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My Europe Base, Zell

s/c apartments on the Mosel River in Germany's Rheinland.

Zell an der Mosel

Zell by night

Saarburg near Trier


Forest walking nr Manderscheid

Mosel cruise ship

Zell on Mosel

Castles, abbeys in 100 km:

The Rhineland has dozens, even hundreds, of castles (burg), manors (schloss) and abbeys (kloster). A good place to start browsing is Wikipedia.

Zell has a small castle tower on the hillside up behind the town. At Xmas it becomes a giant candle! For castle fans, here's our pick, keeping to the Mosel, Rhine and Lahn rivers:

MOSEL RIVER: 1. Burg Eltz in a steep valley about 4 kms from Moselkern (train stop and a long walk); 2. Cochem (above town); 3. Bernkastel (above town); 4. Metternich ruins (above the must-do village of Beilstein)

RHINE, LAHN RIVERS: 1. Marksburg, Braubach: 2. Nassau; 3. Limburg; 4. lots of castles overlooking the Rhine, some ruins, some hotels and some private.

Trier & Roman ruins

City famous for its Roman Ruins and 12thC cathedral. Make sure you see Porta Negra, Basilica, Roman Baths and Amphitheatre.

Bad Bertrich, Spa Resorts

Just 15kms from Zell in a wooded valley that runs down to the Mosel, you'll find the resort of Bad-Bertrich dating from the 18thC. The healthy mineral waters are 32 degrees C and there is a large indoor municipal facility with pools, spa, saunas (60, 80, 90 or 100C) etc. Hotel Diana has an outdoor pool set away in the woods and open to the public. Day-spa treatments are available at a number of the 4 and 5 star hotels.

Bad Ems on the Lahn River between Koblenz and Limburg was popular with Tsars.


Within 100kms of Zell, the nation of Luxembourg has a wonderful city and very scenic hilly countryside. And many more castles.

Rhine River

Western Europe's most famous river is joined by the Mosel at Koblenz. The spectacular Rhine Gorges are south of Koblenz. From Zell a 60km drive reaches the Gorge towns of Boppard and St Goar. Or take the train via Koblenz.

Koblenz & beyond

To the north along the Rhine are the big cities of Bonn, Koln and Dusseldorf. To the East along the pretty Lahn River are the historic towns of Bad Ems (spa), Nassau (castles and knights), Diez and Limburg (castle, cathedral, medieval town centre). To the south-east lie the big cities of Mainz on the Rhine and Frankfurt on the Main River. Further down the Rhine are Mannheim, Ludwigshafen, Heidelberg (medieval university town on the Neckar)and Speyer (near 1000 yr old cathedral, museums).

Eifel region

This is the volcanic plateau on the north-western side of the Mosel Valley. Gerolstein, Daun, Manderscheid are of interest.

Hunsruck region

The plateau on the south-eastern side of the Mosel Valley. Kastellaun, Idar-Oberstein, Morbarch and Simmern are among the key towns. 40 km south of Zell is the Idarwald, an expanse of mountains (up to 750m) and woods.

Days out, activities, attractions:

On this page we'll give you an introduction to what you can do and see around the Zellerland region, Mosel Valley, Rhineland and the neighbouring areas of Saarland, Hessen, Luxembourg, Lorraine and Alsace. Basically, it's what you can do in day trips.

Zellerland is the sub-region mid way along the most scenic part of the Mosel River, the Middle Mosel. Zell is the key town. Downstream lies Cochem and eventually Koblenz where the Mosel meets the Rhine. Upstream is Traben-Trabach, Bernkastel-Kues and Trier, not far from where the Mosel crosses the border from France.

Weekly Program around Zell with Guide Werner Klages:

Between May and October we recommend Werner's program to get to know the Zell surrounds, local people, regional delicacies, the folklore and Mosel's wine.

Outings range from 2 hours to full days and all include a meal or tasty treats and glass of wine (or tastings). Join as you please. Werner's rates to guide are little more than the regular costs for the content offered. Itineraries and prices are correct as of August 2013 and subject to change.

Werner is a recently retired senior police officer, nowadays a travel agent and guide. He also speaks English and French and specialises in organising small group tours.

