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Your Guide to the River Less Traveled

Along its 339 miles of winding, bending waterfront sit some of the most impossibly beautiful scenes and cities you will ever see. Before meeting with the mighty Rhine River, the lesser heralded Moselle flows through France’s Lorraine Region, to Luxembourg and through Germany, flanked by rolling hills covered in vineyards and crowned with castles. The river valley has changed hands over the centuries, from French control, to German, and back again. Battles were won and lost, monuments built, artistic masterpieces created, and countless glasses poured.

Moselle Valley, Luxembourg
Rosport Village and Moselle Valley in Luxembourg

Today’s Moselle River is a postcard-worthy backdrop for many of the region’s most delightful pursuits. And while several of the destinations along this waterway are pivotal hubs of culture and commerce, you won’t find any of the industrial trappings that can clutter the ports of other rivers. Just unadulterated charm and vistas from the moment you step off your Crystal ship.

You can sail into the fairy tale that is the Moselle River region during “Enchanting Moselle” voyages aboard Crystal Bach and Crystal Debussy in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Before you do, get to know this river less traveled and its distinctly beautiful charms.

What to Know
Once it leaves France, the Moselle River forms the frontier between the Germany-Luxembourg border at Trier, Germany, joining with the Rhine River at Koblenz, Germany.

What to Do
Take advantage of the close proximity and tiny, easily explorable size of Luxembourg with a half-day journey highlighting its most important sites. Just one hour from your Crystal ship in Trier sits a UNESCO city packed with immense personality and history that bely its size. See the Grand Ducal Palace, Place Guillaume open-air theater, the Place de la Constitution and the bustling Place d’Armes neighborhood… if you can tear your eyes from the sweeping views of the Pétrusse Valley and Moselle Wine Region.

What to Know
Speaking of the Mosel Wine Region… world-class vintages are a thing here. In fact, the discovery of a 4th-century Roman wine press indicates that the Moselle Valley is Germany’s oldest winegrowing region. Though Riesling reigns supreme, you’ll also find exceptional Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Elbling, Müller-Thurgau and even some Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

What to Do
Sniff. Swizzle. Sip. Repeat. Several ports of call featured on Crystal River Cruises’ Moselle River itineraries offer opportunities to taste the famous wines produced along the Moselle. In Berkastel – considered the epicenter of Riesling – imbibe during a bicycle excursion that begins back in time, highlighting winemaking techniques of the Romans, and ends at a modern-day family-owned winery. If pedaling isn’t your thing, opt for the walking tour of the incredible Gothic and Renaissance features of the town as you make your way to the Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler wine estate.

The gates of Eltz Castle in Koblenz, high above the Rhine and Moselle Rivers.

What to Know
Castles. Lots of castles. It’s easy to imagine as you float along the Moselle that watchful royal guards are peering down from the many hilltop palaces surrounding the river. Some are grand, some are modest (at least in terms of castles), some are 1,000 years old and others are relatively young, built in the 15th or 16th centuries.

What to Do
Take your pick, there’s a castle experience for every type of traveler. In Cochem, a special medieval-themed visit to Reichsburg Castle (built in 1000) includes costumed guides, local wine and traditional snacks from the period. For a more invigorating quest in Bernkastel, hike to the hilltop locale of Landshut Castle, built upon a 4th or 5th century fortress and surrounded by sprawling views. A slight departure from the Moselle takes you to Marksburg Castle in Koblenz (where the Moselle meets the Rhine). This impressive stronghold is made even more so by the fact that its 13th-century construction has never been rebuilt or restored, since it’s never been conquered.

What to Know
It’s not all history here. The destinations along the Moselle River are very much players in present-day happenings. Fast forward approximately 2,000 years and you’ll find contemporary delights and innovations in Amsterdam and Dusseldorf set among the historical buildings and squares.

What to Do
Get a taste for modern culture in the two cities with culinary-focused outings. On foot in Dusseldorf is a wonderful way to take in the vibrant pulse of the city, as you stroll along the new Media Harbor, tasting local delicacies as you go. Michelin-starred Bolenius showcases the cuisine of the “New Amsterdam” during an optional culinary experience. Learn about sustainability, traditional flavors with a modern, international twist and enjoy the posh setting of Amsterdam’s financial district.

Sail along the Moselle River on 2019, 2020 and 2021 “Enchanting Moselle” voyages round-trip from Amsterdam. Ashore, more than 200 complimentary experiences will further enrich the journey, with options curated to your varied interests.

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Posted on March 2, 2018


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