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Sonnige Untermosel
The Sunny Lower Moselle

The Sonnige Untermosel (sunny region of the lower Moselle) invites for an exciting voyage throughout centuries. It is said that the villages here are among the most beautiful of Germany! Their picture book village centres and well-kept half-timbered houses are a fantastic scenery for Germany's oldest wine festival, the Moselfest in Winningen. It is the successful mix of modern and traditional cultural offer which is the special attraction of the Sonnige Untermosel.

1. Location of the Sonnige Untermosel in Germany

The Sonnige Untermosel is located in the Moselle-Saar holiday region, approximately 84 km to the northeast of Frankfurt-Hahn Airport (see map on bottom of page).

The Moselle-Saar is one of the nine holiday regions of Germany's Rhineland-Palatinate. Of the Rhine's tributaries, the Moselle is considered the loveliest. Idyllic wine villages perched on steep, vine-clad slopes, and romantic little towns with a medieval feel, such as Cochem and Bernkastel-Kues, lend the Moselle valley its unique character. Trier, over 2,000 years old, is the oldest town in Germany and its stone relics dating back to Roman times have now been designated a UNESCO world heritage site. Come and discover for yourself the jovial hospitality of local Moselle people — and don't forget to treat yourself to a delicious glass of that famous local Riesling. ... read more about the Moselle-Saar holiday region

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2. Sunny Region of the Lower Moselle

The Sonnige Untermosel (Sunny Lower Moselle) has much to offer. With every step you take there are fascinating historical monuments and cultural assets from 2,000 years. Roman and Celtic archaeological sites open up to see long gone epochs. Beside the majestic castles, stately homes and ancient churches and chapels lining the roaming Moselle River, one has the feeling to be moved to the past, when face to face with the villages arising from history, with their streets and alleys with many a corner, picturesque village centres and well-kept half-timbered houses. Therefore, it is not astonishing that the regions villages are said to be among the most beautiful of Germany! A fantastic scenery by the way also for the oldest wine festival in Germany, the Moselfest in Winningen. Also being modern and open-minded, the lower Moselle region also invites for an exciting voyage throughout the centuries. And it is precisely this successful mix of modern and traditional cultural offer which is the special attraction of the lower Moselle region.

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3. Points of Interest

Until today they are reigning the steep slopes and green hills of the sunny region of the lower Moselle, giving a special touch to the landscape of this area: Defying castles with silhouettes that are as imposing as intimidating, and are demonstrating the might of the ancient lords and masters. Grand stately homes are narrating of the splendid affluence of past days. Picturesque churches and chapels once built to present creed and that are still are captivating the visitor. These valuable witnesses of past times of an epoch to us seeming romantic and legendary are harmonically nesting into green valley and rocky slopes — and every day there is something new to be discovered! Narrow trails are leading to twined walls and high battlements and towers. The visitor is surprised with unforgettable views around every corner. Whether the defying castle Thurant in Alken, the famous castle Eltz in the fabulous valley of the Eltz creek, or the unique Matthias chapel — all have exciting stories to tell.

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3.1 Romantic Castles

Bischofstein Castle
Castle with chapel Bischofstein. The chapel is open to the public at any time. The castle is open only by appointment.
Eltz Castle
One of the most beautiful and best preserved castles in Germany. It is a fairy-tale castle that comes to life. Castle tours available.
Thurant Castle
A far visible landmark above village Alken. Partly built on a Roman foundation. ‘Burg Thurant’ is one of the oldest castles in the Moselle region.
Ehrenburg Castle
Located in a romantic forest of the Hunsrück above the Moselle river. The castles hosts many special events and festivals that bring medieval times to life again.
Niederburg Castle Ruins
The ruins of the Niederburg are located in Kobern-Gondorf. The ruins are open all year round.
Fortress Ehrenbreitstein
It is located at the mouth of the Moselle and Rhine river. The Fortress belongs to Koblenz and was of great importance in former times. It has never been captured and like Gibraltar, Ehrenbreitstein is one of the most imposing fortresses in Europe.
Cochem Castle
Built in 1000, destroyed in 1689. The castle ruin was purchased in 1868 and refurbished as family summer residence by the wealthy Ravené family. Today it is still well-equipped with Renaissance and Baroque furniture and its imposing location 100 metres above the river Moselle make it a popular tourist attraction.
Pyrmont Castle
A prominent landmark and important centre of aristocracy in the middle ages. Today it is open to the public for sight-seeing and is well know for its spectacular knights' feasts.
Liebig Castle
The castle is located directly at the Moselle River. Today ‘Schloss Liebig’ is a famous place for celebrations like weddings or business events. The premises of the castle offer an unique setting and sophisticated facilities for all kinds of functions and events in style.
Stolzenfels Castle
One of the crown jewels of the romantic Rhine. The interior of the castle is well preserved. Painting, weapons and furniture from several centuries are on display. The mural paintings in the castle belong to the most important works of that time period.
Von der Leyen Castle
The only water castle on the Moselle. It was the seat of the princes ‘von der Leyen’. In 1560 it was extended to a palace. In 1971 a ‘Bundesstrasse’ (A-road) was built right through the castle, which is very unique in Europe.

