You may walk up the castle-hill on various paths, all of which are rather steep at some places and when arriving from the town you have to walk the biggest part on cobbled stones.
You may also take the shuttlebus (bus Nr. 781) leaving at Endertplatz / Busbahnhof about twice an hour taking you to the station "Reichsburg Sattel" within 8 minutes, where you have just about 200 meters left to get inside the castle. My picture was taken from that station.
The guided tour is almost starting, but before we go in I would like to tell you a little bit about its history:
Cochem Castle was built around the year 1000 by count palatine Ezzo. The first time that the castle was mentioned in a document was about 50 years later, in 1051. The document tells about Ezzo's daughter (former queen of Poland) giving the castle to her nephew count palatine Henry I.
In 1151 the castle became an imperial castle, after king Konrad III occupied the castle with troups.
In 1294, king Adolf of Nassau pawned the castle and the city of Cochem and lots of the surrounding properties, to pay for his coronation as German emperor. And the castle changed hands again due to this.
Under the reign of Archbishop Balduin (1307-1354) the old castle was enlarged and fortified.
When the troupes of king Louis XIV (the Sun King) invaded the Rhine and Moselle area the history of Cochem and its castle took a bad turn. The castle was occupied in 1688. May 19 th of 1689 was a black day in the history of the castle. The French troupes put the castle on fire, undermined it and blew it up. The castle was left in ruins and the town of Cochem was almost completely destroyed.
You can't miss the wine cellars where you can taste and buy the local wines. Wein- und Sektkellerei Hieronimi for instance.
You can either take a cellar-tour followed by a wine tasting. Tours go twice a day, at 11 am and 3 pm and take about 40 min., tasting included.
If you don't want a tour, you can just go inside and ask to taste some wines. After which you may - or may not - buy what you like. We liked the wines a lot and since we were travelling by car we stocked up on wine at Hieronimi!
The old gate-guesthouse is from 1625 and considered to be the most important woodwork houses in the city. It was spared the fire that destroyed most of the city in 1689.
These days it seems it isn't fire that endangers the buildings. Although flooding happened through all centuries, it was in the 20th century the brought the highest floods. You can see that on the side of the building. 1993 was the highest (photo 3).
A short walk outside Cochem (only about 300 metres from the center) you can find the Sesselbahn. For 5.80 euro (price 2007) you buy yourself a ticket to go up to Pinnerkreuz and back.
Now the story of the Pinnerkreuz (5th photo in this tip): there was a sheperd Wendelinus Pinn who lost one sheep and then found and saved it on what is now called Pinnerberg. The cross there is a bit of a tourist trap when you see it up close. It's actually electric and gives light at night. However, the views are excellent over the city Cochem and the castle (Reichsburg). If the sun is shining it may be a good idea to go up late afternoon or maybe early in the morning because from Pinnerberg you'll have the sun shining right in your camera which doesn't make very good pictures!
When you're nearly up, a photographer will take your photo with the castle in the background (photo 2 in this tip). You leave your name and address, pay 7 euro and the photo is sent to you in about a week. When I have it, I'll put it up of course!
If you like you can hike down to the city again (in that case buy a one-way ticket for 4.30 euro. I e-mailed the Sesselbahn before I travelled there to ask how long it takes to hike down again but I received no reply unfortunately!
Construction of Cochem castle began in about 1100 AD. It, like many other castles, had a very turbulent history.
It was burned down, got sold, got rebuilt, etc...
The tours last approximately one hour and costs about 3 Euro per person (depending on age and such). You can't always be guaranteed an English speaking tour guide, but will at least be given a paper translation of the tour in your language. The papers are in the order of the tour and easy to follow.
The castle can be seen from afar, being set on a high hill that overlooks the area and making it near impossible for any enemy to come near unseen. The history of this castle goes back 1000 year. You can read more about that on the castle website.
I'll put all the tips for my visit to the castle in the Local Customs section.
Admission fee: 4,50 euro adults, 2,50 euro children (2007)
There's a special ghost tour for 4-10 year olds, to be booked in advance.
When you're almost at the top, a photographer will shout something at you. If you say 'yes' your picture will be taken and it will cost you € 7 which you pay in cash once you get out of the cablecar. Then you fill out an envelope with your address and two copies of the photo will be mailed to you.
I got mine in the post today (errr, that's Sept. 2007, a week after I returned home).
Okay, lets go inside again. Hahaha, and I promise I won't look outside the window again! :-))
This is a lamp hanging in one of the rooms. But it is not 'just' a lamp! If you touch the lamp on the front side it should bring you luck. And as you can see many have tried this option! The red paint has almost disappeared!
In the background you can see one of the many beautiful ceilings. None of the ceilings in the castle are the same, so don't forget to take a look up as well when you walk through the castle.
But luckily this wasn't the end of Cochem castle. The castle stayed in ruins for a long time, but in 1868 Mr. Louis Ravene bought the castle and started to rebuild it. He incorporated the remains of the late Gothic buildings into the 'new' castle. The architectural style for this new castle was going to be Neo-Gothic, a very popular romantic style of architecture in the 19th century. In those days it was a trend throughout Germany that nobility and other wealthy persons purchased and refurbished castle ruins and used them as summer residences.
After having had some of those drinks in the hunting room it's time to go to bed. But that isn't always so easy when you need to find the keyhole to open the door. Hahaha, so Mr. Ravene had this 'clever keyhole' mechanism on the door! A can't miss solution!
When you click on the picture you might see it a bit clearer. Around and above the keyhole there is a nice decoration, which is actually a guide for the key! When Mr Ravene was in a bit of a 'drunken state' it was of course hard to open the door with a key. But with these high edges you really CAN'T miss finding the keyhole in the end. Hahaha, just keep moving left and right, wiggling on your feet, hahaha, but these edges will guide you to the keyhole without a problem. Hahaha, quite a creative solution I must say, lol :-))
Here you have another view of the town square. On this side you can see all half-timbered houses. I think they look so picturesque! Around the town square there are some nice small streets where you can walk around and do a bit of window-shopping.
I think everyone that sees this statue will think this looks like a frog. I for one could swear it was a frog. But apparently this statue is not a frog, but a lion dressed in armour. Hahaha, I still thing that it is a frog. Or maybe Donald Duck, lol :-))
This giant frog on my picture seems to be watching the great view of the Mosel - valley and of course the castle is the perfect place for such a view.
Some people say, that this is a lion with a head-armour, but I rather say it is a lion , disguising as a frog...
I may highly recommend to get also inside the castle, where you may see plenty of great rooms furnished with ancient furniture and great works of art.
You may get inside the castle ONLY by a guided tour !
daily between 09.00a.m. and 05.00p.m.
Photography is allowed even inside the castle !!
The price for a tour is 4 Euros / children 6-17 years pay 2 Euros
Students and groups of more than 12 people pay 3,50 Euros each
After a nice drive through the Mosel-Valley, I arrived in Cochem. It hasn't been the first visit to this place, but the first view of it keeps surprising me. You can't visit Cochem without noticing the castle on top of the hill.
The castle is towering 100 metres above the city of Cochem overlooking the Mosel River. The silhouette of the towering hill seems to continue in the castle which creates a wonderful effect. I guess this castle is one of the main reasons that have made Cochem to the tourist village as it is nowadays. And yes, it is also the reason why I wanted to go here, to visit the castle!