Wind through northern France, Germany, and Luxembourg while surrounded by the utmost luxury on a Moselle River cruise. This picturesque waterway is one of the longest tributaries of the Rhine, flowing nearly 340 miles. The Moselle weaves its pathway from the Vosges Mountains in Northeastern France to the confluence of the Rhine in Koblenz, Germany. Gentle waters pave the course for adventure as your cruise ship passes through landscapes rife with picturesque villages, sloped vineyards, and fantastic remnants of medieval castles. Each mile of the scenic river unveils a new wonder to behold. If you need more convincing, here are five reasons your next vacation should include a Moselle River cruise.
1. Spectacular Wine Abounds
If there is one culture responsible for much of the viticulture in Europe, it is the Romans. Their desire to keep their empire well supplied with the nectar of the Gods led to expansion and experimentation in regions throughout the continent. Over 2,000 years ago, when the Romans arrived along the Moselle River, they found its slate-rich soil, temperate climate, and clear waterway ideal for wine production. The rest, as they say, is history.
As your boat trip along the waterway unfolds, terraced vineyards frame the path, and colorful vines set a beautiful backdrop for your journey. Since the days of the Roman Empire, the Moselle Valley has grown to include over 500 vineyards and the artistry of thousands of growers. Old estates that have been producing for hundreds of years meet more modern productions that play with the idea of combining traditional practices with new-age innovations. It is no surprise that given the Moselle's dedication to wine, it remains one of Germany's premier wine regions.
Cruise itineraries often feature stops in cities known for their wine production, including Trier, Bernkastel-Kues, or Cochem. Hidden gems between these cities, like Hatzenport or Bremm, offer further insight into this region's dedication to the vine. At these ports of call, wine tasting experiences introduce you to the region's specialty, an aromatic white wine called Riesling; however, there are plenty of other varietals, including Ebling, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay, to introduce you to the flavors of the Moselle.
2. Sleepy Villages Invite You to Explore at a Relaxed Pace
Leave your all work, no play mentality in the city, and savor the slower pace of life cultivated in the Moselle Valley. As your river cruiser follows its meandering course from France's mountains, between Luxembourg and Germany, and beyond, one of the first things you will notice is the lack of big cities. Even hotspots along the river, like Trier and Koblenz, boast just over 100,000 residents. The vast majority of the river is punctuated by even smaller locales, sleepy villages, and quaint towns with populations under 5,000 - and sometimes much less than that.
These riverside destinations overflow with idyllic sights to behold, delicious Moselle wines to sip, and regional delicacies to taste. The historic cobbled streets beg to be strolled upon and lead to pretty squares surrounded by half-timbered houses and ancient fortresses. You cannot hurry in places like these; you must slow down and enjoy their nuances. If you need a heavy dose of relaxation along with your sightseeing, there is no better way to achieve this than on a Moselle River cruise.
3. River Cruises Enjoy a Thought-provoking Journey Through European History
History buffs have much to uncover as they set out on this incredible waterway. As the river begins to flow through northern France, it passes through Lorraine, one of the most historic regions in France. In addition to being the birthplace of Joan of Arc, Lorraine has seen strife throughout the centuries. Its border location has made it subject to much contest between countries.
Moving up the Moselle, Trier, Germany, is the commencement point for many a Moselle cruise. Trier is the oldest city in Germany, founded by the Romans as one of the four capitals of the Holy Roman Empire. Many remnants of this ancient civilization remain for your discovery as the ship docks in Trier and then continues along the Roman Trail to Koblenz, Germany. It is truly amazing what remains - ruins of buildings, religious structures, wineries, and more. There is not a vaster collection of Roman ruins north of the Alps than those found between Trier and Koblenz on the Moselle.
But the layered history does not stop with the Romans; instead, travelers find themselves transported back to the Middle Ages more often than not. Many of the wine villages that dot the riverside saw growth and development during this period. They showcase their age through medieval squares and traditional stone architecture. Medieval castles perched on cliff sides and hilltops invite your exploration. UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Trier's cathedral, built in 1270, further impress the region's importance upon travelers. Though each dawning age has brought change and progress to the Moselle Valley, the deep-rooted history remains highly visible.
4. The Moselle Valley is Incredibly Scenic
Visions of verdant mountainsides collide with those of lush forests as the Moselle begins its journey through Europe. This river is one of many twists and turns, making it challenging to develop, and as such, the vistas from your Moselle river cruise are incredible. Enjoy sights of steep cliffs leading up from the banks and vineyards that have quite literally been carved into the landscape. Trees grasp at the riverside, forming a boundary for the agricultural lands that lie beyond. Rolling hills lead to dreamy wide-open expanses. Perhaps the most impressive portion of the route comes as ships enter the Moselle Loop, a hairpin turn in the river that offers scenic views from all angles.
Beyond the natural offerings, each new town and village has distinctive features that add to the river's ambiance. Look upon old-world structures that have stood the test of time, pretty churches, and houses that have evolved throughout the centuries. Views of monuments and ruins complement the medieval castles, which sit proudly from their elevated positioning alongside the Moselle. Together, the combination of the landscape and its development give the riverbanks a storybook appearance.
One of the best things about taking a Moselle River cruise is how it puts other culturally and historically significant European destinations at your fingertips. As the Moselle approaches the end of its long and sinewy path in Koblenz, it joins with the mighty Rhine, one of the most important rivers in Europe.
The Rhine River spans from the Alps in Switzerland to the North Sea, passing through Liechtenstein, Austria, France, Germany, and the Netherlands along the way. Koblenz, the confluence point with the Moselle, sits almost in the center of the Rhine. Thanks to this juncture point, it is convenient for Moselle River travelers to continue their vacation in either direction. This might mean continuing north through the cities of Cologne and Dusseldorf before arriving in tulip-clad Amsterdam. Alternatively, combining a Rhine River cruise with a Moselle cruise could take you south through gorgeous cities like Speyer and Strasbourg before the boat ride concludes in Basel, Switzerland.
5. Moselle River Cruises Offer Easy Access to the Rhine
While there are many fantastic reasons to join a luxury cruise vacation along the Moselle River, few top the simplest of all: Craving an adventure. The Moselle River is the perfect setting to try something new or explore old interests, whether they lie in wine, history, or architecture. See where the Moselle can take you by contacting Vacations By Rail to explore our exciting river cruise packages.