Is Europe open for travel?
Seilbahn Koblenz Cable Car
Ride an aerial gondola above the Rhine to reach the hilltop Ehrenbreitstein Fortress. Ticket prices are reasonable, and you'll enjoy spectacular views of Koblenz and river traffic.
The city of lies at the junction of the Rhine and Moselle, where it has played a strategic role in controlling access to those legendary rivers since Roman times. The city still has remnants of its medieval walls, and on the opposite bank of the Rhine lies a massive citadel called the that has guarded the river since around 1000 AD.
Today, you can easily visit the fortress from downtown Koblenz by catching a gondola of the, or , which will whisk you 850 meters (2,789 feet) across the Rhine in less than five minutes. You'll disembark at an upper station that lies 112 meters (368 feet) above the river's banks.
The last time we checked in March, 2021, the Seilbahn Koblenz was temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. When it reopens, you'll be able to buy relatively inexpensive tickets at the lower station, including an optional combined ticket for both the cable car and the Ehrenbreitstein fortress.
When the cable car is operating, departures are nearly constant: The Seilbahn consists of 18 wheelchair-accessible gondolas (each carrying up to 35 passengers) that operate continuously like a ski lift. Hourly capacity is 7,600 passengers in each direction, so waiting time is minimal.
The lower station is easy to find: It's on the downtown waterfront close to the Basilica of St. Castor, facing the river and a pier used by excursion boats.
For current operating hours, prices, technical data, and information about the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, visit the Koblenz Cable Car's English-language Web site.
Gondola no. 17 has a glass plate in the floor.
BELOW: The lower station of the Seilbahn Koblenz is on the riverfront, facing the Rhine. On Saturdays, the waterside promenade is filled with pedestrians and shoppers at the Koblenz Flohmarkt or flea market.
BELOW: After you've bought your ticket, go to the station's boarding area, where gondolas move continuously at a speed slow enough for stepping on or stepping off. (Attendants are on hand to provide assistance when needed.)
BELOW: A few seconds later, you'll be above the Rhine.
BELOW: You'll see the Festung Ehrenbreitstein above and to your right during the five-minute ascent.
BELOW: From the upper station and the fortress, you'll enjoy spectacular views of the Rhine and central Koblenz.
BELOW: In this photo, you can see the triangular, or "German Corner," where the River Moselle meets the Rhine.
BELOW: The Ehrenbreitstein Fortress is next to the upper station of the Seilbahn Koblenz. Its amenities include museums and exhibitions, a restaurant, a beer garden, a refreshment stand, a youth hostel, and a private venue for weddings and other gatherings.
BELOW: The Festung Ehrenbreitstein is a pleasant place to explore even if you don't visit a museum, sit down for a meal, or spend the night.
BELOW: Special events often take place at the fortress. During our visit, a crew was setting up a stage, lighting, and seating for a concert performance of Jesus Christ Superstar.
BELOW: When you're ready to leave the fortress, just follow the signs. You can walk (the hike takes about an hour) or catch a cable car at the Seilbahn's upper station.
BELOW: If you're a transportation geek (as we are), you'll like the views of trains and ships during your descent by cable car.
We took this photo of the Koblenz waterfront and Emerald Star (a river vessel of Emerald Waterways) as our gondola approached the lower station.
BELOW: If the Flohmarkt is open during your visit, we suggest browsing the vendors' stalls or buying a snack after you've returned to the riverside promenade on the Seilbahn Koblenz.
Copyright © 1996-2021 Durant and Cheryl Imboden. All rights reserved.