Traben-Trarbach is one of the most charming wine towns along the Mosel River, in the Rhineland-Palatinate region of Germany. In addition to its vineyards, it is famous for its castle ruins and fine Jugendstil architecture.
Traben and Trarbach used to be separate villages on opposite sides of the Mosel River connected by a bridge. In 1904, the cities merged to become Traben-Trarbach. In 1969, the city annexed Wolf, a village 4½ km north of downtown Traben-Trarbach, also located on a bend in the Mosel River.
- Tourist Information Office, Am Bahnhof 5, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. May-Aug: M-F 10:00-17:00, Sa 11:00-15:00. Sep-Oct: M-F 10:00-18:00, Sa 11:00-15:00. Nov-Apr: M-F 11:00-16:00. The tourist office is very helpful, with lots of information available in English. It's also the go-to place for bookings of tours, and can arrange wine tastings and other activities. It can also book accommodation for you.
Mosel Flugplatz is a tiny airstrip on Mont Royal that serves small private planes.
Frankfurt-Hahn Airport (HHN IATA) is 20 km (12 mi) east of Traben-Trarbach. Ryanair and Wizzair operate passenger service to/from Frankfurt-Hahn Airport. From the airport, a bus to Bullay operates every 2 hours and trains run regularly from Bullay to Traben-Trarbach.
Frankfurt Airport (FRA IATA) is 130 km (81 mi) east of Traben-Trarbach. Trains connect the airport to Traben-Trarbach. Buses (€16, 90 minutes) operate from Frankfurt Airport to Frankfurt-Hahn Airport, which is 20 km east of Traben-Trarbach.
Traben-Trarbach is a stop on the Moselwein-Bahn train and a 20 minute ride from Bullay. From there, faster IC or RB trains will take you further to Koblenz (1 hour).
The dual town can easily be explored on foot. To get to the hill top ruins, or just to the hills above town to admire the view, it's quite a walk up though. The same goes if you want to head to Wolf. A bike or car can come in handy for that.
Both the Traben and Trarbach sides of town have a pleasant and typical old flair to it, with timbered houses and many Belle Epoque details all around. Although the origins of both places go back to the Middle Ages, mass fires destroyed most heritage from those days. In 1857, the last city fire left 1400 of all 1700 inhabitants of Trarbach without a roof over their heads. As the town (united since 1904) grew into a major wine trading city - at the turn of the century it was second in the world, after Bordeaux- it was splendidly rebuilt after the latest fashion. Many of the buildings were designed by the famous German architect Bruno Möhring, one of the most prominent Jugendstil architects in the country.
- 1 Ruins of the Grevenburg (The walking path up to the ruins is indicated from the Brückentor.). Constructed around the year 1350, the Grevenburg was originally the ancestral seat of the counts of Sponheim. Repeatedly besieged, damaged, occupied and rebuilt, it was conquered for the fourth and last time in 1734 by the French, during the War of the Polish Succession. The castle was blown up and large parts of it fell down into the river valley below. Only a few ruins are standing today, but much of the foundations remain. At the ruins, there's a small tavern and some gardens, and of course you get to enjoy some excellent panoramic views. The Mittelmosel-Museum has detailed documentation about the castle. It also provides further information about opening hours. No entrance fee..
- Underground Wine Vaults, ☏ (for bookings and more information). As the city has long been a major wine trading centre, large parts of it have extensive vaults underneath. Up to 120 meters (!) long and sometimes multi-storied, these vaults make for a fun excursion. Unfortunately, tours are rare, taking place only at the last Friday of each month. You need to reserve ahead, via the tourist office. For groups, separate tours can however be booked. Adults: €5 (incl. a glass of wine).
- Mont Royal Fortress ruins. Starting in 1687, the French “Sun King” Louis XIV engaged his brilliant architect and master builder Vauban to build a huge fortress on the peninsular mountain high above Traben. The massive fortress provided space for 12,000 soldiers and 3,000 horses, and became one of the key strongholds for the French Rhine army, protecting the French borders. The incredibly expensive fortress was however demolished by the French themselves, no more than eleven years after it was built, following the Peace of Ryswick. The Middle Mosel Museum has plans and archaeological finds on display. Guided tours take place regularly in season and can be booked ahead via the tourist office. No entrance fee.
- Brückentor (Bridge Gate). The bridge gate was designed by Bruno Möhring and established in 1899.
- The Middle-Mosel Museum, Casinostr. 2. The Mittel-Mosel Museum has displays on local and regional history.
