Written by Bryan Dearsley
Updated Mar 23, 2023
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Koblenz, the former residence of the Electors of Trier, is situated at the junction of two of Europe's most important rivers: the Mosel and Rhine. This vibrant German city, in fact, straddles both banks of these mighty rivers, and as a result has for centuries been an important defensive and economic center.
Its strategic value can be seen in the remains of the many old fortifications built here, most notably the old castle of Ehrenbreitstein, which dominates the right bank of the wide Rhine. Another important fortress here is Fort Konstantin. Strategically located in the heart of the old city, it boasts commanding views over both rivers and now houses an interesting carnival museum.
Koblenz also boasts many other well-preserved historic attractions that are fun to explore. One of the best ways to see them is via a self-guided walking tour, taking in everything from sumptuous old palaces to some of the oldest churches in Germany. Be sure to also wander the city's many pleasant public squares and marketplaces. Jesuitenplatz and Gorresplatz are favorites.
Along the way, you'll see many elaborate fountains such as the famous Historiensaule, which portrays the rich history of the city with its fascinating sculpted characters. It's also perfectly positioned to serve as a base from which to explore places to visit around Koblenz, including the rest of the UNESCO World Heritage portion of the Rhine Valley, also known as the Rhine Gorge or the Upper Middle Rhine Valley. From here, it's also easy to travel the stunning Mosel Valley region.
Whichever river you choose to explore (do both if you can), numerous river tour options are available, from pleasant one- or two-hour riverboat sightseeing jaunts to longer overnight river cruise adventures.
For more ideas, read our list of the top attractions and things to do in Koblenz.
See also: Where to Stay in Koblenz
1. Stand on Deutsches Eck: The German Corner
The German Corner, or Deutsches Eck, refers to the long slip of headland that extends out from Koblenz between the Rhine and Mosel rivers. Projecting into the fast flowing waters like the bow of a ship (it's a great spot for one of those Titanic-like movie shots or selfies), the meeting place of these two mighty rivers has been an important part of the city's natural defenses since 1216.
It was then that the Order of Teutonic Knights settled here, and the remains of their old fortification, Deutschherrenhaus, lie nearby. In addition to its magnificent views over the rivers and the Rhine Valley, the German Corner is home to the city's impressive Monument to Emperor Wilhelm I, a spectacular 37-meter-tall equestrian statue of the old king, which was unveiled in 1897.
Address: Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer, 56068 Koblenz
2. Visit the Fortress of Ehrenbreitstein
Perched 118 meters above Koblenz on the east bank of the Rhine, the Fortress of Ehrenbreitstein (Festung Ehrenbreitstein) was built between 1817 and 1828 on the ruins of an older fort destroyed by the French. Now part of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley UNESCO World Heritage Site, it's best to approach the site via the Koblenz Cable Car — the longest in Germany — across the Rhine, with its superb views over the town and the two rivers. A small funicular railway can also get you here.
In addition to exploring the old battlements and the fort's many exhibits, visitors can enjoy a number of museums here, including the State Museum of Koblenz, with its rich archaeological and historic collections, and the Memorial of the German Army (Ehrenmal des Deutschen Heeres) dedicated to fallen soldiers of WWI and WWII.
If there's time left in your Koblenz travel itinerary, be sure to also check out the photography museum (Haus der Fotografie) and archaeology museum (Haus der Archäologie) also located here. A number of unique things to do here include taking part in a Baroque dining package, along with an expansive program of music and theatrical productions, plus English language guided tours.
For those traveling on a budget, there's also a good youth hostel located on the premises. Just a few steps away from the fortress is another museum to check out: the Rhein-Museum Koblenz. On display are numerous ancient artifacts and exhibits relating to the earliest human activity in the region, right up to the arrival of the Industrial Age.
Address: 56077 Koblenz
3. Ride the Koblenz Cable Car
One of the newer tourist attractions in the city, the Koblenz Cable Car (Seilbahn Koblenz) takes visitors on a thrilling aerial journey to Ehrenbreitstein castle, with plenty of great views to enjoy along the way. Established in 2010, your cable car adventure starts on the banks of the Rhine and travels the 890 meters to the fortress at a comfortable pace. Suspended high above the river — the route's highest point is at a height of 112 meters — there's plenty of time to take great photos (and selfies) of the river traffic below, as well as of such landmarks as the famous "German Corner" where the Rhine and Mosel rivers merge.
