The small village of Cochem is located right in the center of the Mosel River valley in Germany. With her whitewashed houses, dark timber framed doors and windows and slate roofs, Cochem looks like a village from a fairy tale. Cochem is the main tourist hub of the Mosel river and therefore is the jumping-off point for many Mosel activities. But what exactly are the most fun things to do in Cochem?
Recently, I visited Cochem for the 3rd time. The first time we only enjoyed some cake and coffee on the Mosel river but the 2nd time we explored Cochem for a day.
As I noticed there was so much more to do in Cochem, we decided to head back for my 3rd time and stay for a long weekend. We stayed for 2 nights at a lovely apartment, just outside the main historic center of town, and had a wonderful time exploring Cochem and the Mosel River.
To help you plan your trip to the Mosel in Germany, I list the best things to do in Cochem for all ages and activity levels. This way, I can help you plan your time and you don’t have to wonder what to do in Cochem.
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11 Fun Things To Do In Cochem, Germany
Best Things To Do in Cochem – Germany
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- River Cruise on the Mosel River
- Visit Reichsburg Castle in Cochem
- Stroll around the Old Town of Cochem
- Take in the Mosel Promenade in Cochem
- Take the Wine-Express Train
- Go Wine Tasting in Cochem
- Experience an Ice Cream Sensation
- Visit the Senfmühle (Mustard Mill) of Cochem
- Take a ride on the Cochem Sesselbahn (Cable Car)
- Hike the Moselsteig or a part of the Moselsteig from Cochem
- Enjoy Wild- and Freizeitpark Klotten
Take a river cruise on the Mosel River
When you say Cochem, you say Mosel River. And how can you visit the Mosel River and NOT do a river cruise? It took me 3 visits to finally embark on a short journey by boat but I immediately saw the charm. A river cruise must be the top thing to do in Cochem!
Embark on a river cruise boat, choose a spot on the deck to sit, enjoy the view and enjoy the local wines, beers and coffee specialties. What is not to like about that?
As Cochem is located in the middle of the Mosel River, you literally have dozens of options to choose from to enjoy the river and the scenery.
Tickets can be bought online in advance, check options and prices here.
Alternatively, you can just show up at the river and choose one of the many companies and ticket offices and select your Mosel river cruise on the spot.
River cruise from Cochem towards Koblenz
Glide with the Mosel River stream and take a river cruise towards Koblenz. The big city of Koblenz marks the end of the Mosel River. At Koblenz Eck, the Mosel River and the Rhine River join together, resulting in a spectacular view of the masses of water joining together.
But you don’t have to go all the way to Koblenz from Cochem. Stops along the route are Klotten, Treis-Karden, and Moselkern for example.
A full-day river cruise brings you from Cochem to Koblenz and back, but with only half a day, you can enjoy an hour on the river, a visit to one of the other towns before you return back to Cochem.
River cruise from Cochem to Beilstein
Of you go upstream from Cochem, you can take a river cruise to the village of Beilstein. This journey takes one hour by boat and together with a visit to the cute village and her castle, and the return journey by boat, it is a fun half-day or day trip from Cochem.
You’ll pass the impressive castle of Cochem, and villages like Ernst and Bruttig-Fankel. At this last village, you’ll pass through the sluice before arriving in Beilstein.
Top thing to see: Reichsburg Castle in Cochem
This must be at the top of your list of things to do in Cochem and it is hard to overlook: the Reichsburg of Cochem sits atop a cliff, overlooking the Mosel River and a visit is definitely worth your time, effort and money.
The effort, because the castle of Cochem is located at the top of a steep outcrop and it is quite intense to walk up there (trust me, I did it).
But once at the Reichsburg Castle, the views of Cochem and the Mosel river are spectacular. You can also take the shuttle bus that departs from the bus station in downtown Cochem and hop off at the castle.
The outer ring of the castle is accessible for free. You can take in the views of the river and admire the main tower of the castle from up close and take selfies with the medieval guards at the gate.
However, a guided tour is only €6,00. In my personal opinion, one of the best things to do in Cochem. Guides tours run daily, at intervals of 10-15 minutes in German and an English tour departs almost every hour.
You get to tour the inner castle grounds, dwell around the banquet room and get one of the best views of the Mosel River from the castle’s balcony.
Including a tour, plenty of time for selfies and pictures, I’d allocate 2-3 hours to explore the Reichsburg of Cochem.
Tickets can be bought at the castle, for more information and details, check their website.
Explore the old town of Cochem
Super cute and a stereotypical fairy tale German village. Cochem oozes with cuteness overload with her overhanging buildings, small boutique shops and medieval clock towers, city walls, and wooden timbered houses.
The small market square is the center of the old town, with a carillon playing every hour, the water fountain, and a few benches to take in the town or gaze at the other tourists. The Hotel am Markt is usually booked, but if you book in advance, it really is the place to be in Cochem.
Go shopping for some lovely regional souvenirs in one of the many shops. From original fabrics to products made of grapes, like wines (duh!) but also spirits and vinegar.
Cochem is also a great place to stock up on cute and inexpensive souvenirs like Christmas baubles and ornaments, beer mugs, and fridge magnets.
No time to shop for souvenirs?
Discover my handcrafted design that you can stick on any item you’d like to purchase for yourself (or as a gift!). See my “What Germany is famous for” designs here.
