Crowned by historic Cochem Castle, this German town is one of the most picturesque on the Moselle River. With its historic center and abundance of well-preserved half-timbered buildings, it’s the epitome of a fairy tale town. That it is surrounded by some of the region’s best vineyards doesn’t hurt, either.
What We Love
Marktplatz: To step back centuries in time, head toward Marktplatz — or Market Square — and walk among the town’s beautiful old half-timbered buildings. Although damaged during World War II, this storybook square has been lovingly rebuilt and is the place to grab a coffee or a stein of local German beer on a sunny afternoon.
Mustard: Cochem is home to one of the oldest mustard mills in Germany (it's necessary to say “one of” because in Germany the origin of nearly everything is hotly contested), so no trip here is complete without sampling the spicy stuff. Better yet, take some home. On maps, the oldest mustard mill is listed as Historische Senfmühlen.
Best Known For
Reichsburg Cochem: Grand, imposing Cochem Castle has been towering over the town's good citizens since 1130. Passed down, besieged, overrun, and finally abandoned, it lay in ruins until it was purchased and rebuilt in 1868 by a German businessman. Now owned by the town, the castle is worth a visit: The views from the top, overlooking the town and the Moselle, are a photographer’s dream.
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Who It's Best For
Nature Lovers: Yes, much of Cochem's allure is its historic town center, but visitors enamored with nature will admire Cochem’s beautiful setting along the Moselle. Go for a stroll along its banks, or head out on a bicycle and explore this beautiful wine region.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Summer is Overcrowded: Although ships don’t come here in great numbers, Cochem can get busy during the summer months as local holidaymakers flock to the town along with international visitors.
Aaron Saunders is a Calgary-based contributor to ShermansCruise.com.