river cruises boat tours one of the top things to do in Cochem Germany

The picturesque town of Cochem sits on both sides of the Moselle River (Mosel River) in western Germany and is a great pick for your Germany travel / trip itinerary.

I really love the small town of Cochem. It’s so quaint and manageable, and a great place to base yourself for day trips to some of the best sights the area has to offer. The town has everything you could want in a German village. A lovely winding river, hiking trails and scenic overlooks, a medieval town core with half-timbered houses, a beautiful castle, wineries and so much more! Cochem is a true gem, often referred to as The Pearl of River Mosel. We chose this popular tourist destination as our home base on a Germany road trip and made day trips to worthwhile attractions in the surrounding area.

Cochem Germany on the banks of the Moselle River
Cochem Germany on the banks of the Moselle River

Germany itineraries that include Cochem:

Here is a list of the top things to do in Cochem Germany!

The best things to do in Cochem proper

(1) Reichsburg Cochem Castle

The hilltop Reichsburg Castle or Cochem Imperial Castle is, in my opinion. the very best attraction in Cochem! This Gothic Revival beauty sits majestically on top of a hill overlooking Cochem and the Mosel valley. It’s the quintessential “every child’s dream” castle! The original castle was built around the year 1000 but in 1689 French troops destroyed Reichsburg. It remained in ruin until it was rebuilt in the19th century by Louis Fréderic Jacques Ravené.

Today it is in the possession of the city. Riechsburg is located up a steep hill. You have the option to make the short walk or take a shuttle bus for a small fee (No parking at the castle.) English tour 12:00 and 3:00.

Reichsburg Castle in Cochem Germany
Reichsburg Castle, Cochem

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(2) explore the medieval center of town

Cochem’s historic town center with its romantic narrow streets is a great place to start. Old town highlights include:

  • Medieval city gates: Cochem still has three of the four original Medieval city gates. Enderttor with its attached guard house is the largest, Balduinstor is the perfect place to get photos of the castle and the 14th century Martinstor (Martin City Gate) is viewable from the outside.
  • Town Hall: Old Town is where you’ll find the imposing baroque style town hall (Rathaus.)
  • Geschiedenis Monument (Kachelwand): this colorful mosaic tower traces the history of Cochem from its earliest settlement by Romans and Celts to the founding of the city of Cochem in 1332, when the city was granted town rights.
  • Martinsbrunnen fountain: Located in Market Square, the figure, depicted on horseback, cuts his cloak in two in order to share the warmth with a poor shivering man.
  • Cochemer Originale statue: This fun little collection of statues represents well-known residents from the town’s history.
  • Bockbrunnen oder Winzerbrunnen: The Goat and Winemaker’s Fountain depicts the legend of the disappearing grapes. When grapes were missing from the vines it was assumed that the goats were responsible but when the goats were “pressed” red” came out. The growers concluded that the goats could not be the culprits because they only had white grapes.
  • Bücherzelle (Book Box): This book exchange is located in a red phone booth outside of the Stadtbücherei Cochem (City Library.)
market place town square markt platz old town Cochem Germany
colorful market square (Altstadt (Old Town) Marktplatz)
Martinsbrunnen St. Martin Statue Cochem Germany
Martinsbrunnen St. (Martin Statue from Onnola via Flickr)
Enderttor City Gate Cochem Germany
Enderttor City Gate Cochem Germany
the narrow streets of old town Market Square Cochem Germany
the narrow streets of old town Market Square
Bücherzelle (Book Box) Cochem Germany
Bücherzelle (Book Box)

(3) relax on a river cruise down the Moselle River

Boat trips are a great way to see the best of the Moselle! Sit back, relax, and let the scenery come to you! Here are some of the best options:

