Spend the day in Cochem, Germany

Castle Reichsburg sitting atop Cochem. | Photo by Don Fink
Castle Reichsburg sitting atop Cochem. | Photo by Don Fink

Spend the day in Cochem, Germany

by Jessica Zen
Stripes Europe

Winter is a spectacular time for a day trip to Cochem. Spend the day basking in the romance of a magnificent medieval castle while meandering through the cobblestoned streets in this charming town in the Moselle River Valley of Germany.

A LITTLE HISTORY

Situated in the middle of the Riesling wine region, the town of Cochem is full of beauty and splendor during the winter months. The half-timbered buildings topped with slate roofs give a quintessential small-town village vibe, while the narrow winding streets lead visitors to paths unknown. Even more drama is added to the landscape as snow blankets the town and a low, hovering fog creates an air of mysticism. Christmas decorations adorn the town, creating a festive ambiance as the tree in the town square sparkles with lights and ornaments. Above it all, the Reichsburg Cochem stands tall and proud.

This imperial castle, originally built around 1000, overlooks the town and river from its perch on a vine-covered hill. Though it was once a medieval structure of defense, it has since been renovated in the late 1860s to reflect the Neo-Gothic style. Visitors can awe at the many towers from the outside, or take a guided tour of the interior.

Castle tours in English from now until Jan. 6 are daily at 1:00 p.m. From Jan. 7- Feb. 16, tours are on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. Feb. 17 - Mar. 8 tours are daily at 2 p.m. During Advent, there is a special Christmas program where actors dress up as Mary and Joseph and search for shelter. The archangel announces the birth of Jesus to the world, accompanied by the sound of trumpets. If you just can’t get enough Christmas magic, head to the Christmas market in the town, where the glühwein grapes are locally grown, brewed and of the highest quality.

SERIOUS LEISURE TIME

While strolling through the town during winter, revel in the chilly air while you look for unique details like a merman on the side of a building or a knight carved out of wood holding a restaurant menu. If you’re tired of being out in the cold, head to Family Winery Rademacher for a wine tasting and cellar tour. The winemaker will share his knowledge on the craft of creating delicious white wines. Various options are available, but the standard wine tasting lasts just over two hours and is 12.60 euros to taste six wines.

If the family is in tow, head to Moselbad, an indoor water park that is great for both adults and children. Kids will love playing in an area with a waterslide, indoor wave pool and adventure pool. Adults can escape to two dry saunas, a steam sauna or the “samarium,” a hot steam bath, for some peace and quiet. There is also a cozy log fire burning that invites visitors to grab a cocktail and stay awhile.

GETTING THERE

Cochem is approximately two hours northwest of Kaiserslautern and an hour and a half west of Wiesbaden. Visit for the day or spend the weekend exploring the wine region.

From an ancient medieval castle to a modern waterpark, Cochem is not to be missed when planning your winter travel itinerary. Wander through the Christmas market stalls or stroll by the river. No matter what you decide to do, you’ll always have special memories of time well spent in Cochem.

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