Is Cochem Castle Worth Visiting? Rick Steves was Wrong!

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Is Cochem Castle Worth Visiting? Rick Steves was Wrong!

Perched high on the hill over the Moselle River in the picturesque town of Cochem is the beautiful Reichsburg Cochem Castle. Over 100 meters (300ft) above the river surrounded by sloping vineyards the castle is among one of the most picture perfect of all the castles in Germany. To accompany the beautiful surrounds the castle has an interesting past and vibrant story dating back nearly 1,000 years.

Neo-Gothic Spires of Cochem Castle

We visited in the late fall and were blown away by the beauty of the area and the castle. In late October the hills flanking both sides of the river were covered in grapevines that had turned bright yellow as they prepared for winter. While Cochem Castle wasn’t at the very top of our must-visit castles in Germany list, it quickly became one of our favorites. Please note you may also see it referred to as Burg Cochem. Here’s everything you need to know when planning a visit to Cochem Castle in Germany.


How to get to Cochem Castle (Burg Cochem)

The easiest way to get to Cochem Castle is by car and just launch Google Maps and type in Cochem Castle and start directions. Google will lead you right to the castle. If you don’t have service on your phone just start navigation prior to leaving your hotel and disconnecting from WiFi.

There is a castle shuttle bus right that runs seasonal, this year it was April 29th through November 1st.

Cochem Castle Address: Schlossstraße 36, 56812 Cochem, Germany

  • Cologne | 1 hour 45 minutes away and 76 miles
  • Frankfurt | 2 hours away and 94 miles

Cochem Castle surrounded by hills and valley with Moselle RiverHistory of Reichsburg Cochem Castle

The history of the Cochem Castle dates back to the mid 11th century, but the actual castle in the town of Cochem along the Mossel River today is much younger. This castle, as many castles in Germany, saw many kings and invaders through the many troubled centuries.

Most estimate that the castle was originally built for the palatinate count Ezzo around the year 1,000 AD. For the following centuries, the castle was disputed between palatine counts until King Konrad III took control of the Cochem Castle bringing it to the imperial status which it kept until 1294 where the castle was pawned by King Adolf of Nassau. The next major event in the Reichsburg Cochem Castle was the 1688 occupation by King Louis XIV, and then subsequently burned and blown up the following year in 1689.

Top view of Cochem Castle in Germany

The castle laid in ruin for almost 200-years when a Berlin businessman named Louis Ravené bought the site and castle ruins in 1868. During this period in Germany, it was common for the wealthy to purchase ruins and turn them into summer homes. Coincidentally this project started the same year that Neuschwanstein Castle was brought back from ruins by King Ludwig II. Ravené used the ruins as a base and reconstructed the Cochem Castle in a Neo-Gothic style.

The reconstruction of Cochem Castle was completed in 1890 after Ravené’s death by his son, but would not stay with the family for long. The family was forced to sell the castle to the Prussian Government and it was then used as a Nazi law school during the war. After the war, the castle was given to the newly formed state of Rhinelander-Palatinate and then sold to the city of Cochem in 1978 who still own and operate the castle.


View of Cochem Castle From the hill walking from the parking areaThings To Know Before Visiting Cochem Castle

  • Guided Tours Only – You are only allowed inside the gates of the castle grounds as part of a Cochem Castle Tour
  • Avoid the weekends if possible – While Cochem Castle is not the most visited Castle in Germany it can get crowded on the weekends. If you’re flexible your trip will be more pleasant on a weekday.
  • Photos are allowed inside the castle – Bring your camera and follow the rules of your guide as far as photography.
  • There is a restaurant at the castle – skip the drive-thru and instead have a meal in a castle. The restaurant is reasonably priced and serves coffee, sandwiches, Schnitzel, salads, soups, brats, and much more.
  • Strollers are not allowed inside the castle – Small children are allowed but must walk or be carried.
  • Dogs are allowed inside the castle – “Well-behaved” dogs can accompany you on the guided tour.
  • Credit Cards are accepted – EC, Maestro, Visa, and Master-Card can be used to pay for tours, food, and for souvenirs at the castle.

Woman on a Cochem Castle Tour Cochem Castle Tour

If you want to see the interior of the Cochem Castle the only way to do so is on the formal castle tour. Tickets can be purchased from the gift shop for just 6 Euros and the tour lasts about 40 minutes. The main downside is the tour is only in German, but there are printed materials that are easy to follow along in just about all major languages.

Tour Costs:

  • Adults: €6
  • Children (6-17): €3
  • Groups 12+: €5
  • Students: €5
  • Family Ticket (2 adults + children): €16

Cochem Castle Tours in English

There are a few tours per day conducted in English, you just need to plan your visit during one of these times if you’re visiting on your own. During the summer months, English tours generally run daily at 12.00 and 15.00 hrs. For larger groups of 20 or more audio tours can be booked in advanced in English or 10 other languages.

