The longest tributary of the Rhine rises in the Vosges and for a short stretch is the border between Luxembourg and Germany before it meanders leisurely downstream in a deep valley through the forested low mountain ranges of the Eifel and Hunsrück. The section between Bernkastel and Cochem is considered most beautiful because it is here that you find what you only suspect in the otherwise rather industrialized Rhine Valley: the romance of an ancient cultural landscape. Villages and towns, where time seems to have stood still, lie in the shade of mysterious castle ruins, surrounded by vineyards where the generations of winemakers have tamed the steep slopes of the valley. Great hiking trails (indicated by an “M”) lead along the Mosel, – sometimes through the tall forests or medieval towns, at other times through vineyards or quiet valleys. In some places the trail follows the Via Ausonia, a Roman trade route. The visitor should not omit to walk to the Eltz Castle and to visit Beilstein where he will be immersed into the fairytale world of the Brothers Grimm.
The “Sleeping Beauty of the Mosel”
The tiny village of 140 inhabitants was a city in the high Middle Ages, before it sank into insignificance during the French era at the end of the 17th century and time stood still. Construction activities came to a standstill, which is why Beilstein today has one of the best preserved historic sites on the Mosel. The place, which is also called miniature Rothenburg or ‘Sleeping Beauty of the Mosel’, is dominated by the ruins of castle Metternich, which once belonged to the royal dynasty of the same name. In July and August of each year, the Beilstein fairytale summer takes place, at which the Puppet Theater from Cochem performs fairy tales in the viticulture museum.
Romantic castle in the dense forest
Tucked away in the dense forest of the River Elz Valley, Burg Elz is considered the prototype of a German castle. It was never found by the troops of Napoleon, so it wasn't destroyed. In 1268 it was divided among three descendants who had to live together in the narrow castle. Each line built its own tract over the centuries and added countless turrets, bay windows and other elements. Guided tours are offered. You can access the castle on foot from Moselkern or from the parking area above Müden, or by car via Münstermaifeld and Wierschem.
Black cats and first-class Rieslings
The town between Trier and Koblenz is the second largest wine growing region on the Moselle. Everywhere in the town wine tasting is offered. Traditionally, mainly Riesling is grown. Nationally known is the Zeller Schwarze Katz (“black cat”). The name of Zell's large vineyard comes from a legend, according to which a black cat has revealed to a wine merchant, in which barrel the best wine was stored. Similar stories and much more can be found in the wine and local history museum, which begins with excavations of the Romans.