  • Cochem to Bielstein: Embark on a cruise from Cochem to the tiny little town of Beilstein, located just upstream from Cochem in the Cochem-Zell district. The quaintest of all the Mosel towns sits in the shadow of the 12th century Metternich Castle ruins (Beilstein Castle, destroyed by French forces, today in ruin.) Beilstein is often referred to as the “Sleeping Beauty of the Mosel.” You’ll find boats located at the bridge.
  • Cochem: Panoramic Cruise on the Moselle River: Romantic views, half-timbered houses, lush vineyards, and the majestic sight of the 1,000-year-old Reichsburg Cochem! Duration: 1 hour. Book it on Get Your Guide! (free cancellation)
  • Cochem: Panorama-Schiff-Tour: Cruise downstream to the lovely village of Ernst, home of the Moselland Museum, where you’ll have the opportunity to disembark and explore the town (notify them that you wish to disembark.) Take one of the returning boats back to Cochem.. Duration: 1 hour. Book it on Get Your Guide!
  • Evening Cruise to the fireworks of the Cochemer Winefest: See the Cochemer Wine Festival Fireworks from a unique vantage point! This special boat sails TO Cochem during Mosel wine week. Cruise past wine villages and lighted castles and watch the winefest fireworks from the river! Duration: 6 hours. Book it on Get Your Guide! (free cancellation (Leaves from Alken, Löf, Brodenbach, or Burgen)
river cruises boat tours one of the top things to do in Cochem Germany
take a scenic river cruise on the Moselle

(4) take a sightseeing tourist train ride around town

Mosel-Wein-Express is a fun tourist train that gives a good overview of the town of Cochem. It’s a great way to get your bearings on your first visit! The tour passes some of Cochem’s best highlights including: Cochem Castle, the old city wall and castle gates, the historic old town, Winneburg castle ruins, and vineyards. Tour duration: 25 minutes. Begins at the Moselle Bridge, tickets can be purchased on site.

Mosel Wein Express tourist train cochem Germany
photo courtesy of: Mosel Wein Express

(5) dine with a view!

These restaurants offer fantastic views:

  • Hotel Hieronimi, has a terrace with tables overlooking the Mosel River.

If you are willing to drive a ways for dinner consider these options:

  • Alte Stadtmauer (Bielstein)
  • Altes Zollhaus (Bielstein)
Dinner with views of the Moselle River in Cochem
dinner with a view in Cochem an der Mosel

(6) experience the Night Watchman Tour

The night watchman, with his glowing lantern, guides participants around the historic old town. Tour provided by Tourist Information Ferienland Cochem, Year-round. Duration: 1 hour, Adults 5,00 €. Children 2,50 €.

(7) pick a special place for dinner

I love atmospheric restaurants. These cozy options are ultra atmospheric!

  • Alte Gutsschänke
  • Zom Stuffje

(8) visit one of Cochem’s many vineyards or wine cellars

The Mosel region is blanketed in vineyards and well known for its local wines! Settle down with a glass of wine or opt for a wine tasting at one of Cochem’s locations and try a few! Popular wines in this region include Riesling, a white grape variety that originated in the Rhine region and makes up 60% of the vineyard area, and Ice Wine (Eiswein) a type of dessert wine produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. Here are some of your best options:

  • J. Koll & Cie: Wine tasting and Wine cellar tour! Book a tour of the wine cellar!
  • Weingut Kloster Ebernach: Shop at their location right in town or sign up for the guided organized hike through their vineyards where you’ll experience a wine tasting in their beautiful vineyards.
  • Winery Haxel / Weingut Haxel: Wine tasting on a cobbled terrace with colorful umbrellas surrounded by grape vines or in their cozy dining area complete with rustic stone walls.
Wine tasting on the Moselle River in Cochem Germany

(9) attend a wine festival

If you’re a true wine lover consider visiting Cochem during their annual wine festival which takes place on the Moselle promenade in the market square on the last weekend in August. On Sunday at 2 p.m. the big parade winds through the city center. Be sure to stay for the spectacular fireworks display! The Moselle Valley is host to numerous wine festivals. You can check dates for other towns on the Visit Mosel website.

(10) tour The Bundesbank bunker

This underground bunker is the former secret bunker of the Deutsche Bundesbank. 15 billion German Marks were secretly stored in this building during the Cold War. The bunker can only be visited as part of a guided tour. Tickets can be purchased online or at the entrance/ticket office. No parking available on site. BunkerShuttle available from Endertplatz (central bus station) or walk 20 minutes from the tourist information office (a great place to pick up a town travel guide!)

