Though it is located in the Rhineland-Palatinate of Germany, picturesque Cochem can actually be found on the Moselle River, on the opposite bank to the port of BernKastel. It is a popular port of call on Moselle river cruise itineraries and also on more extensive itineraries which explore numerous ports of call along the Moselle, Rhine and Main rivers. The town has roots which extend as far back as Celtic and Roman times and was first historically documented in 886. It was granted town rights in 1332 and its fortifications, which can still be seen today, were then built. It’s been stricken with the plague, besieged, conquered and reconstructed over the years but has survived it all and today is a key place for Moselle river cruisers to explore.
The town itself is wonderfully scenic and its beautiful architecture is an attraction in itself, meaning that a walking tour is a great way to spend the morning. The town’s focal point and its most popular attraction, however, is the imposing Reichsburg Castle, which surveys the village below from its lofty hilltop perch. The views from the top of both the Moselle and the town are worth the trek on their own but a guided tour of the castle is of great value and offers some fascinating insights into its history.
Another popular architectural attraction in Cochem is the Catholic Church of St Martin, a beautiful medieval place of worship with an onion-domed tower – quite unusual for Catholic churches in this area of Europe – and some beautiful modern stained glass installations. The Rathaus, or Town Hall, is a charming timber-framed delight and another popular attraction, dating back to Renaissance times, while the Enderttor – once a tavern of somewhat ill repute – is today one of the town’s most popular landmarks and certainly a much safer and enjoyable place to visit, and the beer’s excellent too.
For the ultimate view of both the river and the town, be sure to take a trip on the Cochemer Sesselbahn or Cochem chairlift, which is a thoroughly enjoyable and scenic ride to the top of a nearby hill. There’s a café at the summit if you feel like enjoying a drink or a snack while taking in the view, as well as a trail which eventually leads to the neighbouring Klotten Wildlife Park, which is around 30-minute walk away.
If you’re in search of a souvenir, stoneware bottles of various sizes containing Mosel wine are a popular choice, while if you’re in need of a bite to eat, the town boasts an impressive choice of high-quality eateries for its size.
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