At first I didn’t want to write this post. I didn’t see the point. Our summer vacation was so long ago and I still have a bit of a backlog of travel photos. Then I remembered how little I found (in English) about the little town of Traben-Trarbach in West Germany when planning our trip. I definitely would’ve appreciated a few more personalized blog posts about the area.
It does make sense that I wouldn’t find much written about this town. Located right on the Mosel River, it is one of the less popular tourist stops in the river valley and wine region. You will find much more about Cochem or Trier, but with that accessibility comes the crowds. After Traben-Trarbach we visited Cochem and were immediately turned off by the busloads of tourists clogging up traffic on the main road.
Traben-Trarbach is really two towns. Traben and Trarbach are connected by a very pedestrian-friendly, Art Nouveau bridge, which we traversed several times during our two night/three day stay in June. The town felt pretty affluent and similar to my overview of Quedlinburg, elderly people seemed to be in the majority. We stayed at the excellent Jungendstil Hotel Bellevue, an Art Nouveau hotel built in 1903. If you’re into Art Nouveau, this is the place for you. The hotel has been renovated and expanded, but modern additions are tasteful integrated into the style. So it doesn’t feel like a dusty relic or a sloppy mash up of period architecture. Our room, with nods to Art Nouveau motifs in the woodwork and other details, was much more modern than the hotel’s common areas that date back to the original construction. I don’t think the hotel’s website photos do it justice. It’s much more impressive in person.
We ate our best meal of the entire three-week trip at the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Clauss Feist. At this point I can’t remember everything we ate, but I do recall some highlights being a great local wine, beet carpaccio and lime oil. I was talking about lime oil for months. Hotel Bellevue also has a cozy, period-appropriate bar. With maroon walls and a Toulouse Lautrec inspired mural, it feels very cabaret-esque. If not for the Maroon 5 and Bruno Mars playing on the sound system, I could’ve pretended I traveled back in time. The restaurant and bar are worth visiting even if you stay elsewhere in town. I think the pool is desperately in need of renovation to be on par with the rest of the building, but the newly constructed saunas and steam rooms are beautiful. We ended up wishing we’d stayed three nights instead of two, to really take advantage of all Hotel Bellevue has to offer.
The Grevenburg, the remnants of a 14th century castle, is the town’s most celebrated attraction. It was destroyed during an 18th century battle and there really isn’t much left of it. Castles are major tourist attractions, of course, and I joked that the demolition of that castle is probably the only thing that keeps Traben-Trarbach under the radar. Still the drive up to the Grevenburg is worth it for the view of the town below. There’s also a Buddha Museum, oddly enough, which we decided against after seeing the admission price at the front desk.
Honestly, there’s not a lot going on in this town. There’s not much to see or do. Coming off a busy week in East Germany, this was an advantage. If you need a relaxing stop during your trek through the Mosel valley, Traben-Trarbach is ideal.
And as we learned, be mindful of the time of week when visiting places in the Mosel wine region. Many businesses are closed earlier in the week and Wednesday is considered a day of rest, in preparation for the weekend crowds. I had my heart set on eating at Die Graifen, but it was closed during our stay.