Your culture & taste experience along the Lower Mosel!

Ancient cultural heritage with so much to see

Lower Mosel or Terrace Mosel are the names used to describe the last third of the river valley before Koblenz, where the Mosel flows into the Rhine. The valley here is carved noticeably deeper than along the rest of the river. Slopes are often so steep that the vines can only grow on narrow terraces secured by dry stone walls. Hence the name. Impressive cultural sights await discovery in this ancient cultural landscape. And it goes without saying that you absolutely have to taste the wines that grow here on these steep slopes!

Traditional winegrowing villages

Straßenansicht einer Fachwerkkulisse mit Radfahrern

Where a valley is narrow, there is naturally limited space for people to settle. But it’s this that adds character to Mosel villages! People build upwards on small plots of land. Beautiful half-timbered façades rise up over lanes. Small open spaces reveal themselves. Those who can, tend small gardens and allow vines to grow up the sides of their houses. Tightly packed, narrow half-timbered houses line narrow streets and alleys that lead directly to the vineyards. What seems so idyllic to us today is actually functional architecture. Estates on the Mosel guaranteed a regular supply of Mosel wine for the church and the nobility as this had to be provided as a “tithe”. Many winegrowers (but not all) were serfs who were granted hereditary leases on their holdings. Needless to say, buildings were constructed according to the ideas and financial means of their landlords: optimal functionality was paramount. Fine-sounding names such as “Echternacher Hof” and “ Springiersbacher Hof” still exist today, bearing witness to the old ownership structure.

Special sights in Kobern-Gondorf

Schlossgebäude mit Durchgangstunnel für Bundesstraße

A key stop along the Terrace Mosel is Kobern-Gondorf. You’ll immediately be struck by its multiple castles and fortresses! A particularly interesting one is Schloss von der Leyen, right on the Mosel, which you pass through when driving from Cochem. It used to be a moated castle, but is now intersected by the B 416 and a railway line. There is so little room here in the valley that the traffic infrastructure simply couldn’t be routed around it! The interior of the castle houses a wine museum and land registry collections of the Koblenz State Archives.

You can see the ruins of Oberburg and Niederburg castles standing high above Kobern. As you leave the town in the direction of Koblenz, you will also encounter Schloss Liebig, a beautiful event location and the headquarters of a catering company.

But now onto the town’s highlights.

At Kirchstraße 1 you’ll find the oldest fully preserved half-timbered house in Germany! Tree-ring dating has shown that the house dates back to 1320/21. In former times, it belonged to the estate of the St. Marien Abbey in Trier. With a distance of around 120 km, that’s quite a journey! Wander through the town’s centre and discover other historic buildings, such as the old square quarry stone tower that was once part of the hall belonging to the Romilian von Kobern family (Peterstraße 4).

Ansicht auf die Matthiaskapelle in Kobern-Gondorf.

A special medieval treasure is the late Romanesque Matthiaskapelle chapel at the Oberburg, i.e. the upper castle ruins high above Kobern-Gondorf. This architectural jewel is believed to have been built around 800 years ago as a reliquary for the head of Matthew the Apostle, and is today one of the most ornate works of late Staufer architecture in the Rhineland.

The Matthiaskapelle, the two castle ruins, the Romanesque bell tower and cloister of the Parish Church of St. Lubentius, along with the steep vineyards and their walls that are up to 1,000 years old, all come together to form a most picturesque scene! And the views of the valley are amazing!

Our restaurant tips

Heading up to the Oberburg, you’ll automatically come across the Alte Mühle Thomas Höreth. Just the right place to stop for a bite to eat! The mill is around 1,000 years old and has been lovingly restored. Its menu includes fresh Mosel cuisine, culinary classics and game dishes from the surrounding area.

About 6 km further on towards Koblenz, you’ll come to the Halferschenke in Dieblich, where the hard-working men, who pulled heavy barges on towpaths along the rivers, used to eat. Today, it’s Carina and Christoph Schmah who welcome you here and offer you real French-inspired gourmet cuisine with top-quality regional ingredients. And all this in a relaxed and warm atmosphere, in keeping with the Halferschenke’s tradition.

