Cochem sits in a picturesque position in the Moselle River valley in western Germany, close to the borders with Luxembourg and France.
This small town of around 5,000 inhabitants has been an important Rhineland wine trading centre since the days that the Romans introduced the vines to the area.
The town's most distinctive feature is its castle perched high above the river, with remnants dating back to the 11th century. Underneath lies the old walled city with its narrow cobblestone lanes lined by half-timbered houses with painted decorative fronts.
Cochem today benefits from its location on the "German Wine Route" through the Moselle valley, drawing tourists interested in wine tasting at local establishments. The Moselle river cruise ships that dock below the castle provide a steady influx of visitors wanting to explore the old town's medieval streets and historic sights.
Frankfurt Hahn Airport is easily the closest airport to Cochem, even if it may not be the most convenient. It is used principally by low-cost carriers within Europe and has a relatively limited amount of destinations.
Distance to Frankfurt Hahn Airport: 41km
Distance to Cologne-Bonn Airport: 110km
Distance to Luxembourg Airport: 132km
Distance to Frankfurt Airport: 140km
The medium-sized airports at Cologne and Luxembourg City are probably a good choice for those looking to arrive from other points in Europe.
Frankfurt Airport is the largest in Germany and probably the best all-round choice for those travelling from other continents or who are looking for a wide choice of carriers and destinations.
The Cochem train station is located around a kilometre from the old town centre with most of the accommodation and sights.
Cochem is served by regional services along the Moselle valley and down to Luxembourg City on the Koblenz-Trier line. Regular regional express services connect Trier to Cologne and Mannheim.
The German rail service offers a ticket (Rheinland-Pfalz-Ticket + Lux) which includes unlimited travel on regional trains and bus services in the Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland and Luxembourg for a day.
Cochem is only around 16 kilometres south of the A-48 motorway which leads to Koblenz. The B-49 offers a more scenic route along the Moselle valley to the city and still has a journey time of under an hour.
In the other direction, the A-48 joins the A-1 motorway for the journey south to Trier.
Accommodation in Cochem can be found in the old town below the castle or along the banks of the Mosel river both in Cochem and on the other side of the bridge in the village of Cond.
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Cochem was first settled by the Romans and Celts. The first recognisable version of the name was back in the 9th century, when a 'Villa Cuchuma' was mentioned in a document.
It became an important town along the trade routes in the Middle Ages. The castle was built in the 11th century to control river traffic and trade.
Cochem flourished as a medieval walled town, trading wine produced in the region. Many of the half-timbered houses and churches were built between the 13th to 15th centuries.
Cochem shifted between French and German control multiple times in the 16th and 17th centuries. The population declined and much of the town fell into disrepair.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, Cochem rebuilt its economy based on tourism, drawn by the well-preserved medieval architecture and scenic location in the Moselle valley.
Today, Cochem survives primarily on tourism, drawing visitors interested in its castle, historic town centre and wines from the surrounding Moselle valley vineyards.
Cochem is known for its beautiful castle, Reichsburg Cochem, literally 'Cochem Imperial Castle'. This castle perched on a hill overlooking the river is a must-see attraction with its breathtaking views of the surrounding vineyards and valley.
The original Cochem castle was destroyed in the 17th century and only rebuilt in the late 19th century. Remains of the original medieval building can still be seen in the walls and towers of the restoration.
Reichsburg castle can be viewed on guided tours in the summer months. (There is a limited programme of guided tours in the winter months.) It can be reached either on a footpath or by using a regular shuttle bus from the town centre.
The Altstadt ('old town') is located on a narrow strip of land between the foot of the castle hill and the Moselle river.
The layout of the winding streets and small squares has remained mostly unchanged since the Middle Ages. Many of the half-timbered houses date from the 13th to 16th centuries and are decorated with ornate carvings and paintings depicting religious and mythical scenes.
The Marktplatz is the main square in the old town, originally used as a market place. It is surrounded by handsome half-timbered buildings and cafés. The 13th century Gothic town hall stands at one end of the Marktplatz. It features a glockenspiel that chimes daily.
The Engeltor is a remaining gate from the original medieval fortified town wall. It once guarded the main road down to the river.
The Cochem chairlift climbs to the Pinnerkreuz and a stunning vantage point over the river valley, the town and the castle.
The Bundesbank-Bunker is on the other side of the river and is an intriguing piece of Cold War history. It was built under an apartment house and was designed to survive a nuclear blast. It contained a special series of banknotes to be used in case the German mark was attacked by the issue of counterfeit currency.
The bunker can only be visited on a guided tour (solely in German). A shuttle bus takes visitors from the tourist office car park to the bunker.
One of the most enjoyable ways to explore the Moselle valley is on the water. Cochem is a good departure point for a boat tour up or down the river. Visitors can travel all the way through to the city of Koblenz or just take a scenic journey to locations such Zell or Beilstein.
Cochem has several festivals throughout the year celebrating the local wine produced in the famous Mosel valley:
Trier is celebrated for its well-preserved Roman architecture, making it a historic gem in Germany. The city is home to the legendary Porta Nigra, an imposing monument that has stood since Roman times.
History enthusiasts can dive into the city’s rich past at the Rheinisches Landesmuseum, which houses a vast collection of Roman antiquities.
Koblenz is a lively city situated at the confluence of the Rhine and Mosel rivers in Germany. The Deutsches Eck (German Corner), where the two rivers meet, features an impressive statue of Emperor William I.
The city’s rich history can be explored in its Old Town and the impressive Ehrenbreitstein Fortress on the other bank of the river Rhine.
The tourist office in Cochem is located in the old town centre. It is open seven days a week in summer, with slightly more restricted hours on Sundays and holidays.
The Trier tourist office is only open on weekdays in the winter months.
Tourist Office: www.ferienland-cochem.de