The Mosel River winds (and I mean winds) from the Rhein in Koblenz across to west-southwest towards Trier and beyond. The valley walls are steep and lush, and the site of some of Germany's best vineyards. The 'capital' of this region is the town of Cochem, located just a short drive from Koblenz. Anyone wishing to explore the Mosel Valley ought to start here -- Cochem is a wonderful place!
Cochem is big, much bigger than it appears in the picture above. It is a 'long' city, running snug against the river banks for a kilometer or two. It a bustling city, with wine and tourism its main attractions, but there's so much more to the city.
The northern bank contains the main marketplace, but to appreciate the city one must go inland at least a block. The riverside shops are definitely tourist traps -- filled with souvenir shops and restaurants that cater to visitors of any language or cuisine. But once inside, you will find a classic old style city with long, narrow streets teeming with local wares and medieval architectures. The marketplace always seems to be packed with people.
Nearby, there is an open marketplace with sections of an ancient decorated wall, seen here. The green and yellow train is a municipal taxi that runs a circuit around the Cochem downtown on a regular basis. Most of Cochem's restaurants are good, the ones near this area are particularly worth a visit.
Like many German river towns, Cochem also sports a beautiful castle. The Cochem Castle (pictured at left), is perched very high over the bend in the Mosel River (in fact I was standing next to the river bank when I took the shot). It is small, but functional, and provides a tremendous view of the town.
But people who come to Cochem to see a castle don't stay riverside. The Burg Eltz, a massive castle and grounds, is located just a short drive (and a long walk) away. From Cochem, you drive a few miles north, then inland along a steel side valley for a few more miles. There is a parking lot where you can park and take the steep, winding walking trails about three or four miles to the well-hidden but majestic castle.
The Mosel Valley is a wonderful place to take a bike ride. Cochem to the Berg Eltz can be done at a leisurely pace since it is entirely flat, and the scenery is absolutely fantastic. In fact, on the second or third Sunday each June, the Valley hosts an annual event called the Happy Mosel -- a travelogue of which is available in the Features section. The "Happy Mosel" is a day-long wine festival conducted along a 120km stretch of the river, involving the over 30 towns along the way. Wine and food are in abundance the entire distance.
Cochem -- a great riverside town!
Trips taken 17-18 June 2000 and 6 June 2001 -- Page last updated 01 September 2006 -- (C) 2001 Tom Galvin