You need to try some wine here!

After so many historic buildings, it’s time to get back in touch with the modern world! And wine tasting is the perfect way of doing so. Several winegrowing families have invested in new wine architecture that successfully transposes historical building traditions into the modern age.

Thekenbereich einer Vinothek mit hohen Decken und Glasfront

Martin and Gaby Dötsch from Weingut Dötsch-Haupt are a case in point; they cultivate steep vineyard plots in prime Kobern locations. All the work is done by hand. The only help is a monorack that winds its way along a track through the vines. Modern wines are produced here in a centuries-old tradition and you’re sure to enjoy them (Lennigstraße 38, Kobern-Gondorf).

 

Ansicht auf das Weingut Leo Fuchs in Pommern.

It was the Romans who introduced viticulture to the Mosel around 2,000 years ago. They’re also believed to have given the 450-strong wine village of Pommern its original name of Pomaria, which means “orchards” in German. At Hauptstraße 3 you’ll find Weingut Leo Fuchs, which offers more than just excellent wines. It was awarded the German “Wine Architecture Prize” a few years ago for its successful synthesis of old and new architecture.

Theken- und Sitzbereich einer Vinothek mit modernem Holzinterieur

Our next tip takes you to Winningen to the stately Weingut Freiherr von Heddesdorff, which is now run by the von Canal family (Am Moselufer 10). The three-storey main building with its distinctive round towers is truly striking and, at over 900 years old, it’s one of the oldest buildings in the winegrowing village. A contemporary vinothek and very modern wines await discovery here.

Incidentally, August Horsch, the automotive pioneer and founder of the companies Horch and Audi, was born in Winningen in 1868. Winningen Museum has an exhibition dedicated to him, which, interestingly enough, can be seen in the very schoolroom where he was taught.

Winningen art festival

First held over 10 years ago, The biennial Winningen Kunsttage festival has become a regular feature of the region’s cultural life, attracting attention far beyond its borders. Sophisticated modern art by internationally renowned artists is shown in a small but extremely committed wine village, supported by patron Prof. Dr. Beate Reifenscheid, director of the Ludwig Museum in Koblenz. The next date: May 10 -12, 2024.

A walk to Eltz Castle

As you drive along the Terrace Mosel, you’ll come across old castle ruins again and again. If you’re interested in learning more about them, check out our detailed stories and excursion tips!

Gesamtansicht von Burg Eltz

Eltz Castle, located in a Mosel side valley, is particularly worth seeing. Compared to many other castles, it has survived all wars unscathed and has been in the family for around 850 years! No wonder it’s such a popular location with Instagrammers. Dr. Karl Graf von und zu Eltz-Kemenich, known as Faust von Stromberg, is the castle’s current owner. The architecture and interior design of Eltz Castle take you on an impressive journey through the centuries and there are internationally renowned art treasures as well as gold and silver work on display. You can walk there from Moselkern. The hiking trail starts at the Ringelsteiner Mühle in Moselkern and leads with a slight to medium gradient along the Elzbach stream through the Eltzer Wald nature reserve to Eltz Castle (2.5 km, 35 minutes).
 

Fashion design in Moselkern

In Moselkern (Oberstraße 3) Brigitte Pappe advocates sustainable fashion design, for which she also likes to use vintage clothing as a basis. This results in one-of-a-kind pieces that conserve resources and are created using sustainable methods. Her speciality is Mosel tweed made from merino wool that is predominantly sourced from Mosel sheep. If you’re interested in sustainable designer fashion, you should definitely check out her workshop!

