The Moselle River "flows for 195km from Trier to Koblenz on a slow, winding course, with entrancing scenery around every hairpin bend: vine-ribboned hillsides, colourful half-timbered medieval villages, crumbling hilltop castles, elegant Jugendstil (art nouveau) villas, and ancient wine warehouses." (Source)
The castle, the colorful houses, narrow streets, the vineyards & the river make Cochem the most attractive town on the Moselle Valley
Cochem is located between Trier & Koblenz, Germany. If you have a car (and you are in Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg & maybe even France) then it is super easy, just put Cochem on the GPS and park at the parking next to the mustard museum (Historische Senfmuehle).
There is also a train station so you should be able to reach the town from major German cities rather easily.
How long should you stay
This is a hard question, as you can visit the city in one day (as described below), but you can also do day trips to other nice places around (eg. Burg Eltz, or Beilstein) or there seem to be quite some hiking routes in the neighborhood). The area looks lovely so I would give it some time to explore.
Know before you go
The one thing I need to mention, and this might only apply to Belgium Sim cards owners, the 4G does not properly work. We could only get good connection up after taking the Sesselbahn.
Things to do in one day
1. Town Market & Fountain
The road to the town square is passing through very cute & narrow streets, already bringing you in a fairy tale type of town.
The market square is tiny. A few cafes & a fountain is all that fits inside, adding even moe to the cozy feeling you get in the city
2. Reichsburg Castle
Not the nicest castle I've seen in Germany (outside) but the location is rather spectacular. On top of the hill surrounded by vineyards & with a view over the Moselle River, make it a wonderful site.
We went up by going right somehow exiting the Market square (direction Gymnasium)
On your way up you'll come across an old water pump
And then all the vineyards at the footsteps of the castle .. pretty cool
Some Elements of the castle
And yes, the view from the top ... I could not get enough from it.
We did not go in, as I am not a big fan of castles inside .. I mean once you've seen a few, the rest are more or less the same (some better than others). This as far as I read is worth your time.
On your way back down, we took left as you leave the castle, allowing us to get a view also from the other side.
3. Get a Boat Trip around the Moselle River
You can take several boat trips out of Cochem, including an 1h round trip which will give you some extra sites of the region.
4. Cross the Skagerrak-Bruecke for the Promenade
There are not that many bridges around which makes crossing a bit challenging (walking distance wise), but do walk to the bridge and walk on the other bank of the river to enjoy the view over the castle and the cute & colorful houses.
5. Buy some Mosel Riesling
I am not a white wine drinker so was not aware that you have the Rhine Riesling & the Mosel Riesling. Interesting :). Anyway it's for sure a good opportunity 7 try & buy some local wine while you are in Cochem.
6. Visit the Historische Senfmuehle & buy some local mustard
The guides are in German but you get translated papers in several other languages. It is totally worth taking this "tour" (2.5 Euro in 2020). Tour is a big word as you stay in one room where a person provides a bit of history into the process but is also illustrating the production.
Important info is that this is one of the oldest seven remaining mustard mills in Europe which produce mustard using the cold process. The cold process helps preserve the essential oils.
As a taste, you can feel the sharpness on your tongue and not in your nose as for the industrially produced mustard
7. Sesselbahn to the top
The trip up with the Sesselbahn takes a few minutes & is 6 Euros (2020) round trip.
8. Enjoy the view from the top
Well, I love views from the top and yeap, this one is pretty amazing.
9. Continue further to Beilstein
15 min from Cochem you find the tine village of Beilstein, more in a separate post