The Mosel River Valley of Germany has some incredible and diverse treasures. Next door, find it’s famous and more heavily trafficked neighbor, the Rhine River Valley. Although the Mosel River Valley remains overshadowed by it’s popular neighbor, it is worthwhile to explore over a few lazy days.
Visit the longest suspension bridge in Germany, the Geierlay Suspension Bridge, which is surrounded by beautiful forests. Tour the famous Eltz Caslte, nestled into the hillside decorated in trees. Stroll through Trier, and see the relics of the mighty Roman Empire and the oldest church in Germany. Chase the famous black cat in Zell, a beautiful wine village in the Mosel River Valley. If looking for a sampling of the Rhine River Valley, detour to the picture perfect village of Bacharach, just a stones throw away from the Mosel River Valley.
Here’s a great road trip itinerary highlights which allow a taste of the Mosel River Valley.
Table of Contents
- How to Reach the Mosel River Valley
- Walk on the Geierlay Suspension Bridge
- Tour the Eltz Castle, the most Famous Castle of the Mosel River Valley
- Visit Trier, A City from the Roman Empire
- Zell, Wine Gem of the Mosel River Valley
- Detour: Swing Through the Rhine River Valley
- A Country Escape: Sleeping in Hunsrück to Explore the Mosel River Valley
- A Taste of Germany’s Mosel River Valley
How to Reach the Mosel River Valley
The best way to discover the Mosel River Valley is to pick up a car from the Frankfurt Airport. As one of the biggest and cheapest airport hubs, Frankfurt has multiple car rental companies.
In General: Driving Practicalities
- Mileage: More or less around 70 Miles
- Drive Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes, Depending on destination
Tips on Renting a Car in Germany
- Kayak usually always has reasonable car deals.
- Save money by opting for a credit card which includes rental car insurance.
- In Europe, it’s cheaper to rent a manual. Brush up on those rusty stick shift driving abilities.
- Compact cars use less fuel and are better for the environment!
- Avoid the company Global Rent A Car. I seriously had a sketchy encounter at pick-up.
Walk on the Geierlay Suspension Bridge
The Geierlay Suspension Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in Germany, at a nerve wracking, yet sturdy 1,185 foot long bridge. Find it on the outskirts of the small village of Mörsdorf. This bridge towers over the lush forest at a height of over 300 feet.
This lush region boasts many hiking trails which are well mapped with lots of sign posts. It’s best to visit this site in the early morning, before the tourist arrive and crowd the bridge.
- Cost: Free
- Parking Available in Multiple Parking Lots & the Visitor Center
- Take the 1.25 mile casual and scenic walk through Mörsdorf to the bridge
- Well marked and less than 25 minutes
Adventurous hikers may wish to tackle the Saar-Hunsrück Climb Hiking Trail. This 255 miles hiking path includes the Geierlay Suspension Bridge. It begins next to the border of Luxembourg in the small village Perl. First, explore the region of Saarland. Take a detour to the UNESCO World Heritage rich city of Trieror continue on through the low mountain range of the Hunsrück Region. This long distance hike finishes in the village of Boppard, which is located all the way on the Rhine River.
Tour the Eltz Castle, the Most Famous Castle of the Mosel River Valley
Eltz Castle, or Burg Castle, is a picturesque castle that sits on a stunning hillside, surrounded by lush forests. This castle is still owned by the Eltz Family, who have had the castle in their name for over 850 years. The Eltz forest is the perfect backdrop for this fairy-tale castle. There are multiple hiking trails and paths to explore around the castle, and guided tours are mandatory to tour the inside of the castle. Tours are available in multiple languages and run frequently.
Practical Info about Eltz Castle
- Castle Tour Entrance Fee: €11 ($12 USD)
- Visit: April – October
- Daily: 9:30 – 18:00
- Tour Duration: 40 minutes
- Tour Frequency: Almost every 15 minutes
- Exterior and Hiking Trails: Free
- There are two main parking entrances to the Castle
- Parking Fee: €2 ($2.25 USD)
- This is the parking area with the €2 shuttle to the castle
- It’s possible to take a gentle hike to the castle from either parking location
Alternative Park & Hike Option
There’s an excellent parking option in front of the Ringelsteiner Mühle Hotel and Restaurant in the tiny village of Moselkern. Pay the minimal parking fee and follow along the river in the dense Eltz Forest. This hiking trail is well marked and allows hikers to follow a slightly ascending dirt path.
Look for those incredible views of Eltz Castle. Not many people tackle this 1.5 mile trail, so it allows you to connect with the exquisite nature. I personally loved the views from the lower bridge looking up at the impressive castle.
Mosel River Valley Itinerary Tip
Combine the Geierlay Suspension Bridge and Eltz Castle in one day. Start early and have the bridge to yourself. Next, take the lazy 40 minutes drive to Eltz Castle. Finally, explore the Eltz castle and include the above hike for the perfect day in the Mosel River Valley.
Visit Trier, A City from the Roman Empire
Visit the old Roman city of Trier, which is located at the end of Germany’s Mosel River Valley. Trier is just about 10 miles away from the border of Luxembourg. This historically significant city was not only a part of the Roman Empire, but prior to that, is it believed to be Germany’s oldest city. History sites that Celtic tribes lived here almost 1,300 years before the mighty Roman empire claimed it as their own.
