If the words ‘luxury river cruise’ conjure up images of meandering slowly through breath-taking scenery and past historic monuments, while enjoying the very best local food and wine, then you may well be imagining a Mosel river cruise. Take a trip, by boat, along one of the most beautiful waterways in East Germany and you will enjoy scenery including ancient forests, mountains adorned by fairytale castles, and hills strewn with Riesling vineyards. |
History on Every Hilltop
German castles, especially those found along the Mosel river, have to be seen to be believed. These fairytale fortresses, clearly Walt Disney’s real-life inspiration for his castles, give this region an atmosphere of ancient splendour. It is no coincidence that the Brothers Grimm hailed from Germany because the folk tales they collected tell tales of ancient forests, unassailable castles and isolated mountains. This is the landscape that those who take a Mosel river cruise will be able to explore and connect to, an ancient landscape, unchanged for hundreds of years.
One of the most impressive castles you’ll encounter on your trip down the Mosel will be the Burg Eltz (often described as the ‘queen of German Castles’). This medieval, gothic fortress is open to the public and is a wonderful place to spend a few hours exploring. Owned by the same family as far back as the twelfth century, today they invite visitors inside to see the original armoury and treasury, as well as the great halls, added to and extended over the centuries.
A Wonderful Trip For Wine Enthusiasts
Despite the wonderful scenery, many visitors to the region come here for one specific reason, to explore the vineyards of this famous Riesling-producing region and taste its wonderful wines. It is the steepness of the slopes which look down over the Mosel that have made it such a productive wine-growing region, with more than 60 per cent of the wine produced here being Riesling.
Of course, like any wine-growing area, the specific terroir will affect the wine and here it can change dramatically within a relatively short distance. The most prized vineyards along the river’s shore are those on the south-facing slopes, which receive a whopping 10 times more sunlight than those on the north side.
Make sure you take some time out of your Mosel river cruise to visit at least one or two vineyards along your route, as each will have different production techniques (some high-tech and using the latest cutting edge methods, others sticking rigidly to traditional, organic methods). I would particularly recommend visits to Winningen, Bernkastel and Zell to taste a fantastic variety of the types of wine produced here.
Whether you undertake a Mosel river cruise to find out more about this region’s rich, fascinating history, or to taste and discover more about its wonderful wines, one thing is for sure, you’ll come home with a new love: the Mosel River and its landscape.
Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK's most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury river cruises and barge holidays throughout Europe. If you're looking an exciting Mosel river cruise European Waterways is an ideal choice. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.
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