An enticing escape spotlighting Amsterdam’s legendary museums and Cologne’s iconic cathedral, this journey into the heart of Mosel Wine Region showcases the terraced slopes, fairytale villages and Roman history of Cochem, Bernkastel and Trier.
Germany’s oldest town was founded by Romans and still bears remarkably preserved evidence of the culture – Roman baths, amphitheater and the imposing Porta Nigra gateway. It has since become synonymous with the rolling wine vineyards of the Rhineland that follow the Moselle, with the commanding 12th-century Eltz Castle standing guard.
Trier, Germany. This venerable Episcopal city on the Moselle River is the oldest in Germany and, some claim, even older than Rome! The famous Porta Nigra is the only surviving fortified gate from the original Roman settlement and it still gives access to the town center. The Moselle is some 312-miles long, rising in the Vosges Mountains of northeastern France and entering Germany at Trier. The entire Moselle Valley is famous for its beautiful and tranquil scenery. (B,L,D)
A well-preserved medieval town, Bernkastel’s colorful Market Square is among the most authentic and lovely of those that line the riverside, with a Renaissance-era Town Hall and the bustling activity of shops and cafés. Don’t miss the Spitzhaüschen (pointed house) that famously towers above the other rooftops. With its ground floors built narrower than the upper floors, the building appears to wobble off balance, but has stood strong since 1416.
With its half-timbered buildings, steep terraced slopes, lush vineyards and a picturesque castle overlooking the Moselle River, this charming town’s riverside promenade allows a chance to savor the atmosphere of a fairytale come to life. Take in the beauty of the surrounding hills, sometimes laced with mist, and see bridges spanning the lazy waters of the river. Perhaps you will feel somewhat lazy yourself, reluctant to move too quickly through a town seemingly stopped in time.
Cologne (Koln), Germany
Germany’s most visited landmark – the UNESCO-listed Cologne Cathedral – dominates the skyline here, its magnificent Gothic twin-spires reaching toward the heavens. Peel your eyes away from the Kölner Dom, its local name, to see the space needle-like Rhine Tower, ancient Roman ruins, a modern museum, cozy beerhalls and the arches of the Hohenzollern Bridge, reconstructed after the war.
Everyone has an image of Amsterdam. For some, it’s small boats gliding on the canals and locals two-wheeling on bikes to work and, as frequently, to meet friends for drinks. For others, it’s gabled buildings leaning, seemingly precariously, over cobbled streets and cozy taverns illuminated by candles. Still others imagine tulips in bloom and the paintings Vermeer, Van Gogh and Rembrandt. Each vision is even more beguiling when experienced in person.