The Mosel River by Motorhome
Our late September drive along this majestic German river begins at Koblenz, where the Rhine and Mosel rivers meet. There’s no doubt that The Mosel River by motorhome will be just as good as The Rhine by Motorhome. This is a drive we’ve just completed, at the end of a 3 month Summer trip and it was great!
So, now we can’t wait to see how The Mosel River compares to the hustle and bustle of the mighty River Rhine. Then, which of these two great waterways will prove the most intoxicating – so let’s get going!
Rising from the The Vosges in North Eastern France and travelling a distance of 339 miles, The Mosel River flows through France, Luxembourg and Germany. So, this is no small river, and no wonder it has such a special place in the heart of European travels, for all those who love a good river!
As we begin, it’s worth pointing out that we decide not to visit Koblenz, simply because we’ve been here before. Time is running out on this trip and we want to crack on elsewhere.
A More Intimate River
Soon we find out that The Mosel is a much more low-key experience, being smaller and more intimate than The Rhine. Somehow, there’s a much greater personnel feel to it, almost as if the river is there just for us!
To be honest, The Mosel is generally more serene with a gentle flowing escapism surrounded by hillsides filled with lush vineyards.
It’s a much slower pace to this driving route, probably owing to the quieter aspect of life on the river. After all, there’s nothing much to disturb the peace than the odd pleasure boat or passing cyclist. Overall, it’s quite idyllic.
Klotten – The Mosel River by Motorhome
Our first stop for the night comes at a free Stellplatz in the small town of Klotten. There’s just us and one other motorhome for company, whilst the river flows beyond at a relaxing pace. We want to stretch the legs, so off we step into the relatively deserted streets of this small town.
It’s not long before we realise there’s nothing much going on here. There’s old timber buildings built above the river and a few restaurants entertaining stragglers. Although, that’s about as exciting as it gets.
That’s not to say it’s not worth stopping, but out of peak season the atmosphere fades as quickly as the light.
However, there’s one good thing about Germany which never fails to amaze us – the excellent cycle path networks. Simply said, these are phenomenal.
Klotten is no exception, with river routes bringing opportunities for sightseeing by bike or foot on clearly marked trails. The towns and villages are displayed with distances in km and gosh they look absolutely superb!
Time now for a restful evening, before drawing the blinds on this Autumn feel of late September. Yes, the leaves are turning and the weather has turned cooler, perhaps Germany in peak Summer is more appealing. I remember the heat of Summer that falls in this part of Europe, it’s easy to forget just how hot it can be here.
The Tourist Town of Cochem
It’s not long before those cycle paths become too inviting. So, out come the bikes and off we venture to the tourist filled town of Cochem.
The riverside cycle path is every bit as good as expected and after just 3km we arrive at the bustling tourist-mecca of Cochem.
With a chill in the air, we’ve come prepared with coats zipped up to keep out the draft on the bikes! We find a lamp post to lock up the bikes before checking out the town plan. I’m not sure what we’ve come to here, but goodness me it’s popular.
There’s boat trips, souvenir and wine shops galore, and plenty of restaurants competing for business. As usual along the Mosel, the town is filled with half-timbered buildings and a fairytale looking Castle dominates the hillside above.
This castle is fully intact, not like all along the river and it’s open to the public. We soon find out that it’s the largest castle on The Mosel and by the looks of it The Reichsburg Castle is the main attraction here at Cochem. There’s also a marked pathway leading up from the town towards the entrance. We don’t go inside but spend some time at the viewing area enjoying fine views of the surroundings – it’s a true fairytale look in every way.
Spirts and Flooding
It’s not just the castle that Cochem’s about though, and we soon realise that alcohol plays a big part too! Yes, there’s enough spirits, liquor’s, wine and every other intoxicating liquid on sale, to entice the madding crowds.
We actually think it’s a delightful town. Yes, it’s full of all the joys of the river, yet benefits from the attractive heritage of narrow streets set back from the waterfront. Before leaving, we can’t help but notice the high water mark levels from flooding in years gone by. It’s always hard to imagine the destruction brought to these towns when seeing the river levels low.
Little do we realise, that it won’t be long before Germany experiences more devastating flooding, leaving death and destruction on a biblical scale. We hope they re-build and recover and overcome the catastrophic floods of July 2021.
Vines and Stellplatz Everywhere
Our drive continues along the Mosel River, passing gentle sloping hills filled with vines along what seems like the entire route.
It’s harvest time, so the vineyards are a hive of activity, with workers collecting the grapes on steep slopes above us. As the grapes are collected, they’re placed on trailers where waiting tractors transport the fruits back for wine-making.
Riesling is the wine of The Mosel, grown along the 545km of slate hills and mountains rising beside the river. Apparently some of the best Riesling wines in the world are produced on these picturesque hillsides. However, it’s not only wine that’s in abundance here, because this region is also a motorhome-lovers paradise!