(11) take an organized tour in Cochem

Mosel: Bike and Boat Tour with Picnic and Wine Tasting
Includes bike rental, boat tour, prepared picnic lunch, and wine tasting! Duration 7 hours Book it on Get Your Guide! (Free cancellation)

Experience Cochem Tour (boat, castle, wine)
The tour includes a boat ride, guided tour of the castle (Cochem Castle), and winery tour with wine tasting. Duration: 7 hours. Book it on Get You Guide! (free cancellation)

Cochem: Private Guided Walking Tour
Discover the fascinating history of Cochem’s most popular sites and learn about the Celts and Romans who left their mark on the city from your own personal tour guide. Duration 1.5 hours, English, German. Book it on Get Your Guide! (free cancellation)

kayak or canoe the Mosel River
Experience the stunning scenery of the Mosel River countryside from a canoe! Relax after your adventure at a local winery or brewery, complete with drinks and good food. Duration 5 hours, Free cancellation, tours leave from Cochem. Hotel pickup / drop-off available. Book it here on Get Your Guide!

(12) take the chair lift up above town for panoramic views

Take the Cochemer Sesselbahn chair lift / cable car up to the top of Pinnerberg mountain, a great spot for fantastic panoramic views of the Moselle Valley and surrounding area. At the top you’ll find the Pinner Cross ( Pinnerkreuz Lookout Point), which got its name from a shepherd who, according to legend, lost his life attempting to save an animal from falling into the depths. There is also a hiking trail to the cross that takes you uphill through the vineyards.

Cochemer Sesselbahn chair lift / cable car Cochem Germany
Cochemer Sesselbahn chair lift / cable car

(13) Walk the romantic Mosel Promenade (Moselpromenade)

Along with vineyard terraced hills and river views you’ll experience views of the castle looming above, historic buildings, crooked trees, street cafés, and a whole lot more! In the summer months, tourists flock here to experience the city’s charm.

Mosel Moselle Promenade Cochem Germany
(Mosel) Moselle Promenade

(14) Take a nighttime stroll

Cochem is romantically lit in the evenings so save some energy to explore the town after dark! The illuminated castle takes center stage, the warm glow of lights reflect off of the river, and narrow lanes flanked by half-timbered buildings take on a brand new feel at night! BONUS: the day crowds have left, and a distinct peacefulness descends upon the town!

Cochem Germany at night
Cochem Germany at night
Night time in Cochem Germany
Night time in Cochem Germany

(15) Rent a bike

Spend a leisurely afternoon viewing the sights from the seat of a bike. There are many very good bike trails in the area. The Mosel Radweg (Mosel bike trail) is a popular choice among bikers.

(16) rent a scooter

Have a need for speed and that bike just isn’t cutting it? Rent a scooter instead. It’s maximum fun with minimal effort! Scooter rentals in Cochem: Sweet Ride (3 wheelers available for those of us who are a tad shaky on two!)

(17) attend a festive Christmas market

Arguably, Christmas Market season is the best time to visit Germany! During Advent, Cochem’s historic marketplace is the location of the annual Christmas Market when the town takes on a distinctly magical feel. Festively decorated market stalls sell gifts and delectable treats. The smells of roasted nuts intermingle with spiced gingerbread and mulled wine. If you happen to be in town during the Christmas season, check out the special Castle Market. The Christmas Panoramic train can be found at Endertplace.

German Christmas Markets
German Christmas Markets

(18) Relax at the heated swimming pool

Moselbad Cochem heated indoor / outdoor swimming pool complex has a wave and adventure pool including a water slide, sauna, solariums, restaurant, bowling alley, tennis & mini golf.

(19) fish the Mosel

Anglers can spend a fun-filled day fishing the Mosel River! Fish you’re likely to snag include pike, perch, chub, barbel, bream, carp, roach, trout, eel and tench. Valid fishing permit required. For more information on obtaining a permit and places where fishing is permitted check the Zellerland Website.

(20) Indulge in your love of German mustard

This one’s for the mustard lovers in your travel group! The Historic Mustard Mill (Historische Senfmühle Dehren) is one of the oldest mustard mills in Germany, cranking out original gourmet mustard for over 200 years. Take the ½ hour guided tour and then shop for your favorite variety. Free samples!

(21) St Martin Kirche

St. Martin’s church, which was first mentioned in 1130, is the most interesting church in town. The eight colorful Gothic stained glass windows are a special attraction, depicting popular scenes and characters from the Bible. The “mercy chair” behind the altar dates from the middle of the 15th century.

St. Martins Church Cochem Germany
St. Martins Church

(22) Explore the Gemstone Museum

If you’re into gems and stones, consider a trip to the Edelstein Museum (Gemstone Museum) which has displays of gems, minerals, and fossils. Afterwards hit the gift shop and bring home a special stone or piece of jewelry.

