Hiking to the Winneburg Ruins from Cochem in the Mosel Valley, Germany

Over the spring break, we spent some time in the Mosel Valley in Germany. Famous for its castles and Riesling wines, this area is a charming place to hike, bike, and relax. We stayed in the town of Cochem, and did a loop hike from there up to the ruins of Winneburg castle. For this hike, we followed the first half of the Moselsteig Side Trail Cochemer Ritterrunde route. We had planned to do the full hike (16 km, 700 m of elevation change), but we got a late start to our day and after our visit to the Winneburg castle ruins, we decided to take a shortcut back along the road to Cochem making our hike only 13 km. While I wish we had the time to do the fully loop, I absolutely loved the loop we did. Cochem with its castle and cobblestone streets is a lovely little town, the viewing points at Pinnekreuz and Wackelei are gorgeous, and the ruins of Winneberg castle are interesting and have lovely views of Cochem. I heartily recommend this hike.

Detail Summary

Where:Moselsteig Side Trail Cochemer Ritterrunde (first half, with shortcut return to Cochem after Ruine Winneburg)
Cochem, Germany
Train/Bus:Zürich HB -> Cochem, Germany – 6 hr 36 min
What:Moselsteig Side Trail Cochemer Ritterrunde (first half, with shortcut return to Cochem after Ruine Winneberg)

Trail Map
Cochem -> Pinnekreuz -> Wackelei -> Ruine Winneburg -> Cochem
Skill:With our shortcut
Easy – About 4 hrs 30 min
Length 13 km, Ascent/Descent 630 m

Full trail
Medium – About 4 hrs 30 min
Length 16 km, Ascent/Descent 700 m

Trail marking – white square with teal striping
8 Euros/adult if you take the chairlift up to Pinnekreuz

Additional Info

Getting There

For this hike, we followed the first half of the Moselsteig Side Trail Cochemer Ritterrunde. This is a loop trail that passes straight through the town of Cochem on the main street, and that is where we joined the trail.

Cochem is a charming little tourist town filled with shops and cafes with pretty cobblestone streets and half-timber houses. Walking through town was a nice start to the hike.

The Trail

At the edge of town is the Cochemer Sesselbahn (chairlift) up to the Pinnekreuz viewing point. It costs about 8 Euros per adult to ride up if you want to skip the first big elevation gain of the hike. This section is steep but less than a third of a kilometer, so not too difficult. We chose to hike up. The views at the top are wonderful and it is worth going up to this viewpoint even if you aren’t doing the rest of the hike.

Also at the top, is the Terrace-Cafe. We didn’t stop here so can’t comment on the food, but the view is great. After passing by the restaurant, the trail heads into the woods. At this point, we were following the signs towards Wackelei.

When we reached the Wackelei viewing point, there was a chair for relaxing and enjoying the expansive views. It isn’t easy to see, but right in the center of the bottom photo at the top of the hill, is the castle Winneburg ruins, our next destination.

The hike down from Wackelei was rather steep with a lot of switchbacks. When we reached the road, we crossed it and continued on the other side up a dirt road following the signs towards Ruine Winneburg.

The Ruine Winneburg are a small detour off the main trail, but there are plenty of signs. Built in the second half of the 13th century, the castle was burned in 1637 and never rebuilt.

After leaving the Winneburg ruins, we continued following the Cochemer Ritterrunde route until we reached the house and intersection in the first picture. Our plan had been to walk the entire route, but we had gotten a late start and we didn’t think we had enough time to complete the loop. There is an official trail shortcut back to Cochem from Wilhelmshöhe but the sign at the intersection said that shortcut was closed. We saw a sign pointing towards Cochem and after looking at the map we decided to take that path. It leads to the main road and down the valley back to Cochem, passing by the chairlift on the way.

If we had followed the full Cochemer Ritterrunde route, it would have passed by the Reichsburg castle in Cochem. We decided to end our hike with a walk up and around the castle. Unfortunately, we were too late to do a castle tour.

After passing the castle we walked along the river and then back up to the Cochem main street.

This was a great hike with wonderful views of the area. It is a shame we weren’t able to do the full loop, but I am happy we did what we did.

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