Guest Blog Series - We've asked travel experts to offer their tips and tricks to planning the best European road trips. This guest blog post is written by Arnie of the popular travel blog for boomers called Arnie and Jo Are On The Go! Read on to learn tips for planning the perfect wine country road trip along the scenic Mosel River.
Road-tripping the Mosel River Wine Country for the 50+ Traveler is one of the most enjoyable and relaxing ways to see one of the most picturesque parts of Germany. Why? Let me put it this way. At over 50 I have come to the realization that extreme sports options don't necessarily enhance the travel experience. I'm betting that you feel the same.We chose to road trip the Mosel River valley, because it gave us the opportunity to SLOW down, take a breath, and absorb our surroundings. Sound familiar? In a modern world that seems to so frantically be on the go, go, go, (something we are so often guilty of, by the way) it so nice to mosey along a tranquil river stopping to soak it all in.Watch the barges languidly glide by. Enjoy a leisurely bike ride. Enjoy the fine cuisine of the region. Do you need to be 50+ to slow down and enjoy life? Nope, not if you're smart. The Mosel, or Moselle, if you prefer the French spelling, is dappled with small villages hugging the precipitously steep banks of the river amongst a mosaic of vineyards climbing its banks. This is one of the most relaxing drives for any 50+ driver.At the river's eastern end is the city of Koblenz, where it meets with the mighty Rhine. And, this is where we begin our road trip.
Getting to Koblenz
There are multiple ways to get to Koblenz. We picked up our car when we flew into Frankfurt Am Main Airport. But, you may well wish to take the short 2 hour train trip from the Frankfurt airport directly to Koblenz, and then pick up your car there.
Things to See in Koblenz
While in Koblenz (which means 'where the rivers flow together'), before taking off on your Mosel River roadtrip, you owe it to yourself to visit the Altstadt, or old town, to enjoy the sights. Also, take time to visit Deutsches Eck where the Rhine and Mosel rivers merge.The Deutsches Eck (German Corner) is a quite historic site. Here you'll find remains of ancient Roman walls, along with a cast bronze statue of Emperor William I on horseback that towers over everything.Of course, depending on how much time you want to devote to visiting Koblenz, there is much more to explore. You may wish to stay in town for a bit to take it all in.
Motoring along the Mosel
There are so many little villages, and countless castles, along this drive that deciding which you want to visit can be hard. Congratulations if your time is unlimited!Heading west on B416 along the river, our first stop is Winningen, a photo perfect little town that is home to Germany's oldest wine festival. Soak up the town, and, maybe, a little wine in this picture lovely little village. As I allude to earlier, this is wine country, and offers a lot to the wine lover. You can find more specifically on the Mosel River wine route by visiting here.After Winningen, your road trip will continue to follow the Mosel River's serpentine path west along 416. If you have the time, by all means explore as far afield as you like.Our time was limited this trip so we didn't stop again until we reached Cochem. A great place to ramble around for an afternoon loaded as it is with half-timbered houses, and crowded shopping lanes. Also make sure that you take the chairlift, the Seselbahn, to the Pinnerkreuz mountain for some fabulous views. This engaging little town, home to Reichsburg Castle, is a favorite of ours, and other traveling friends. Why? Because, not only is the town itself beautiful, it is a super place from which to reach one of the most fabulous of Germany's many castles, Burg Eltz.
Reichsburg Castle is an impressive sight towering as it does over the river. This ornately decorated, hill-top castle built in the 11th-century offers breathtaking panoramic views from its restaurant, and while gorgeous, is not what many think it is.It's true that a castle was built here in the 1000's, but it was obliterated in 1689. It wasn't until the mid 1800's that it was rebuilt. But, today's castle, while impressive and worth the visit, does not resemble the original in any way.
This is the must see when you are in this part of Germany. Unlike the Reichsburg Castle, Burg Eltz is authentic. It is still owned by members of the same family that have owned it for 33 generations!It is hidden away in a quiet valley that can be reached by car, or bus, but can also be hiked to from the river valley. Hiking, if you are able, offers spectacular views.
This castle was one of the lucky few that has not been destroyed by the many conflicts the region has suffered over the centuries. You will find this to be one of the best, and most enjoyable, castles you have ever toured.
Oh, and a note. We stayed at Hotel Haus Lipmann, and think you should too. Not only are the rooms and hotel interior authentically decorated, but the rooms facing the river have great views.[caption And, the restaurant, with its grape vine covered terrace, offers up some of the best German cuisine you have ever had. This is a most memorable experience.
Last stop on our Mosel River Valley road trip is the city of Trier. This city, founded by the Romans, is the oldest city in Germany and full of history. And, it's a great place to stay to end this little road adventure. Porto Nigra, the black gate, in Trier, Germany. Linger in Trier as it offers so much. There are many outstanding Roman structures here. The Porta Nigra, or black gate, the ruins of Roman baths, an amphitheater just outside the center and a stone bridge over the Moselle River are examples of what this city has to offer. A wide variety Roman artifacts can be found at the Archaeological Museum. Trier Cathedral is a don't miss too.
So, there you have it a fun, albeit, short road trip through the bucolic Mosel River Valley. Along the way you have taken great history. Dined on some great food. Sampled some of the best wines.This part of Germany remains one of our favorite European locations. We're thinking that you'll come away feeling the same. Until next time!
Arnie Jacobsen is the writer, editor, and founder of the boomer travel blog Arnie and Jo are on the Go
! a blog dedicated to helping other boomers get out the door to experience the history and culture throughout Europe and North America.
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