The German city of Koblenz lies at the junction of two rivers – Rhine and Moselle. Its rich history dating back to Roman times, famous Deutsches Eck (German Corner), old castles and surrounding scenery make Koblenz a destination worth visiting.
First time I heard about the beauty of Koblenz and the region surrounding it was from my friend in the Netherlands. She mentioned living a few years in Koblenz and that she often misses the region of Middle Rhine with its green valleys, small charming towns and castles on every hill. That description caught my attention. So I googled Koblenz and Middle Rhine and saw lots of gorgeous pictures of Koblenz’s Deutsches Eck and Rhine river flowing among green hills and valleys. Soon enough I was planning a trip to that region!
Our trip to the region of West Germany included Frankfurt, Scenic Middle Rhine cruise from Bingen to Boppard, Koblenz and Cologne. In this post I’d like to share our experience of Visiting Koblenz – a picturesque city on the Rhine and Moselle rivers.
How to get to Koblenz
If you are not travelling by car the best way to get to Koblenz is by train. Trains depart often and it takes about 1.5hr from Frankfurt to Koblenz, and about 1hr from Cologne to Koblenz.
Another option would be to take a Middle Rhine cruise from Mainz all the way to Koblenz (though it takes about 6 hrs by boat).
As part of our trip in the Middle Rhine region we travelled from Bingen to Boppard by boat, and then took a train from Boppard to Koblenz (which takes only 15 mins).
The nearest airports to Koblenz are Frankfurt-Hahn Airport, Cologne Bonn and Frankfurt Airport – all of them are 1-1.5 hr drive away.
A bit of history
Koblenz is one of the oldest cities in Germany. As early as 1000 BC there were fortifications on the Festung Ehrenbreitstein hill. Romans established a military post there back in 9 BC and named it “Castellum apud Confluentes”. This is where the modern name of the city originates from. Roman ‘Confluentes’ means confluence – as Koblenz stands on the confluence of two rivers – Rhine and Moselle (or ‘Mosel’ in German).
The name was spelled ‘Coblenz’ (under French influence) up until 1926 and then it became Koblenz (more in line with German spelling).
These days you will find many historical buildings (some of which were rebuilt after WW2) and fortifications in Koblenz.
We arrived at Koblenz Hbf as we travelled by train. It’s about a 15-20 minutes walk from the train station to Koblenz Altstadt (old town) and its main attractions. If you have only a day in Koblenz then leave your bags at one of the lockers at the train station and start exploring the city right away.
When we travelled to Koblenz we stayed at Mercure Hotel Koblenz. It is conveniently located midway between the train station and the start of our walking route in the city. Our room in the hotel had great views over the Rhine river and to Ehrenbreitstein Fortress on the opposite bank of the river.
Leaving our luggage in the hotel and equipped with a camera we went off to explore Koblenz main sights.
The Electoral Palace (Kurfürstliches Schloss)
Start your walk from the Rhine waterfront and make first stop at The Electoral Palace. The 18th-century palace is built in the style of French classicism and is currently housing various government offices. While you can not go inside the palace without a special booking or an event, there is a nice garden open to the public (access is free) and a café on the premises that you can visit.
Between the palace and the Rhine river there is a pleasant green space with stairs leading to the water. A nice place to enjoy views across the river.
Government building (Preussisches Regierungsgebaude)
Continue walking along the Rhine to the beautiful stone building of the Government office. In Prussian times it was used as the seat of the government, hence the name of Preussisches Regierungsgebaude (The Prussian Government building).
The Government building was built in 1905 in neo-Romanesque style and survived WW2 practically undamaged.
Deutsches Eck (German Corner)
Deutsches Eck (also known as German Corner) is the famous place in Koblenz where the two rivers of Rhine and Moselle meet. It’s marked by the Memorial of German Unity and the monumental equestrian statue of William I, first German Emperor. The flags of the 16 federal states are flying at the German Corner as a sign of German unity.
Deutsches Eck is a popular place with locals and tourists alike. Nearby you will find many restaurants, cafes and ice cream shops. Also, good to know if you’re travelling with kids – there is a small playground with water features just behind the Memorial of German Unity. Right next to it is the Basilica of St. Castor – a historical church built in the Romanesque architecture style.
From the Deutsches Eck walk along the Moselle waterfront. We walked towards the Baldwin Bridge (Balduinbrücke) and then turned to the old town of Koblenz.
Koblenz Altstadt (the old town)
Koblenz’s old town is small and compact and can be easily explored by foot. There are many cafes and restaurants serving traditional German food and wines from the Middle Rhine region. During the warm months many restaurants put tables outside so you can enjoy the atmosphere of the old town while wining and dining.
Walk to Münzplatz and enjoy the pleasant atmosphere of the square surrounded by historical buildings. Don’t miss the bronze statues of ‘Die Maatfrau sat zom Schutzmann’ at Münzplatz.
Find the Four Towers (‘Vier Türme’) and the charming old houses on the crossing of four streets – Altengraben, Marktstraße, Am Plan and Löhrstraße.
At the center of Altstadt you will see Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) with its two tall towers. History of this church goes back to the 5th century when Franks established the original church at this place. Since then Liebfrauenkirche was rebuilt and expanded several times, always in the place of the old church.
Walk to the square of Jesuitenplatz with the monument to Johannes Müller Denkmal.
Have a rest at Josef-Görres Platz by the History Column fountain – Historiensäule. The fountain column shows the history of Koblenz from Roman times to the present day.
Explore streets and buildings of Altstadt at your own pace. There are many nice squares, fountains and houses to see.
Cable Car to the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress
We would highly recommend taking a cable car from the Deutsches Eck to the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress. Even if you don’t have time to visit the fortress itself, from the cable car you will get picturesque views over the city.
Buy the tickets at the Cable Car kiosk (Seilbahn Koblenz) behind the Deutsches Eck on the Rhine waterfront. You can get Cable Car only tickets (one way or return) or combined tickets with Ehrenbreitstein Fortress entrance.
Origins of Ehrenbreitstein Fortress (Festung Ehrenbreitstein) go back to the year 1000, but the current fortification was built by Prussia in the beginning of 19th century. Ehrenbreitstein is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Upper Middle Rhine Valley and its northernmost point.
Ehrenbreitstein Fortress is open for visitors and hosts museums, exhibitions and other public events.
We didn’t buy tickets to go inside the fortress, but instead walked in the park in front of the fortress. Enjoyed the views and quietness away from the city.
Where to next after Koblenz
We would highly recommend going on a day cruise to see the beauty of Middle Rhine and Rhine Gorge. Rhine Gorge is a 65 km stretch of the Rhine between Koblenz and Bingen and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rhine Gorge has more than 40 castles from the middle ages (and Koblenz’s Ehrenbreitstein Fortress is the northernmost of them).
Read next – ‘Scenic Middle Rhine cruise’ for details on what to see and expect from a cruise in the Rhine Gorge region.
For us, Koblenz was the last stop on our trip in West Germany. Afterward we left for Cologne by train and from Cologne – back home to Utrecht.
It was a great trip and I’m really happy that my friend told me about Koblenz and the Middle Rhine region!
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3 thoughts on “Visiting Koblenz – a picturesque city on the Rhine and Moselle rivers”
These German towns along the Rhine are so pretty! Your photos make me want to visit 😍 I bet the views from the cable car were spectacular.
Koblenz is a really picturesque city. The old town looks perfect for exploring on foot and we would definitely enjoy the cable car ride to the fortress.
Great Post, I’ve subsequently added Koblenz to our possible list. The fortress and old town look particularly appealing. And it’s Germany, thus great for Henry my dog.
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