This little town on the banks of the Moselle river really took us by surprise. We planned the trip on a whim and didn’t have many expectations. Cochem is a very peaceful town which allows you wake up and enjoy a slow breakfast, stroll the streets at your own pace, and even have an impromptu wine tasting of the local grape: Reisling.
Views not to miss:
Top of Reichsburg (Cochem Castle)
The view from outside the castle gives you a different perspective of this small town. Most of the weekend we spent exploring in the valley and looking up at this castle on a hill. Finally we made it up to the stop of a very steep hill to enjoy the view from above, which gave a new sense of importance to Cochem. The view is free and the exercise needed to get to the top is free, so all in all it was worth it.
Morning walks along the Moselle
The mornings can be really foggy because of how low in the valley Cochem sits compared to the hills. I found it really enjoyable to sit out on the patio at the B&B and just enjoy the peacefulness. There is also a great walking path along the Moselle river with grass, benches and flowers. A morning walk after breakfast along the river is a nice way to wait for the fog to pass before heading up to get that view from the top of the hill!
Sunset on the Skagerak Brucke
This bridge is in the center of the city and connects Cochem from one side of the Moselle to the other. I enjoyed the view from this bridge the most at night as the morning fog was guaranteed to have passed and the buildings and boats along the river began to illuminate. The sun was setting early around 4 or 5pm so we stopped here for some quick photos on our way to gets some drinks before dinner.
Things to do:
Burg Eltz is located in Wierschem, Germany which was a short and very scenic drive out of the valley and into a more forested area. If you are driving in there will be a parking lot to park and then a 25 minute walk through the forest to get to the castle. There is also a 45 minute hike from the local train station. If your not into all that exercise on vacation, here is also a shuttle bus a few feet from the parking lot if you wish to bypass the walk. Although one of the magical things about this castle is turning the corner out of the forest and seeing Burg Eltz emerge before you was pretty cool. Do get here early though, because the parking lot and the path leading up to the castle do get crowded. This tour is really well done and the tour guides do an awesome job. Tours are about every 30 minutes for our selected language.
Reichsburg (Cochem Castle)
As the staple of Cochem, you must work in some time to hike up the steep hill and visit the castle of Cochem to say you have seen all Cochem has to offer. This castle, and Burg Eltz, makes every list of Germany’s top ten castles. We were not required to buy tickets in advance, but our group was also very large so it didn’t seem that they managed the size of the tours by turning anyone away. Even our dog was allowed on the tour, which is always a plus for us! However if you only have time for one, my preference was Burg Eltz.
Cochem is also known for being a wine town mainly harvesting Riesling grapes. There aren’t many times we pass up an opportunity to go wine tasting (either self instructed or a formal tour) so why should we stop here? We heard about a small winery in town, J. Koll & Cie, that offers wine tastings, so between our morning/afternoon hike to two castles and dinner we thought we would stop off for some wine. We hadn’t made a reservation, so when we arrived the door was locked and a note was on the door with the owners phone number to call in case you wanted to do a tasting. Well we called, and not 5 minutes later one of the owners of the vineyard came around the building and we proceeded to have a personal wine tasting. He was very friendly and we sampled over 6 different Rieslings all from around the Moselle Valley area. We even bought a bottle of the local J. Koll & Cie Riesling to enjoy later at the hotel.
Places to eat:
Dazert, Moselpromenade 10, 56812 Cochem – German Restaurant
Because we were only in Cochem for a weekend trip, this is the only place that we tried that I can really recommend. The décor is extremely outdated, but the waiters were very hospitable, the food was delicious and it stayed relatively crowded the whole time we were there. Don’t let the grandma table cloths scare you away, the place has a charm to it once you give it a chance.
Where to stay:
Villa Vinum Cochem – Bed & Breakfast on the Moselle River
First off, we generally don’t have the best pick of hotels, B&B’s or airbnb’s when we are traveling with our dog. Understandably we are learning that “dog friendly” hotels are sometimes less than ideal, but we cannot say enough good things about Villa Vinum. This is a quintessential bed and breakfast with only about ten rooms total, a buffet breakfast in the morning and a fully stocked bar on a “self serve” honor system. Also they have their own parking lot and these days not having to look for parking makes me really excited. Not to mention the views from the hotel windows were better than any tower you could climb in the town! Seriously, save yourself the research and book this place now.