
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Table of Contents
Best Things to Do in the Mosel Valley
Take in the river landscape in Koblenz
Rhine and Moselle merge right there, offering a unique landscape and a stunning view. The city is surrounded by vineyards and farmland, but the mountains are not too far away offering many hiking trails and scenic paths. Koblenz is also one of the best starting points for a river cruise, either on the Rhine or the Moselle River.
What to do in Koblenz:
- Take the cable car: if you don’t suffer from vertigo, enjoy the view while reaching the Ehrenbreitstein fortress by cable car.
- Have a stroll in the Old Town: even if Koblenz is a large and modern city, its Old Town is still authentic and picturesque. Just spend a couple of hours wandering around, and immerse yourself in its timeless charm.
- Take a picture from the Deutches Eck: that’s where the two rivers merge, and it’s one of the most photographed spots in Koblenz. Take the lovely promenade along the Rhine River to get even closer to water.
- Visit St. Castor’s Basilica: it’s the oldest church in town. and it was built by the Archbishop of Trier in the XIII century. It’s built in Romanic style and it’s recognizable from a distance thanks to its twin towers.
Step out of the beaten paths in Cochem
It’s a popular destination among locals, but it’s still off the radar of most international visitors. It’s one of the best starting points for a wine tour in the Moselle Valley since there is a wide range of wineries both in and around town.
What to do in Cochem:
- Step back in time at the Reichsburg Castle: overlooking the city from the top of a hill, this castle can be easily reached by a short trail. Once up there, enjoy the view sitting at a restaurant table before visiting its internal rooms.
- Have a stroll in the Old Town: the traditional half-timbered buildings and the small squares of the Old Town are the perfect setting for an evening stroll. There are also many typical restaurants and cozy cafés for your breaks.
- Visit the secret Bundesbank-Bunker: this bunker in the suburbs has been kept hidden and secret for years, and it was in use during the Cold War. Now you can visit it with a guided tour to learn more about that historical period.
- Learn more about local agriculture at the Moselland Museum: located just outside Cochem, a modern museum established in 2017 will teach you all you need to know about past agricultural techniques. That was made possible by the private collection of tractors and agricultural machinery belonging a local family wanting to celebrate the rural lifestyle of the Moselle Valley.
Step back in time in Trier
Trier’s long history dates back to the Roman Era, and it saw its peak in the Middle Ages. Today, it’s one of the main tourist destinations in Germany, and its famous university attracts hundreds of young people making it lively and vibrant all year long.
What to do in Trier:
- Visit the Cathedral (St. Petrus Dom): the oldest German bishop see looks majestic and austere, reminding of its ancient role of spiritual and political center. Inside, it’s full of artistic masterpieces, and it also houses an important relic that was brought there by the mother of Emperor Constantine.
- Wonder at the ancient Roman splendor in front of the Porta Nigra: it’s the largest Roman gate located North of the Alps. It takes its name (literally “black gate”) from the dark color of its stones, but it’s even darker today, due to dirt and exhaust gas!
- Visit the Basilica of Constantine: this Roman basilica was built in the IV century by Constantine I, and it was used as a throne hall. It’s a single-hall building, which was quite uncommon at that time.
- Have a stroll in the Old Town: just walk around the city center to spot as many World Heritage Sites as you can! There are 8 of them in Trier!
Immerse yourself in nature in Beilstein
A tiny picturesque village that seems to have just come out of a medieval fairy tale. Surrounded by rolling hills covered by vineyards, it’s the perfect destination to escape routine for a while and enjoy some nature and family fun.
What to do in Beilstein:
- Enjoy the view from the Metternich Castle: you can reach the castle with an easy hike and enjoy the view of the river and the vineyards below. It’s in ruins now, but it’s still picturesque and worth the trip.
- Visit the Karmeliterkirche of St. Josef: it’s the only actual landmark of Beilstein, together with the castle and it overlooks the village from a low hill.
- Feel the adrenaline rush on the Geierlay Suspension Bridge: it was built in 2015 and it was inspired by Nepalese suspension bridges. You can reach it in about 20 minutes by car from Beilstein, and you can take many hiking trails from there.
- Stay fit taking the Calmont Klettersteig: a nice day trip from Belstein includes this via ferrata crossing the steepest vineyard in Europe! It’s located only 14km away from the village, and it’s suitable for everybody wanting to experience this kind of outdoor activity, even absolute beginners.
Enjoy some Jungendstil in Traben-Trarbach
An elegant and glamorous small town offering the perfect destination for a getaway weekend or a romantic escape. The two former towns of Traben and Trarbach are connected by a bridge spanning across the Moselle River and making them one single municipality. Its highlights are the many villas in Jugendstil with their flowered gardens giving the town an aristocratic vibe.