The busiest such cable car in the world — it can handle a maximum of 7,600 passengers an hour, with up to 35 passengers per cabin — it's a magnificent way for those on a tight schedule to get to (and from) Ehrenbreitstein. It will also give you a sense of which part of the historic city to tackle next. Note that pets are welcome to travel with you, and cabins are wheelchair accessible.
Official site: www.seilbahn-koblenz.de/homepage.html
4. Take a Nostalgic Rhine Cruise aboard RMS Goethe
At 9am each morning from April and October, the port area of Koblenz reverberates with the iconic sound of a steam whistle. Locals and those in the know — as well as visitors smart enough to have booked what is undoubtedly Koblenz's most popular sightseeing cruise — are aware that this blast from the past is the historic RMS Goethe, a historic paddle wheeler that has been sailing along the Rhine River since her launch in 1913.
The steam whistle, in fact, announces the Goethe's departure on a wonderful cruise along the Rhine River Valley that lasts until her return to Koblenz at 8pm the same evening. This spectacular 11-hour Koblenz to Rudesheim adventure takes in some of the most scenic parts of this beautiful part of Germany – so beautiful, in fact, that the Rhine Gorge section has been designated UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Along the way, see towering castles and quaint medieval-era villages that look to be untouched by time.
For those wanting to spend a little more time exploring, you can even disembark along the route, picking up the Goethe on her return journey or hopping aboard one of her sister vessels that ply the same waters. Those who simply want to enjoy the views aboard ship can do so with comfortable seating, snacks, and beverages as the Rhine Valley scenery drifts by.
Location: Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer, 56068 Koblenz
5. Get Artsy at Forum Confluentes
Koblenz is home to the Forum Confluentes, a specially designed arts and cultural center built in the heart of the city's central square to house a number of important cultural attractions. This stunningly designed and very modern-looking structure echoes the shape of the famous German Corner, a nod to the city's location on both the Rhine and Mosel rivers, and is really three unique attractions in one.
These include the Middle Rhine Museum (Mittelrhein Museum) with its displays showcasing the city's history, as well as important art collections including Middle Rhineland sculptures of the 13th to 16th centuries and paintings from the Baroque and Romantic periods. Forum Confluentes is also where you'll find the Romanticum, an excellent interactive attraction that takes visitors on a virtual cruise along the beautiful Middle Rhine Valley while introducing them to the region's major castles and the people that once inhabited them.
Also located here is the city's main Tourist Information Center, which, in addition to its bountiful information on Koblenz, houses a large model highlighting the city's main tourist attractions. The City Library (StadtBibliothek) is also on-site.
Address: Zentralplatz 1, 56068 Koblenz
6. Explore the Historic Old Castle (Alte Burg)
On the banks of the Mosel in Koblenz stands the Old Castle (Alte Burg), a 12th-century castle that once served the Electors of Trier as they struggled to subject the locals to their rule. Surrounded by a tall wall, parts of which date back to Roman times, and a wide moat that's still fed by the Mosel, this impressive old building now houses the city's Municipal Archives and Library.
Also of interest is the nearby Baldwin Bridge (Balduinbrücke), an old arched stone bridge that crosses the Mosel and was built between 1343 to 1420. A little farther upstream is the New Mosel Bridge (Neue Moselbrücke).
Address: Burgstraße 1, Koblenz
7. Take a Drive to Stolzenfels Castle
Located an easy bus ride away in Rittersturz, on the outskirts of Koblenz, and perched 154 meters above the Rhine stands the romantic Stolzenfels Castle (Schloss Stolzenfels). Built in 1259 to collect river tolls, the castle was expanded in the 15th century and later in the 1800s, when its current Gothic Revival features were added and it became the summer residence of the King of Prussia.
Accessible via a 15-minute walk up a steep footpath, the castle remains one of the most romantic attractions in the region. Visitors can tour the interior where highlights include the Great Knight's Hall and the former royal living quarters. Guided tours are available, and half the fun is taking the pleasant (though uphill) walk from the river up to the castle.
While you're in the area, try to squeeze in a visit to Lahneck Castle. Located directly across the river from Stolzenfels, this medieval-era castle is privately owned and opened for guided tours, which last approximately 40 minutes. There's also a restaurant on-site with an outdoor patio offering superb views over the Rhine.
