We can thank the Romans for bringing wine to the Moselle Region of Germany (as well as France and Luxembourg). If it weren’t for them, I eventually wouldn’t be traveling by bicycle on the Moselle Wine Route, or Moselweinstraße as it’s called in German (and on plates). Yes, a bicycle, because wine is the major theme to this route so driving was out of the question.
OK, agreed, 242km (150mi) may be a bit tough. So feel free to go by motorbike (or car, or RV, or…) and let your better half drive this time around. ;-)
The Start Of The Moselle Wine Route
The Moselle Wine Route is a 311km route (242km within Germany) that doesn’t start in Germany at all. It starts in the French town of Metz in the Lorraine Region. I know this is a German website, but trust me, start there in that former Roman town so you can get the full experience.
Metz does have a German connection though… Wilhelm I used to stay at the Govenors Palace when he visited.
Before you go off looking for some wine (I know, it’ll be hard), you need to see St. Stephen Cathedral, the town square known as Place d’ Armes, the Roman Aquaduct, the St. Pierre-aux Nonnains Basilica, and the 13th century Porte des Allemands (former city gate).
Leaving Metz, the next town (still in France) is Thionville, stopping here long enough to see the 18th century Town Center and old city towers. Oh, and a glass or two of wine.
The last town in France, before crossing over to Germany (or to Luxembourg) is Contz-les-Bains. This is a town of beautiful churches and the 15th century Hospital St. Jean of Jerusalem.
The German Portion of the Moselle Wine Route
Welcome to Germany and the town of Perl, situated on the right bank of the Moselle River. Romans didn’t just give us viticulture to the area. They built castles & villas, too. So here in Perl you’ll find a reconstructed Roman villa and even mosaics that are almost 2,000 years old. Nice!
Traveling next to Oberbillig (where you COULD take a ferry to Luxembourg, but why would you want to?) you can experience wine making, just like it was done for centuries. Then go visit the Village Museum and the Fishing Museum.
Save your energy, you’re going to need it when you get to your next town: Trier!
Trier is a 2000+ year old Roman city, the oldest city of Germany, once called Augusta Treverorum. There are so many Roman sites to see here, you won’t know what or where to go first! Roman baths, a Roman amphitheater, and the Roman Porta Nigra are some of the most beautiful examples of Roman architecture you’ll see outside of Rome.
I LOVE the Basilica of Constantine, the Market Church (and Market Cross) on the Marktplatz, and the beautiful slopes of all the vineyards surrounding the city — and I think you will, too.
After Trier you’d think the next town you’d see would be a let-down. No way! The Riesling wine made in Mehring will certainly make sure that won’t happen. Mehring, too, also has Roman ruins.
Köwerich is a town of Beethoven. OK, maybe not exactly but, Beethoven’s relatives once lived at St.-Kunibert-Platz 2. The church of St. Kunibert has two beautiful 17th century alters; and there are two local wineries where you can visit for wine tasting.
Thirty kilometers east of Trier along the Moselle River is Trittenheim, a small municipality where vineyards dominate the local landscape. Just about every visitor stops at Trittenheim’s Baroque Parish Church, don’t you be any different! ;-)
If you like a Mediterranean climate, you’ll LOVE Wintrich. I love the thunderstorms in Wintrich every summer, but if you don’t, you shouldn’t let this stop you from coming. Known as a true Winzerdorf or “Wine Growers Village,” Wintrich has quite a few wineries, a bunch of framework houses, and a Passion Play (like Oberammergau) every five years. If you missed the one in 2007, you still have time to make the next one.
Besides wineries, Brauneberg is known as the hottest place in Germany. All right, maybe not all the time but, the hottest temperature ever recorded in Germany was right here, registering at 41.2°C — that would be 106°F (ugh, that’s HOT!).
I have one thing to say about Zeltingen-Rachtig, our next stop on the Moselle Wine Route. Wine Fair! While it’s all about the wine (many vintners open their wine cellars), Zeltingen’s Wine Fair also has musical concerts and lots of dancing. If you want something quieter, you’ll find it in Zeltingen’s parks.
You’ve come this far without a castle, so it’s time to throw one in for good measure. The ruins of the Grevenburg can be found in the spa town of Traben-Trarbach. The castle was built here in 1350, destroyed almost 400 years later. Traben-Trarbach is also home to the Moselle Museum, too.
Zell (Mosel) is a heavy wine partying town! Don’t believe me? How about this: The Wine Festival (end of June), the St. James Wine Fair (end of July), the Wine Fest (August), the Roman Road Festival (August), and two Christmas Markets! Not bad for a town that has barely 4,000 residents!
Hangover or no hangover, it’s time to visit Senheim. More than 10 wineries are found here, and this has to be one of the most beautiful villages along the Moselle Wine Route. Whether you choose to sit at the harbor restaurant at the marina or walk either the Sculpture Park or the countless hiking trails, you’ll love this place.
In addition to being a true Riesling village Valwig is a religious one, too (this IS the Moselle Wine Route, right?). For decades, many devout pilgrims came to see the 15th century Pilgrimage Church of Saints Maria & Magdalena.
Treis-Karden has a historic church, as well — the Romanesque Church of St. Castor. This tourist resort town also has the remains of a Celtic settlement and a Roman Temple. It also has the ruins of the Castle Treis and the Castle Wildburg is nearby. Wine, castles, churches, I don’t think it gets better than this.
Oh yeah, it does. Moselkern, a municipality of less than 625 residents, is home to one of the most stunning castles in Germany, Burg Eltz. This 800 year old castle is open to visitors from April 1 – November 1 and filled with all sorts of artwork. Honestly, the castle itself is a piece of art.
Moselkern also has the oldest Rathaus (Town Hall) in the Moselle Region and a replica of a Merovingian Cross at St. Valerius Church. The original sits in the Rheinische Landesmuseum in Bonn.
More castle ruins are in the village of Alken. Castle Thurant sits amongst the town’s seven wineries, as does St. Michael’s Chapel. Alken is a charming, quiet village — the perfect place to be before you end your trip on the Moselle Wine Road in Koblenz.
The city of Koblenz started when Julius Caesar came with his centurions and soldiers back in 55 B.C. This city is more than two millenia old and the remainders of a Roman bridge can still be seen today! Take the Cable Car for a birds-eye view of this Roman city, but do keep a look out for the Koblenz Basilica and Castle Stolzenfels!
Now, I know this is a wine route, but Koblenz has its own brewery. Yes, that’s right, beer! I really am convinced, life doesn’t get much better than this. :-)