Hours of Reichsburg Cochem Castle

The open hours of the Cochem Castle change frequently and have more than 6 seasons during the year and it can be confusing when the castle will be open for tours. Always check the castle website to double check the hours.

Summer Hours March through November 10 am- 5 pm 

Cochem Castle Parking

There is parking at the base of the Cochem Castle with a paved path leading up to the castle entrance. There are a few options for parking near the castle. There is a pay lot at the base of the castle labeled with a large blue “P” with automated gates and pay station. However, if you visit mid-week or during offseason, there are many free street parking spaces available close to the castle base.

Cochem Castle Resturant

For lunch with a view and an epic setting plan on eating at the castle. The menu is much more affordable then you think when you think of dining in a castle. If you’re visiting mid-November through March the restaurant will be closed, with the exception of the holiday break December 26 through January 7th.

Summer Hours March through November: 10:00 to 18:00

Special Events at Cochem Castle Medieval Dinner

Almost every Friday & Saturday night join in on a Medieval dinner at the Cochem Castle. Enjoy a feast of drumsticks, soup, bread, and lard, served by servants and maids dressed in period costumes. A full guided tour of Cochem Castle is included and is before sitting down for the feast. The price is 49,- € per adult and 24,50 € per children (6 to 17 years) and it lasts around 4 hours. Please note this must be booked in advance,


The Dining room of the Cochem Castle Interior

Cochem Castle Interior

One of the main highlights of Cochem Castle is the beautiful interior that is relatively open to the public on tours compared to other castles in Germany.  There are 10 rooms you can visit as part of the Cochem Castle tour. Many rooms have furniture and artifacts from the Ravené family or it has been replaced with items from the period.

Rooms you can visit on tour of the Cochem Castle:

  • Dining Hall
  • Gothic Room (Caminita)
  • Romanesque Room
  • Room Above the Last gate
  • Hunters’ Room
  • Knights’ Hall
  • Weapons Room
  • Balcony
  • The Well
  • The Witch’s Tower

Roadside view of Cochem Castle - Top places to see reichsburg cochemBest Views of Cochem Castle

While the tour of Cochem Castle is a must, it’s hard to grasp the full perspective of the castle while standing on the castle grounds. Some of the best views of burg Cochem come from the hills surrounding the town and castle. While driving to the castle we stopped at a lookout point, which gave a great perspective of the castle surrounded by vineyards and tall hills and the beautiful Mossel River.


More Castles near Cochem Castle

There are over 20,000 castles in Germany and several castles nearby Cochem that are worth visiting. There are a number of castles within a day trip of Cochem Castle. The most famous and beautiful is Burg Eltz, located less than an hour by car from the city of Cochem. Here are a few to Castles to consider visiting before or after Cochem Castle.

  • Burg Eltz | 27 km – 17 miles away | Address: 56294 Wierschem, Germany
  • Burg Thurant | 29 km – 18 miles away  | Address: 56332 Alken, Germany
  • Burg Metternich | 10 km – 6 miles away | Address: Burg Metternich, 56814 Beilstein (Rheinland-Pfalz), Germany
  • Satzvey Castle | 90 km – 56 miles | Address: Burg Satzvey, An der Burg 3, 53894 Mechernich, Germany

Cochem Castle with the town of Cochem in the backgroundThings to do near Cochem Castle

  1. Taste Some Cochem Wines – The hills surrounding the Cochem Castle are covered in vineyards. After visiting the famous castle slow down and sip some regional wine from the Mossel Valley and the town of Cochem.
  2. Visit the Senfmühle – Another local must is the historical mustard mill or in German “Senfmühle”. This mill has been grinding mustard seeds for over 200 years and is thought to be one of the oldest in Europe. While your there you of course and pick up some mustard to bring home to remember your time in Cochem.
  3. Take a Ride on the Mosel-Wein-Express – A great way to explore the town of Cochem is by this small street train that brings you to many of the towns top attractions with a bit of narration for less than 5 Euros.

Where to stay near Cochem Castle

We suggest staying at a hotel nearby so you can get to take your time at Cochem & Eltz Castle (nearby) and get there early in the morning to beat the crowds. There are several cute hotels in the area that are the perfect place to rest your head between castles in Germany.

Also check Airbnb, as there are some really cute German houses and even castles for rent. You can rent an entire house with 6 beds and a sauna for less than a standard hotel room. On our last trip to Germany, we only stayed in Airbnbs and 3 were German castle Airbnb. Click here for $40 off your Airbnb!


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