Address: Schlossweg 11, 56075 Koblenz
8. Tour the Basilica of St. Castor
Founded in AD 836 and the oldest church in Koblenz, the Basilica of St. Castor — Basilika St. Kastor (Kastorkirche) — was where the historic Treaty of Verdun was signed in AD 843, which saw the division of the Carolingian empire. More recent excavations indicate the site has, however, been used for religious purposes as far back as the 1st century, and later by the Romans who built a church here that lasted until around AD 700. Much of the building seen today dates from the 12th century.
Highlights of a visit include the Dwarf Gallery with its 21 arches and images of Christ as a lion, its many old tombs, and a 20th-century war memorial. Also of note in the square in front of the church is the Kastorbrunnen fountain, built in 1812 to commemorate the Napoleonic wars.
Address: Kastorhof 4, 56068 Koblenz
9. Wander the Rhine Gardens: Kaiserin-Augusta-Anlagen
The lovely Rhine Gardens (Rheinanlagen), a three-and-a-half-kilometer stretch of promenade and walkways connecting the green spaces on the east bank of the Rhine, extends upstream from the Electoral Palace to the island of Oberwerth. Architectural highlights of this pleasant walking tour include the Pfaffendorf Bridge, the historic Weindorf (a reconstruction of a Mosel village built in 1925), and the Rhein-Mosel-Halle convention center.
The real stars here, however, are the many splendid riverside gardens, in particular the Gardens of Empress Augusta (Kaiserin-Augusta-Anlagen). Laid out for the spouse of Emperor Wilhelm I, the project was completed in 1861 and remains a highlight of any visit to Koblenz due to its spectacular views of the Rhine, pleasant tree-lined pathways, sculpture gardens, and colorful flowerbeds.
A great place for a photo is the large statue of Father Rhine and Mother Mosel, a 19th-century monument celebrating Koblenz as the meeting place of the region's two most important rivers.
10. Explore Old Town Koblenz
As with so many of Germany's lovely old towns and cities, the Old Town (Altstadt) district of Koblenz has been painstakingly restored after the devastation of WWII. Highlights of a walking tour of the area include the Town Hall (Rathaus), built between 1695 and 1700, in front of which is the humorous Schängelbrunnen, a monument designed in 1940 by Carl Burger and dedicated to poet Josef Cornelius, who penned the lyrics for the city's "hymn" (watch out for the spitting boy!).
Also worth visiting is the Florinsmarkt, home to the Romanesque and Gothic 12th-century Florinskirche, and the Altes Kaufhaus, the Old Merchants' Hall. After exploring, be sure to visit one of the many cafes and restaurants dotted around this romantic part of the city, especially around Münzplatz, the pleasant public square where the Romans settled and built the original "fort at the confluence" (Castellum apud confluentes), after which the city is named.
Address: Willi-Hörter-Platz, 56068 Koblenz
11. The Church of Our Lady
On the highest point in the Old Town stands the Romanesque Church of Our Lady (Liebfrauenkirche), also known as the Notre Dame Church. Although what's seen today dates from the 12th century with later 15th-century additions, there's evidence pointing to a much older 5th-century place of worship having been built here by the Romans.
Notable features include its splendid Gothic choir and the attractive onion-shaped Baroque towers with their four bells, famous for tolling the "Reveler's Bell" at 10pm each evening.
Also worth a visit is the 12th-century St. Florin's Church (Florinskirche), notable for the old cannonball above the baptismal vault — a reminder of the destruction of the city during earlier wars — and its picturesque setting overlooking an attractive public square.
Address: An der Liebfrauenkirche 16, 56068 Koblenz
12. The Electoral Palace
Just below the Pfaffendorf Bridge, close to the banks of the Rhine, the Neoclassical Electoral Palace (Kurfürstliches Schloss) was completed in 1786 by the last Elector of Trier, Clemens Wenzeslaus. Although built as a residence, from the beginning it was designed to blend in with the spectacular riverside landscape. As a result, many of its rooms offer superb views of the river and the Rhine Valley.
It's now in use by the city, but be sure to pop your head in for a look if any of the public galleries happen to be hosting exhibits of artwork. Afterwards, explore the splendid old gardens, now part of the Gardens of the Empress Augusta.
Address: Neustadt 24, 56068 Koblenz
13. Take the Kids to the DB Museum, Koblenz
A must-visit for train enthusiasts and those traveling with kids, the DB Museum, Koblenz, offers a fascinating look at the history of the region's railways. Although a "branch" of the even larger DB Museum in Nuremberg (itself a part of the excellent Nuremberg Transport Museum), it's a substantial size, so expect to take at least a few hours to explore.
