Hello, my name is Gizem from the Instagram @giz.k. I am here to write about Cochem – one of the most charming medieval towns in Germany. In this Cochem guide you will find everything from hidden secrets, to the best photography spots, travelling tips, places to stay and when to visit.
First of all, let me briefly tell you about my story. I was born in Turkey and currently reside in this country. Some of my biggest passions in life are travelling and photography. Travel is a way of life for me. I am constantly curious about the world we live in and love leaving my comfort zone.
I have visited many countries but there is always more to be discovered. Observing the lives of others, experiencing different cultures and capturing the beauty of new lands are just a few of my goals. I will continue to leave my comfort zone and travel as much as possible in the future.
Let us now come to photography. My interest was sparked after travelling. I have been pursuing photography for a little over two years. At first, I was just taking photos with my phone like every other tourist. After a while, I started to look back on my memories and realised that I didn’t enjoy the way I took photos. I said to myself: “I think I can do much better than this!”
Then I purchased a digital camera and tripod and started taking this gear with me on my journeys. I learned photography by taking as many photos as I could, watching tons of videos, reading articles online, attending workshops and upgrading my gear to be able to take better quality photos.
Now I take the shots I like and feel more informed about the subject. But I still strive to get better because there is always more to learn in this world. I don’t like limiting myself in my pursuits, including with photography.
A Dream Come True Visiting Cochem in Germany
So how did Cochem get onto my travel list? Well, I saw a photo of Cochem Castle and the little houses beneath it with their beautiful reflections on the Moselle River. Just after seeing that photo and being captivated by it, I immediately decided that I would visit when I had the chance.
I also just wanted to photograph and experience this magical place in my own way. Cochem was one of my travel dreams like many others and I was fortunate enough to make it come true. I finally visited and it was amazing!
Cochem is a charming medieval town in Rhineland-Palatinate situated on a curve of the Moselle Valley. It feels like a fairytale to enter from the old gates, drink the different kinds of riesling wines, pass through the historical Markt and explore the most famous symbol of Cochem – the majestic Reichsburg Cochem (Cochem Castle) which overlooks the whole town.
The town is adorably small! It’s hard to believe how much there is to discover in just one day. That is why so many visitors come here for a day tour. However, I recommend staying for at least one night to see more.
My Favourite Place in Cochem
My favourite place in Cochem was the point before entering Cochem Castle. This spot offers an impressive view of the Moselle River and the town itself. Just a heads up though – it requires a climb and you need to walk up a hill. But in the end you will be rewarded with a spectacular view.
On the right hand side you will see Sehl. This is another town close to Cochem. You simply have to check out this viewpoint as well as visiting the Cochem Castle which is the iconic landmark of the town and region.
5 Best Things To Do in Cochem
1. Tour the Incredible Cochem Castle
Reichsburg Cochem, the medieval castle of the town, sits at the top of a hill surrounded by incredible scenery. In other words, visiting this castle is discovering history itself. If you have the time, I would recommend a guided tour. You can absorb the history and marvel at the interiors.
2. Visit during August for the Wine Festival
My intention was to visit for the Wine Festival but unfortunately the dates didn’t quite work for me. I decided that I will take my next trip to Cochem during the festival. Usually it’s held on the last weekend of August and offers many varieties of wine, people dressed in traditional clothes and a fireworks display. The celebrations look amazing and I can’t wait to go!
3. Take the Classic Photo and Join a Cruise
Of course, you can’t leave without taking the classic photo of the castle. If you are lucky you might catch a reflection! Skagerrak-Brucke has a fabulous view of Cochem Castle and the houses below with the Moselle River. I had the pleasure of taking different versions of this photo.
If you are visiting Cochem on a sunny day be sure to take a one hour journey on the Moselle River! Join a cruise tour and enjoy lots of amazing views of the different vineyards lined up beside the river. Since I visited Cochem in autumn, the colours were just splendid on this river cruise.
