Cochem is a small village located in the heart of the Mosel River valley in Germany. Despite its tiny size, it packs a big punch, with enough attractions to draw thousands of visitors every year. From its fairytale cattle to its intriguing historic center, its river promenade to its animal parks, there's enough here to keep the whole family happy (although the alcoholic delights of its surrounding vineyards are for adults only) If you're planning a visit, don't miss checking out our round-up of the 20 best things to do in Cochem, Germany.
20. Check out the gemstones at the Edelsteinmuseum Cochem
If you're a secret magpie, you're going to love Edelsteinmuseum Cochem. A showcase for all that glitters, this charming little museum is one of the old town's highlights, giving visitors the chance to admire its dazzling collection of gemstone, minerals, fossils, and jewelry. As well as offering a fascinating history of the gems on displays, the museum also boasts a shop with a fine collection of precious stones to take away as souvenirs.
19. Visit St. Martin Kirche
Ranked as one of Cochem's top attractions by thingstodopost.org, a visit to the catholic cathedral of St. Martin Kirche shouldn't be missed. Despite being largely destroyed during the war, it's been rebuilt to perfection. The Reyntiens/Jones stained glass windows with their depictions of biblical stories are a thing of wonder, even if the humor found within them is occasionally surprising. Whether you're looking to meditate, pray, or just enjoy some very inspiring architecture, it's a must-visit.
18. Enjoy some regional cuisine at Alt Thorschenke
If you're in the mood to try some traditional German cuisine, don't miss a visit to the exceptional Alt Thorschenke. Nestled in the medieval walls of the historic center, the restaurant does a fine line in regional specialties, including more types of schnitzel than you thought existed, a luxurious pork neck with mustard-cream sauce, and an equally delectable herring with apple and onions. The wine list is, of course, outstanding. If you overindulge, there's a small but charming collection of rooms upstairs (most of which come with four-poster beds) to sleep it off.
17. Take in a jazz concert at Vinothek
Lonely Planet recommends any visitor to Cochem factors in a trip to the ultra-contemporary Vinothek, and so do we. The decor is reason enough to visit (check out the barrels hanging from the ceiling), while the opportunity to taste some of the exceptional wines that come directly from the hillside behind is unmissable. Best of all is the fabulous range of events like brunches, dinners, and jazz concerts held on its elevated terrace. The views over the Mosel need to be seen to be believed.
16. Vist the Moselland Museum
Ranked as one of the best things to do in Cochem by Inspirock, the Moselland Museum offers visitors the chance to experience the simple life of old with its vast collection of historic farm and vineyard equipment. Tractors are the main event, but there's also plenty of old shop items to enjoy, as well as an old schoolroom. While you're there, be sure to grab a bite to eat at the excellent on-site brasserie.
15. Say a prayer at St. Castor
Located just a few minute's walk from the center of Cochem is the former collegiate church of St. Castor. Founded as a basilica in the 8th or 9th century, the church is exquisite, with a must-see Late-Gothic altarpiece from the 15th century and a Baroque organ fitted by the famous organ-maker Johann Michael Stumm during the early 18th century. Wonderfully serene and packed with visual delights, it's a stunning place to spend a couple of peaceful hours away from the crowds.
14. Admire Enderttor
A gate might not seem like much of an attraction, but few gates are quite so magnificent or steeped in quite so much history as Enderttor. Built in 1332, it's one of three stone medieval city gates in Cochem, the other two being Balduinstor by the city cemetery and St. Martinstor on Herrenstrasse. Its stunning architecture is a sight to behold... a sentiment Trip Advisor reviewers clearly agree with, with one describing it as "Phenomenal.... Wonderful history that you can walk through without paying a dime!!" and another saying "So great to see such history up close. If you have the time it is a must." It is indeed.
13. Hop on board the Wein Express
If you don't have your own set of wheels, the Wein Express Train is a great way to experience the best of Cochem while enjoying some excellent wine in the process. The trip is short (25 minutes in total) and slightly rustic (if you're expecting luxury, you'll be disappointed) but still manages to rank as one of the best things to do in Cochem thanks to just how many of the town's central attractions it passes by. Tickets aren't cheap (expect to pay around €6) but the opportunity to sit back and enjoy the attractions while sipping some of the region's best wine shouldn't be missed.
12. Explore the Mosel Promenade
The flower-festooned Mosel Promenade is packed with restaurants, shops, coffee houses, winemakers, and cake shops, offering visitors the perfect opportunity to indulge in some excellent food and even better wine. Thousands of tourists from all over the world flood to the promenade to enjoy its attractions, and for very good reason. When the weather's warm, nothing beats grabbing a coffee, a cake, and a seat at one of the many outdoor cafes and indulging in some good, old-fashioned people watching.
11. Visit Wild- and Freizeitpark Klotten Cochem
If you're visiting Cochem with your family, be sure not to miss a visit to Wild- and Freizeitpark Klotten Cochem. It started life as an animal park, but has since evolved into a fun-filled destination complete with roller coasters and water slides. The animals are still the central attraction though - kids are guaranteed to love the petting zoo while the brown bear enclosure is a treat for all ages. The entrance fee is pretty high, but you won't regret the expense. Plan to spend an entire day here - anything less is a missed opportunity.
