Five long-time friends traveling to Europe for the first time. We'll fly in to Frankfurt and start in the Mosel Valley area. We will be traveling by train. Need help with deciding what the best town would be to use as a base. Will be in the area for 3 days before moving on to Munich. Would like a really nice hotel....want to drink lots of wine and see the beautiful country side. Thanks in advance!
Your best bet is Cochem, perhaps the most attractive old-world town in the area. It lies in the approximate center of the Mosel Valley - it's 48 min. by regional express train southeast to Trier, 40 minutes northeast to Koblenz. Outings are easy by train to Moselkern (15 min., walk to Burg Eltz castle), Bullay (10 min., walk to Arras Castle and Marienburg lookout), and Zell (about 30 min. using train to Bullay + bus from there - or you can rent bikes in Bullay and ride the easy riverside path to Zell, only a couple of miles.) Cochem WINERIES (You can stay at the Rademacher winery/inn - it's close to the station.) Cochem's FALCONRY SHOW at Reichsburg Castle (in town.) Cochem's REICHSBURG CASTLE (in town) Cochem's CHAIRLIFT RIDE Cochem's HOTELS (The Lohspeicher has a gourmet restaurant and an outstanding location on the old town square.) 5 can get around the Mosel Valley (or over to the Rhine and around there as well) very cheaply on the Rheinland-Pfalz Ticket (a daypass): http://www.vrminfo.de/en/tickets-and-fares/ticket-offers/rheinland-pfalz-ticket
Seconding the above post that Cochem is IMO the best base for the Mosel. It's big enough that you won't be bored at night, but not so large that it loses it's charm. It is touristy, but that's because this is a justifiably popular place to stay. Most of the other towns along the Mosel are very small, and while Trier is great for a daytrip, I think Cochem is a nicer place to stay.
Koblenz would also be a good place to stay. It's at the confluence of the Mosel and Rhine, a fairly large city of a bit on 100k so it will provide many aminities/
Thanks so much for the helpful replies.
Koblenz may have many amenities, but you sure won't feel like you're staying in a beautiful historic wine region. It's largely a modern city.
Cochem is a great base. If I weren't staying there, I'd go with Trier. Trier is a great town with amazing Roman ruins. The down side with Trier is it's at one end of the German Mosel while Cochem is in the middle - so not as convenient for day trips (but could work).
We had a car in the Mosel, but I don't mean to talk you into renting one. I should mention that our hotel (high-end Weinromantikhotel Richtershof in Mulheim-Mosel) recommended that we take a taxi to Bernkastel-Kues to facilitate wine-tasting safely ... ... I only mention it so that you price a taxi when it suits your day trip! Warning: 5 is a big load for a Euro taxi. You may need a van. I think that train and boat service on the Mosel is much less frequent than on the Rhine, so you'll have to plan carefully. Trier is okay, but as noted, all the way at "one-end" of the more scenic body of the Mosel. It's a faulty comparison, but in that way Trier corresponds to Koblenz on the Rhine: Important and historic but heavy retail and citified. We found Traben-Trarbach particulary rewarding on foot for the day. Three days is very little for group without a car. I don't like driving that much, but I'm talking about making the most of three days. We stopped at Burg Eltz on the way to Mulheim. We drove to Trier one day, T-T another, and local sights plus Bernkastel-Kues the third. You will be hard-pressed to do this by train.
"I think that train and boat service on the Mosel is much less frequent than on the Rhine... Three days is very little for group without a car... We stopped at Burg Eltz on the way to Mulheim. We drove to Trier one day, T-T another, and local sights plus Bernkastel-Kues the third. You will be hard-pressed to do this by train." I've driven around the Mosel, but I've also done numerous outings by train and found it quite easy. A car is more convenient in some ways and maybe a little faster in some cases, and there are some places you can't reach by train, but the Mosel towns you mention and many others are mostly well served by public transport. Train service is extensive and timely; on weekdays, 33 trains run every day between Koblenz and Trier. Trier? Since all Mosel line trains stop in Cochem, it's an excellent base for direct train trips to Trier (about one hour away, the same by car) or to any of the 29 other towns with train stops on the Koblenz-Trier rail line (including wine villages like Winningen, Ediger-Eller, Reil, and Uerzig, and also Moselkern, the trailhead for Burg Eltz, just 15 train minutes from Cochem.) Traben-Trarbach? 17 trains leave Cochem every day for Traben-Trarbach (a trip of 40 minutes, easy change in Bullay.) Towns like Bernkastel-Kues that lie away from the train lines can be reached with a bus connection. B-K is 40 minutes by bus from Traben-Trarbach; bus connections are fewer, so yes, you would need to plan a B-K & T-T daytrip carefully. But it's certainly doable. OR you can take one of the 5-daily 2-hr. river cruises between T-T and B-K, a lovely trip in good weather. A group of 5 travels VERY cheaply by daypass. And after drinking, you don't need to hire a taxi.