Be welcomed into the city by the impressive Roman Gate of Porta Nigra, which was erected around 180 A.D. As soon as you feast your eyes upon the gate, it’s easy to see that Trier is not your average German city. Continue walking into the Hauptmarkt, or Trier’s main square. This area is bustling with little pop-up wine stands, park benches, and eager tourists. The main square is a pure delight.
Walk into the St. Peter’s Cathedral, which boasts itself on being the oldest church in all of Germany. The connected Church of our Lady has stunning stained glass windows and is usually quiet to escape the bustling city. This complex is a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Take a stroll down the Zurlauben riverside, or explore the UNESCO listed Imperial Baths. It’s possible to continue on to the amphitheater. This amphitheater was built in the 2nd century and can hold over 22,000 spectators. There’s also a plethora of museums housing many treasures from the Roman Empire.
Helpful Tips on Trier
There’s a lot of ground to cover when visiting Trier. Those especially interested in the Roman history should plan on spending at least a couple days here.
Those on a quick time frame may wish to explore a general walking tour of the city.
- Cost: €8 ($8.75 USD)
- When: May to October
- Daily at 13:00
- Departure Location: The Main Tourist Office
- @ Porta Nigra
Did you miss the Guided Tour?
Zell, Wine Gem of the Mosel River Valley
Along the Mosel River find the charming village of Zell. This little village is all about that wine. Stroll the small city to find the iconic black cat on storefronts, wine bottles, and even on local’s clothing!
Legend has it that in 1863, three wine merchants from Aachen came to Zell to purchase the best possible Riesling to bring back home with them. The negotiations stretched on for some time, until at one point the wine owner’s black cat jumped upon a barrel, arched his back and began to hiss. The merchants saw this as a sign and purchased the cask that the cat had so viciously protected. The rest is history and the black cat became the iconic image of wine from the village of Zell.
P.S. It’s fabulous and worth the hype.
There are inviting wine shops located along the cobblestone streets which offer up generous pours of wine. Look for images of the famous black cat hidden throughout the village. Of course, the black cat welcomes visitors in the form of a fountain at the entrance of the town. Grab a seat outside on the riverside terrace or savor a glass from a cozy wine bar.
Zell is a true gem that sits along the picturesque Mosel River Valley.
Detour: Swing Through the Rhine River Valley
The Mosel River Valley is less than an hour away from the popular and just as beautiful Rhine River Valley. The Rhine River is a popular hot spot among river cruises and has some picturesque and worthwhile detours.
Bacharach may just be one of the most adorable little towns in all of Germany. The best thing to do here is to explore its charming streets, old fortified walls, churches, and hiking trails with incredible views of the village and valley. Look closely to see that the town is decorated with the yellow shells of the Camino de Santiago. Yes, this little region is a popular stopping point for those taking the extra long pilgrimage to Spain.
The city center is pedestrian friendly. Don’t expect to share these magical alley ways with cars. In Bacharach, take the time to just savor how cute this village is. There are plenty of historic restaurants slinging up traditional German food. Hidden in small alleyways find garden terraces to sample Riesling from the region.
Bacharach is a worthwhile detour of the Mosel River Valley.
Castles and Scenic Vistas
This area is sprinkled with a diverse and stunning range of villages that line the river banks of the scenic Rhine River. The best way to explore this area is just to stop if something looks interesting. Castles, vineyards, hilltop fortresses, oh my. This region is a treasure for those looking to slow down and indulge in a rich region of Germany.
A Country Escape: Sleeping in Hunsrück to Explore the Mosel River Valley
A true countryside escape awaits for you at the lovely Crumpler’s Castle. Staying here made this trip to the Mosel River Valley an unforgettable experience. Crumpler’s Castle is located smack dab in the middle of both the Mosel and Rhine River Valleys in the region of Hunsrück. It’s tucked away, almost hidden, in the tiny hamlet of Bergenhausen. It’s possible to explore both regions from this countryside retreat.
Be greeted by the most warm and welcoming hosts. Staying here is like staying with friends who instantly become family. The guesthouse is clean, homey, and Marion and Peter bring such a sweet charm.
Awake in the morning by the small village church bells. Take a peaceful morning walk with grazing cattle in the nearby fields. After that, enjoy a freshly prepared breakfast. The homemade jams are a special treat. Explore all that this charming area has to offer and be welcomed back “home” with large smiles at the end of the day and caring inquiries as to how your day was.
A Taste of Germany’s Mosel River Valley
This laid-back road trip itinerary gives one the perfect taste of Germany’s Mosel River Valley. Explore tranquil nature surrounding the little village of Mörsdorf and the sprawling Geierlay Suspension Bridge. Discover the medieval Eltz Castle in the middle of the luscious Eltz Forest. Visit the ancient city of Trier and all of it’s unique Roman sites. Of course, those who love wine should savor a glass in the adorable town of Zell. Follow the black cat between the cozy wine shops.
Those looking to travel deeper should take a detour to the lovable town of Bacharach. The Rhine River Valley is easy to explore if basing from the low mountain range region of Hunsrück.
Germany’s Mosel River Valley is the perfect blend of authentic German villages, castles, historical cities, and vineyards.
Have you visited the Mosel River Valley? Did you take the time to explore any of the above points of interest? Was there a village or stop that you absolutely loved? Let me know in the comments below!