Koblenz sits at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers in south-western Germany, halfway between Frankfurt and Cologne. It is famous for its distinctive tree-lined Deutches Eck, or German Corner, which is the pointed headland between the two rivers where a colossal statue of Emperor Wilhelm I keeps watch. Taking its name from the Latin word confluentes, or ‘confluence’, Koblenz sits on the banks of the Rhine and the Moselle. The city’s rich history dates back to the days of the Roman Empire, where it began as little more than a military outpost founded by Drusus, father of Emperor Claudius and the first general to begin the conquest of ancient Germany. The city would later be taken by the Franks, conquered by the French and later ruled by the Prussians – and has an abundance of castles and defensive fortress walls to show for its tumultuous past.
You'll get a true feel for German history and culture by simply sailing by the city of Koblenz but a large number of river cruises may give you the chance to disembark and explore the city's medieval centre, where you can walk the streets and immerse yourself in the special atmosphere of the Old Town.
If a leisurely exploration is the focus of your visit rather than planned sight-seeing, you could take time to browse the shops and relax at one of many beautiful street-side cafes, or make your way to a traditional beer house for a true taste of Germany’s rich brewing heritage.
Koblenz though, is a city of monuments and historic architecture, having been a favourite residence of many powerful figures in Germany’s past – including the imperial prince electors and Emperor Wilhelm I.
The oldest church in the city is, the white-towered Basilica of St Castor, which is closely linked with the politics of both the Holy Roman Empire and the Frankish Kingdom in the region. The church was completed in 836, and even now remains a stark monument to the stern, solid Romanesque style. The surrounding hills outside the town bristle with defensive fortresses, most notably the almost fairytale castles of Eltz and Stolzenfels, which are both popular attractions with visitors to the city.
If you enjoy a glass of dry white, Koblenz is the perfect place to sample some of the most celebrated vintages, but it's also good for beer drinkers too, with brews in the region offering a decidedly more bitter taste.