Zell-Merl Vineyards Walk and lunch at The Klapperburg (Werner's home and a former Middle Ages Hospice), Monday 1000, 3 hours, 17 Euro

Tresterfleisch Dinner at Otto's Terrace Restaurant, Tuesday from 1900, 20 Euro

Mosel Cruise Zell to Beilstein, lunch at Zenthauskeller, Wednesday 0945, 8 hours, 35 Euro

Vineyard wagon ride and winemaker lunch, Thursday 1000, 2 hours, 17 Euro

Guided Walk with the Riwig-Mannchen (Medieval City Ghost) and game tasting, Friday 1700, 2 hours, 20 Euro

Winemaker Peter Weis cellar, instruction, tasting and lunch, Saturday, 25 Euro

'Sekt' (sparkling wine) Breakfast/Brunch in the Schloss Zell (Castle Hotel), Sunday, from 0800, 16.50 Euro

Contact Werner in advance or in Zell to book: / tel 06542 / 41583

FreizeitCARD allows you entry to over 200 attractions and activities, across Rhineland-Pfalz, Saarland, Luxembourg, Lorraine and East Belgium. Museums, historic sites, castles, chairlifts, river ferries, bike hire... You get the big book with all the details when you buy the card (from tourism offices and at many of the attractions). Costs are 11 to 14 Euro per day and less for kids (free under 6).

Follow the rivers: A natural theme that can combine different means of travel: walking, cycling, ferries, bus, rail and car hire. Along the way are quaint villages, wine-cellars, historic towns, castles, abbeys, ruins and churches. As well as the Mosel, you can rail to Koblenz then follow either the Lahn to Limburg or the Rhine River north towards Koln or south through the famed gorges towards Mainz. Or rail to Trier then follow the Saar or Kyll Rivers, tributaries of the Mosel. The Nahe flows through the gem town of Idar-Oberstein and the Hunsruck Hills to meet the Rhine.

Click image to bring up a large readable image of the map (1.5mb)

Also view our Zell-Mosel location on Google Maps

Walking: Trails criss-cross the countryside, follow rivers and streams, through vineyards, across fields, forests and o'er hill and dale. Signposting is good and maps and itineraries are available from tourist offices. Some of the regional transport guidebooks have extensive descriptions of walks and bike rides (in Deutsch).

Long Distance Trails: Three to mention: (1) The Mosel Hohenweg (High Walk) was marked in 1910 and runs 185 km from Trier to Koblenz. From Zell you can walk in a day to either Bielstein or Trabe-Trabach. (2) The Ausonius Wanderweg treks just over 100 km from Bingen in the Rhine Gorge to Trier – named after the Roman Consul, poet and author of 'The Mosella' who lived 310-395 AD. (3) The new Moselsteig (Mosel Climbing) runs near 400km from France to Koblenz and sounds like it has plenty of up and down! Sponsored by the EU, it is opening in summer 2013 with a lot of fanfare!

Cycling: Bikes can be hired in Zell for under 10 Euro per day. The 200 km Mosel River bike path from Trier to Koblenz is possibly the world's most popular cycle trail and Zell lies half-way. Ride up or downstream and come back on the other side of the river – or return by bus, ferry or rail. If you'd like to cycle the whole trail from Trier to Koblenz, you can do it all easily from Zell – using train, river cruising and the bike-bus service to get to and fro. See our page Mosel Bike Path Riding up and out of the Mosel Valley into the Hunsruck or Eifel regions multiplies the possibilities (and the effort). MTB riding is also popular in Zellerland with a lot of cross-country and downhill tracks.

River cruising: From Zell and Koblenz you can sail the best parts of the Mosel & Rhine Rivers on day cruise ferries. Koln-Dusseldorfer Line is the largest of the companies, see . Kolb Brothers offers a greater choice for the Mosel Information is displayed at the Zell wharf booking kiosks. The season is May to October. The Rhine Gorges from Rudesheim to Boppard can still be sailed November to April. Canoes can also be hired at Zell.

Guided activities: Join in on scheduled days or book your own guide. Activities include wineries, town exploring, hiking, cycling and canoeing. Lisa and Bernd offer all of this with their Weinkultur Reisen small business Tourism offices can give you more recommendations.

Rail & bus, day passes: Buses criss-cross the countryside and shuttle to nearby Bullay where frequent trains to Koblenz or Trier take 40-60 minutes. From Trier or Koblenz you can travel in many directions. Rail and bus are networked into regional and state systems. Many circular tours are possible from Zell. Day 'Lander' passes offer terrific value to explore regions for about 20E/day or 40E/3days (up to 5 persons), states for 22E (first + 4E extra persons, kids under 15 are usually free.) and on Sat or Sun all-Germany for 42E (5 persons). See (Trier region), (Koblenz region), (Rheinland-Saar including Trier, Koblenz regions, Koln and Saarland) I (all Germany rail). A new pass from 2012 is the Quer-durch-land-ticket which let's you travel the entire Germany on any day for 44E + 6E per extra persons. See

Over 60s: There's more deals to choose from as you notch up those calendar milestones. For example, the Koblenz-VRM region has a monthly Senior Pass for 63.60E per person. There's enough in the region to fill 30 days too! In Belgium , if you are 65 plus, you can travel by rail for very little.

Day coach tours: From Zell to Rhine Gorges, Trier, Luxembourg, Koblenz, Saarburg etc. Prices are keen at 16-26E. On Saturdays 50E can take you on a trip to Paris and back.

Car hire: Cars can be economic to explore, especially if diesel and refuelled in Luxembourg on the way back from a trip to Holland, Belgium or France. Nearby Hahn Airport has most major brands. Look for 3 day weekends and 7 day rates. Sites like allow comparisons and are good to start browsing. However we always find the best final deals on the company sites (Hertz, Europcar, Sixt, Avis, Budget etc). Our last 2 hires have been around 170-210E per week all up with unlimited kms (Hertz Renault Clio diesel wagon in Feb 12 and Avis Citroen DS3 in Aug 13). Parking outside My Europe Base is free, unrestricted and relatively safe. If it helps, our neighbour is the town's police sergeant.

One day trips: A few ideas to get you started...

Burg Eltz – rail to Moselkern and a 90 minute walk each way - through the village, then the path leads through woods along a little river to one of Europe's most picturesque castles. You could stop off at Cochem town and castle en-route.

Bad Bertrich – 15kms to one of Germany's historic spa resort towns, local buses changing at Alf

Traben-Trabach and Bernkastel-Kues – ferry or bus to two of the Mosel's most famous towns

Nurburgringdrive, connect buses or ride a bike from Cochem to Nurburg and the legendary 21km “Green Hell” motor racing circuit. The BMW Ring Taxi can be pre-booked on the web, it is the latest M5 limo with a V8 of 412 kw, takes 3 passengers, costs 225 Euros, is driven by racing drivers and runs Apr-Oct. Whoa!

Eifel Region – North of the Mosel is the Eifel with its volcanic crater lakes and hilly countryside. Ride buses to Mandescheid and walk between towns, there's valleys, forests, stream and castles to discover.

Trier – worth a full day to explore the Roman ruins, nearby Saarburg worth a detour and trains continue to Saarbrucken.

Luxembourg & castles – train via Trier and explore the little kingdom by local rail and bus on a day pass (valid from Bullay)

Trains – can also take you to Koblenz, Bonn, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Mainz, Weisbaden, Frankfurt, Mannheim, Heidelberg, Speyer, Bad Ems, Nassau, Limburg, Kyllburg, Idar-Oberstein, Bad Kreuznach etc.

Bus/rail circles within zone of Rheinland pass (ferry extra cost):

Zell > ferry, bus or rail > Cochem > bus #500 > Daun > bus #300 > Manderscheid > bus #300 > Wittlich > bus #300 > Bernkastel > ferry or bus > Traben Trabach > ferry, bus > Zell.

Zell > ferry, bus or rail > Cochem > bus #500 > Daun > bus #500 > Gerolstein > rail > Kyllburg > rail > Bitburg Erdorf > bus #400 > Bitburg > bus #201 > Trier > rail > Bullay > bus > Zell

Zell > ferry or bus > Traben Trabach > ferry or bus > Bernkastel Kues > bus #311 > Morbach > bus #644 > Simmern > (a) bus #230 > Rheinbollen > ferry through Rhein gorges > Koblenz > rail > Bullay > bus > Zell. Or (b) bus #620 > Kastellaun > bus #620 > Emmelshausen > rail > Boppard (on Rhein) > rail or ferry > Koblenz > rail > Bullay > bus > Zell.

Two day trips with one night away:

Possibilities for going away from the Mosel for one or two nights are too numerous to try and list. You'll have to do the research! Nearby countries and provinces are France (Lorraine and Alsace), Belgium (Ardenne), Netherlands and in Germany, North Rhine Westphalia, Hesse, Bavaria, Baden-Wurtemburg and tiny Saarland.

Ideas for 20 days

Stay for 3 weeks or more...

We like to suggest a mix of touring beyond the Mosel, sights and activities in and around the Valley – and at least several free days as there is plenty more to do...


Full day trips can use regional, state and national one day rail/bus passes: VRT-Trier, VRM-Koblenz, derTakt-Rhineland-Saar, Luxembourg, Quer-Durch-Land (all Germany Mon-Fri) and Schoenes-Wochenende (all Germany Sat-Sun). You'll pay for a regional or state day pass between 18 and 26 Euro for 2 people (or 18 to 34E for 4 people). National day passes are best on Sat/Sun, 42 Euro for up to 5 people.

  • Trier Cathedral, Basilica, Porta Niagra, Roman Baths, Amphitheatre and nearby Saarburg's waterfall – 2 hours of rail travel using VRT-Trier Pass.

  • Luxembourg City and Vianden Castle – 5 hours of rail and bus travel via Trier using Luxembourg Pass from Bullay.

  • Saarbrucken (on France border), Idar-Oberstein, Hunsruck Hills, Bad Kreuznach spa, Rhine Gorges – about 6 hours of rail travel in a circuit using Rhineland-Saar derTakt Pass.

  • Koblenz and Rhine Gorges – 3 hours of rail travel plus cruise, Rudesheim to Boppard 2.5 hour cruise still operates in winter / Rhineland-Saar derTakt Pass.

  • River Lahn Valley: Limburg, Nassau, Bad Ems – 4 hours of rail travel via Koblenz using VRM-Koblenz Pass.

  • Frankfurt, Mainz and Wiesbaden – 5 hours of rail travel via Rhine Gorges (alt via Lahn Valley and Limburg or stretch on to Wurzburg) using Quer-Durch-Land or Schoenes-Wochenende Pass.

  • Kaiserslautern, Mannheim, Ludwigshafen, Speyer and Heidelberg, return via Koblenz – 7 hours of rail travel in a circuit using the Rhineland-Saar derTakt Pass to the max! Historic Speyer on the Rhine is the furtherest point (maybe a night away?).

  • Kyllburg, Gerolstein, Cologne, Bonn – 6 hours of rail travel in a circuit using Rhineland-Saar derTakt Pass.

Notes: All passes can be bought from the Bullay Station ticket machine using English instructions. Best to buy on days prior so you have the pass in advance to catch the bus from Zell to Bullay station (local VRM passes can be bought on the bus). On Mon-Fri you may prefer a cab from Zell before 9.00am so you can take the first trains after 9.00am (either 9.08 or 9.13 - day passes can not be used before 9.00am Mon to Fri). The bigger days to Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Cologne and Heidelberg one should do on Saturdays or Sundays to avoid the weekday bustle and start earlier in the morning, from 6.00 to 8.00am. On longer days consider dinner out before returning by train in the evenings. Travel on IC and ICE express trains is not included. Using the site to plan, tick the box for 'local trains'. Seat reservations are not needed and you'll be travelling mostly on RE, RB and S-Bahn services.


See Werner's program in the centre column. Local day and half-day trips from Zell-Mosel can also include:

  • Zell guided vineyard and winery tours by tractor pulled wagon.

  • Bus (and ferry May-Oct) 40km upstream to Traben Trabach, Bernkastel-Kues and back.

  • Bus (and ferry May-Oct) 40km downstream to Beilstein, Senheim, Cochem and back.

  • Castles of Burg Eltz (open Apr-Oct) and Burg Cochem (all year) by local bus, rail and hike.

  • Bad Bertrich historic spa resort by local bus, 15km away.

  • Manderscheid and Eifel Region for castles, forests, volcanic craters and hiking trails by local bus, 30-60km each way.


Relax, be active, do your own touring – or dash off for an overnight or two by rail or low-cost Ryanair flights!

  • Hire a bike and ride the Mosel Radweg, arguably the world's most famous bike path. This could be worth two days, one in each direction. Or hire a MTB and challenge the local forest and downhill trails!

  • Hike in many directions from Zell or research other hikes you can do with a short bus journey.

  • Get together with some fellow travellers to hire a mini-van to go to Nurburgring Race Track and press the driver to put their foot down around the course. Otherwise see if you can book the 'BMW Ring Taxi' for a race-speed ride (last check it was 225E for up to 3 people)!

  • Day Tours are inexpensive with local coach company Feuerer Reisen from May to October including Luxembourg, Koblenz and touring the neighbouring Hunsruck and Eifel Regions. There's also a Paris trip in 24 hours, departing 6.00am Saturdays.

  • Ride Germany's rails all-day with the Quer-Durch-Land pass (44E + 6E per extra persons), great for a ramble to further points and back. Consider using two consecutive days and staying away overnight. On Sat-Sun the Schoenes Wochenende Pass is 42E for up to 5 people. Another idea is to look for specials on super-fast ICE services to a distant point like Munich, Berlin or Dresden, stay a night or two, then use a day pass to return on RE trains with numerous sightseeing stops.

  • Hahn Airport is Ryanair's #1 hub in Europe with flights to 50+ destinations. Check their schedules and specials for ideas on one-day and overnight dashes. Example: 0630-0655 to London Stansted and return same evening 1850-2110 with 8 hours in London City (or stay a night to make it 2 days). From around 50 Euro plus travel to/from airports. Also Wizzair.

  • Hire a car from nearby Hahn Airport for more possibilities. Best rates are for 72 or 96 hours over weekends – and 7 days or longer.

Prices, times and services described are all subject to change. Please check as you plan.