What to do in Traben- Trarbach:
- Climb up to the Grevenburg Castle: it was built in 1350 and it’s now in ruins. You can reach it with an easy 30minute hike from the center of the town, and it’s worth the trip because of the lovely view you can enjoy from the top pf the hill.
- Learn more about the history of the Region at the Mittelmosel Museum: you’ll learn more about the castles scattered throughout this rural area, and you’ll also have the chance to visit an authentic Baroque mansion with its original furniture.
- Take a picture of the Brückentor: the symbol of Traben-Trarbach is this gate in Jugendstil giving access to the bridge.
- Enjoy some wine tastings: there are plenty of wineries in town! Take a look at this list Below the streets of Traben-Trarbach – The Cellars in TRARBACH (unterwelt-ausflug.de) and choose your favorite one!
Spend a romantic weekend in Kobern Gondorf
Koben and Gondorf were two separate towns, but they’re now a single municipality even if they still keep their distinctive vibes and looks. If you prefer a traditional atmosphere with old half-timbered buildings and narrow alleyways, choose accommodation in Kobern, while if you want to be closer to the main attractions, choose accommodation in Gondorf.
What to do in Kobern Gondorf
- Climb up to the Niederburg: if you love medieval ruins, just enjoy the walk and the path winding up among the local vineyards.
- Visit the Matthiaskapelle: this Romanic chapel overlooks the town and it’s a scenic place that locals often use for weddings!
- Visit the Church of St. Lubetius: it was built in 1828 in local stone, that is Mayen basalt. Its highlights are the baroque baptismal font, and the wooden ceiling with the zodiac signs.
- Have a stroll in the Old Town: enjoy the picturesque Market Square with its perfectly restored medieval buildings and its many typical restaurants. Also spend a moment to closely watch the Tatzelwurmbrunnen, a fountain representing a local mythological creature.
Feel like a Prince or a Princess in Eltz Castle
If you’re a fan of medieval atmospheres and stories, visit this castle located only 35 Km away from Koblenz. It’s still privately owned by the Eltz family who first lived there in the Middle Ages, but it’s open for visit and perfectly maintained and restored.
Inside, you’ll be able to wander around ancient rooms and closely watch some original armors, paintings, and murals. The castle is perched on a 70m high rocky cliff in the middle of a thick forest, and this amazing location alone is worth the trip. More information at Home – Burg Eltz (burg-eltz.de)
Taste a glass of Riesling in a local winery
Wineries are everywhere in the Moselle Valley, and you’ll be definitely spoilt for choice! One of the most popular activities is taking a wine tour and tasting some local products. You’ll find any kind of tour anywhere, but you can also book online in advance (ex: Moselle Valley: Guided Vineyard Tour with Wine Tasting).
If you prefer to visit the wineries independently, some of the most renowned wine estates are Dominikaner Weingut C. von Nell-Breuning (the oldest of all, dating back to 1890), Terrassen Weingut Dötsch Haupt (the largest one, with 30 railways of cogwheel train for visitors) or Weingut Heymann-Löwenstein (using sustainable and innovative techniques).
You can stay in Koblenz, Cochem, or Trier for a couple of days, and include one or more day trips to the countryside in your itinerary. If you prefer a smaller location, stay in Bernkastel Kues, a picturesque town that is also home to the Moselle Wine Museum.
Enjoy a River Cruise
You can choose either a simple 1h cruise starting from one of the largest cities of the Region, or take a longer trip lasting up to a week and leading you to discover the river banks and even cross the border to get a glimpse of Luxembourg and France!
The perfect starting point is Koblenz with its two rivers (Rhine and Moselle) but Cochem also offers a wide range of river cruises reaching some picturesque locations like Beilstein, Treis-Karden, or Traben-Trarbach.
Go hiking in nature
There are countless hiking trails available in the Moselle Valley, and they can please any kind of hiker. Just choose among the easiest trails suitable for elderly people and children, or pick up a harder one to stay fit while enjoying some open-air and taking plenty of pictures of the beautiful natural landscape.
If you feel like having a multi-day trekking trip, just take the Moselsteig that will offer you 365Km of wonderful views and natural sceneries. You can easily split your trip into a few sections, each one covering from 11 to 24 Km, and following the Moselle River at different heights.
Another adventure for active people is offered by the Calmont Klettersteig, a scenic but relatively easy via Ferrata allowing you to climb through a steep vineyard. If you prefer a loop, take the Moselachter: it’s 15 Km long, and it starts and ends in Leiwen, only 30 Km away from Trier.