One of Germany's most picturesque regions
Historic Trier, picturesque Cochem and charming Bernkastel are highlights on a tour that samples the best of meandering Moselle as well as a journey along the Rhine.
We depart from our dedicated Departure Office at St Pancras International by Eurostar to Brussels. Upon arrival at the Belgian capital, we continue our journey by train to Trier via Luxembourg. We stay in Trier for the next five nights at the Hotel Deutscher Hof where we enjoy a welcome drink on arrival.
The whole of Trier as a city is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and with so much to discover in its plazas and bustling streets, this comes as little surprise. Thought to be Germany's oldest city, Trier is rife with ancient Roman ruins occupying the same street corner as classic Baroque architecture and brightly coloured town houses.
We depart by rail to Cochem, the Moselle Valley's most visited town, dominated by a 1,000-year-old castle with Renaissance and Baroque furnishings. Boasting exceptional surroundings thanks to its location on the banks of the Moselle River, Cochem is a popular place to visit, hidden as it is in verdant forests and looming hills. It is considered one of the prettiest towns on these riverbanks, thanks, no doubt to the classic architecture found in the old town houses.
Cochem's Old Town is a quaint square featuring half-timbered buildings and charming shops. Towering above the city on a rocky throne sits the glorious fairytale Cochem Castle. Built around 1,000 AD by the count of Cochem, Cochem Castle has been burnt down, blown up and generally mistreated by various people throughout the years, before being restored to its former glory (with some improvements) by a Berlin business man in 1868.
Wine production and trade is an important source of economical input. This town and the surrounding region is dotted by family owned vineyards producing superb local wines which are sold in Cochem. We enjoy a wine-tasting of local Moselle wines before returning to Trier by train.
Our excursion today takes us by rail to Koblenz at the confluence of the Moselle and Rhine rivers. Koblenz is an ancient town with roots stretching back as far as the Romans. Now boasting a neo-classical centre, Koblenz is famous for its mighty Ehrenbreitsten Fortress, which has loomed over the city since the early 19th century. Impregnable, and indomitable, this fortification sits on a hill and is reachable by a cable car which crosses the river on its way to the walls. This is an excellent way to take in the beauty of the two rivers which join as they pass through Koblenz.
Another feature of this fortress is the State Museum of Koblenz. This museum details the history of Koblenz, from its beginnings as a Roman military outpost in around 8 BC right up to its bombing under the rule of the invading German army during the Second World War.
Koblenz is also well-known for its extensive parkland, and public areas. Walking along the various waterfronts on both rivers is a delight and it is worth checking out the so-called 'Deutsches Eck'. This triangular headland marks the exact point where the leisurely Moselle River joins the imperial Rhine River. It features an impressive statue of the first German Emperor, Wilhelm I, who played a key part in the unification of Germany in the 19th century.
Whilst here, we have time to explore the beautifully preserved Old Town before we enjoy a cruise through the stunning scenery of the Rhine. This river actually runs through six European countries on its way to its outlet in the Netherlands, drifting through some exceptionally attractive landscapes, valleys and forests. Our cruise takes us past the half-timbered river bank houses and past the low farmlands of this picture perfect region.
Today is free for you to explore Trier, Germany's oldest city. The ruins of various Roman spaces are fantastic to explore. The large Roman amphitheatre is in superb shape, with the walls in the centre still very much intact and many of the animal pens explorable. Likewise, the Trier Imperial Baths are fantastically well preserved, making them a perfect snapshot into the lives of the aristocratic Romans who bathed here.
However, the standout example of Roman construction is the magnificent Porta Nigra. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Porta Nigra is well worth a visit. Standing out from the more modern buildings around it, this ancient gate is thought to be the best preserved Roman building north of the Alps and is a fine example of the impressive might of the Roman Empire which stretched all the way up here from the marble monuments of Rome.
Along with Trier's ancient heritage, this charming German city also has a magnificent cathedral at its heart. Looking perhaps, more like a castle than a religious building, Trier's Cathedral is a sight to see, with its imperial turrets and triangular roofs. The interiors are equally impressive, with various domes decorated with religious motifs, imagery and sculptures. It is also the oldest cathedral in Germany, dating back to the 13th century and indeed, it was originally built over an older cathedral dating even further in the past at around 270 AD.
Today we take a coach to Bernkastel-Kues, the famous 700-year-old wine town. Bernkastel features a lovely market square adorned with fountains and surrounded by half-timbered houses, and we enjoy a cruise on the majestic Moselle River, a great way to admire the valley scenery. From the vineyards on steep banks, to various castles, stately homes and churches, the Moselle is an ever changing painting full of glorious sights, smells and colours. Enjoy the superb views of isolated farmlands, stately homes and charming German villages as you drift by the green banks. Keep an eye out for the Moselle's swan population dotted on the shores and waters.
After the cruise, your time is free to explore the charming town and maybe sample the local Riesling. Bernkastel-Kues is very much a classic Moselle town, characterised by its compact streets, narrow houses and its superb food and drink. A popular attraction in this town is the Pointed House in the old town. Seemingly to be precariously leaning to one side, this marvellous house belongs in a nursery rhyme or a fairy tale. Harking from the 14th century and thought to be the house and headquarters of a local wine merchant, the building is still used for a similar purpose, with today's interior of the narrow building housing a wine tavern. Why not sample some local produce here?
For wine tastings, the Riesling of the Moselle and Bernkastel-Kues in particular, is always a popular choice for locals and visitors, with this aromatic grape being used to make an exceptional variety of wines. This is the most popular grape variety in Germany and after a tasting, it is not hard to see why. We return to Trier by coach where we enjoy a farewell dinner tonight.
Leaving Germany behind, we leave Trier by train, travelling to Brussels. Here we join the Eurostar and return to St Pancras International. On arrival into the English capital, your tour comes to an end.
Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.
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One of Germany's most picturesque regions