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3.2 Historic Churches

Maria Laach Abbey
A benedictine abbey on Lake Laach founded in 1093 by Henry II, Count Palatinate of Laach. The countryside around Lake Laach is popular for outings.
Matthias Chapel
Matthias Chapel was built in the 13th century to keep the relic of Apostle Matthias. From its outside Matthias Chapel reminds on the burial chapel of Jerusalem. Matthias Chapel is surrounded by the remnants of Oberburg Castle, which was built in the 12th century.
St. Johanneskirche
The church is among the most beautiful churches on the Moselle Valley. Beautifully located in the vineyards above Hatzenport, the surrounding of the church invite for a stroll with beautiful views down to the Moselle River.
St. Michaelskirche
It is one of the oldest preserved churches on the Moselle. Worth seeing are the frescos, altar and paintings.
Pilgrimage Church on the Bleidenberg
The trinity church Bleidenberg was built in the 11th century AD. The Bleidenberg is a well-known  place of pilgrimage and belongs to the property of Maria Laach Abbey.

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3.3 Museums

Schnapps Museum
See, touch, smell and taste! Here you will experience the local tradition of Schnapps and liqueur-making. The Museum is located in the historic buildings of an old distillery and shows vividly all stages of the production — including Schnapps tasting.
The Lava Dome — a very unique museum in Mendig — explains the amazing history of the volcanoes that were active in this area many thousands of years ago. Beneath the town of Mendig is a remarkable system of historical lava cellars that can be seen on a guided tour. The Lava Dome exhibition explains the history of volcanoes in three parts: ‘In the land of volcanoes’, ‘Volcano workshop’ and ‘The era of volcanoes’.
Naturkundemuseum Maria Laach
The Museum of Natural History is the largest private museum of its kind in Germany. About 400 specimens are shown. Exhibits show mammals, birds, butterflies and insects from all over the world. An extensive stone and mineral collection from Lake Laach area an additional supplement to the exhibits. The museum is located near Maria Laach Abbey. Lake Laach is the largest nature reserve in Rhineland-Palatinate.

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4. Wine Cellars & Sociable Wine Tastings

After a wonderful day before the sun sets behind the arduous slopes of the lavish vineyards, it is mostly reflecting in a glass filled with the delicious grape juice, which made this region so famous. People around the terraced Moselle region do not live only off the wine but also with this tasty liquid. The vineyards, of terraced arrangements with the dry masonry walling that have denominated the region, do not only offer a tremendous view and the last habitat for the endangered Apollo moth. But because of the very intensive sun radiation and the slate clay Moselle soil safely storing all heat, here are growing the best Riesling grapes of the world. And not only the internationally renowned fruity Riesling wines are delighting the connoisseur, but also the red wines, sparkling wines, Trester schnapps and liqueurs made of the unique vineyard peach. Therefore, the obvious thing to do after a hiking trip or a trip with a covered wagon is to end the day visiting a winegrower! Visits to wine cellars and sociable wine tasting, and traditional wine and regional festivals are tempting to stay and taste throughout the year.

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5. Wine Festivals

What is distinguishing the real expert in the art of living? Most of all it is the ability to fully enjoy all the delights of life whether small or big. Just giving in to calm and relaxation for gathering new energy. Because he knows: mankind cannot do without these island of peace and happiness for taking a rest off the whirling every-day life. In the lower Moselle region this is taken by heart since long. All year round there are vivid wine and regional festivals, entertaining markets and gourmet festivals demonstrating the happy and party-going nature of the local people. Is this stemming from the Romans? Nevertheless, hospitability in this region is given pride of place, and visitors will soon find themselves in the midst of the easy-going get-together. But also gourmets and everybody enjoying life will have a very good time in the region. The well-kept wine-grower pubs and ins offer a diversity of culinary delights. Whether homely meals, tasty special dishes from the Moselle region or Haute Cuisine, and with it of course, a delicious Riesling wine: This pleasant surrounding does offer something for every taste. Just let yourself serve and feel with Goethe: ‘It seems good to me that the best of a festivity is to tuck in!’

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6. Hiking & Cycling

The hiking trails are meandering through valleys, are following river banks and creeks bubbling to their destination, separating fields into imaginative patterns and are lining the vineyard terraces of the Moselle slopes. These are the best guides through a countryside to be scouted hiking. The romantic Moselle valley however, cannot only be conquered hiking, but also very nicely using a bicycle. Cycle hire is available (information about rent-a-bike locations is available at the tourist office). Steep vineyards, wooded hills, picturesque villages, the Eifel with colourful spots of golden wheat and yellow rape fields, or the Hunsrück with gentle hills and green forests — this is pure variety. Hiking on so-called subject trails, the interested person cannot only enjoy the landscape but also obtain a lot of information on the unique land developed and cultivated by man. Whether wine-tasting trail above the terraced Moselle vineyards or adventurous hikes into the wild but romantic Ehrbach gorge, if strolling along the Schrumpftal or a march through the valleys of the mills — the Sonnige Untermosel (Sunny Lower Moselle) is an exquisite paradise for hiking and cycling.