Located in an old rolling stock repair shop, highlights include a variety of historic carriages and engines (steam, electric, and diesel), some of which can be entered, along with displays of artifacts, more than 2,000 scale models, and plenty of great photos.
Of special interest to kids are the large indoor model train layout with over 500 meters of track, and a great outdoor garden model railway. There's also a small shop on-site. If visiting during the summer months, try to plan your day to coincide with one of the special "Sommerfest" vintage train excursions, when these well-preserved old trains are let loose on the region's mainline rail network.
Address: Schönbornsluster Str. 14, 56070 Koblenz
Official site: www.dbmuseum.de/museum_en/Other_branches/dbmuseum_koblenz
14. Wehrtechnische Studiensammlung Koblenz (Army Museum)
Of interest to military enthusiasts, the Scientific Collection of Defence Engineering Specimens Koblenz (Wehrtechnische Studiensammlung Koblenz) is a fascinating military-cum-technology museum located in the former Langemarck Barracks.
Home to a fascinating collection of small arms, cannons, armored vehicles, and uniforms, this army museum was established in 1962 and deals with the history of weapon development in Germany, during times of peace and war. Of particular interest are a number of large tracked vehicles literally cut in half to show their inner-workings, along with the occasional opportunity to see historic tanks in action.
Address: Mayener Str. 85, 56070 Koblenz
Official site: www.vffwts.de/en/
15. The Ludwig Museum
The Ludwig Museum (Ludwig Museum im Deutschherrenhaus) is located in the historic 800-year-old Deutschherrenhaus and is a must-visit for those interested in contemporary art. Widely considered one of the city's top art galleries, it was established in 1992 and is one of five museums in Germany credited to the art-loving Ludwig family.
The gallery features regular exhibits of international art along with its permanent collection, with a particular emphasis on works by French artists in recognition of the rich shared histories between Germany and France. The collection can be viewed using a handy self-guided audio-tour, or as part of a public or private guided tour.
Address: Danziger Freiheit 1, 56068 Koblenz
Official site: www.ludwigmuseum.org/en/
Where to Stay in Koblenz for Sightseeing
- Hotel Stein is a great high-end accommodation option offering a modicum of luxury in a central location in Koblenz. Larger suites and apartments with kitchens and living areas are available, and a top-rated restaurant, Schiller's Restaurant, is located on-site (breakfast is included with your stay).
- Although at the higher-end of the mid-range hotel category – it's a classy, quality establishment – the Mercure Hotel Koblenz is worth the extra money for its superb views overlooking the Rhine, its bright contemporary décor, and great breakfasts.
- The same is true of the delightful Brenner Hotel, which offers affordable rates, wonderful staff, spacious rooms, and secure parking, and the City Partner Top Hotel Krämer, a good-value hotel offering excellent service and a lovely breakfast room.
- Our top pick for a hotel offering budget-friendly rates is Ibis Koblenz City, which features comfortable beds, sleek decor, and handy underground parking, all within an easy walk of the city's top attractions.
- Another great choice is Hotel Jan van Werth, popular for its central location and free breakfast, while the simple, no-frills accommodations at Pension Haus Ursula are worth considering.
Best Time to Visit Koblenz, Germany - Historical Climate Averages
|Average minimum and maximum temperatures for Koblenz, Germany in °C|
|3 -1||5 -1||10 2||14 5||19 9||22 12||24 13||24 13||20 10||14 7||8 3||5 0|
|Average monthly precipitation totals for Koblenz, Germany in mm.|
|Average minimum and maximum temperatures for Koblenz, Germany in °F|
|38 29||41 30||49 35||57 40||66 47||71 53||75 56||74 55||68 50||57 43||46 36||40 31|
|Average monthly precipitation totals for Koblenz, Germany in inches.|
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Easy-to-get-to Destinations from Koblenz: Koblenz is the perfect city from which to easily explore some of the most beautiful regions of Germany. The breathtaking UNESCO-protected scenery of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, or Rhine Gorge, along with the lovely Mosel Valley, are just two areas that can be easily reached via riverboats and cruises. It's in the former you'll find magnificent Mainz, with its many fine old churches and museums, while in the latter region, you'll enjoy exploring the historic city of Trier, notable for its many still-intact Roman structures.