Germany: Lovely "double town" of Traben-Trarbach straddles the Mosel River
May 27, 2013
The Mosel River Valley is known for its peaceful, meandering river flanked by enchanting forests, steep vineyards and storybook villages crowned with castles.
Among the most well-known towns along the Mosel are Cochem and Bernkastel-Kues, but Traben-Trarbach should not be overlooked as it is every bit as charming without the congestion.
Straddling a giant ribbon-like bend in the Mosel River, this “double town” — connected by a pedestrian-friendly bridge — is comfortably tucked in among precipitous vineyards and alluring woods.
Beat the crowds by visiting Traben-Trarbach in spring or early summer. This is when the grape vines begin to sprout, the trees and flowers bloom, and the water changes from a silty brown to a deep blue as the weather warms.
The hospitality of Traben-Trarbach’s inhabitants equals the spirit of their surroundings.
In mid-April, I had the pleasure of spending a day in Traben-Trarbach and was amazed by the graciousness of the townsfolk I met along my Middle Mosel adventure.
The only plans I had were to make a picture of the giant bend in the river and to try to get a couple of good photos at dusk; anything else I managed to find would be gravy, I thought.
Before I knew it, I was swimming in gravy. Throughout the course of my day I chatted with winemakers Peter Storck and his son-in-law, Julius Berger, as they worked one of their vineyards. I hiked through the forests high above the town and achieved the vantage point I had hoped for. Amid the ruins of the Grevenburg castle, I ate lunch in a fantastic tavern featuring a garden, excellent food and a splendid view of its own.
After lunch, I sampled wine from the Storck winery and toured its wine cellar. I strolled through the town and admired the many examples of Art Nouveau architecture.
The Brückentor, the symbol of Traben-Trarbach and the only remaining part of the original bridge built around 1899, now houses a wine tavern where I was invited to sit with local winemakers at their Stammtisch, a table reserved for regular customers.
I had a nice dinner at the Storcke Stütz, a tavern in what was once the wine cellar for the Grevenburg castle.
I found my way into another local watering hole and met, yet again, another friendly winemaker, Dieter Emert, one of eight generations to make wine in Traben-Trarbach over the years. Emert then put the exclamation point on my already great day by giving me a private tour of his family’s giant wine cellar and wine museum that happens to be part of Traben-Trarbach’s “Unterwelt,” or “underworld.” The underworld is a series of giant vaulted wine cellars unique to this Mosel community.
I spent an entire day in Traben-Trarbach and had an amazing time, yet I only scratched the surface of what this historical city has to offer.
DIRECTIONS:Traben-Trarbach is about an hour and 20 minutes from Ramstein Air Base. From the air base, take the A62 autobahn toward Trier for about 22 miles, then take Exit 4-Birkenfeld. Drive through Birkenfeld on B269 toward Morbach and Bernkastel-Kues. After Morbach, turn right onto B327 and follow the signs to Traben-Trarbach.
COSTS:Tours of Traben-Trarbach’s wine cellar underworld are given at 6 p.m. every last Friday of the month. The 90-minute tour costs 6 euros, which includes a glass of wine.
FOOD: Below are websites for some suggested restaurants:
Burgshenke Grevenburg, die-grevenburg.de
Storcke Stütz Restaurant, storcke-stuetz.de
INFORMATION:Traben-Trarbach’s website, traben-trarbach.de, offers information in English of the many sites the city has to offer.