4. Discover the Narrow Streets and Traditional Houses
Cochem has its own version of German architecture. You will realise this while wandering around the streets. Once you reach the Markt, you will be fascinated by the houses. Take it easy, walk slowly and enjoy each step!
5. Explore the Nearby Town of Sehl
Sehl is a small town located next to Cochem. This town is just five minutes away on foot. Although the town doesn’t have a lot to offer, it’s definitely worth visiting so you can sit on the benches and see Cochem from afar.
Best Photography Spots to Capture Cochem Castle
- Skagerrak-Brucke: Surely this is the first spot that comes to mind when wanting to capture Cochem Castle. Check the weather and chance your arm at both sunrise and sunset. The bridge sometimes shakes a bit as cars pass – so press the shutter at the right time!
- Sehl: Walk to Sehl and you will get a different angle of the castle. If you want a clear shot without trees, you can stand on the section that looks like a small pier. That way you will capture a photo closer to the river.
- Above the Town: If you don’t have a drone then this is the best opportunity to take an aerial shot. Follow the path into the forest near the castle and you will come across “Drei Kreuze” – a small chapel named Three Crosses. Go up until you see the road, cross over the street and turn right. Keep walking until you see a small car park. From there you can take beautiful aerial shots of Cochem Castle and the river.
- One End of Skagerrak-Brucke: Although the middle one is famous, there is a second spot on the bridge. The point where you have the castle with the road is a moody scene with dry trees in autumn.
- Moselle River: Lots of angles await while taking a cruise on the river. My favourite one is when returning from the last point before passing Sehl.
Where to Stay in Cochem
Like I mentioned before, if you have time you must stay for at least one night. I probably checked out most of the accommodation in the town and decided to stay in a cozy guesthouse named “Gastehaus Ziemons”.
I am pretty sure the other guesthouses are similar but I can definitely recommend this place. Gastehaus Ziemons was comfortable and they made me feel at home. Everywhere was clean and the rooms were warm. As a bonus, you will have a sink in your room to brush your teeth, etc.
Explore Places around Cochem
While visiting Cochem there are some fantastic destinations which you can access via train or by taking a short drive. One of them is Burg Eltz. It’s just 30 minutes away from Cochem by train. This is a must-visit place in Germany. The fairytale castle is nestled in the hills above the Moselle River.
I preferred to visit after the season was closed. There were so few people around and I managed to experience the castle without the crowds. Of course, there were a few guests who entered my frame but that’s okay!
Another place I recommend is the Geierlay Bridge. This is the most spectacular suspension bridge in Germany, offering an amazing view of greenery in the summer and wonderful colours in autumn. Whichever season you choose to visit, I am sure you won’t regret your decision!
I also stayed for one night in Trier. Known as the oldest city of Germany, Trier has preserved many historical buildings from the Roman times. The marketplace is full of well-preserved and charming architecture. I suggest visiting this place for at least a half day. Give it a chance and you will like it.
What is the Best Time of Year to Visit Cochem?
My favourite season in general is autumn and so I chose to visit Cochem in November. It was quite cold but I am glad that I chose this month because I could combine Cochem and Burg Eltz together. As a photography enthusiast, I wanted to explore the castle without tourists. I checked when the castle was closed and booked for after that time.
Also again because of my photographic intentions, I was wanting to experience Burg Eltz, Cochem and the Moselle Valley in autumn with those famous fall colours. You won’t believe how majestic autumn was!
Of course, these tips won’t be for everyone. I can only recommend suggestions for photography enthusiasts and autumn lovers. For general tourists and travellers – you don’t have to freeze in the winter or autumn! You can enjoy Cochem in summer with its amazing hikes and Wine Festival in August. Don’t forget to book early for the festival if you plan on going.
Two days was the length of my visit in Cochem and I believe this is enough time. If you are in a hurry, one full day may be enough. In conclusion, we all know Europe has many incredible cities and towns. Yet most of them look similar. But Cochem certainly has a beauty of its own. If you want to go back in history and discover a charming town, then Cochem is the place!