Wander around the Mosel Promenade in Cochem
The main street through Cochem is a fun thing to see in Cochem. Mainly shops, restaurants, coffee houses, winemakers, and cake shops line the street on the north bank of the Mosel River.
Sit down at one of the many outdoor seating areas and engage in the wonderful art of people watching.
Or stroll along the Mosel promenade to take in the river views, the lovely houses and hills on the other side, and the castle.
Depending on your interest, you can see Cochem in 1 hour, or take all day. It really is up to you. You can walk through town and take in the views in half an hour, or stop at every sight, drink coffee with cake, stroll along the Mosel, and take all day.
Take the Wine Express Train in Cochem
If you don’t have much time, or are tired of walking, or are just looking for a fun thing to do in Cochem, the touristic Wine Express train in Cochem is the answer.
Hop aboard this small tractor train that drives you around Cochem town in 25 minutes. You’ll start at the bridge, drive through town, get close to the castle and enjoy the views from the bridge.
Tickets are €6 at the moment, but you do get a discount voucher for some wine tasting, which is never a bad idea!
Go wine tasting in Cochem
Riesling, Pinot Noir, Spätburgunder or Dornfelder. Names you might have never heard of but almost all are present on a wine list in Cochem and the Mosel River. But not knowing them is a good thing. It is the perfect excuse to go wine tasting in Cochem!
You have several options in Cochem and the surrounding area. You can sit down at any bar or restaurant and order a glass of wine.
Some wine bars have 0,1-liter glasses for a few euros so you can take several different ones for tasting, for example, the Alte Wein Wirtschaft in the center.
You can also go shopping for wine and have some wine tasting at the Weingenuss Cochem in the center. If you have your own wheels, drive along the Mosel River and stop at any Wine House for a tasting.
Experience an ice cream sensation at Gelateria Fratelli Bortolot
This Italian ice cream parlor is the place to go for some gelato. A family business since 1890, the ice cream shop moved to Cochem in 1960.
They offer very affordable ice cream (2 scoops in a cone for €2,20) but also signature ice creams like spaghetti ice cream in many flavors and a 10-page menu of ice cream creations (with and without alcohol).
Don’t be put off by the line that goes around the building, the staff is very skilled and works rapidly.
They have an indoor, outdoor, and riverside seating area, but when everything is full, you can enjoy your ice cream cones on a bench under the bridge.
Visit the Senfmühle (mustard mill) of Cochem
I love mustard and the Germans do it so well, it is even worth the trip to get some prime mustard. The Cochem Senfmühle is the oldest in the world and dates back to 1810.
You can visit their shop, look around, and enjoy your free mustard tasting. Don’t be alarmed by their plastic spoons, they wash the spoon and re-use them, so no single-use plastics.
For €2,50 you can join one of their tours of the old mustard mill. Check for times and more information here (German website). You need 30 minutes to 1 hour to visit the mill, depending on the tour.
During our last visit, we stocked up on mustard in those authentic stone jars. If you return to Cochem, you can bring the empty ones and refill them again for a lower price. I see a 4th visit to Cochem in the future!
Cochem Sesselbahn (Cable Car of Cochem)
Not far from the mustard mill, you’ll find the start point of this Sesselbahn of Cochem. This is a chairlift that will bring you high up the Pinner Kreuz mountain for a panoramic view of Cochem.
A round trip costs roughly €7 and you can explore the mountain, hike down or enjoy a coffee at the hilltop cafe.
As I’m scared of heights and don’t like to sit in a wobble wonky chairlift that flies me up a mountain, I decided to skip it. Yes, I am scared like that. But the views are very impressive, so you might be braver than me and give it a go.
For more details, check out the website.
Walk the Moselsteig or part of it
What we did do and what I highly recommend as one of the best things to do in Cochem, is explore the Moselsteig. This long-distance hiking path follows the flow of the Mosel River from Trier to Koblenz.
We choose to hike the section from Beilstein to Cochem. Early morning, we took the riverboat to Beilstein from Cochem and hiked back.
It was gorgeous but very intense, with some steep climbs and uneven terrain on a very narrow path. At some point, we even walked in between the vineyards and could smell the ripping of the grapes.
The route took roughly 15km to complete and we took all day, taking breaks for coffee and cake, non-alcoholic beers, and enjoying the panoramic views.
Sadly, by the end of the hiking day, the path was inaccessible due to recent landslides. We could walk down to Valwig and continue from there.
Although it was sad we didn’t complete the full hike as intended, it was a gorgeous day hike and I highly recommend it when you’re fit, love nature, and like to go hiking!
Explore Wild- and Freizeitpark Klotten Cochem
This is really a fun-filled family-friendly adventure not far from Cochem. Started as a park with wild animals, the park has evolved and now includes leisure rides, like a wild water ride and small roller coasters.
They offer several birds of prey demonstration shows a day or you can enjoy the petting zoo and watch the brown bears interact with each other.
The park also offers a part with rides and water slides that you can enjoy with the whole family. Especially with young kids, the adventure park Klotten is one of the best things to do in Cochem.
Because the entrance fee is quite high, especially compared to other activities in Cochem, I’d say make the most of it and allocate a full day at the park.
Best things to do in Cochem Germany
As you can see from the above-mentioned activities, there is something for everyone. Whether you’re super active and looking for an adventure, or you’re looking for a low-key relaxed time at the Mosel river.
You don’t have to plan your whole stay but these suggestions are excellent examples of what to do in Cochem.