Are you looking for the best things to do in Cochem, Germany? This article explores 17 of the top attractions that this picturesque town has to offer, from discovering its historic Old Town to tasting local wines and enjoying the typical German culture. By now, I’ve visited this town several times, and I always love coming back. So if you’re planning a trip to Cochem, read on to find out what you should include in your itinerary!
This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase through one of my links I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). Read more in my Disclosure Policy.
17 best things to do in Cochem
Visit the Reichsburg of Cochem
Situated on a hill overlooking the Moselle River, this imposing structure dates back to the 11th century and is steeped in fascinating history. The foundations of this castle were laid in around 1000 AD by the palatine count Ezzo, the founder of the House of Palatinate-Cochem. After passing through several generations of ownership, it was destroyed by French troops in 1689 during the Nine Years’ War. It remained as ruins until 1868 when it was restored by Louis Ravené.
Today you can easily visit the castle during a guided tour. These take about 40 minutes and start every 15 minutes. An entry ticket costs €8.50 for an adult. During your guided tour you’ll pass by numerous rooms restored like they used to be in the Middle Ages. You’ll see armory, tapestry, and unique objects from that time. Not to mention the stunning view you have of the city underneath and its surroundings!
Visit the Market Square
The market square is the center of the little town Cochem and also one of the most beautiful places. With a fountain in the middle, surrounded by half-timbered houses and in the shadow of Cochem’s church bell, this is a place you cannot miss! Stop by the delicious pastry shop or enter one of the other cute stores around.
Go up the Sesselbahn to the Pinnerkreuz
This is my absolute favorite activity in Cochem. Why? Because you get to enjoy a fun ride uphill in a two-seat open lift and a wonderful view! This might not be your favorite if you’re afraid of heights, but if not, I highly recommend it! The Sesselbahn is located a little walk from the center and takes you up the opposite hill from the Reichsburg, meaning you have a beautiful view of that monument as well.
The Sesselbahn is open from the end of March until the half of November and costs €7.90 for a retour ticket up the hill. Once on the top, you can enjoy a drink in its café or walk to the Pinnerkreuz, a large cross standing on the top. From here you have a magnificent view of the village. Of course, you can always buy a single ticket and walk your way back down.
Hike a part of the Moseltrail
One of the most popular hiking trails passing by Cochem is the Moseltrail. The trail follows the course of the Moselle River, passing through vineyards, forests, and small villages. Hence offering stunning views of the Moselle Valley. Along the way, you can stop at local wineries to taste the regional wines or visit one of the many castles. The total length of the trail is around 365 kilometers, with different sections ranging from easy to challenging. One of the most scenic sections of the Moseltrail is the stretch between Cochem and Beilstein.
In Cochem, the Moselsteigtrail has a side trail that makes a circular route around the town. It is 16 km long and takes about 6 hours so you should definitely calculate enough time for this one! The route passes by the Pinnerkreuz, a castle ruin and a winehouse among others, so you can expect quite some height difference along the route. If you love hiking, this is the trial you should try!
Visit the Bundesbank bunker
The Bundesbank bunker is a former underground bunker complex built in the 1960s to house the central bank’s gold reserves and cash during the Cold War. The bunker is located in the hills above Cochem and was designed to withstand a nuclear attack and remain operational for several weeks.
The bunker covers an area of around 2,300 square meters and includes a network of tunnels, offices, and storage rooms. The complex was kept secret for many years, and its existence only became public in the 1990s after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Today, it is a museum offering guided tours that provide a unique insight into the history of the Cold War and the role of the Bundesbank in protecting Germany’s financial assets. You can see the original vaults where the gold and cash were stored and learn about the bunker’s construction and operation. From April till November they have multiple guided tours daily. Make sure to reserve your spot online beforehand!
Make a day trip to Castle Eltz
One of the most well-known castles in Germany is without a doubt Castle Eltz! And for good reason, a visit to this castle will make your jaw drop from amazement. It just looks sooo much like a fairytale! Did I see the Sleeping Beauty in the distance?
It is a half an hour drive from Cochem, but if you don’t have a car, don’t worry. Shuttle busses are running regularly from the train station. This way, you can also visit the castle by public transport. Once arrived, you can follow one of the guided tours that take you through the wonderful castle rooms. These are in high demand so you better get there early. A ticket costs €14 and a guided tour takes about 40 minutes.
If you’re looking for more information, check out my dedicated blog post about Castle Eltz to find out more about the castle, hiking routes passing by and the best photo spots!