Get out of town! the best attractions NEAR Cochem

There are several very good attractions in the Cochem area, all easily reachable by car! If you prefer to take a break from driving, the train station and bus station (Cochem Endertplatz) are both located right in town. Here are some of the best attractions near Cochem:

(23) take a day trip to Burg Eltz Castle

The fanciful 1,000-year-old Eltz castle is one of Germany’s most iconic fairy tale castles and well worth the effort to get there from Cochem. Due to its isolated location deep in the forest, this fantastic medieval castle has never been destroyed. It’s one of Germany’s most iconic landmarks! There are several trails on the castle grounds that wind their way through the area’s dense forests so make time for hiking. Get full details on how to see Eltz castle. Distance: 19 minutes by car, not easily reachable by train or bus BUT can be done with a hiking combination.

view of Burg Eltz Castle Germany from the path below the castle
Burg Eltz Castle

(24) dine in a 1,000-year-old Mill!

Alte Mühle Thomas Höreth presents the opportunity for a very special dining experience. This ridiculously atmospheric 1,000-year-old mill is the perfect place for a special dinner. Make a reservation in the wine cellar! (Note: If you have a car this can be done in conjunction with your Burg Eltz day trip. The mill is located just 16 km from Eltz.) 33 by car, 1 hour by train)

Alte Mühle Thomas Höreth Mill Restaurant

(25) Wild- und Freizeitpark Klotten, Wildlife Park

Klotten Park has it all! thrilling rides, a puppet theater, animal shows, white-water rides, horse riding arena, a giant slide, over 50 different species of animals, falconry flight demonstrations, and so much more! Distance from Cochem: 11 minutes by car, 14 minutes by bus (direct options.)

(26) play foot golf (football golf?)!

It’s a lot like golf, only it’s played with a soccer (fuss) ball. The rules are simple, the ball must go into the circle in as few attempts as possible. For more details check the Footgolf/Fußballgolf Golfclub Cochem/Mosel e.V. Website. Distance: 11 minutes by car, 19 minutes by bus (direct options available.

(27) take a castle tour of Wildburg in Treis-Karden

This towering structure was built in the 13th or 14th century (possibly as early as the 11th century) and can only be seen on a special guided tour (limited to dates and opening hours throughout the year.) Meeting point: in front of the castle gate (550 m, 11 minutes uphill walk from the parking lot.) Guided tours of the ruins can be booked at Treis-karden-mosel. distance from Cochem: 14 minutes by car, not easily reachable by bus or train)

Wildburg Castle Germany
Wildburg Castle by Stefan Jürgensen

(28 Take a day trip to Trier

The ancient city of Trier was founded in the year 16 B.C, making it Germany’s oldest town. Originally founded by Celts it eventually became a major center during Roman times and is often referred to as “The Second Rome.” To this day it has some of Germany’s very best Roman ruins and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Give Trier a full days allotment in your schedule. Distance from Cochem: Distance: 1 hour by car, 1 hour by train

Porta Nigra, Roman ruins in Trier Germany
Porta Nigra, Roman ruins in Trier

(29) Get your thrills on the Geierlay Suspension Bridge

Thrill seekers this one’s for you! Geierlay Bridge (Geierlay Hängeseilbrücke) is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in Germany. Navigate your way along this 360-meter-long pedestrian bridge that’s suspended 100 meters above the ground below for maximum thrills and amazing views. Distance: 24 minutes by car, 1 hour 15 minutes by bus

Geierlay Suspension Bridge longest in Germany
Geierlay Suspension Bridge

(30) take a trip to storybook Castle Bürresheim

12th century Medieval Schloss Bürresheim has never been destroyed. Through the years it has been both a knight’s residence and a defense structure. Explore the castles gates, towers and corridors, and baroque gardens. Distance: 30 minutes by car, not easily reachable by bus or train.

Bürresheim (Burresheim) Castle Germany
Bürresheim Castle

(31) experience Thurant Castle

The massive 12th century Thurant Castle complex has all the fun features of a medieval castle like towers, keeps, courtyards, a wine cellar, and dungeon with medieval torture devices. It really is a trip to the Middle Ages! Settle down on the terrace and enjoy a glass of wine and dreamy views! Distance: 29 minutes by car, 1 hour by train

Thurant Castle Germany
Thurant Castle (photo: Tilman CC 4.0 WikiCommons)

(32) explore the Rhine Valley

The famous Rhine River (Rhein in German) lazily winds its way through the UNESCO World Heritage Valley of the Loreley (Lorelei.). Its banks are dotted with dozens of majestic castles, terraced vineyards, historic riverside towns, and charming storybook villages. Cruise ships sail passengers up and down the river. It’s the best way to see the Rhine, the Granddaddy of them all!!