Baybachtal (Valley)
The path through the Baybach Valley is varies — some sections are along flat riverbanks, others past steep walls of rock. High above the valley are Waldeck Castle and Fortress.
Ehrbachklamm (Gorge)
One of the most beautiful and most spectacular walks leads through the Ehrbachklamm (gorge). Four mills above the gorge offer a welcome break and refreshments.
Schrumpftal (Valley)
A wonderful and idyllic hiking trail along the Schrumpfbach stream. It connects the Moselle with Maifeld. Excellent for an excursions to the ‘artist village’ Mörz with potteries and galleries.
The Shoppenstecherwanderweg offers a beautiful view of the steep slopes and vineyard terraces of the Moselle River.
Weinlehrpfad (Wine Discovery Path) in Winningen
Approximately 1.2 km of hiking trail leads you through the vineyards of Winningen. Information boards give you information about viticulture and the characteristics of the Riesling grapes that grow on the steep vineyard terrace.
Time Journey in Oberfell - Alken
Follow the historic traces of hunters, Celts and knights. The hiking trail educates about 800,000 years of history of settlements and mankind.

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7. Moselle River Cruises

Travelling up or down river on the gentle waves, boat trips can be really relaxing. Travelling on the Moselle is always bound to be a very special experience. On the stretch of the Moselle between Koblenz and Trier, you will pass one attraction after another. Picturesque wine-growing villages with historical centres full of old half-timbered buildings. There are a number of individual tours to choose from. And when the sun goes down and the lights go on along the riverbanks, the pace starts to slow. You can enjoy delicious food and fine wine on board, while discovering a new and wonderful side of the river. The reflections of illuminated promenades add to the special romantic atmosphere. There are several companies (MS Goldstück, MS Windiga, Köln Düsseldorfer) offering pleasure cruises on the region's rivers — the perfect way to unwind and have fun!

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8. Leisure Activities

No question: If you are looking for peace and relaxation you will find it in the Sonnige Untermosel area. For boredom however, there is no chance! While one is enjoying the idyllic hike through vineyards with wonderful views, the other is tempted by the majestically meandering river to visit on a ship quiet wine-grower villages where time seem to have stopped. The romantic Moselle valley however, cannot only be conquered by hiking or by ship, but also very nicely using a bicycle. And of course also motorbike riders and inline skaters are having a very good time. Visitors are also becoming quite enthusiastic with the fantastic excursions to closer surrounding area, such as the Nürburgring, the Porta Nigra, Maria Laach or the famous Loreley. While water-sport hobbyists have the possibility to work off with almost all types of water-sports, the land-lubbers are having fun with tennis, horse-back riding and fishing, or they test their skills in the especially difficult hill-golfing. And even those wishing to see the world with a bird's eye is at the right place. Sightseeing flights, captive balloon trips or paragliding above the steep-hilled vineyards are inviting to fly genuine altitudes. Independent of taste and age there is something for everybody — if on land, on the water or in the air!

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9. Events Finder

There is always something happening — whether it is art, music, wine festivals or a host of other activities. The Events Finder gives you an overview about what is on, where and when. Here you can search for events and festivals in the region.

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10. Hotel & Holiday Flat Finder

Here you have direct access to the online accommodation reservation service of the Tourist Board of Rhineland-Palatinate. No other hotel reservation system on the Internet offers you such a broad and comprehensive list of accommodation in Germany's Rhineland-Palatinate regions. You can list accommodation, search accommodation, contact accommodation establishments and make online reservations.

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11. How to get there from Frankfurt-Hahn Airport

11.1 By Rental Car

Google Maps: Route from (A) Frankfurt-Hahn Airport to (B) Kobern-Gondorf
(84 km distance / 1 hour driving time) » get directions

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11.2 By Rail and Bus Services

Frankfurt-Hahn Airport has no direct railway or bus connection to the Sonnige Unermosel (Sunny Lower Moselle). However, the buses from the airport will take you to the railway station in Koblenz where you can connect with Deutsche Bahn trains or local transport links.

Weblink: Deutsche Bahn — show integrated Rail and Bus Services from Frankfurt-Hahn Airport to Kobern-Gondorf

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Tourist Office Address

Sonnige Untermosel Touristinfo
Bahnhofstrasse 44
56330 Kobern-Gondorf

Tel.: +49 (0) 26 07 - 49 27
Fax: +49 (0) 26 07 - 49 58