Well navigated – a trip back in time along the Moselle

The Moselle wends its way between Trier and Koblenz in loops, past steep sloping vineyards, wooded hills, rugged cliffs and cosy little winemaking villages along the shores. Over the millennia, the river has etched its way through the hard rock of the Rhenish Massif, creating the meandering path of the Moselle that embodies its modern-day charm, with different landscapes being revealed after every bend.

The Moselle describes two of its loveliest loops around the little winemaking village of Bremm at the foot of the Bremmer Calmont vineyard, the steepest in the Moselle at 65°, and between Neumagen-Drohn and Schweich. There is a wonderful view of this spectacular location from the Zummethöhe on the side opposite the town of Schweich. You can stop for a break or sit down on the lovely curved bench and take your fill of the view over the vineyards and the Moselle valley.

The Romans and their wine barges

A faithful replica of the Roman barge ‘Stella Noviomagi’ (the star of Neumagen) is moored in the harbour of Neumagen-Dhron. It is based on the grave memorial to a Roman wine merchant uncovered in 1878 during excavation work on the defensive walls of the Roman Noviomagus Treverorum fortress of the late antique period. The original can be seen at the Rheinisches Landesmuseum in Trier. There is also a replica at St. Peterskapelle in Neumagen-Dhron. At 18 metres long and more than four metres wide, it can take up to 40 passengers as groups or individuals to enjoy a trip between the steep vineyards of the Moselle and feel like ancient Romans. You can even have a go at rowing.

High-speed yachts between Trier and Koblenz

At the beginning of the 19th century, when the Electorate of Trier fell to Prussia, the booming economy needed a better system of transport. It was also the dawn of the era of Moselle Romanticism. Prince of poets Johann Wolfgang Goethe sailed the Moselle in a small boat, as did painter William Turner.

Moselle shipping on replica Roman barge ‘Stella Noviomagi’, Moselle valley

Moselle shipping on replica Roman barge ‘Stella Noviomagi’, Moselle valley

But the Moselle was not yet deep enough for steamers. Then two Koblenz shipping companies had an idea to fill the gap in the market. In 1830, they opened a high-speed yacht line between Koblenz and Trier using two low-draft wooden passenger yachts, ‘Mosella’ and ‘Stadt Trier’ designed specially for the Moselle. In a time when travel was limited to walking, riding a horse or taking a mail coach, the regular transit of the high-speed yachts from Koblenz to Trier in two days and back up-river in three days was a real step forward. To keep the passengers entertained, not only was food and drink provided on board, there were also party games and recitals.

Steamers and channelisation of the Moselle

In 1839, the high-speed yachts on the Moselle routes to Trier were replaced by steamers, which significantly reduced the travel times. The high-speed yachts had laid the foundations for Moselle tourism, which now flourished in the comfortable steamers.

View of the town of Traben-Trarbach, Moselle valley

View of the town of Traben-Trarbach, Moselle valley

Wine was one of the most important goods transported on the Moselle. It brought untold riches to the town of Traben-Trarbach, which was the second-largest wine trading point in Europe after Bordeaux around the turn of the 20th century. The protestant enclave on the Moselle benefited from good relations with Prussia and exported wine to its neighbouring countries in Europe and further overseas.

Pleasure steamers and big shipping

Between 1958 and 1964, the Moselle was finally made navigable for big shipping, with 14 weirs built between Metz and Koblenz. This channelisation of the Moselle was a first joint project between France, Luxembourg and Germany, and had real significance in terms of European integration. Before the locks were built, only specially authorised Moselle shipping companies familiar with the many shallows and rapids of the meandering river were allowed to travel on the river.

Pleasure boat trips on the idyllic Moselle near Bernkastel-Kues, Moselle valley

Pleasure boat trips on the idyllic Moselle near Bernkastel-Kues, Moselle valley

Today, a trip on the Moselle is one of the most popular tourist attractions. There are fantastic views from the sun decks of the Moselle steamers as photo opportunities line up one after another: steep terraced vineyards, the Reichsburg in Cochem, the picture-perfect half-timbered houses of Beilstein, the art nouveau villas in Traben-Trarbach and the Bremmer Calmont, the steepest vineyard in Europe. The regular ships along the Moselle are particularly popular among walkers and hikers along the Moselsteig trail, who can enjoy a relaxing return trip on board with a glass of Moselle Riesling in their hands after a long day on their feet.

This makes the Moselle the perfect destination for active holidaymakers, and in summer, when the sun shimmers beautifully on the surface of the water, it is often dotted with stand-up paddleboarders, canoeists and water-skiers. Life on and along the Moselle is just lovely.

Pleasure boat on the banks of the Moselle in Bernkastel-Kues, Moselle valley

Pleasure boat on the banks of the Moselle in Bernkastel-Kues, Moselle valley

The Moselle from above

On a voyage of discovery by seaplane

Even the sight of Norbert Klippel’s bright yellow seaplane gives you an almost child-like feeling of anticipation, and when the aircraft actually takes off from the surface of the water, the first views of the Moselle will take your breath away. There are stunning vistas of the charming river bends, the vintners hard at work in the vineyards and the tranquil villages with majestic fortified castles towering above them. Flying over the Moselle is simply wonderful!

More leisure tips for nature lovers at the Moselle:

Mosel Cycle Path (in full): From Perl to Koblenz


248,3 km

17:05 h
The Mosel Cycle Path leads through 248 kilometres of diverse landscape; rambling and secluded in…

Charming winegrowing villages between Traben-Trarbach and Reil


20,2 km

1:30 h
Leisurely tour with many beautiful views of the Moselle and the vineyards. The wine-growing villages…

Hiking trail Zummethöhe - Vogelsang - Reiterhof Kron - Zummethöhe (RW10)


6,4 km

1:50 h
Relaxed hiking trail with wonderful views of the Moselle and Dhrontal with refreshment stops at a…

Panorama Viewpoint "Zummethöhe"

Leiwen The Zummethöhe above Leiwen & Trittenheim offers a wonderful view across the Mosel river loop between Leiwen and Trittenheim. This panorama was voted…

Buildings of Art Noveau

Traben-Trarbach Typical Buildings for Modern Style are: the Hotel Bellevue, Villa Huesgen, Villa Breucker, the Bridgeportal, Winery Julius Kayser, 2 business-houses…

Moselle Thermal bath

Traben-Trarbach From the depths of the slate, formed thousands of years ago, enriched with valuable trace elements, the thermal water bubbles out at a temperature of…

Cochem Castle

Cochem The Reichsburg Cochem is more than just a castle! A wonderful afternoon on the Moselle also includes a guided tour of the castle through the old walls…

“Stella Noviomagi” - Roman wine barge

Neumagen-Dhron About 10.000 visitors a year experience a unique boat tour on the Moselle abord of STELLA NOVIOMAGI. The Roman-time ship invites to an entertaining…

Excursion into the Underground of Traben-Trarbach

Traben-Trarbach Enter the twilight zone in a labyrinth of historical underground vaults, some over 100 m long and a few extending over several storeys.

Weinschänke am Calmont-Gipfelkreuz

Bremm The summit cross at the Bremmer Calmont Tasting Calmont wines where they are grown ... Visit us during your hike in the Calmont Climb. Enjoy the…

Wine ship monument

Neumagen-Dhron In late antiquity, the Romans put their personal success and fame on display beyond death. Imposing stone monuments with richly decorated reliefs and…