We have touched on The Mosel River by motorhome before, but not to the lengths that we’re driving on this trip. One thing that hasn’t changed is the volume of motorhomes that flock to these parts. Not only that, but they are provided for with the most brilliant selection of Stellplatz, sometimes it seems they are more common than grapes!
Campsites and Stellplatz
Along both sides of The Mosel River lies numerous motorhome Stellplatz and campsites. All of these are really busy, considering it’s coming to the end of the season. This proves what a popular region The Mosel is but with such good facilities on offer, it’s hardly surprising.
There’s no doubt these excellent private and public motorhome parking areas bring great economic benefits too. For us, it makes travel here easy, without the need to plan too much. Most provide electric and a dump area but nothing more, and most are fee-paying averaging around 10 Euro per night.
The best thing about The Mosel is that many occupy river-side locations, so the views from the campervan are almost guaranteed.
Although some Stellplatz are free, these are less common, so don’t expect a free ride but count it as a bonus if you do. In addition, campsites are frequently lining the riverbanks and once again, these are full with motorhomes and touring caravans. Obviously, van travel is booming here in Germany just like the UK.
We journey on in the rain, with heavy clouds overhead but pretty villages to brighten up the route. The wine is ever more evident as samples of wine are displayed at various producers along the river. This region is all about what is grown here and wine is a really big part of that.
By the time we reach Traben-Trarbach the parking area on the digital entry system is showing full. Oh no – where now, as this is one town that is apparently a “must see” location.
Luckily, we soon spot a line of motorhomes parked up on the opposite river bank. These towns sit across the river from one another, so a quick drive over a bridge brings us to another Stellplatz.
A couple of hours should do the trick for a mooch around this tourist-town. It’s bustling here, and with souvenir shops and pretty half-timbered architecture, it’s the type of place that appeals to the masses.
This is the type of place that in the Summer sun, you’d be happy to spend a couple of days soaking up the scenery and the atmosphere.
Kinheim – The Mosel River by Motorhome
A few km further on at Kinheim is where we choose to spend the night. There’s a huge stellplatz alongside the river, occupying large grassy areas at just 9 Euro for the night.
No sooner do we park up than an attendant knocks on the door to collect the fees. There’s electric here, but we opt for the off-grid approach, choosing a quiet spot to park.
A dump area and fresh fill provide the functional aspect, whilst views of the river and beautiful church tower makes it a peaceful, ambient feel for a restful night.
Then the rain falls again!
Our next stop along The Mosel River comes at the town of Bernkastel. It’s another town of historic half-timbered buildings, bustling with tourists, cobbled streets and a castle on a hill.
Parking up at Kues on the opposite river bank in a Stellplatz for 1.20 Euro per hour is ideal. This gives just enough time to see everything, especially as a bridge crossing the river gives direct access into Bernkastel.
There’s vineyards lining the hillsides and good views of The Mosel as we cross. However, the main attraction which dominates the hillside is the castle – another symbol of this fascinating river route.
We decide this is probably the nicest town on the Mosel, despite the rain that continues to follow us. Like most towns here, there’s boat trips on the water, whilst a Ferris wheel stands tall above the river bank.
After strolling the colourful streets, it was time for us to move on, although we could have stopped longer.
Mehring – The Mosel River by Motorhome
Following the Mosel towards Trier brings more scenic travels to this interesting route. The drive is easy as it nears an end. Finally, we stop the night at a riverside Stellplatz that we’ve used before. This time in the small town of Mehring.
This private motorhome parking area is now a little worse for wear but good value at 10 Euro per night. However, the location close to Trier is convenient and the setting next to the river picturesque.
We remember last time we stopped here, around 8 years ago. Back then, there was another Stellplatz right next door, also backing right onto the river. Now, this is closed and overgrown, what a shame!
Before settling down for the night, we walk the riverside path into town. There’s not much here but it’s pretty enough and as usual, the vineyards cling to each hillside.
Overall it’s a good place to spend our last night on The Mosel. Not forgetting a driving distance of around four and a half hours from Calais to add to the convenience.
It’s a pretty good place to put on the “to go to” list.
The Rhine V The Mosel
Ok, so now we’ve completed our motorhome driving tour of both The Rhine and The Mosel rivers, but which is best? Well, this is hard to say, because both have there own plus points, but neither have any real negatives. I suppose that’s always a good sign!
Basically, The Rhine is bigger, wider and busier on the water with more commercial boating craft. You’d expect to see everything from car transporters to cruise boats, whilst car ferries are a great addition to bridges.
As for The Mosel, well this is narrower with less going on and everything seems much smaller in appearance. Best of all, both rivers have fairytale castles along the route. Then there’s the steep hillsides filled with vineyards along with historic towns and villages to explore.
Finally, the excellent motorhome facilities and infrastructure along both rivers – yes the Stellplatz are everywhere make these routes an ideal getaway. Last but not least, I think it’s difficult to choose between the two, so I’m giving both a big thumbs up from us!