Start the morning with a substantial breakfast and fuel up for a day’s worth of sightseeing. Koblenz has a ton of lovely cafés that typically serve German platters of open-faced sandwiches, eggs and fresh coffee. If you’re short on time, get a quick bite to eat at a local bakery or the to-go aisle of a supermarket.
After breakfast, it’s time to explore the romantic city centre. Koblenz ranks among Germany’s oldest cities and bursts with sights from the past 2,000 years. Follow the labyrinth of alleys and streets past the stunning Basilica of St. Castor, which dates back to 836 and was once an important meeting of emperors and kings, and the Romanesque Church of Our Lady and its two iconic onion-shaped towers that dominate the Koblenz skyline.
Not far from here is the ultra-modern Forum Confluentes, a six-level space that houses the tourist information office, the Middle Rhine Museum, the City Library and the Romanticum, an interactive multimedia exhibition that dives into the cultural history, the legends and myths and sights of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley.
Next up is the Electoral Palace. The 18th-century building is considered one of the region’s most important palaces built in the French early neoclassicism style, and the on-site café is a great place to stop for a coffee and a quick lunch if you’re hungry. Continue your stroll through the lavish gardens and along the Rhine waterfront towards the Deutsches Eck (German corner).
The corner marks the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers and a popular strolling promenade for both locals and tourists. A monumental statue of Emperor Wilhelm I soars high above it to commemorate the ruler who unified Germany after the Franco-Prussian War in 1871.
A trip on the Koblenz’ cable car is a must-do when you’re in town. The gondolas not only offer a spectacular view of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, but they also take you straight up to the Ehrenbreitstein fortress.
People occupied the rock plateau as early as the 4th century BC. An early Roman fortification was replaced by a Conradian fort, which was said to be indestructible. It proved to be true until Napoleonic troops seized the fortress and blew it up in 1801. When the Rhineland region became a Prussian province in 1815, the reconstruction of the Ehrenbreitstein fortress as a strategic military post was made a priority.
Today, the fort is open to the public and takes you through the 5,000-year-long history and stops at stations in the fort explaining aspects such as the artillery, provisioning and people who lived here. If you don’t make it for one of the guided tours, you can always book an audio guide at the reception desk.
While you’re here, don’t miss out on the State Museum of Koblenz, which has a lovely collection of cultural and archaeological artefacts.
Make your way back to Koblenz city to tick another highlight off of your list: wine tasting. Both the Rhine Gorge and Moselle Valley boast vine-clad hills that produce some of the best wines Germany has to offer. Most vineyard and cellar tours are only offered on the weekends and usually require a minimum of eight people. But nothing keeps you from sampling some of the region’s fantastic wines over dinner.
Weinhaus Hubertus occupies one of the city’s oldest half-timbered houses, and the cosy and rustic style continues inside with wood-panelled walls, old furniture and a fireplace. On the menu are regional specialities and a number of carefully selected wines from the region. If you prefer a more upscale ambience, Wirtshaus Alt Coblenz offers just that. The wine tavern spreads the flair of a country lodge with detailed décor and provides additional seating in their 250-year-old vaulted wine cellar. On sunny days, guests can wine and dine on the outside terrace, right at the heart of Koblenz’ old town. From veal escalope to chicken curry, the food is fantastic and best devoured with a glass of wine from one of the vineyards nearby.