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Published on :   13/12/2016

The Moselle River: 3 places not to miss on your cruise

European cruise expert tip: the Moselle river is ideal if you are into everything cultural, from architecture, museums, churches, nature, and all aspects of travel. For discovering Germany, no need to go to Berlin or Munich, instead embark for a cruise along the Mosel, with its banks carpeted by pretty vineyards, and punctuated by lovely riverside wine towns. The heavy concentration of 700 to 1,000-year-old castles is what makes the landscape so unique. Trier, Cochem, Bernkastel, and Koblenz are all wonderful towns with lots of old-world flavour, and wine festivals to make the area even more appealing.

Why and where is the Moselle?

The Rhine can seem more dramatic with all its history. But the Moselle is also a pretty, smaller in scale, relaxing river to explore on a cruise. The Moselle is a left tributary of the Rhine River and is 545 km, or 325 miles long, making it one of the longest tributaries of the Rhine. Flowing through France, Luxembourg, and Germany, the Moselle joins the Rhine in Koblenz.

The Rhine is Germany's most famous river, but a visit of the Mosel River Valley is ideal for those looking more. The Valley of the Mosel River, known as the "Moseltal" between Trier and Koblenz, is regarded by many as a beauty little-known haven of beauty in Germany.

The Moselle River and the castles are the main attractions in the Moselle Valley. Germans call it the "Mother Mosel" because of its slow-moving twisting sinuous course, in comparison to the "Father Rhine", a mighty swift-moving river.

On another note, if you are interested in visiting Great War and World War II memorial sites, a tour of the Moselle Valley may be the opportunity to find out more about the Battle of Nancy in September 1944. This 10-day battle on the Western Front saw the defeat of the German forces by the Third United States Army defending the approaches to Nancy, France and crossings over the Moselle River to the north and south of the city.

The treasures of the Moselle river Valley

Cruising the River Moselle is an excellent opportunity to visit ancient German cities with romantic old half-timbered architecture and wineries.

1. Trier: the oldest of German cities, 13 years older than Rome

From my visits in Trier, I remember unforgettable scenery, friendly people, great food and wines. Triers' ancient Roman ruins were amazing, especially if you have not yet then been to Rome. (tu parles au nom de qui pour dire my and I ? Surtout que tu n’écris pas comme ça dans le reste de l’article)

The Roman cultural heritage of Trier is also what makes the city so special, as well he view that it offers over the Moselle and its magnificent countryside. It is known above all for having been one of the seats of power of the Holy Roman Empire. The city has thus retained some precious architectural marks. The Trier Amphitheatre, which is the tenth biggest in all the Roman Empire - it could hold 30,000 spectators. Then the Imperial Thermae, which were sumptuously arranged inside: marble on the walls, floors, mosaics, frescoes on the walls, statues. And finally, the Roman Basilica: since it was built in about 310, the Constantinian basilica has never been out of use.

2. Cochem: pearl of the Moselle

Cruise through a pretty stretch of the Moselle river from Cochem to Bernkastel. The Mosel is one of the most gorgeous river valleys in Europe, and Cochem is the picture-postcard town of your dreams with its castle protruding out of a vineyard-clad hill in the town centre. Cochem is the type of town many dream of staying in but rarely do, very different than larger cities.

When you arrive in Cochem, make sure you take a stroll through the town streets, where you will discover picturesque timber-framed houses, St Martin's church, the Capuchin convent, the Market Square...

Make sure you also visit Cochem's hilltop castle, the Imperial Castle of Cochem or Cochem Castle, the Reichsburg, built on a remarkable site, a steep vine-covered hill overlooking the Moselle. It is one of the few castles in Germany which, having been rebuilt after being destroyed, still has its original countenance today.

And if you love discovering ancient German castles, make it to Burg Eltz, a medieval castle nestled in the hills above the Moselle River between Koblenz and Trier. Unlike so many castles, it has been lived in continuously, and one of Germany's most famous castles, once pictured on the back of the Deutsche Mark 500 banknote.

For hiking fans, join the Appolloweg trail. Encounter gorgeous views and enchanting castles in the middle of a wild natural reserve and steep cliffs where humans have been cultivating vineyards for centuries, explaining the many wine festivals all along the lovely Mosel.

3. Koblenz: at the confluence of the Rhine and the Moselle

Koblenz is a charming town well suited for exploring on foot. In the very heart of the picturesque regions around the Rhine and Moselle, Koblenz offers a rich panel of cultural monuments and historic buildings. Visit the "Liebfrauenkirche", the Church of Our Lady, the Deutsches Eck or "German corner" from where you can see the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers. Make sure you take the funicular up to visit the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, from where we have wonderful views over the town, the Rhine and the Moselle.

Bonus tip: make it to the Thurant castle, in the Moselle valley situated about 20 km from Koblenz. Symbol of this region, the fortified castle is one of the oldest in the Moselle region. The castle was rebuilt in the 20th century. From the terrace enjoy the unforgettable view of the Moselle.

Find out more about all the Rhine and Moselle river cruises for 2017.