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The Mosel Valley

 

 

Best Places to Visit in Mosel Valley, Germany

The Moseltal

 The Moseltal near Cochem, Germany

The valley of the Mosel River (the Moseltal) between Trier and Koblenz is regarded by many the most beautiful  in Germany. The Mosel's path between Trier and Koblenz proceeds from one meander to  another in a curlicue fashion until it straightens near its union with the Rhine River in Koblenz.  The river is known as the Moselle in France and Luxembourg.

It is somewhat unusual to see steep-sided hills surrounding meandering rivers, but the Mosel River is incised in its valley's dense rock, indicating that its water has been cutting downward into its bed  rather than laterally into the surrounding hills.  This unique situation has produced a dramatic landscape  of curvy, steep-sided hills that hug the banks of the Mosel.

In addition to the natural beauty of the Moseltal area, lush vineyards seem to cover every possible slope, regardless of steepness.  The soil and climate conditions make the Mosel Valley a prime areas for cultivating the Riesling grapes that are used to produce some of Germany's finest white wines.  If you look closely at the hillsides you will see that the vineyards are crisscrossed with small motorized tracks that transports boxes and laborers up the hills and grapes on the return run.  Of course, grapes mean nearby wineries and there are numerous opportunities to stop and sample the local wines available along this scenic river valley.

           The Mosel Valley is one of the most beautiful areas in Germany

The vineyards are interspersed with numerous, small rustic towns that offer a variety of interesting attractions.  You will see the occasional scenic castle, although some of the most comely are modern recreations, rather then an original.  Regardless of age, the buildings and the scenery of the Moseltal blend together and produce an idyllic region with many charms. 

If you have the time and budget, you should consider taking a cruise of this beautiful valley.  While driving the Moseltal has its own set of charms, you will cross the Mosel to explore one town and then re-cross it to explore the next.  In fact, the 194 km (121 mile) drive takes about four hours, without stops, although we cannot imagine anyone visiting this area and not exploring the many attractions.

Regardless of how you choose to transit the Moseltal, we urge you to take some time and explore this unique and peaceful area.  We suspect it will recharge your batteries and become a place that you will remember with fondness in the years that come.

While almost every town along the Mosel is idyllic and often a good place to stop for a meal and a short exploration, we recommend several towns for your examination that are among the best places to visit in the Moseltal.  By the way, the area's castles were generally sited on hills, so you usually will be able to see them before you come to the town associated with the castle.  In fact, you will see so many castle ruins and monuments that you might become slightly insensitive to the antiquities.  Now, to our recommendations:

Bernkastel is  on the right bank of the Mosel as it flows to Koblenz and Kues is across the bridge on the left bank.  The Landhut castle overlooks Bernkastel and the village's compact Old Town is a pleasant place for walking and a meal.  

Cochem is a well-known holiday towns and has several interesting attractions, including the Reichsburg (below left) that is on the site of an earlier castle, but this one was built in the 19th century, although its "youth" does not make it a bit less photogenic.  The castle is now owned by the city of Cochem and you can find more information about visiting the Reichsburg at its official website.

The Burg Eltz (shown below right), perhaps the most dramatic of the castles in the Moseltal, is hidden away in the back country and somewhat difficult to find, so ask directions.  Note, you have to hike down to the castle from a parking lot positioned above it.  The walk down is not bad, but the return will be a killer if you are not in shape.  See the castle's official website   for more details, as Burg Eltz is open only for part of the year.

         The Reichsburg in Cochem, Germany  Burg Eltz is hidden away in a lovely valley

There are several castles near Kobern-Gondorf   , an area popular with vacationers.  The highway into Gondorf actually runs beneath one of castles, so be prepared (see photo below-left). 

The scenic  town of Zell is  located in an area with several famous vineyards and is a pleasant place for an exploration.

        Warning - Castle Crossing Road.  Zell is a delightful town and an important grape growing area.

Across the Mosel from Gondorf is the town of Alken    that is know for the Burg Thurant, the only dual towered castle along the Mosel.  The castle has had a long history and was once jointly owned by the Archdiocese of Trier and Cologne who effectively split the burg in half to manage it (it has suggested that this is the reason for the two towers).  In any event, the castle was destroyed in past wars and has been partially rebuilt.  Although privately owned, it can be visited.   This website (in German only) provides some additional information about  Burg Thurant.


      BUrg Thurant has the look of classic castle.

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You might want to tour Trier

The Old Town
Roman Trier
Trier's Churches

 

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