The historic collegiate district in Treis-Karden and Gallo-Roman Martberg

Ansicht auf die Tempelanlage Martberg in Treis-Karden

It isn’t far from Moselkern to Treis-Karden. The district of Karden evolved from the Roman settlement vicus Cardena, which included an extensive pottery production site. It was located along a Roman road and an important ford crossing the Mosel. Cardena also benefited from a Gallo-Roman mountain sanctuary on the nearby Martberg, which is still open to visitors today. The temple site has been partially reconstructed and can be reached from Karden via the Lenus Mars Trail (approx. 3 km). Alternatively, there’s also an access road from neighbouring Pommern.

Ansicht auf die Stiftskirche St. Castor in Treis-Karden.

The site was Christianised as early as Roman times by Castor, a student of the Trier bishop Maximin. Castor was later canonised and gave his name to both the Church of St. Kastor in Koblenz and the medieval collegiate district in Karden. The old collegiate church is visible from afar, and a visit is a must! Not only does it house an ancient shrine holding the bones of St. Castor, but also a very beautiful altar of the Epiphany made from terracotta, which is thought to have been created around 1420. And there are even more quality works of art to see!

A former collegiate building directly adjoining the cloister houses a small but fine collegiate museum, which displays finds from the Roman temple site on the Martberg as well as sacral treasures from the collegiate district.

About the collegiate district:

Ansicht auf den Moselort Treis-Karden.

An archdeaconry, which was responsible for the lower Mosel, existed in Karden as early as the turn of the 9th/10th century. This archdeaconry took over essential administrative tasks for the bishop in Trier and was headed by an archdeacon. At the same time, he was also the provost of the Karden collegiate. This brought together clergymen who carried out pastoral activities in the parishes. They didn’t however live in a monastic community, but had their own houses within the collegiate district, most of which have been preserved to this day. These include the former collegiate school, with Gothic wall frescoes from the end of the 15th century (photographs of these can be seen in the Collegiate Museum) and the Burghaus from 1562 that was the administrative seat of the mayor, a member of the Electorate of Trier. These are mainly to be found along the Buttermarkt, Stiftsstraße and St. Castor-Straße.
Enjoy a walk through the centre of the town and take a look at the historic houses there!

Architecturally noteworthy is the former provost residence, known as Haus Korbisch (derived from “chorbishop”, St. Castor-Straße 1). This dates back to 1207/08 and is particularly distinctive as it is part medieval defence tower and dwelling, and part normal residential building. You can still see the elevated entrance to the tower, which was very useful if you wanted to hide from enemy attacks. The actual living accommodation is in front. It’s believed that there was a kitchen in the basement and a large hall-like room on the upper floor, a setup similar to that of German medieval “palas” architecture.

Our restaurant tip for Karden: Schloss-Hotel Petry, St.-Castor-Straße 80.

 

Trip to Koblenz

When most people think of Koblenz, the first things that spring to mind are usually the Deutsches Eck and Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, in other words the historic and the monumental. But the city has much more to offer! Why not spend a day in Koblenz? It doesn’t take long to get there from the Lower Mosel.

Our tip: stay over at a winery!

How about the Weingut Fries in Löf-Kattenes, for example? Seen from the outside, the building looks fairly traditional. But when you step inside, you’ll find yourself in an interior that brings together historical heritage and modern design in a most interesting way. Tastefully furnished guest rooms are available for overnight stays. The hotel’s own wines and dishes from the winegrower’s kitchen are served in its rustic wood-panelled wine tavern or out on the sun terrace. It’s a great place to take in the beautiful view of Thurant Castle!

Ansicht auf zwei Gläser mit Weißwein auf einem dekorierten Tisch.

A charming alternative is Winzerhof Gietzen in Hatzenport. Maria and Albrecht Gietzen are very attentive hosts who feel a special bond with the region.

Many more beautiful accommodations on the Mosel are waiting for you!

Book your Mosel holiday now!

27.02.2024
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05.03.2024

Sustainable travel

All the tips we have given you here are easy to reach by train. It’s an environmentally friendly way to travel, saves on resources and is also really practical if you want to drink wine and don’t want to worry too much about your blood alcohol level!

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