Go on a boat tour
When you’re walking alongside the Mosel river in Cochem you’ll see quite some boats lying on the quay. Because the Mosel valley is so picturesque, sailing the river is a very popular activity. Now you might think that such a boat tour is a bit too touristy for you… and I completely understand this. However, there’s just something about seeing the Mosel valley from the river that makes it magical. I guarantee you, you’ll fall in love with it!
First, check out the different companies that offer such tours here. Then, make a reservation beforehand. In peak season, the boats might be full if you don’t.
Book a wine tasting
You can’t say you have been to Cochem and the Mosel valley if you haven’t tasted some local wines. The most famous grape is the Riesling, which thrives in mineral-rich soil and cooler temperatures. In addition to Riesling, the Mosel region also produces other grape varieties, including Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Gewürztraminer. However, Riesling is by far the most important and widely planted grape variety in the region.
Find a good wine tasting and tour on this website.
Get jolly at the Christmas market
Each year, you can find a nice Christmas market in Cochem. Well, it’s not exactly like the Christmas markets you see in cities like Trier or Düsseldorf (even a little underwhelming I must say). But if you’re in Cochem anyway, why not visit its Christmas market as well?
You can expect 15-something stands with typical German food, local wine and handcraft items. You can browse the stalls and shop for gifts while sipping on hot mulled wine, or “Glühwein.”
One of the highlights of the Cochem Christmas market is the medieval Christmas market, which takes place in the courtyard of the town’s historic castle. Here, visitors can step back in time and experience a traditional medieval Christmas, complete with costumed performers, old-fashioned crafts, and period foods and drinks. In 2023, this event will run December 9 and 10. Special tickets can be bought online beforehand.
Visit Wild- and Freizeitpark Klotten Cochem
Wild- und Freizeitpark Klotten Cochem is an amusement park located in Klotten, close to Cochem. The park is spread over 50 hectares and is home to a variety of rides, attractions, and wildlife exhibits.
One of the main attractions of the park is the roller coaster “Klotti- Coaster,” which is a popular ride that offers a thrilling experience for adrenaline junkies. In addition to the rides, Wild- und Freizeitpark Klotten Cochem is also home to a variety of wildlife, including a bird of prey show, a petting zoo, and an aquarium. Visitors can see animals such as wolves, bears, lynx, and wild boar up close and learn about their natural habitats and behaviors. A fun activity for the entire family!
Take a visit to the Senfmühle
The Senfmühle is a historic mustard mill that has been in operation for over 200 years and is one of the oldest mustard mills in Germany. When visiting the Senfmühle you can take a guided tour of the mill and learn about the history and production of mustard. The tour includes a visit to the mill’s production facility, where you can see how mustard is made using traditional methods and equipment.
In addition to the mustard mill, the Senfmühle also includes a museum dedicated to the history of mustard production in the region. The museum features exhibits on the cultivation of mustard plants and the history of mustard production in Cochem. But most importantly, you can also taste the mustard and take some samples home!
Tours run daily and take about half an hour. They cost only €2.5 and you cannot make a reservation beforehand.
Stroll along the Moselpromenade
The Moselpromenade in Cochem is a scenic walkway that runs alongside the banks of the river Mosel. Here you’ll pass by historic buildings and landmarks such as the Reichsburg Castle, the St. Martin’s Church, and the old town walls. This is also the place where you’ll see the boats come and go for a tour on the river. Lots of restaurants and cafes can be found here as well. However, watch out for the typical tourist traps, not all of them offer the best quality.
Hike to the ruins of castle Winneburg
Winneburg castle dates back to the 13th century and was built by the Archbishop of Trier as a stronghold to protect the region from invading armies. Today, only the ruins of the castle remain. From the town of Cochem, you can hike up to the castle ruins, or drive up to a nearby parking lot and then walk the rest of the way.
The castle ruins are open to the public and visitors can explore the remains of the castle walls, towers, and gatehouse. There is also an information board at the site that provides historical context about the castle and the region.
Take the Mosel-Wein-Express
The Mosel-Wein-Express is a little train that takes tourists on a 25-minute sightseeing tour of the town. It will pass by the castle and numerous other monuments while you get a decent explanation of everything there is to see. Is it touristy? Absolutely! Is it worth it? I leave this to your judgment as I haven’t taken a tour on the Mosel-Wein-Express yet.
The little train runs daily from April 1st till November 1st and costs €6.50.
