The Best Castles in the Moselle Valley
The Moselle is a river that runs from the Vosges mountains in France all the way to Germany where it joins with the Rhine River at Koblenz. The Lower Moselle is an area that runs through Germany between Trier and Koblenz and is considered one of the most beautiful river valleys in Germany.
The Moselle valley in Germany is an area with charming villages, hillsides that are covered by terraced vineyards, and castles on the hilltops. The wine region in the Moselle Valley is a must-visit when you take a trip to Western Germany and is best discovered by bicycle or boat.
The castles in the Moselle Valley in Germany are a must-visit if you love history and culture.
In the hills above the Moselle, in the Eltz forest, lies one of the most beautiful castles in Europe. Burg Eltz is a medieval fairytale castle with eight towers and turrets. What makes Eltz Castle unique is that it has never been destroyed in its 900-year history.
The House of Eltz started building this castle in the 12th century to protect the trading routes in the Moselle Valley and the Eifel region. The Romanesque keep that was built at that time is the oldest part of the current castle.
The Eltz family built the castle over a timespan of more than 500 years. This is why you can see elements of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance at the castle. The interiors and architecture of Eltz Castle are largely unchanged. You can visit splendid living quarters, European artworks, porcelain, and weaponry that are more than 8 centuries old.
If you’re fond of hiking, you can walk the Eltzer Burg panorama trail which shows you the natural splendor surrounding the castle.
Visitor information: the castle is open from April to November. Guided tours are offered in German, French, and English (informational flyers are offered in more languages). Visit the website for more information.
Set on a 100-meter-high rock overlooking the Baroque town Cochem stands the largest castle in the Mosel Valley. The Imperial Castle in Cochem is a medieval castle with bays and battlements. The caste was heavily damaged during a war of succession but it has been lovingly restored in a neo-Gothic style. This architectural style was popular in 19th century Germany which was the time of romanticism.
Many beautiful rooms, like the Knight’s Hall, the Dining Hall, and the Trophy Room, with Neo-Renaissance and Neo-Baroque interiors, can be visited at the Reichsburg Cochem. Every Friday and Saturday they host the Knights Feat, a traditional medieval evening meal. And in the first week of August, a medieval festival is held at the castle.
Visitor information: The castle is open throughout the year, visit the website for opening times.
Schloss Stolzenfels is a former medieval castle that was turned into a palace in the 19th century. The castle was built in the 13th century as a fortification by the Prince Bishop of Trier to protect a toll station on the Rhine. In 1689, the medieval castle was destroyed during the Nine Years’ War.
The ruined castle was given to Crown Prince Fredrick William IV of Prussia. At that time, the Romanticism movement was popular in Germany, and in line with this movement, the castle was rebuilt as a Gothic Revival palace that was inspired by Rheinstein Castle and Hohenschwangau Castle.
Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom visited the castle in 1845 and during her visit, the Gothic chapel was inaugurated.
Visitor information: the castle is open to visitors from February to November.
Festung Ehrenbreitstein is a fortress overlooking the town Koblenz on the east bank of the Rhine where it meets the Moselle. The fortress was part of Festung Koblenz, a fortification system built by the Prussians in the early 19th century to protect the middle Rhine region. At that time, this region was often invaded by French troops but Ehrenbreitstein Fortress was never attacked.
Today, you can visit the fortress by taking the cable car across the Rhine from Koblenz city. The fortress now houses several museums: Haus der Fotografie (photography museum), Haus der Archäologie (archaeology museum), and the Landesmuseum Koblenz (a museum with temporary exhibitions). The fortress also houses a permanent exhibition showing the history of Ehrenbreitstein that goes back 5000 years.
The Moselle region in Germany is famous for its wine production and at Ehrenbreitstein Fortress you can visit the Haus des Genusses, which celebrates the regional wine-making process while also offering a dining experience. Festung Ehrenbreitstein is also part of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Ehrenburg is a ruined spur castle in the valley of the Ehrbach, a right bank valley of the Moselle. In the 12th century, a small castle was built on this site by the Hohenstaufen dynasty. Parts of this castle are still visible in the current structure.
In 1688, Frencht troops occupied the castle and eventually, they destroyed much of it. It was owned by several noble houses and in 1991 the castle became privately owned and it was restored by the Friends of Ehrenburg. The castle grounds are currently used as a hotel and restaurant. Events are also held at the castle.
Burg Thurant is a ruined spur castle on the Moselle in Germany. What makes Thurant Castle so unique is that it actually consists of two castles. The archbishops of Cologne and Trier were joint owners of the castle in the mid-13th century and they both had their own property that was managed by burgraves. This means that you can find two towers (a bergfried), each for its own half with living quarters and their own entrance.
The Moselle is a wine region which you can also witness at Thurant Castle. One of the hill slopes has a vineyard and at the castle you can learn more about the old craft of wine making (and enjoy a glass of Moselle wine).
From the castle you have a wonderful view of the Moselle Valley and the Eifel.
Visitor information: the castle is open from March to November. Visit the website for opening times.
Burg Pyrmont is a 13th century castle set in a picturesque landscape. The castle has been expanded and rebuilt several times during the first 500 years of its existence. In the 18th century the old castle was transformed into a palace by the barons of Waldbott-Bassenheim. Large windows were installed to offer a perfect view of the Eifel landscape. During the Napoleonic Wars, Pyrmont Castle fell into decline until architects Hentrich and Petschnigg restored the castle in the 20th century.
Near the castle, you can find the Pyrmonter Felsensteig, one of the finest hiking trails in Germany. On this trail, you will find adventurous paths and steep cliffs as well as extensive fields and beautiful views. Make sure to also visit the waterfall at the Pyrmont mill.
Visitor information: the castle is open to visitors. Visit the website for more information.
Baroque Villa Böcking
Not a castle, but certainly worthy of a visit is the Baroque Villa Böcking. The villa was built in 1750 by the wealthy merchant Johann Adolf Böcking and the villa would remain the home of the Böcking family until the beginning of the 20th century.
After a daring trip on the Moselle river, Johann Wolfgang Goethe was a guest at the villa. And in 1837, the future King Friedrich-Wilhelm IV also stayed at the villa.
Today, the villa is part of the Mittelmosel Museum and shows the interiors of an upper middle-class family of the 18th and 19th centuries. More than 20 rooms can be visited that show a beautiful collection of furniture, art, and objects. But the villa also shows a collection on the history of Traben-Trarbach with archaeological finds from the Roman and Frankish eras, the history of crafts and urban guilds, plans from the French fortress Mont Royal, and a mode of Grevenburg Castle.
Visitor information: Visit the Mittelmosel Museum website for opening times.
For a true castle experience in the Mosel region, you can stay at the castle hotel Schloss Lieser. The restored castle offers beautiful views of the Moselle river as well as the surrounding vineyards.
The castle dates back to the 19th century when it was built for Eduard Puricelli, a wealthy entrepreneur and wine maker. The castle was built in a Neo-Renaissance style but Art Nouveau elements were added by Maria Puricelli and her husband Clemens Freiherr von Schorlemer-Lieser, a Prussian politician. The future Queen Juliana of The Netherlands also stayed at the castle.
The luxury hotel has 49 rooms and suites and a Spa & Wellness area with an indoor pool, sauna, and treatment rooms.