At the end of February – just before the Corona crisis ‘started’ in the Netherlands – I went on a weekend roadtrip. Normally I love to go on a plane which takes me to a place I’ve never been before, but this time I decided to stay a little closer to home. Together with a friend we planned to take the car and to visit not only places in our own country, but also in Germany and Luxembourg.
As I’m living near Nijmegen, I’m also living close to the border of Germany, which makes it the driving distance to several German cities very short.. Lucky me! This post provides you a summary of my trip with the places I’ve visited and my experiences. Hopefully this gives you some good ideas for your own mini roadtrip!
Day 1: route to Cochem
The first day, we started our roadtrip late in the afternoon. Unfortunately, we both needed to work first so we headed off around 06:00PM. Our first destination of this mini roadtrip was Cochem, so our route for this evening was from Nijmegen to Cochem (around three hours driving distance). However, on our way it snowed enormously! And of course in the meanwhile it got dark, so at the end we drove a little longer than three hours to the German city.
We were absolutely happy when we finally arrived in Cochem, where we booked ourselves a nice and typical German apartment close to the town center (Apartments Haus Daniela). The apartment had some really beautiful views over the river and Cochem Castle. We treated ourselves with a nice beer and had a great sleep.
Day 2: Cochem – Eltz Castle – Luxumbourg City
The first FULL day of our mini roadtrip! We were so excited, as we had many things planned for today. We started the day with having breakfast in the town of Cochem. To be honest, Cochem really is a Summer destination: in Summer time you can find lots of tourists walking around town, but in Winter time it so quiet! There are not many accommodations booked and several attractions are closed. It’s good to keep this in mind before you’re planning your trip to Cochem in Winter time. For us specifically it didn’t really matter, as we planned to visit other places this day and we kind of like ‘quiet’ places. At the end we got a good impression of the cosy town of Cochem and had a lovely breakfast at Hotel-Café Germania. It’s absolutely a beautiful town and worth a visit.
Close to Cochem you can find the magnificent Eltz Castle. As we were already in the neighborhood, we absolutely needed to pay a visit to the castle! It’s only a 30-minute drive from Cochem and it’s a beautiful route, as it follows the Moselle River. From the parking place of Eltz Castle, it’s only around a 15-minute walk to the castle. It’s such a magnificent building surrounded by beautiful nature. It has a location where you can walk around nicely but the castle itself is definitely the highlight! We couldn’t stop making pictures.
Unfortunately, the inside of the castle is closed during Winter time, but nevertheless is absolutely worth the visit even though you can only admire the exterior of the castle. If you’re planning on going to Eltz Castle in Summer time, the castle is opened daily from 09.30AM to 05.30PM. If you would like to have a guided tour through the castle, you need to pay an entrance fee: a ticket costs EUR 11,- per person. Best is to look on the official website for the actual times and costs.
After our visit to Eltz Castle, we drove further to Luxembourg city. I’ve been here before in 2018, around Christmas time, so I already knew the city a little bit. It was nice to be here again: the city isn’t that big, but it features some beautiful places. We drank a tea and ate a delicious macaron (they’re really really tasty!!) at bakery PAUL and wandered around the city. My favorite place in the city probably is around the Casemates du Bock. Here you have some nice views over the Alzette River and its surroundings. Good to mention though is that the Casemates du Bock (and some other sights) are closed during Winter time. Therefor it’s best to visit the city in another season, like Spring. I really like Luxembourg City as it has nice restaurants / cafés and a very cosy atmosphere.
We decided to drive to our next accommodation when it was already around 05:00PM. We had another hour to drive, because we stayed in the North of Luxembourg: at Domaine du Moulin d’Asselborn. It’s a really nice and small hotel located in the middle of nature. We arrived here around 06:00PM, where we enjoyed the evening having dinner in the restaurant and having a nice glass of wine at our hotel room.
Day 3 + 4: Valkenburg and surroundings
On day three of our mini roadtrip, we drove back to the Netherlands (through Belgium). Before we went to Valkenburg, we made a quick stop at Castle Hoensbroek and at the American Cemetery in Margraten. In the early afternoon we arrived in Valkenburg. We first went to our accommodation for the night: La Casa. Besides a small hotel, it’s also a restaurant where you can have lunch and dinner. This restaurant is located in the middle of the town center of Valkenburg, which was perfect for us. The room wasn’t perfect, but good for one night.
After settling down in our room, we decided to have some lunch and drinks. We sat down at the terrace of our hotel / restaurant and enjoyed the afternoon like this. Valkenburg really is a atmospheric town with lots of nice restaurants / cafés and cosy streets. In the evening we went to a local café with live music. It was much fun!
The next morning we had a lovely breakfast in the restaurant of the hotel and afterwards, before heading home, we decided to try out the toboggan run of Valkenburg, which was so much fun! Via an aerial lift you go uphill, where the toboggan runs start. Yes, there are two: one of 375 meters and one of 325 meters long. If you buy one coin, you can go and use both toboggan runs. This is much fun for all ages.
Are you looking for more exciting things to do in Valkenburg? Take a look at this post!
And then it was time for us to go home (to Nijmegen a driving distance of 1,5 hours). We had such a nice time and visited many beautiful places in a short time.
How to plan this roadtrip when you don’t live around these places?
I know that many of you probably don’t live in the Netherlands, so the planning of this roadtrip will be a little different from mine. Of course, if you’re flying to the Netherlands, you’ll start your trip in Amsterdam. Depending on how many time you have in our beautiful country, it can be a nice idea to add this mini roadtrip to your planning (or add/replace some places of the itinerary, whatever you would like!). It’s best to rent a car, as this makes you flexible and brings you to all places. If you’re starting in Amsterdam, it’s also best to add an extra night on your way to Cochem (although you can also drive it in one day, it’s around four hours). There are many nice cities to visit in the Netherlands, but personally I really love Nijmegen. It’s the oldest city of the Netherlands and has lots of sights, plus atmospheric cafés and restaurants. It’s a nice city to add as an extra night. However, these are – of course – just tips and you can plan it however you would like to. There are so many beautiful places!