The twin town of TRABEN-TRARBACH, straddling the Mosel 55km south of Cochem, is notable for its attractive collection of Jugendstil villas. Though lacking any kind of heart, there are a couple of appealing promenades on either side of the broad river, which is used for occasional speedboat and waterskiing competitions, though more frequently by the boats of the Mosel-Schiffs-Touristik (May to mid-July Sat & Sun; mid-July to Oct daily; 10 one-way; Tel:06531/82 22, Web: www.moselpersonenschifffahrt.de ), which sail five times a day to Bernkastel-Kues, 24km away by boat, though 8km on foot, giving you the option of taking the boat one-way, then a scenic if reasonably strenuous walk back.
The town itself doesn't take long to look around: Traben, on the north side of the Mosel is the more workmanlike, though fans of Jugendstil design will want to have a look at the riverside Hotel Bellevue. It was the work of Berlin architect Bruno Möhring who gave it its hallmark turret, domed tower gables and high-pitched roof as well as elaborate timberwork and oak lobby. There's another chance to admire his work while crossing the bridge to Trarbach where Brückentor, which he designed, acts as a sentinel at the bridge's end.
Trarbach, on the southern bank of the Mosel, has a couple of pretty but unspectacular pedestrian streets, which are quickly seen en route to its Marktplatz from where a steep footpath leads up to the Grevenburg, the ruined fourteenth-century castle that watches over town. There's not much left of the castle, but considering it was laid siege to six times and destroyed seven, that two walls remain is a small wonder.
Accommodation choices include a DJH hostel, Hirtenpfad 6 (Tel:06541/92 78; dorm beds 17), a little over 1km northeast of the train station. Closer is the modern family-run Central Hotel, Bahnstrasse 43 (Tel:06541/62 38, Web: www.central-hotel-traben.de ; Price: 61-80), a solid mid-market option, while the most atmospheric place to stay is the Hotel Bellevue, Am Moselufer (Tel:06541/70 30, Web: www.bellevue-hotel.de ; Price: 151-200), which has classy antique-furnished rooms and provides free bike rental, a fitness centre, spa, sauna and pool and a restaurant to delight gourmands (mains average 20) with regional and international dishes. Another good place to eat in interesting surroundings is at the Brücken-Schenke (Tel:06541/81 84 35) in the Brückentor, where you can choose from a menu of standard German dishes and enjoy fine river views; most mains are around the 10 mark.