The medieval town of Cochem sits on the banks of the Mosel River, surrounded by vineyards and rolling green hills. The Reichsburg Castle towers high above colourful half-timbered houses giving off the most romantic fairy tale vibes.
Whether you’re into exploring castles, tasting wine or going for a hike, there are many awesome things to do in Cochem that will please everyone. The town is easy to visit on a day trip from Cologne and it makes the perfect addition to your Germany road trip itinerary.
There are enough great things to do in Cochem that you could easily spend a full weekend soaking up the town’s charm while slowly ticking off every item on this list.
This guide will help you to plan the perfect visit to Cochem, including how to get there, where to stay, and all the best attractions that cannot be missed during your stay!
Table of Contents
10 Best Things to do in Cochem, Germany
Reichsburg Cochem Castle
It’s the shining star of Cochem and the town’s most unmissable landmark. Visiting the Reichsburg Castle should be at the top of your list of things to do while visiting Cochem.
Perched on a vineyard covered hilltop, there is no denying that it’s one of Germany’s prettiest castles. The castle dates back to the beginning of the 12th century making it over 1000 years old!
The original castle was completely destroyed by the French in the 17th century. After being left in ruins for more than 150 years, it was finally rebuilt by a wealthy business man from Berlin in the late 19th century.
The only way to enter the castle is by taking one of the guided tours. Daily castle tours are offered for €7 per person and they can be booked on arrival at the gift shop. Most of the tours are in German however there are several time slots throughout the day that offer English tours.
Once you finish the castle tour, you can’t leave without stopping for a drink or lunch at the Castle Tavern. The food there is great and the views are simply too stunning to miss.
Find more info about planning your visit to Reichsburg Cochem Castle here.
Opening Hours: 9am – 5pm daily
Tickets: €7/adult, €3.50/child, €18.50/families
Nestled in the hills of the Mosel Valley and only a short stroll from the Mosel Promenade, you’ll find the charming market square at the centre of the old town. This traditional square is like a scene from a story book with half-timbered houses surrounding a fountain.
Once you enter the square, you will see the 18th century Rathaus (town hall) and plenty of restaurants, cafes and shops to explore. This is a great place to grab a coffee and just enjoy the atmosphere. With plenty of cute little shops to browse, this is the perfect spot to find a souvenir.
Narrow alleys extend from the square leading you to the original medieval city gates that date back to the 12th century. They were once used to defend the town of Cochem and are in surprisingly good condition considering their age.
Mosel River Cruise
No visit to Cochem is complete without taking a scenic cruise on the Mosel River. This is one of the most popular things to do in Cochem. Cruising the river will give you a different perspective of the town and the stunning scenery that surrounds it.
The cruise lasts for one hour and takes you along the Mosel River passing by the Reichsburg Castle and beautiful landscapes of the Mosel Valley.
An audio guide will explain the town’s fascinating history as you cruise peacefully along the river. Snacks and drinks are offered on board for an extra cost and you can either choose between a day or evening cruise.
Discover some fascinating Cold War era history by checking out the Bundesbank Bunker. This was once a secret bank that held over 15 billion Deutschmarks as an emergency reserve during the war.
Disguised as a residential home, you would never notice it if you didn’t know what you were looking for. The former bank is now open to the public for daily tours which operate every 15 minutes.
Directly across from the Reichsburg Castle, the Pinnerkreuz viewpoint offers the best panoramic view in town. The easiest way to get there is by taking the Cochemer Sesselbahn (chairlift) which will bring you to the top in just a few minutes.
Once you get there, take a short walk to the viewpoint to admire the incredible view of the valley and castle. Make sure to stop at the nearby restaurant to enjoy a drink while taking in the same amazing views from their outdoor terrace.
You’ll also find a selection of walking trails at the top. For those who are up for it, you could choose to hike to the viewpoint instead of taking the chairlift.
To ride the chairlift both ways, tickets cost €7/adult or €3/child. The chairlift operates from mid March to late November, see updated hours of operation at their official website.
Wine production in the Mosel Valley dates back to the Roman times and today the region is known for its Riesling production. There is no better place to try some delicious wine than surrounded by the beautiful sloping vineyards and valley views!
Most of the restaurants and bars in Cochem serve locally produced wine. Some bars will also offer tasting glasses for a small fee so you can try it before buying a full glass.
If you happen to visit Cochem during June, you can participate in “Mosel Wine Week” by tasting wine from various stalls set up by local winemakers. There are more wine events that take place in Cochem throughout the year, find info about upcoming festivals and events here.
4.5 Hour Guided Wine Tour – Doing a wine tasting tour is a great way to learn more about the region’s history of wine production while touring a vineyard. Allow a local expert to show you the best of the Mosel wine region while tasting the premium wines.
This half day tour includes a guided walk through the vineyard, wine tasting, appetizers, and a local tour guide. See the link below for more info and to book your Mosel Valley wine tour online.
