Koblenz is a small city (or a big village) in Germany, sandwiched by the rivers Moselle and Rhine, quite close to the border of the Netherlands and also not too far from France. It’s a city with a rich history, which starts during the Roman empire when the Romans built the city because of the strategic location. You can still see the influences of the Romans as there are still ramparts and castle towers. Besides historic buildings and the two rivers, Koblenz has much more to offer, shopping, eating, wine tasting, musea and more. We were there January this year (2o16), but only for 14 hours (including sleeping and dining). But we did a lot. Today I’ll tell you what to do to make the best out of a short visit to the city of Koblenz.
Deutsches Eck and statue of William the Great
Walk along the quay of ‘Deutsches Eck’ (the German Corner) the place where two rivers (Rhine and Moselle) merge. The Moselle actually ends here and flows into the waters of the Rhine. The impressive giant equestrian statue of Wilhem der Große (William the Great), a German Emperor who died in 1888, can als be seen from the Deutsches Eck. It’s a big statue, built on the place in 1897, nine years after he died. Due wars and restless times the statue was badly damage and even taken down completely for years. But after the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 it’s completely renovated and reinstalled.
Cable Car and Old Fortress Ehrenbreitstein
During summer months you can take the Cable Car to cross the river Rhine and see the German Corner and Die Altstadt of Koblenz from the other side. Also you can visit the Old Fortress Ehrenbreitstein, opposite Deutsches Eck, from where the views are beautiful. When we were in Koblenz in January the Cable Car was closed, probably too cold in winter, but in summer I would definitely have done it. You can also book a boat trip on the Rhine and Mosel. Great for people who suffer from a fear of heights and not keen to go on the Cable Car.
Have look at Das Pegelhaus, a cute white and blue building at the edge of the quay (city of Koblenz side). Das Pegelhaus was build in 1611 to use as a Rhine crane, I think a facility for the loading and unloading the ships. The ‘Rheinkran’ was used for years, but since 1839 the function changed into ‘Rhein Pegelhaus’, to measure the level of the waters of the Rhine river. You can still see at the facade of the building there are several marks of ‘Hochwasser’, (High-water), the levels measured during high water when the river came over the quays. Nowadays there is a restaurant situated at the top floor of the Old Pegelhaus building, a modern eatery with a glass roof. Because we were in Koblenz only for 1 night we didn’t eat here, but next time I probably would try to go there too, for the special experience and the views.
Wander around ‘Die Altstadt’
Wander around the old city center and have a look at the architecture and old buildings. Because of the history of Koblenz there are many castles, palaces, churches, mansions and dignified townhouses to discover. We walked passed the Kürfürstliches Schloss (electoral palace), which is massive, white and impressive. See photo above. During spring this palace has beautiful gardens. Also the churches St. Kastor and Florinskirche are well worth a visit. And if you’d like to visit a museum, definitely go to the Ludwig Museum in the historic building called ‘Deutschherrenhaus’.
Eat a Wiener Schnitzel…
…or something else what belongs to the German cuisine. Think: Bockwurst, Sauerkraut, Flammkuchen, Bratkartoffeln (roasted butter brown potatoes with onion, bacon and often also paprika, cayenne and cumin powder, or mushrooms), Eisbein, Kassler Rib and so on… No, the German kitchen is not the most light cuisine one can think of. But when you are in Germany, you are in Germany! There are many picturesque squares, terraces and narrow alleys where you can sit and enjoy the German hospitality. We had dinner at the charming restaurant Wirthaus Alt Coblentz.
Go for some German sweetness
Talking about food, don’t forget to order a German sweet treat with your morning coffee! Lebkuchen, Kaiserschmarenn (a caramelised pancake, cut in big chunks and covered by sort of delicious plum compote and icing sugar), Berliner Bol, Schwarzwälder Kirsch tart, or other German “Kuchen oder Torten“. The Germans are good with sweet treats.
Moselle and Rhine wines
The area around Koblenz is well known for its award winning wines. Both Moselle wines and Rhine wines are favourites for wine connoisseurs and top chefs. In Koblenz city center you will find a lot of places where you can taste or buy wines. Dry, mineral and complex Rieslings which come from this area are voted as the best in the world. If you don’t like white wine, try a Spätburgunder (German Pinot Noir) or a local bubbly (called “Sekt” in Germany). If you prefer to go to a vineyard, you can plan a day trip outside of the center to several wineries, for example Leo Fuchs.
Run, walk, cycle
Go for a morning run along the Rhine, or hire bicycles and do a tour along the Rhine river. It’s beautiful and the perfect way to combine sightseeing with working out. Grab breakfast and coffee on the way back to where you stay. Or after an afternoon walk, end your day with a cold beer or glass of local Riesling on one of the terraces! Or warm up during winter in one of the cosy German bar or cafés. You won’t regret it!
Outside the city
If you have more time than 14 hours, I would plan a day outside of the city center. The Palace of Stolzenfels, only a few kilometers away from the city, must be a great place for a day outing. Also the highest cold-water geyser Andernach is close by Koblenz. What about visiting the vineyard Leo Fuchs and do a wine tasting? And in case of bad weather, you can always book a sauna retreat day at the Emser Thermal Baths.
We stayed at the Altstadt Hotel & Café, which was perfect. It’s a nice hotel, in the middle of the old center and located ad the picturesque Jesuitenplatz (a historical square). The location is right where you want to be. Rooms were clean and modern, the staff was friendly and we enjoyed a tasty breakfast. I would recommend this place! The only negative about it is that the parking is about 10 minutes walk and at extra costs. But therefore you are at a great location, easy walking distance to all places of interest. I definitely would love to go back here some day to do the Cable Car, visit the Old Fortress Ehrenbreitstein and to taste more fantastic Moselle-Rhine wines. I would recommend to get a city center map at the tourism office or at the place where you stay asap, to get the best out of your stay. You can plan your route ahead and because the distances are not too long in Koblenz, you can do a lot in a few hours time!
I have not been asked or payed to write about the city of Koblenz. It was my own idea. All photos are mine.