I am visiting the Mosel Valley area with my husband and 3 sons, ages 27 to 20. We will be flying into Frankfurt airport and traveling to Gillenfeld, where my son is staying. This town is southeast of Cochem. We will be taking day trips for 2-3 days in that area. I have determined that we will visit Luxembourg, town of Vianden, one night. Then we will travel on to Bruges Belgium for one night. Then we will travel back down to our base area (Gillenfeld). What are the must see places in the region? We like hiking seeing the historical sights. What are some fun things for the boys to do? Where are the best places to eat? Mosel river cruises? Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.
Tim, We are going to Luxembourg city, Vianden because we have never been before. I have been to Germany (southern part Munich to Mittenwald to Rothenberg Ob Der Tauber and Heidelberg back to Munich) wanted to try something different. Angela, The Luge track would be wonderful although when I mapquest it Rohren seems to be south. Will try new internet searches. Russ, the falconry show may be nice. I have an older son hooked on speed (he wants to try the autobahn) so I want to find something exciting to him. So the luge ride would be great. Thanks all
The Mosel is especially suitable for bicycle riding along the river. You will be very pleased with how attractive some of the nearby river towns are, like Bernkastel-Kues and Traben-Trarbach. Some of the "best" wineries in B-K require appointments for tastings. T-T is less formal, and has a great scenic climb or two (no equipment or boots needed.) Consider a day in Trier-not just a short stop on the way to Luxembourg. I take it you have an important reason for schlepping to Luxembourg? It's not fair to talk you out of something already decided, but have you checked the train or car time to Bruges? It's a special place, but there are a vast number of lovely medieval towns and cities in Germany, and even better art than is in Bruges. For example, Aachen, Monschau, Mönchengladbach, Koblenz, many others. I would consider a night in Cologne instead of Bruges, but I admit that Cologne doesn't have canals!
The Mosel offers a lot of variety. Castles, wineries, old-world villages, outdoor activities, Nazi bunkers, Germany's oldest city and former Roman outpost, Trier. Burg Eltz Reichsburg Castle falconry show in Cochem Panzerwerk Katzenkopf Find more HERE. The Rhine is very close: General guide (copy and paste): http://www.welterbe-mittelrheintal.de/index.php?id=274&L=3 Peace Museum in Remagen Terrific open-air museum in Bad Sobernheim
Near Monschau (that is mentioned above and is a scenic little town) is the small town of Rohren, where there is a sommerbobbahn track (a luge-type ride). It's not a super long track, but if you are in the area and up for some laughs it's worth the brief stop (and I remember the view from the track to be scenic, too).
If you enjoy historical sights, you might really enjoy Trier. The Roman Throne room there was very interesting to me, and so were the Roman baths. There are many trails for hiking in the Mosel area. I only followed a few in the areas around Cochem and Beilstein for a short distance, but they were nice and well marked.
Bernkastel is ground zero for Riesling wines. Zell, known for the Schwartz Katz, is a very little town, about two streets wide, hugging the banks of the Mosel.
"(he wants to try the autobahn)" It's a lot less fun than it sounds. And the major Autobahn routes in this region, A61 and A60, have speed limits for the majority of their lengths.
We love the Mosel! We spent an entire week in the area a few years ago. For something different to do, and since you mentioned that your son likes speed, you may want to consider checking out the Nürburgring race track. The map shows it about 21 miles north from Gillenfeld. We drove by last year, but didn't stop. You can drive laps around the race track. This is an excerpt for a web site: "Driving the portion of the track you're allowed to drive (it's not the F1 circuit) probably isn't for everyone. But if you like speed, you might want to do something few ever think of doing on their vacations." http://www.rsrnurburg.com/drive-the-track/race-the-nuerburgring Here is a web address for more information.
Have a great trip!
If you do drive the Nordschleife at the Ring, beef up your insurance and don't try to do it in a rental car without permission. It is dangerous (but fun, in a dangerous sort of way) both in the wet and the dry. Your skills may or may not be up to it, and of course you could slow down, but the course is not run as a closed course. There will likely be many others out there at the same time, both bikes and cars, and it is the others who you have to watch out for. Interestingly, my car insurance company sent me a suggestion to go for a drive there. I wonder if they were trying to tell me something? I have my life insurance with them too.
I hope this link works, it's a Google map between Gillenfeld and Rohren (where the luge is): http://goo.gl/maps/F9QXh I thought it might work for a stop on your way back from Bruges. If you zoom in close on Rohren, you'll see a site marked "Sommerrodelbahn Rohren" just on the very edge of NW "downtown" (it's such a small town), and I believe that is the luge location. I remember we saw signs in town pointing the way. And here is the website for the track, although in German only: http://www.sommerbobbahn.de/
In the area, I'd recommend Burg Eltz and Trier. Burg Eltz is a nice castle with an equally nice walk through the forest from Moselkern. If you like hiking, this is one easy hike not to miss. The castle itself can only been seen by tour and the tour is fairly brief. If you can follow a German speaking guide, you can take the first available tour rather than wait for an English speaking guide. Trier is a great smaller German city by itself, but also has some of the best Roman ruins outside of Italy. When you come into town, you will see the remnants of the old gate. It's surprisingly intact and several stories tall, you can climb the stairs and check it out. It's a little walk from there to the main ruins area. Cochem also has a castle and is a good place to visit a Weinstube.
Thank you for all your suggestions. Of course, I knew my son cannot speed on the autobahn (he is the only one who thought otherwise). Will not do the Nurenmburg race track only the luge ride. Thank you Angela for the directions. Trier and Cochem are also on the agenda. I hope we have time for all. Thank you all again.
I also really liked Trier where we stayed in 2012.