10. Enjoy some ice cream at Gelateria Fratelli Bortolot
Cochem has some great eateries, with Gelateria Fratelli Bortolot ranking among the best. This family-owned ice cream shop has been in operation since 1890, delighting generation after generation with its range of delicious ice creams and gelatos. The classic flavors are great, but with 2 scoops ad a cone costing just €2,20, you can afford to go wild and indulge yourself with some of the more wacky creations from its 10-page menu, including a spaghetti ice cream that needs to be tasted to be believed.
9. Indulge yourself with a wine tasting
No visit to Cochem is competing without at least one wine tasting session. The area is famous for Riesling, Pinot Noir, Spätburgunder and Dornfelder, all of which are more than worthy of trying. As to how you do it... take your pick. Cochem might be small, but there's plenty of wine bars, most of which offer small, 0.1 glasses to facilitate the experience. There are also numerous wine houses and wineries located along the Mosel River to chose between.
8. Tantalise your tastebuds at the Senfmühle
If there's one thing the Germans know how to do very well, it's mustard. If you're in need of something to pep up your tastebuds, a visit to the Senfmühle comes highly recommended. The mustard mill, which was built in 1810, has the distinction of being the oldest in the world, not to mention the honor of producing some of the finest mustard you'll ever wrap your lips around. In addition to enjoying a free mustard tasting in the shop, don't miss the chance to take a tour of the old mustard mill - with tickets costing just €2,50, it offers a memorable experience at a great price.
7. Ride the Cochem Sesselbahn
The Cochem Sesselbahn (or cable car, to the non-german speakers among us) takes you on a ride to the very top of the Pinner Kreuz mountain. The view alone is worth the €7 fee. Once you're at the top, it's worth taking a few hours to explore the many hiking routes that criss-cross the mountain. If you're in need of refreshment, there's a very charming hilltop cafe that does a fine line in cake and coffee.
6. Explore the ruins at Winneburg
Reichsburg Castle might be Cochem's central attraction, but it's not the only castle in town. Located above the Endert Valley to the west of Cochem lie the ruins of another castle that's well worth a few hours of your time. As The Crazy Tourist explains, Winneburg was built during the 14th century and remained in the possession of the Lords of Winneburg until the line died out in the 17th century. During the Nine Years War of the 17th century, the castle was besieged and razed to the ground by the French. Today, all that remains of the once majestic castle are ruins, but it's still worth exploring, if for no other reason than the challenging but highly rewarding hike you'll need to take up from the valley to reach it.
5. Hike the Moselsteig
The Moselsteig is a long-distance trail divided into 24 stages that's a must for nature lovers. In addition to receiving the "Qualitätsweg Wanderbares Deutschland" seal of the German hiking association, it's also been named a "Leading Quality Trail – Best of Europe". If that wasn't enough to make you grab your boots and head for the great outdoors, the panoramic views and opportunity to take in numerous historic sights along the way just might. Although it's wise to pack plenty of water, you'll find a bunch of stops along the way to indulge in some coffee, cake, and local wine.
4. Experince history at the Bundesbank bunker
Back when the Cold War was at its coldest, Germany decided to take special measures to protect itself in case war broke out. One of them involved setting up secret currency reserves in hidden parts of the country, including in Cochem. The entrance to the subterranean bunker that once held up to 15 billion Deutschmarks is disguised as a residential house, but once you travel down into its depths, the non-descript nature of its facade soon gives way to something quite extraordinary. Take a tour to find out more about its history and relevance to the town.
3. Explore the old town
If you're visiting Cochem, be sure to allow plenty of time to explore its old town. With its wooden timbered buildings, medieval clock towers, overhanging houses, and tiny boutiques, it oozes charm. It's also the perfect place to pick up some souvenirs - whether you're looking for some beer mugs, fridge magnets, wines, or vinegar, you'll find plenty of choice in the many cute stores that line its historic streets. While you're there, be sure to check out the delights of the Old Market too.
2. Take a river cruise along the Mosel River
As Probe around the Globe says, Cochem is synonymous with the Mosel River, and what's the point of visiting the Mosel River if you don't take full advantage of it with a river cruise? Choose your trip (anything from an hour to a whole day), your deck, then sit down and enjoy the ride. Most trips come with a good selection of local wines, beers, coffees, and local delicacies to enjoy, adding a gourmet thrill to the visual delights you'll experience along the way.
1. Visit the castle
As The Crazy Tourist says, Cochem's crowning glory is the Medieval toll castle that sits perched atop a cliff overlooking the town below. Originally built at the turn of the 12th century, Reichsburg was rebuilt in the 1870s in a fairytale style reminiscent of something out of a Walt Disney film. Some of the remnants of the original building have survived, with features such as the ring wall, octagonal tower, “Hexenturm” witch’s gate, and the great hall offering a fascinating glimpse into Medival architecture. Although you're free to wander around its grounds independently, a guided tour of the interior comes highly recommended, offering an intriguing insight into the tapestries, furniture, paintings, and armor that decorate its rooms and passages.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn