The Moselle River

Sail the winding Moselle River to Cochem Germany

About The Moselle River

The Romans, who first planted vineyards here, called the river the Modella.
Rising on the slopes of the Ballon d’Alsace in the Vosges Mountains, the Moselle flows through the Lorraine region of France, past Luxembourg and into Germany. A left tributary of the Rhine, which it joins at Koblenz, the total length of the river is 339 miles.
Meandering between Trier and Koblenz, the Moselle travels along one of Germany’s most beautiful river valleys, a region that has been inspiring mankind since it was first cultivated by the Romans. Today, its hillsides are covered by terraced vineyards where world-famous Rieslings are grown, with hilltop castles standing sentinel over the charming wine villages and towns lining the riverbanks.
River cruisers have long been plying these historic waters, and all the major river cruise operators offer Moselle cruises, often in combination with the Rhine and other rivers. Leading cruise lines include Emerald Waterways, APT, Uniworld, Tauck, Avalon Waterways, Viking River Cruises, AmaWaterways, and CroisiEurope. Their river cruise ships ply the winding waters of the Moselle River every year – spring, summer and autumn.

Moselle River Stats

Length: 339 miles
Depth: From a small brook to 12 ft
Source: Vosges Mountains, France
Mouth: The Rhine River in Germany near Koblenz
Locks: 28
Countries: France | Luxembourg | Germany

Learn More About the Moselle River of Europe

The Moselle River, often referred to as the “Mosel” in German and “la Moselle” in French, is a picturesque waterway that meanders through Western Europe, weaving its way through France, Luxembourg, and Germany. It’s a river that boasts a rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and a vibrant cultural tapestry. Spanning approximately 600 kilometers (370 miles), the Moselle is a tributary of the mighty Rhine River and holds a special place in the hearts of those who have had the privilege of exploring its banks and experiencing its unique charm.


Geography and Natural Beauty

The Moselle River has its origins in the Vosges Mountains of northeastern France, specifically in the region known as Lorraine. From its source near the town of Bussang, it meanders northward, carving its way through lush valleys, dense forests, and picturesque vineyards. As it flows northward, it forms a natural border between Luxembourg and Germany before ultimately joining the Rhine River near the city of Koblenz, Germany.  One of the most enchanting aspects of the Moselle is its ever-changing landscape. The riverbanks are adorned with charming villages, medieval castles perched atop steep hills, and terraced vineyards that produce some of the finest wines in the world. The region’s winemaking tradition dates back to Roman times, and today, the Moselle Valley is renowned for its Rieslings and other white wines, making it a haven for wine enthusiasts.  The Moselle’s calm waters are also ideal for boating and leisurely cruises, allowing visitors to soak in the stunning scenery. Whether you’re kayaking, taking a river cruise, or simply strolling along its banks, the Moselle offers a serene and captivating experience for nature lovers.


A River of History and Culture

The Moselle River region is steeped in history, with evidence of human habitation dating back to the Roman era. The Romans recognized the strategic importance of the Moselle as a trade route, and they established numerous settlements along its banks, leaving behind a legacy of ancient ruins and architecture.  One of the most iconic remnants of this Roman influence is the city of Trier, often referred to as the “Rome of the North.” Trier, located on the banks of the Moselle, boasts well-preserved Roman structures, including the Porta Nigra, an imposing city gate, and the Trier Amphitheater, which once hosted gladiatorial contests.  Throughout the Middle Ages, the Moselle Valley flourished as a center of trade and commerce. It became home to many prosperous towns, each with its own story to tell. The region’s charming half-timbered houses, narrow cobblestone streets, and historic market squares transport visitors back in time.  The Moselle’s history is also intertwined with its vineyards. Monasteries played a significant role in winemaking, and their vineyards continue to produce exceptional wines to this day. The Benedictine Abbey of St. Maximin in Trier and the Eberbach Abbey in Germany’s Rhine region are notable examples of monastic winemaking traditions.


Cultural Fusion and Multilingualism

The Moselle region is a cultural crossroads, reflecting the complex history of Western Europe. Its proximity to France, Luxembourg, and Germany has resulted in a unique blend of languages and traditions. French, German, and Luxembourgish are commonly spoken along the Moselle, and the region’s inhabitants are often fluent in multiple languages.  This linguistic diversity is also reflected in the local cuisine. The Moselle region boasts a delectable fusion of French and German culinary traditions. Visitors can savor dishes like “Coq au Riesling” (chicken cooked with Riesling wine) and “Flammkuchen” (a thin, crispy pizza-like dish) while enjoying local wines.


Tourism and Recreation

The Moselle River has become a popular destination for tourists seeking a blend of history, nature, and culture. The region offers a wide range of recreational activities, including hiking and cycling along well-maintained trails that offer stunning vistas of the river and surrounding landscapes.  Cultural enthusiasts can explore charming towns like Metz, Nancy, and Koblenz, each with its own unique character and attractions. The Moselle is also known for its annual wine festivals, where visitors can sample local wines, enjoy traditional music and dance, and immerse themselves in the region’s vibrant culture.  River cruises are another popular way to experience the Moselle. Whether on a luxurious cruise ship or a smaller, more intimate vessel, travelers can relax and take in the scenery while stopping at picturesque towns and vineyards along the way.


Challenges and Conservation Efforts

While the Moselle River has brought prosperity and cultural exchange to the region, it has also faced environmental challenges. Water pollution, habitat degradation, and flooding have all been concerns. Efforts to address these issues and protect the river’s ecosystem have gained momentum in recent years. Sustainable vineyard practices, reforestation, and water quality monitoring are some of the measures being taken to ensure the Moselle’s long-term health.


The Moselle River is not just a body of water; it’s a living testament to the rich tapestry of European history, culture, and nature. Its meandering course through France, Luxembourg, and Germany offers a journey filled with breathtaking scenery, historic treasures, and culinary delights. Whether you’re a history buff, a wine enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, the Moselle River and its surrounding region have something to offer everyone. So, embark on a journey along the Moselle and discover the timeless beauty and cultural richness that make this river a true European gem.

Your Moselle River Cruise Awaits!

Are you ready to start planning your Moselle River Cruise Vacation Your Way? A River Cruise Artist at River Cruise Your Way is ready to be your vacation concierge. Contact us today at 1-800-259-7612 or use the form below and let us know when it is most convenient to call you, we will confirm via e-mail, and then reach out at the agreed upon time and date.