Admire the 3 ancient city gates
The Martinstor, Enderttor and Balduinstor are the three still remaining historic city gates of Cochem. They are part of the old town walls that were built in the 14th century to protect the town from invaders. The Martinstor was used to collect toll from boats passing by, while the Enderttor functioned as the city’s prison for a while. Right now, you can still see these three towers standing proudly around the historic city center.
Visit the Moselland Museum
The Moselland Museum is not located in Cochem itself but in Ernst, which is about 20 km from Cochem. The reason why this museum is on this list is because it simply gives a wonderful overview of the history of the Mosel region, including Cochem. Several exhibitions about different facets of the region rotate and also give you an insight into wine cultivation over the centuries. An entrance ticket costs €9.50 at the time of writing.
Fun fact, you can also rent a tractor here to tuff around the wine fields. It can’t get any more unique than this!
Yes, you can go shopping in Cochem! The town has one main shopping street called the Bernstraße where you’ll find all sorts of shops from clothes to local delicacies, mostly wine and mustard from the region. Go have a look around and don’t forget to stop by the beautiful Marktplatz in the meantime!
A highlight is Vinothek Walter J. Oster where they sell all kinds of local wines. The owners will gladly let you taste and advise on the best wine to take home!
Is Cochem worth visiting?
Yes, Cochem is worth visiting. Although Cochem is quite a small city, there’s much to do. Not only in the city but also in the region. Moreover, if you love a stunning panorama, you’re in the right place! The city might be a bit more touristy than other cities and villages on the Moselle river, but that doesn’t take away its charm.
When is the best time to visit Cochem?
The best time to visit Cochem is during spring, starting from April, or fall, until the beginning of November. These are the periods when the town will not be crowded with tourists but when the weather is still nice and all activities are being organized. If you visit in winter you might be confronted with many closed doors, as not all activities on the above list will be open.
Where to stay in Cochem
Cochem has countless hotel options. I always say that the best place to stay in the Mosel region, and thus Cochem, is a Weinhaus, where they make their own wine but you can also stay the night. This way, you have the full German experience. Below you can find 3 great hotel options with an authentic Geman touch:
- Pension Winnemuller – this affordable bed&breakfast has only a few rooms, all decorated with ancient furniture. It has one of the best ratings in town and its breakfast is delicious!
- Moselromantik Hotel Kessler Meyer – if you fancy a bit more luxury, this is the place to be. This four-star hotel has a very modern look and feel including a full spa, beautiful views and a delicious restaurant.
- Hotel Villa Vinum Cochem – this eclectic yet outspoken German hotel is one of the most highly-rated hotels in the region because of its views & stunning rooms.
How to reach Cochem
The most convenient way to reach Cochem is by car. Several paid parking lots are available in the town. The most central one is located under the Skagerak bridge, but if you don’t want to pay a lot of parking fees, there’s also free parking available if you drive further away from the center.
If you don’t have a car or you don’t want to go by car, you can always go by train. The Cochem train station is less than a 10-minute walk from the center of the town. You get there from Koblenz by train RE1 or RE11. Hence Cochem is also a perfect day trip destination from Koblenz, or the other way around!
Where to eat in Cochem
Cochem has quite some restaurants to choose from, although you should watch out for the typical tourist traps. Here are 4 suggestions of where to eat (dinner or lunch) in Cochem:
- Zom Stüffje – this restaurant is not only popular because of its charming location & interior but also because it serves traditional German dishes. Don’t expect fine dining, but rather meat and potatoes, the real experience!
- Restaurant zum Onkel Willi – another great option if you’re keen to taste some typical German dishes although the food here is a bit finer than in the previous suggestion.
- Alte Gutsschänke – if you want a truly authentic experience you should be here! I can imagine not everyone will be a fan of the interior, but this place doesn’t go unnoticed. They also sell delicious local wines.
- Weinstube Schlossbergkeller – if wine is more important than food, you should go dine in a German Weinstube like this one. Luckily here, the food is also excellent!
How long to spend in Cochem
If you’re planning to visit Cochem, one day in the town will be enough to see everything. However, if you also want to see a bit more of the region I suggest staying 2 or 3 days. By train, car or bike, you easily get to other nearby villages on the river banks.
I hope this blog post about the best things to do in Cochem gave you all the inspiration and info necessary to make it a wonderful trip! If you’d like to visit more places nearby, I suggest taking a look at my blog post about the 6 must-see cities and villages on the Mosel river.