The Mosel-Eifel-Hunsrück region is an ancient cultural land which has been populated since the Neolithic period. Evidence of this is shown in several nearby settlement sites and menhirs and the especially mysterious Wildstein near Trarbach. The area was important to the Celts, as shown for example by the two Celtic hill forts within walking distance of Kindel. 2000 years ago the Romans brought their mediterranean culture and most importantly winegrowing to the Mosel which is documented by several Roman wine presses. Later on the river and its fertile banks and vineyards attracted many farmers, warriors, knights and monks. There are two formerly magnificent medieval castles in nearby Bernkastel and Trarbach. Almost any historical age can still be uncovered and experienced by interested parties at special sites in the region.
Of course, you could also just spend your time on the terrace, watching the ships go by and observing the swallows, swans, Egyptian geese, herons and cyclists. Or read a book and enjoy a glass of Riesling. Sorted.
You can also cycle to a nearby village, e.g. to Wolf where you can eat a hearty meal on the river bank in the garden bistro Zur alten Moselfähre or carry on for another 20 minutes to reach Trarbach. It is a special experience to sit in Hilde and Mathias' garden at Graifen and glance at the opposite river bank that is dotted with art nouveau villas. This town was the centre of the Mosel wine trade 120 years ago, when Riesling from the Mosel, Saar and Ruwer region was the most desirable and expensive white wine in the world. Wines from Wehlen, Ürzig, Kinheim and Brauneberg were in those days considered to be on a par with Lafite and Romanée-Conti.
Evidence of a chequered past can be found a few steps further on in the Mittelmosel-Museum and if you are lucky enough to meet the museum custodian Christoph Krieger you can gain detailed information about viticulture in Germany's darkest years.
Traben Trarbach once had more wine barrel storage space than Bordeaux and was one of the first towns in Germany to have an electric power plant and electric street lighting - because the affluent wine traders needed light in their deep wine cellars. On Friday evening during the summer and autumn some of these cellar vaults are open to visitors, the exact times can be found here.
Experienced swimmers can swim in the Mosel, the water is clean enough these days but you have to keep an eye out for boats and being carried downstream. Families and children should opt for the nearby lidos in Kröv and Bernkastel.
The region is rich in natural thermal springs which are renowned for their healing properties. In Trarbach the water of the Wildstein spring is used in the pools of the Mosel-Therme. A few kilometers further up in the Eifel lies the impressive municipal bath of Bad Bertrich which is Germany's only Glauber salt spring and has been used therapeutically since Roman times. Both these baths feature deicated sauna areas and offer spa treatments.
A few kilometers in the other direction, upstream, lies Bernkastel-Kues. In Bernkastel, a busy tourist destination, visitors can experience the pure romanticism of a half-timbered town. In Kues the very important humanist philosopher, mathematician, cardinal and mystic Nikolaus von Kues, also known as Cusanus, was born in 1401. His birth house is now a small museum. In the town centre near the bridge lies the Cusanus Stift, a hospital that was founded and financed by Cusanus as a home for the aged and is still in use today. In another building on the same site you will find the Mosel Vinothek where you can quite cheaply taste more than a hundred wines. The chapel is also worth a visit, as it contains the heart of Cusanus. To return home we suggest taking one of the tourist boats from Bernkastel that stop in Kinheim.
If you are prepared to drive for a short while further destinations open up: Trier, Germany's oldest city with its numerous historical treasures including some of the most impressive Roman buildings, or Luxembourg a few kilometers further on which offers a rich cultural programme.
Downstream you can find the tourist town of Cochem, the truly fairytale castle Burg Eltz, a special area of terraced Mosel vineyards (Terassen Mosel), and eventually Koblenz where the Mosel flows into the Rhine.
Geological history can be experienced in the nearby Eifel mountain range. Manderscheid and its picturesque lakes (maar) are only 40 minutes to the north, some of which are open to swimmers and boaters. Towards the south in the Hunsrück, the Erbeskopf mountain, Kirn on the river Nahe and the international gemstone centre Idar-Oberstein are worth a visit.
Recreational opportunities close by
on the Moselsteig
on the Jakobsweg
other sports and leasure activities:
If you have seen the moving Heimat films by Edgar Reitz you might want to take a half hour trip to Morbach where you can get closer to this director's work at Cafe Heimat. Some of the sequences of his latest film "Die andere Heimat" was filmed just by Kinheim-Kindel at the Mosel.
Close to Morbach, near Wederath, an important celtic settlement inhabited for more than a millennium has been excavated. Today a museum informs us about the life of our ancestors in the Hunsrück mountain range.
Should you want to walk from Kindel across the hill to Bernkastel, which was once a well trodden path, you will soon reach a gigantic construction site. At the worst possible location traffic planers and politicians who are stuck in the past are trying to build the High Mosel Bridge across the river to the Ürzig side which is a known mountain slide zone. This completely senseless construction is probably the most controversial, expensive and useless road building project in Germany, and is a disconcerting example for the stupidity, hubris and irresponsibility of politicians. It is a very large blot on the celebrated cultural landscape.