- Sightseeing Boat Tours Along the Moselle River, Along the river banks. May-Oct: 10:00-17:00. Sight seeing boat trips along the Moselle River are easily available from May to October and include from 1-hour return trips, trips to Bernkastel-Kues that stop at various towns along the river, and trips to Trier, Zell, and Cochem.
- Canoe Tours Along the Moselle River. Rent a canoe and paddle your way down the river. €48 for a day trip.
- Hiking and biking - The tourist office has some maps. Easier paths are in the valley, but the vineyard hilltops have great views.
- Wine tasting
Festivals and events
- Mosel Wine Festival - annually on the second weekend of July
Even for those who are not typically wine enthusiasts, it will be difficult to leave Traben-Trarbach without a bottle or two. And why not; it's the obvious souvenir and if you don't plan on drinking it yourself, your friends will likely be grateful if you serve them your own import wine.
Restaurants are scattered all over town, with options varying from 5-course gourmet cuisine to traditional and filling schnitzel and fried potatoes for around €12.
- Clauss-Feist. The restaurant of the famous Bellevue hotel has some of the best options for fine dining in town, in a nicely historic setting. €40 for 4 courses.
- Die Graifin, Wolfer Weg 11. Close to the Buddha museum, this place has great food in a rustique restaurant setting. Located in an old wine house, the wines served today are exclusively from the own vineyard.
- Marika's Stuebchen, Fährstraße 2. Located in Wolf, this friendly place on the river side is somewhat away from the large Traben-Trarbach crowds, but still very popular. It serves tasty dishes (many traditional meat and fish plates) and large portions for small prices. On weekends on summer, many dishes are served from the outdoor grill. They serve and sell good wines from their own vineyard as well as brandy and sweet liquors. There's also an apartment for rent. Full meals from €10.
This is wine country. Some of the river bank vineyards have the names of the "Weingut" (wine house) it belongs to indicated in huge white letters. In town, you can try samples at really every tiny restaurant or café, of which there are plenty. Look for signs indicating Weinprobe or Weinverkauf or anything of the kind. Prices differ, but you'll typically get about 6 samples for under €10. Several of the wine houses also have distilleries, producing brandy and sweet liquors.
Traben-Trarbach has a broad scale of lodging options, from top end hotels to lovely cheap camping sites. There are also many bed & breakfast style "Gästezimmer" available. Booking in advance is advised; otherwise, look for signs that say "Zimmer Frei" (Room free).
- Wolfer Camping Site (Just north of the town of Wolf, 4.5km north of Traben-Trarbach, along the river side, entrance where Im Luxgraben meets the river side.), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Open from 15 April to 15 October. Quiet, family-run camping site with many spots directly on the water, overlooking the vineyards on the other side of the river. Many guests stay for the entire season, but this place is welcoming to short term visitors too, even for a night. Most of the free spots are usually at the far end of the camp side, a bit far from the bathrooms and the electricity division points. There's a small playground for children, but nothing special. The small store has basic needs and wine (of course!). There's no check in/out time but the office is open from 08:00-12:00 and from 14:30-22:00. €8 for a large tent plus car, plus €5 per adult. Shower coins €1 (4 minutes). Additional charges for waste disposal and electricity..
- Mosel Hotel Zum Anker, Rißbacher Str. 3, ☏ . Single: €60; Double: €90.
- Pension Haus Würzgarten, Litziger Hirtenpfad 1, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A family business in a house with a nice garden. Free WiFi and bicycle rental. Single: €40-45; Double: €60-66, breakfast included.
- Romantik Jugendstilhotel Bellevue, An der Mosel 11, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. This is one of the top places in town. Established as a luxury hotel over a century ago for the upper class tourists of the time, the looks of this place have hardly changed. It's one of the prime examples of Jugendstil hotels in the country, and one of the finest Belle Epoque sights in town. Service and facilities are fully up to date however, making this a great place to stay. If you're not staying for the night, consider dining in the fine gourmet restaurant (3-course dinner from €30). Book ahead. €135/€170 in low/high season.
- Hotel Trabener Hof, Bahnstr. 25. Another century old hotel, family run and with a 3-star notation. It's not on the river side but a bit more in the Traben centre. Great service and spacious rooms, and a nice restaurant in the basement. Doubles from €95.
- Park-Hotel Traben-Trarbach, Enkircher Str. 1-3, ☏ . Ask for a room with a view over the river. This 3-star hotel has nice rooms, and extra large family-rooms are available. There's a good restaurant and the service is excellent. Good value for money. Wifi is free. From €95 for a double (rooms with a view €99).