In the beginning of July we went camping in the Mosel & the Eiffel for a long weekend. We were actually supposed to go to Baden-Wurttemberg, but never ended up there because of an incident that I won’t talk about 😉 Luckily, we ended up having a great weekend and I can highly recommend visiting this area. It is perfect for camping, as there are lots of cheap opportunities near the river and the little villages. Because of the high supply and diversity of campsites you can be super flexible and don’t have to plan, it really is a camper’s paradise. Just make sure you do some research before you go to this area, as some parts have been destroyed by the terrible floods in July. As I am writing this blogpost, Cochem and Trier have reopened to tourism after the floods in these regions. Burg Eltz did not suffer from the floods.
Cochem is one of the most touristy villages in the Mosel Valley. Of course it is touristy for a number of reasons and these are: the medieval castle overlooking the town, the beautifully preserved old town and the ever winding road next to the Mosel surrounded by vineyards. The Mosel is famous for it’s wine and you can feel that everywhere in Cochem: lots of buildings are covered in vines, a truly magnificent sight! I always associate the Mosel with bad, sweet white wine, but luckily this didn’t happen to be true at all. In Cochem you can find lots of wine bars with great selections of local rieslings (one of my favorites!). From Eindhoven you can reach Cochem in about 3 hours, making it a good destination for a weekend trip. One of the main activities in Cochem is doing a boat trip, there are lots of different boat companies offering different kind of tours. For example you can do a dinner cruise during sunset, that also visits a village nearby. The supply is very big, so you can easily find a cruise that suits your preferences. You can even do multiple day river cruises! Of course, you can also visit the Castle. In summertime you can join a tour to visit the inside of the Castle. The Castle provides you with an amazing view over Cochem and the Mosel. You can do a hike of 30 minutes to the castle, or take a shuttle bus from the village. The only thing that I did not like about Cochem is that there are plenty of really touristy shops. Personally I think the half-timbered buildings could have been used for a better function. I recently also visited Monschau and was really impressed by the original stores, such as art shops and more boutique-style shopping. The main shopping street of Cochem gets really busy during the day. We visited on a Saturday, so if possible visit on a weekday or early in the morning to get unobstructed views of the charming alleyways.
The Mosel is perfect for camping, we parked our van at a campsite for 6 euro per night. It did not have facilities, but we did not need those. We did not book in advance. This area gives you a good opportunity to wake up surrounded by vineyards!
If you follow along on this blog for some time, you know I have already visited Burg Eltz. However we were in the area again, so I wanted to show this enchanting castle to Hielke and Huug. We were able to park our van in the main parking lot of Burg Eltz (bring cash!) and set off on the short walk to the castle. My original plan was to a little picknick with views of Burg Eltz, but Hielke and I disagreed on whether this was a good plan as it had rained heavily the night before. So, we didn’t end up on bringing our picknick gear, which was a real shame as we could have had the spot that you see in the third picture. Even though Burg Eltz gets really crowded, you can find lots of picknick spots with great views, so I would definitely recommend doing that as an alternative way to enjoy Burg Eltz. Because of COVID only a limited amount of people was able to visit Burg Eltz simultaneously creating long queues on the castle gate (waiting time between 1-2 hours). This also meant that you could not visit the toilet or restaurant, so beware of that. The area is particularly lovely for walking or hiking, there is something for everyone. We did a walk of about 1 hour from the parking lot, to the castle and back to the parking lot via a different way. But if you like climbing, there are lots of options for more strenuous hikes as well.
The real surprise of this trip was Trier. I honestly couldn’t remember whether I visited it before, but it definitely made an impression now. Trier is located in the middle of the Eiffel, so you can easily combine a day trip to Trier with an activity in nature nearby. In the 4th Century Trier featured a residence for the emperor of Rome and the western part of the Roman empire was ruled from Trier. You can still visit lots of Roman ruins and you can still see the influence this period had on the city. In a day you can visit most of the highlights in Trier, but you can easily spend more time as there are many, many sights. Especially if you are into Roman history. I pinned the sights that I really wanted to see on google maps and we went on a self-guided tour. Below I will highlight my favorite experiences:
Cathedral: Trier has a famous cathedral: The High Cathedral of Saint Peter in Trier. This is the oldest church of Germany and the apse has been an inspiration to many churches. Make sure you also visit the Gothic cloisters. We just opened a door in the church and had no idea what we would find behind it, but it turned out that these amazing cloisters were there. I specifically visited those of Canterbury, but I did not know that I could find just as beautiful ones much closer to home. I could not stop taking pictures! The Cathedral and the cloisters are free to enter.
Porta Nigra: This is a beautifully preserved entrance gate that stems from the Roman era. We visited on a Monday before 10AM and had it all to ourselves. School groups turned up pretty soon, so if you want to take good pictures I would recommend visiting early. It still does not get as crowded as Rome though 😉
Palastgarden: Did I hear that there is a flower garden near a pink castle? Count me in! The garden features lots of benches, so if you need a break from walking this is the perfect place for a rest.
Trier Imperial Baths: The Trier Imperial Baths are the perfect place to learn about the history of Trier. The thermal baths itself were never truly finished as emperor Constantine the Great didn’t want to focus on the western part of the Roman Era, but emperor Valentianus renovated the baths and used them as a reception hall instead. We did a self guided tour with a little booklet and we loved that we were able to visit the underground canals.
Culinary surpises: Trier has great restaurants on offer. Of course you want some traditional German food when you are here and you can have a great dinner and wine at Das Weinhaus Trier. We loved the traditional schnitzel, it had the perfect combination of meat, thickness and grease;) If you prefer more healthy options I would recommend Chicano, a small restaurant with modern Californian food and a cute tiled bar. It is located more out of the city center, it is cheap and the service is really good.
Mural near Das Weinhaus
Camping: We parked our van at Reisemobilpark Treviris. We didn’t make a reservation and we just got a ticket at the barriers. This campsite is unmanned which makes social distancing very easy. You can take the bus to the old city center or walk (> 30 minutes). I personally found the location really good as we could easily walk to restaurants for dinner and the bus connection was really frequent.