The Upper Valley of the Rhine has over 20 castles. Read about the best castles on the Rhine here. Something else you’ll find in this atmospheric area of Germany are a lot of castle hotels! Here’s a list of the best castle hotels on the Rhine!

Burg Rheinstein Castle seen from a distance overlooking the Rhine River and the Rhine River Valley
on the banks of the Rhine Middle Ages Burg Castle Rheinstein

(33) Hiking and scenic overlooks

Looking for the best place to take in the beautiful scenery? This area is flush with hiking trails and scenic overlooks. Here are a few of the best hikes in the area:

  • Ansicht-Reichsburg-Cochem – View-on-Castle: Loop from Cochem: 2.85 mi, starts in Cochem. Easy, takes you through the old town, out into the country, and includes a scenic overlook. Can be extended into a 7.84 mile loop.
  • Wasserfall Dortebachtal – Moselle valley view loop from Klotten, 5.08 mi, begins 2.05 mi away from Cochem, intermediate, steep paths, waterfalls, scenic overlooks.
  • Torhaus der Reichsburg Cochem – Toller Blick auf die Mosel loop, 1.93 mi, starts in town and Includes town, the castle, and scenic overlook.
  • Wilhelmshöhe – Ruine Winneburg loop: 5.53 mi, intermediate, views of Cochem castle, Winneburg castle ruins, a gorge, and more
  • Lescher Linde: 5.81 mi a long but scenic intermediate hike!
  • Aussichtspunkt Wetterfahne – Ausblick loop from Cochem: 2.66 mi, intermediate, views of the Cochem castle, the Mosel, and vineyards
  • Baumkrebs: it’s a 45 minute walk from town, (east bank) to this tree with an enormous spherical growth)
  • Moselsteig Trail to Bielstein: This 13 km trail that runs from Cochem to Bielstein, the quaintest of all Moselle towns, and points beyond is a long but scenic haul. Consider making this a one-way trip by walking to Bielstein and then taking the boat back to Cochem, a great way to save your legs for other things!
  • Moselbick: for views over the river and valley. Park at the Parkplatz on Oberer Weg and you’ll pass by the little white chapel (Pestkapelle St. Rochus) and Drei Kreuze, the little stone chapel with Jesus on the cross. 23-minute walk uphill from the parking lot.

See the Komoot website for more area hikes!

Map of Cochem attractions

Map of Cochem attractions IN Cochem: top things to do IN Cochem

(links to interactive Google Map)

Cochem Germany attractions map links to interactive Google Map
Cochem Germany attractions map links to interactive Google Map

Map of Cochem area attractions (attractions NEAR Cochem)

(links to interactive Google Map)

the best attractions near Cochem Germany (links to interactive Google Map)
the best attractions near Cochem Germany (links to interactive Google Map)

frequently asked questions

Is Cochem worth visiting?

Cochem is absolutely worth visiting! There are so many worthwhile things to see and do in Cochem you can easily spend several fun filled days in this fantastic little town! You’ll get a glimpse into the very best of Germany! Terrace vineyards, a lazy winding river, half-timbered buildings, cobbled streets, and an oh so adorable castle!

What are the best things to do in Cochem Germany?

If I had to choose just a few “can’t miss” things to do right in Cochem they would be Reichsburg Cochem Castle, meandering the Mosel Promenade, and exploring the Old City Center. The best things to do around Cochem include Burg Eltz Castle, Roman Trier, Thurant Castle, and the Rhine River Valley.

How long to spend in Cochem?

To get the most out of a stay in the area, I’d recommend giving it three full days. You’ll have one day to explore Cochem, one day for one of the area’s highlights like Eltz Castle, the Rhine Valley, or Roman Tier, and one day to choose from the other activities in this article!

What is the closest airport to Cochem?

The nearest airport:

  • Hahn (HHN) Airport:24.1 km
  • Cologne Bonn (CGN): 80.7 km
  • Luxembourg (LUX): 89.3 km
  • Frankfurt (FRA): 100.8 km (1 hour 45-minute drive)

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