Founded as the Roman settlement Confluentes at the confluence of the Rhine and Mosel in 10 BC, KOBLENZ, some 90km downstream of Mainz, marks the transition from the Rhine Gorge to the gentler landscapes of the Middle Rhine, which continue down to Bonn 70km away. Its strategic location has meant it has been fought over and conquered several times, most notably by the Swedes in the Thirty Years’ War, the French in 1794, and the Russians in 1814, and turned over to Prussia in 1822 only to be comprehensively destroyed by British Lancaster bombers towards the end of World War II. In its rebuilt form – a mix of old-looking and modern – it’s a relaxed if unexciting town with few sights. But, as the northern gateway to the Romantic Rhine – several cruises down both the Rhine and Mosel start here – and with a good collection of bars and restaurants in a likeable pedestrian centre, it makes a good base. The best time to be in town is during the annual Rhein in Flammen (Rhine in Flames; rhein-in-flammen.de) festival in August, a firework bonanza, best appreciated from Festung Ehrenbreitstein fortress above town or on one of a convoy of boats on the river.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Germany features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

A beginner's guide to the best German beers

A beginner's guide to the best German beers

Think Germany and you think beer. It’s a country whose beer culture is so ingrained and recognised that Oktoberfest (16 September–3 October 2017) is celeb…

14 Sep 2017 • Daniel Neilson insert_drive_file Article
How Syrians are keeping their culture alive in Berlin

How Syrians are keeping their culture alive in Berlin

Syria has been shattered by conflict since March 2011; more than 5 million people have been forced to flee the country and rebuild their lives elsewhere. Jessi…

05 Sep 2017 • Jessica Bateman local_activity Special feature
Going underground in Hamburg: 6 ways to see the city's alternative side

Going underground in Hamburg: 6 ways to see the city's alternative side

Hamburg is perpetually on the brink of falling out with itself. On the one hand, it’s a city of convention and millionaires – Hamburg has the highest concen…

18 Jul 2017 • Neil McQuillian insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month