Moselle River Cruises
Peaceful, serene, magical – Moselle river cruises deserve all these accolades and more. It’s easy to understand why: this 340-mile waterway rises in the dramatic Vosges Mountains of northeastern France before etching wide and graceful curves into Luxembourg, twisting through some of Germany’s prettiest wine country and finally joining the great Rhine river at Koblenz.
The tranquil and intimate aura of the Moselle is inextricably linked to its rich winegrowing heritage. Winding between steeply contoured slopes, the river valley provides the perfect conditions for viticulture, offering up high, south-facing hills and slate soils that ensure young vines capture the most nutrients from the sun. The resulting fruits – crisp, floral Riesling, Elbling and Müller-Thurgau varieties amongst them - are admired the world over, while the vine-clad vistas of the river provide a truly restful backdrop to a cruise.
The Moselle also has a long and proud history. The Romans first planted vines here in the 2nd century BC while using the river as a major communications link between occupied Gaul and the unconquered Germanic tribes to the east. By the Middle Ages, many ‘wine villages’ had sprung up along the river, most of them strongly favouring the Riesling grape by the 18th century. 300 years later, and having served as a pivotal battleground in World War II, the Moselle is now best known for its luscious wines and magical landscapes.
Why Moselle river cruises?
Avalon Moselle cruises let you bask in postcard-perfect towns, ancient Roman monuments, green vine-lined hills and feudal castles, all revealed at the gentle pace of river life and punctuated by delicious tastings of the wines produced along its banks. From its mountain source in France, the river snakes through undulating countryside to the German city of Trier, situated in a scenic, vine-clad valley. Germany’s oldest settlement, this UNESCO-protected city boasts intriguing Roman antiquities, including its fortified Porta Nigra gate and a fine bathhouse. Trier also lies within striking distance of Paris enabling time in the French capital to be added to our Moselle cruises. Downstream from Trier, the Moselle flows deeper into Germany’s wine heartlands, arriving at the picturebook wine town of Bernkastel, where timber-framed buildings crowd around a cobbled marketplace. Many cruises offer wine-tastings here, letting you sample the region’s much-loved Bernkastel Doktor variety in particular. From here, the Moselle threads through vine-rippled hills to Cochem, where the hilltop Reichsburg Castle signals the approach to the town: a jumble of cobblestoned streets and half-timbered townhouses. Next comes Koblenz, sitting at the confluence of the Moselle and Rhine. This 2,000-year-old spot mixes charming paved squares with flower markets and medieval churches, all perfect for relaxed exploring.
Moselle, Rhine, Main & Danube cruises
Many Avalon Moselle cruises combine a Moselle voyage with time cruising the Rhine. After joining the Moselle at Koblenz, the Rhine flows downstream to magnificent Cologne with its soaring twin-spired cathedral, before morphing into a maze of Dutch waterways that weave their way to picturesque Amsterdam and traditional gems like windmill-filled Kinderdijk and Edam. Other Moselle cruises turn southwards towards the Upper Rhine, cruising the spectacular, UNESCO-protected Rhine Gorge en-route to medieval Strasbourg and Basel. Some cruises, meanwhile, venture further east, taking in Germany’s delightful Main river as its brushes the castle-topped trail of the ‘Romantic Road’ to picturesque Würzburg and Bamberg. From here, several cruises continue to the Main-Danube canal, calling at medieval Nuremberg and adding in visits to majestic Prague, the stunning Czech Republic capital. And for the ultimate in central European odysseys, why not try a Moselle-Main-Danube cruise, sailing between the Moselle and Danube to see great cities like Vienna, Budapest and Belgrade?