The slogan of the German city of Koblenz, the third biggest city in the German Rhineland-Palatinate province with its population of just 110.000, is quite inviting. Translated in English it reads: ‘A city, in which one feels immediately at home.’ And these inviting words are not without coverage. The name Koblenz, also spelled Coblenz or Coblence in respectively English and French, originates from Latin and means confluence, or a place where two rivers merge. And indeed the over- 2000-year-old town is situated where the splendid rivers the Rhine and the Mosel meet. The landmark of the city – namely the Deutsches Eck (German corner) and its monument Emperor William I on a horseback are similarly attractive to German and to foreign tourists. In addition, the region is adorned by low mountains that contribute to the picturesque landscapes and together with the rivers create a unique for Germany micro-climate.
Frequent stop for river boats
If you happen to be making a cruise or a trip by other means of transportation down the rivers of Rhine or the Mosel, Koblenz is yet another city in this magnificent region that would definitely charm you with its ancient views and romantic atmosphere.
You can take the time to make a city tour and see the significant Sehenswürdigkeiten, the German word for things worth seeing, or you can rent a bike or walk and explore the city on your own by simply drowning in the atmosphere and following your intuition.
Yet, having few tips in advance is no harm and here are some handy things to know about the town’s most prominent touristic attractions.
The mighty Ehrenbreitstein Fortress
The first such is definitely the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress (called Festung Ehrenbreitstein in German). This imposing ancient building, situated just opposite the town, was built in the 19th century as part of a Prussian fortress that guarded the whole middle Rhine region from French conquerors. The fortress was built over the remains of fortifications dating back to 1000 BC. The buildings have seen the reign of many rulers and have been grounds for their castles, each aiming to be more splendid than the previous. The name of the fortress comes from the ruler Ehrenbert who erected a castle there in about 1000 AD. The Ehrenbreitstein was also used by the US and French armies during the two world wars. In addition to being the preserver of a millennial history, the fortress nowadays hosts the State Museum of Koblenz. It offers to the visitors an exhibition of the artifacts dug out from the surrounding region, as well as other special exhibitions.
An insider’s advise: use the chairlift
You can reach Ehrenbreitstein by driving, by boat, or by an old chairlift that only operates May through October. The chairlift is actually called the “Sesselbahn” in German. It is located on the back side of the fortress and is not visible from the city. Another option is taking the passenger ferry which departs from the center of Koblenz and combining it with the chairlift.
Since the Bundesgartenschau there is also a spacy cabin-lift starting from the Deutsches Eck-monument on the other side of the river Rhine and going up to the top of the fortress. Riding one of the chairlifts to reach the fortress is an adventure of its own, as it reveals picturesque views of the region.
Old town of Koblenz
As for the cityscape of Koblenz – like all Rhine cities it too has a charming Old Town. Yet there is a slightly French hint in the heart of the city, as in the 18th century it was a preferred meeting and exile place for fleeing French nobles.
Among other historic buildings worth visiting in Koblenz are The Church of Our Lad and St. Castors’ Church, as well as the Baroque-style buildings in the Old Town. Yet another attractive for tourists building is the Kurfürstliches Schloss – a palace with a beautiful garden built by Empress Augusta. You can also pay a visit to the Deutschherren also known as the Deutschordenshaus in Koblenz – the first settlement of the Teutonic Order Knights in Rhineland. Nowadays the Deutschherren hosts the Ludwig Museum that exhibits French and modern art.
Still another worthy place is the Deutscher Kaiser, a gothic residential tower erected in the 15th and 16th centuries. The ground floor of this magnificent building is now a tavern where you can taste the local cuisine. When promenading around Koblenz, you could visit the Schängelbrunnen – a fountain in the present day courtyard of Koblenz’s town hall. The fountain is surrounded by the baroque buildings of a Jesuit monastery.
Good time for some wine
In Koblenz, along the various locals, cafes and restaurants, there is a Weindorf (wine village) in the middle of the very town. Upon entering it, one is transported into a typical wine-growing village, an authentic representation of similar villages on the bank of the Rhine river. The Weindorf offers to connoisseurs a great selection of good Rhine wines amid the romantic atmosphere of music orchestras and restaurants with tasty traditional cuisine.
If you want to speed up your heart rate, Koblenz can offer you plenty of ways to do it – water sports, cycling, jogging, hiking, golfing, tennis, and much more. In this beautiful place where the Mosel and the Rhine rivers meet you can experience an active holiday that combines sightseeing with excursions in nature.