Can’t-miss German day trips A-Z: Cochem

During an era in which many of us are longing to get away, Cochem may be just the thing to ease your tourist blues. Why? Because it’s built for visitors. This is a place with in-your-face sights and fun things to do. As a bonus, it’s located on a gorgeous curve of the Mosel River, which means photo ops, vineyards and cruises. In one day, Cochem (pronounced Koke-em) can help you rediscover why travel is so entertaining.

Cochem: Three cool things

Altstadt. The old city is filled with half-timbered houses squished shoulder to shoulder along a narrow strip of river bank. You’ll find brightly-colored buildings, flower boxes, summer table umbrellas and just the right amount of architectural asymmetry. Wander. Stop for a drink if you’d like. But just enjoy it.

The Bundesbank bunker. Given the zeitgeist, this is almost a must-see. Built during the Cold War era to host a massive stash of cash in case of a nuclear war, and hidden in plain sight, this is basically an awesome secret hideout open to visitors. Located thirty meters beneath the surface, the bunker is both cold (bring a jacket) and cool.

Moselbad. Cochem has an excellent swimming complex with a sprawling outdoor pool area on the banks of the river. If the day shapes up as hot, make a reservation and bring your swimsuits.

The one thing you have to see: Cochem Castle

Though Germany is the land of many castles, you have to see Reichsburg Cochem – and for a reason you might not expect. After having been reduced to ruins by 17th-century French soldiers, the castle was renovated in the 19th century after being purchased on the cheap by a Berlin businessman who was descended from French refugees. The renovation is actually what makes this castle so amazing: you can experience the full glory of a non-ruined German river castle.

Getting there

By car, Cochem is about two hours north of Kaiserslautern, approximately ninety minutes west of Wiesbaden, and just three and a half hours northwest of Stuttgart. Cochem is also accessible by train.