Hop on board the Mosel-Wein-Express train that takes you on a 25 minute tour through the town stopping at a few attractions along the way. This may seem like one of the more touristy things to do in Cochem but it’s definitely worthwhile especially if you have children.
Beginning from the old bridge, this sightseeing train offers a fun and inexpensive way to see the sights of Cochem while learning about the town’s history and tasting some wine.
Tickets: €6.50/adults, €3.20/child
Stroll along the picturesque flower-lined promenade, admiring the beautiful historic buildings and scenic riverbank views. This is where you’ll find a number of great restaurants, bars, shops and cafes where you can stop in for a meal and enjoy the scenery from an outdoor terrace.
Make sure to continue your walk along the promenade all the way until you reach the old bridge that crosses the river. Take a walk over the bridge for a fantastic view looking back toward the town and Reichsburg Castle.
From the bridge, this is also a great vantage point for capturing that postcard perfect scene of the castle and promenade. If you continue your explorations to the other side of the river, this is yet another spot from which you can admire that same magical view.
For the outdoor lover, getting some exercise while surrounded by stunning landscapes is one of the best things to do in Cochem. There are plenty of great hiking trails to choose from in the Mosel Valley depending on the length and difficulty that you prefer.
These hiking trails wind through vineyards, pass through pretty villages and run along the banks of the Mosel River. You certainly won’t be disappointed by the views on these Cochem hikes.
When we visited Cochem, we unfortunately didn’t have enough time to complete any hikes but this is one of the reasons we can’t wait to return one day. See this detailed list of some of the most popular hiking trails near Cochem to plan your route.
Located only 30 minutes from Cochem, a visit to this spectacular 12th century castle is an absolute must. Seeing Burg Eltz was one of the highlights of our 7 day road trip through Germany. After living in Europe for 2.5 years, I would go as far as saying it was my favourite castle in all of Europe!
Tucked away in the lush Eltz forest and surrounded by green hills, this beautifully preserved castle is truly a scene from a fairy-tale. Burg Eltz is a wonder of medieval architecture and has really stood the test of time. It’s one of the few castles in this area that has survived many wars and attacks over the centuries.
Once you arrive at the castle, you must park your car in the parking lot and follow a 1.3km trail through the forest to get there. Upon purchasing your ticket, you will be given access to the guided castle tours. Tours are offered in a number of languages including English.
The castle tour lasts for 45 minutes and takes you through the tastefully decorated rooms filled with original furnishings and artefacts such as swords, paintings and furniture. The inner courtyard and Treasury are not included on the tour but can be visited with a valid ticket.
This castle has become very popular over the years, it’s best to plan your visit early to avoid the crowds and queues. For the best chance to get a crowd-free photo (like the one above), plan to arrive around 8am.
Once you’ve finished touring this incredible castle, relax and enjoy a coffee and a snack at one of the two restaurants on-site.
Opening Hours: 9:30am – 5pm daily
Note: The castle is only open to tourists from April 1 – Nov 1. If you visit outside of these months, you can still stand outside and take photos but not enter the castle. During off-season, you might also want to explore one of the walking trails in the area.
Tickets: €12/adult, €6/child. Visit the website for up-to-date information.
Where to Stay in Cochem
Stumbergers Hotel – Located on the banks of the Mosel River only a short walk from town, we really enjoyed our stay at the Stumbergers Hotel. The restaurant on site serves delicious food and some rooms even have river/castle views from the window! Free parking is available and breakfast is included in your stay.
Weinhaus Gräfen – Conveniently located only 5 minutes from the town centre, this cosy hotel offers comfortable rooms with a delicious breakfast included. In the evening, enjoy a glass of local wine paired with seasonal cuisine in the hotel’s highly-rated restaurant.
Hotel Germania – Situated inside an 18th century building on the banks of the Mosel River, this fantastic hotel features a large terrace over looking the river. Hotel Germania produces its own wine and organises regular wine tastings at their nearby vineyard.
Getting to Cochem
Cochem can easily be reached by driving just under 1.5 hours from Cologne. You can also get to Cochem from Frankfurt in just under 2 hours. This makes it ideal to see the highlights of Cochem on a day trip.
Cochem has a train station so if you don’t have a car you could also choose to catch the train from Cologne or Frankfurt. This requires switching trains in the nearby town of Koblenz. See the timetable and buy train tickets to Cochem here.
We spent a few days in Cochem while on our road trip from Cologne to Munich. There are plenty of things to do in Cochem and the surrounding area that you could spend a few days here and not get bored!
Best Time to Visit Cochem
With longer days and nice weather, high season in Germany runs from May – September. To maximise your time sightseeing outdoors, you should plan your trip to Cochem during these months.
Given the fact that it is significantly busier during summer, it’s best to book your accommodation well in advance.
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