Between the Rhine and the Moselle rivers in southwestern Germany, there is a land known as “the state of root and wine”. Dionysus – the Greek God of Wine – seems to cast a spell on this land, turning all the hills in the region into vineyards and covering towns and castles in grapevines.
The Germans call this land Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland Palatinate) and it is the country’s largest wine producer. From the hillsides along the Moselle and the Rhine rivers to the open plains of the Palatinate, about seventy percent of German wine is produced here, including Riesling, Dornfelder and Müller-Thurgau. Yet wine is not all the state has to offer. Rheinland-Pfalz is also blessed with strikingly beautiful villages such as the town of Bacharach and spectacular castles like the Reichsburg in Cochem or the Ehrenbreitstein fortress in Koblenz.
Concealed behind a 14th-century wall, tiny Bacharach is perhaps the most charming village in the region. This settlement along the Rhine is known for its photogenic old town filled with half-timbered houses, medieval towers and the Church of St. Peter. Constructed in the 12th century, the red and white Protestant church is one of the largest worship places in Rheinland-Pfalz and it looks astonishing amid the green landscape.
Nestled in one of the most romantic parts of the Moselle Valley, the old town of Cochem hasn’t changed much since the Middle Age. It is composed of colourful half-timbered houses, narrow alleyways and cobbled streets, picturesque market square, as well as medieval churches and gates. The town’s focal point is the magnificent Reichsburg overlooking the Moselle River. The Gothic castle was first erected in the 12th century and then rebuilt in 1868 after its complete destruction in the 17th century. With its many delicate oriels, turrets and battlements, Reichsburg gives us the impression of a typical fairytale castle.
Situated at the confluence of the Moselle and the Rhine rivers, 2025-years-old Koblenz is the gateway to the terraced vineyards and castles of Rhineland Palatinate. Main sights in the city include the German Corner where an equestrian statue of William the Great is erected and the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress. Lacking in appearance, the fortress impresses visitors by its size, its location (118 metres above the Rhine) and by the panoramic view over the confluence.
- Due to its location, Koblenz makes itself the perfect base to explore Rhineland Palatinate. Most boats and trains stop or go through this city.
- Rhineland Palatinate Ticket is probably the most convenient and affordable way to travel around the region. It grants unlimited using of regional trains and buses within one day and you can even travel to Luxembourg by paying 6€ more for the Rheinland-Pfalz Lux (a one-way ticket from Koblenz to Luxembourg City already costs 31€). The price starts at 24€ (or 30€ for the Rheinland-Pfalz Lux) for one person and goes up to 44€ (or 54€) for five persons.
- If the view from the Ehrenbreitstein is the sole purpose of your visit, come after 18:00 as the area is free to access. Before that time, you will have to pay an admission fee. But keep in mind that the last cable car to get down depart at 19:00, or else you have to use the elevator at the other side of the fortress.