The Mosel Valley in the Rheinland Pfalz is in my opinion the most underrated part of Germany. I rarely see it on lists of must places to visit in Germany often overshadowed by places like Munich, Berlin, and the Romantic Road. These places are of course amazing but there is so much more to explore in Germany.
If you’re looking for the most quintessential villages along a river covered with cute wooden houses, cobblestone streets, vineyards on the hill with a castle at the summit (because why not have another castle in Germany?), then look no further than the drive along the Mosel River between the towns of Trier and Koblenz.
This area is one of the most important wine growing regions in Germany famous for its Riesling. So not only do you get to see the cute German villages of your dreams, but also enjoy expansive views of the vineyards as well as drinking as much delicious wine as your heart desires.
The road between Trier and Koblenz that winds along the Mosel river is roughly 200 km and takes 3h to drive through. The Mosel Valley is a perfect day trip from places like Frankfurt or Cologne. It can also be combined over multiple days for a greater Germany travel itinerary.
I’ve been to many wine regions all over Europe like Tuscany, Provence, Burgundy, and more but the Mosel is definitely one of the most underrated. People just don’t give much credit to German wines but I can assure you that white wines in Germany are absolutely superb. The Mosel is also one of the most beautiful regions in Europe and definitely one of its cheapest and least pretentions.
Wine festivals during the summer
One of my favorite things about Germany are its festivals during the summer. While living in Frankfurt, every week in the summer was another festival which involved drinking, food, and just good vibes.
The Mosel is filled with wine festivals during the summer. Some of the best festivals I’ve had were discovered while driving through the Mosel valley without any plans of visiting one.
If you’re visiting between end May and mid September, be on the lookout for wine festivals in any number of the villages in the valley.
Weinfest in a little village town
We stumbled upon the cute village of Senheim where a wine festival was happening on the hills of the vineyards. We had no idea this was happening but heard music playing from far away.
We stopped in the village and followed the music to the top of the vineyards where there were multiple stalls set up serving wine and food! While this wasn’t a full on winery with views, it was the next best thing! There were wine growers from all over the region selling their wines at this festival. We sampled white wine from all over Germany with fantastic views of the Mosel region.
Each wine was €2-3 per glass and €10-15 for a full bottle. There were many German foods being served like bratwursts and my favorite flammkuchen, which I compare to a German pizza. We ended up staying here for a few hours to sample delicious white wine and enjoy the food.
How to get around the Mosel River Valley?
The best way to travel through the Mosel wine region is by car. There isn’t much reliable transportation between the towns like a hop on hop off bus sort of thing. The regional train runs every hour between the towns but I would not rely on this.
Renting a car in a place like Frankfurt, Koblenz, or Trier will make things much easier to plan and make being spontaneous much easier.
The drive along the Mosel valley is absolutely stunning and you’ll be greeted with constant rolling hills of vineyards all throughout. The views remind me a lot of the Douro Valley in Portugal which were so beautiful.
Bremm is one of the most picturesque towns in the Mosel. It’s located about half way between Trier and Koblenz and is the perfect place to hike.
The village is similar to the others in the region with beautiful cobblestone streets, well preserved traditional timber houses, a beautiful church (every town has to have a church in Germany after all), and it’s surrounded by vineyards.
You can hike from the base of the town up to a beautiful viewpoint through the vineyards. This hike will make you sweat especially in the summer months but the views are totally worth it. There is also a bar at the top that will serve you wine and food as a great celebratory gift to yourself.
If you don’t want to hike this trail, you can also drive around the town up to the viewpoint which is totally worth it in my opinion. You can see the winding Mosel river and the beautiful villages that have developed alongside it.
The town of Zell in the Mosel Valley is a beautiful town with old houses and cobblestone streets. The houses are painted in bright pastel colours, some of them have arched windows and others have wooden balconies. There are also many restaurants and shops here, as well as a small river that runs through the town.
There are two main areas in Zell that you should visit if you’re looking for fun things to do while visiting the city: The Market Place, which is right outside of town on your way into town and where many shops are located; and St. Maria’s Church, where there are always festivities going on throughout the year so be sure to check out all of those events!
I actually stumbled across a wine festival happening in this town on a trip through the Mosel in August. While small and quaint, you are sure to get very drunk if you are looking for that as the wines were a mere €2.50 for a 0.2L pour!
Beilstein is one of my favorite villages in the Mosel. It’s located on the southern side of the river and is home to one of the most picturesque villages in the region. The buildings are ultra cute and of course there is a castle at the top of the town. It hosts a wine festival every year and attracts lots of domestic and foreign tourists alike.
The town was founded by Roman settlers from Italy. It was originally called Bevilis and then Bivilis. The name changed again to Beilstein at some point during the medieval era.
The architecture of Beilstein reflects its long history. The earliest buildings at the site date back to the Bronze Age (3200-1200 BC). Many of these buildings have been preserved and can still be seen today; they include stone walls with watchtowers, fortifications, and well-preserved latrines.
The most well-preserved building at Beilstein is a temple dedicated to Apollo that dates back to around 1000 BC. It was converted into a church in 1150 AD following an earthquake that destroyed much of the town’s older structures.
