Summary: The fortress is a highlight of the Middle-Rhine Valley, but the city offers only a small glimpse into its past.
At the confluence of the Mosel and Rhine, Koblenz is perhaps the most strategically located city in Germany. It’s strategic importance was understood even by the Romans who established the fortified town of Confluentes to control the traffic on both rivers. Today, it’s the fortress of Ehrenbreitstein that dominates the confluence of the Rivers, with the small old town of Koblenz offering a charming afternoon adventure.
It’s strategic importance meant that the city was almost entirely destroyed in WWII, however the fortress survived without significant damage, as did parts of the old town.
Should you visit Koblenz?
From a tourism perspective Koblenz gets a 6, since it is a well known destination on the UNESCO heritage list. This means that it has all the amenities that any tourist could ever need. Additionally, its well located for exploration up the Mosel and Lahn valleys in addition to the Rhine. I personally think Koblenz is a fantastic destination, even if it does not quite live up to the historical preservation one might expect.
In terms of historical preservation Koblenz gets a 5. Compared to the prewar city less than 10% survived and even more was dismantled in successive decades. However, while exploring you may not notice it too much in the old town. The postwar urban planners took care to keep the old bits coherent in style.
In terms of cultural immersion I think a 6 is appropriate, as on one hand you can definitely feel that the city is German to the core, but during the Summer months it can feel a bit like a historical theme park. I would definitely recommend visiting in the Autumn during the Federweißer festival to get the full immersive experience of locals getting drunk on the latest wine harvest.
Its a major city, so everything is easily accessible. I score Koblenz a bit lower at a 5 for interactivity because everything is so far apart from each other, and that the number of things to actually visit is quite sub-par. Aside from the churches and Ehrenbreitstein, there are no museums, no civic buildings, towers or other things that the tourist can go into or interact with. Its very much a city that one goes to look at.
The Conclusion: Only worth visiting if you want to see the fortress
Traveling Around Koblenz
The first thing to consider when visiting is that the main train station is in fact nowhere near the old town or fortress. If you are not driving then I would recommend taking a train to Stadtmitte station or using the city bus system. There will be nothing worth mentioning in the otherwise 20-30 minute walk across the city.
From there there are number of things to see and do, which I cover in more depth in the following article:
Dominated by the might Fortress of Ehrenbreitstein, the city of Koblenz has controlled the confluence of the Mosel and Rhine River for centuries. Let’s explore the forgotten history of the Fortress of the Rhine.
Koblenz is cute, charming town with a nice old square and a fantastic fortress above the Rhine. The city itself, however, is not especially worth going far out of your way to see. For those living the area, it makes an excellent afternoon day-trip or for the many different festivals hosted in the city or in the fortress.
Koblenz Opening Hours
To make life easier I have attached a list of the main opening hours for Koblenz. Unlike other destinations, Koblenz is a pretty easy city to visit, and in general you do not need to be concerned with when things are open or closed.
|Fortress Ehrenbreitstein||Everyday 10.00 – 18.00 (Summer) & 10.00 – 16.30 (Winter)|
|Fort Großfürst Konstantin||Saturdays 10:00 – 13:00 (Summer)|
|Townhall Staircase||Weekdays (9:00 – 17:00)|
|St. Castor||Everyday 9:00 – 18:00 (Except during church service)|
|Liebfrauenkirche (Church of our Lady)||Everyday 8:30 – 17:00 (Except during church service)|
|St. Florin||Everyday 10.30 – 17.30 (Except during church service)|
- All Maps made with Datawrapper
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