Romantic Moselle valley
If you`re looking for a long-weekend-romantic-getaway, the Mosel valley is calling your name!
Bench marks: bending river valley with steep vineyards and medieval towns on both sides, 200 km distance, can be traveled by car, bike or boat, airports Frankfurt and Frankfurt Hahn, train stations Koblenz and Trier, best travelling time September, October, November
Riesling and more
The Mosel valley is wine country and most of the villages you pass, have a really big name in the world of wine, just because good German wine makers stick to one grape and, quite often, one particular patch of vineyard – Bernkastler Badstube, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Zeller Schwarze Katz – you can actually see the vineyard, which is labeled on the bottle. As you can see from the photos, there doesn’t seem to be a single square inch of usable land that isn’t planted with grapes, most of these are Riesling grapes.
Wine tasting at the Moselle
But you don’t have to love wine to enjoy the region’s wine culture. Many of the wine cellars are located in people’s homes and these resident wine makers are very proud of their wine and love interacting with visitors. If you’re lucky, you might even get a tour of the wine making facilities, most of them have been using the same equipment and techniques for generations. (look for the sign Weinprobe at the door and ring the bell)
Live here runs slow, people don`t like changes – this way they managed to transfer the old fashion life-style into the 21rst century. You get to see many items from the past, still in use: like the small car ferry, sliding on its cable back and forth across the river, like the sturdy tractor spitting out a cloud of smoke as it causes a long line of cars behind it or the 18th century one lane bridge crossing the river. Same with the houses, streets and places – almost nothing changed, many of the old timber houses were constructed more than 400 years ago and seam the central market place and the cobble stone streets.
In fact, it is easy to envision how it must have looked like hundreds of years ago, without electricity or cars – it sure helps to slow down and relax!
Get together – here it`s still called Weinfest
I love to come here in late summer for several reasons: the fall colors of the vineyards are just beautiful, the climate is still warm, even till November and, last but not least: the wine festivals. Many of the villages and towns celebrate the summer harvest by hosting wine/street festivals. Local wine makers convert their homes into restaurants, proudly serving a variety of their homemade wines and signature dishes, you have live music and traditional events – it’s a fun way to taste dozens of regional wines and sample some truly authentic homemade German cuisine.
The Mosel is easy to reach and easy to navigate, regardless of your travel style and 3 days are perfect if you travel by car or train. The closest major airport Frankfurt, which is about 1.5 hours from the city of Koblenz, the Ryanair airport Frankfurt Hahn is just half an hour by car from Zell (middle of the valley), both have car rental stations. There are train stations in every town along the Mosel. If you travel by car, pay attention to the bridges: you can´t cross the river in every town. I recommend to start in Trier and go with the river down to Koblenz Deutsches Eck, where the Mosel meets the Rhine, but it also works vice versa. Since there is no way to list every single beautiful spot in this valley, I kept it to my personal best off, starting in Trier. Even though you find many guest rooms and hotels (most of them are called Moselblick), it`s hard to find nice, affordable places without booking in advance.
Iternery for Foodies – Moselle valley
Trier: once capital of the Roman Empire and residence of emperor Constantin, the pioneer of Christianity in the Holy Roman Empire. It is due to him that until today you can visit the Constantine Basilica, the largest still existing single-room construction of Roman times. Trier is with more than 2000 years (founded 16 BC) the oldest town in Germany, the Porta Nigra and the Therme (Roman) and the Dome (Romanesque) are stone witnesses of the rich history and part of the UNESCO World heritage. To follow the ancient path along the river Mosel will give you an idea of live in Roman times and how much wine had an impact to this area.
Traben Trabach, the double town on both sides of the river with the postcard-like town gate. Famous for its Jugendstil and Belle Epoche buildings, the town got wealthy with wine trade and still is the home to great Rieslings. Many wineries in town offer wine tastings and ship the wine to your home address
Zell Moselschleife: at this point the Moselle makes a big loop, the best spot to overlook the whole valley is the Marienburg and Prinzenkopf, a 30 minutes uphill walk from the town center. Nice pedestrian zone with shops, market place and castle
One of my favourites – less touristy than Cochem, many quality winemaker offering tastings, small restaurants and cafes with local cuisine. The historic center is closed for traffic, perfect to stroll along the half-timbered houses and to explore the small side streets – often a small sign in the window Weinprobe is the only hint for a winery which offers tastings.
Beilstein: Called the sleeping beauty of the Mosel, this tiny town attracts lots of tourists, so if you don´t have a chance to drop by in the early morning or after 6 pm, just look at it from the other side of the river. Beilstein has zero food shops, zero ATMs, one bus stop, one mailbox, but countless expensive restaurants (dinner till 6 pm), so don`t go there hungry! The historic center still is car free, the whole village was inaccessible except by boat till 1900, you have to park outside the city wall.
Skip Cochem! It´s touristy, trashy and expensive and has nothing to offer you wouldn`t find somewhere else. Rather go to Europe´s steepest vineyard (Bremmer Calmont) and the biggest steep slope wine-growing district. Still half of the wine production at the Moselle is handcrafted, just because no machine could get into the steep slopes.
Burg Eltz, Burg-Eltz-Straße 1, 56294 Münstermaifeld
Medieval castle, family owned since 800 years, open for visits. Since it was built as a living castle and not as a fortress, it’s located in a valley and was never destroyed. Feel like a princess!
Here the Moselle meets the Rhine and what started as a small settlement at the intersection of old military and trade roads, developed to the greatest bastion on the old continent at Prussian times. The Ehrenbreitstein Fortress high above Koblenz is well maintained and offers a great view over the Rhine valley, from Deutsches Eck you can reach it with the chair lift. Just one kilometer from the Deutsches Eck, right by the river, you find the Weindorf – a picturesque ensemble of half-timbered houses (Winzerhäuser), producing and selling wine and local dishes
Foodie map for the Moselle valley