Cochem is the largest town in the Mosel Valley and definitely its most famous. The view from the old bridge is one of the most beautiful and famous views in all of Germany. I’ve been to Cochem on numerous occasions as it’s the perfect place to take out of town guests to show them how beautiful Germany can be.
Just look at those beautiful buildings and that majestic castle! Cochem is one of a kind.
Visiting Reichsburg Castle
This castle was by far one of my favorites we’ve seen here in Germany. It’s been rebuilt and well-preserved, still has the original furniture and fixtures inside, and has gorgeous views of the Mosel River from its vast balconies. They even have a mini vineyard at this castle and you can see the vines surrounding the Castle. This adds to just how beautiful of a view you’ll find when you visit the Castle.
The castle can be reached by foot but prepare to climb a bit on cobblestone streets. It is not a long climb but it was a surprise workout at 10am in the morning! Once you reach the castle, soak in the views and make sure to take a guided tour of the premise. This is the only way to actually enter the castle and is well worth the €6 in my opinion. The panoramic views from inside the castle are worth the price of admission alone.
After touring the castle, make sure to stop at the restaurant and have a glass of Riesling while soaking in the views of the Rhineland region.
Krov has existed since Roman times as a major crossroads at the intersection of roads from Remagen via Trier and Cologne to Metz (German: Mosel) and on to Strasbourg (French: Strasbourg). The Romans built a fort there called Divodurum or the “Fortress of God”.
Treis Karden is a beautiful village that is nearest to the ultra picturesque Burg Eltz castle. I’ve visited this castle on numerous occasions and it’s perhaps my favorite castle in all of Germany.
Treis Karden is where you can find the bus that will take you to Burg Eltz (you can of course drive yourself there if you have your own car).
The town itself is also quite beautiful with the typical German timber houses and a church with multiple spires. I didn’t spend much time in this town but if you are planning to take the bus to Burg Eltz, it’s worth arriving a few minutes early to walk through the town.
The town of Traben-Trarbach is located in the Mosel Valley, about 15 miles from Trier. The town itself is made up of two parts: the Old Town and the New Town. The Old Town was built in the 13th century and is famous for its half-timbered houses and numerous churches.
The New Town was constructed from 1820 to 1825 as a model village for soldiers on leave from Napoleonic wars. It has many beautiful buildings, including a cathedral and an opera house, which both have been converted into museums.
Kinheim-Kindel is a good starting point for attractive hikes between vineyards and forests. There are several marked hiking trails with a total length of about 25 km.
Beautiful excursions through the Moselle valley can also be made by bike. From Kinheim, the Moselle cycle path leads downstream via Kröv to Traben-Trarbach.
From Kindel it goes downstream via Wolf to Traben-Trarbach. Upstream you can choose between two cycle paths. One leads along the shore via Lösnich and Erden to Zeltingen-Rachtig. The other branches off at Lösnich and leads over a gentle Moselhöhenweg to Zeltingen-Rachtig.
Kinheim also has a mobile home parking space directly on the banks of the Moselle
and a jetty for rowing, paddle and motor boats, which can be used free of charge.
The town of Bernkastel-Kues is located in the Mosel River Valley, within the Eifel National Park. It is a small, picturesque town that was once home to several breweries and other breweries that were closed down before they could become successful. The city center of Bernkastel is about as picturesque and German pretty as it gets along the Mosel. There are a bunch of restaurants and wine bars along the banks of the river where you can soak up the views.
The town has many historical buildings and attractions, such as the Old Town Hall and the Church of St. Peter and Paul (which dates back to 1232). The most famous attraction in Bernkastel-Kues is the Bernkastel Castle (Burgruine Landshut) which was constructed in 1351. The castle retains its original appearance today and is open to visitors during certain times of year. From the castle, you can expect fantastic views fo the valley.
The Mosel River runs through Bernkastel-Kues and there are numerous hiking trails in the area that allow visitors to explore parts of the forest surrounding them. There are also several wineries located near Bernkastel-Kues, including one winery called Schloss Kesselberg which produces wine from grapes grown on their estate grounds.
I also went to a restaurant up through the vineyards of this town with great food and views of the valley called Waldschenke.
Trier is in fact the oldest city/town in all of Germany. Its history dates back to the Roman times as this was one of the most important cities in the northern Empire. The city of Trier was founded in 16 BC by Emperor Augustus but was also occupied for many centuries by the Celts.
One of the most famous sights of Trier is the Roman built Porta Nigra, or the Black Gate. It’s one of the only city gates still standing from the Roman Empire and the sandstone structure only survived because it later became a church. Nowadays, it isn’t used for much but just as a beautiful monument that the city is known for. You can walk up to the top of the Porta Nigra for beautiful views of the city.
Trier is also the birthplace of Karl Marx which people are still proud of to this day. The city is one of the most left leaning cities in Germany as there are also numerous Universities. Don’t worry Americans, no one is Communist here so don’t be scared.
The Trier city center is very beautiful with some of the more photogenic Medieval and Gothic buildings. The Hauptmarkt (central market) is particularly picturesque with so many different buildings built in the old style.
Trier is on the southern end of the Mosel Valley so if you are only in the Mosel for a day, you’ll likely not have much time to visit this city. If you have more than a day, I can definitely recommend a visit to Germany’s oldest city!
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