The misty Mosel is what some visitors hope the Rhine will be — peaceful, sleepy, romantic villages slipped between impossibly steep vineyards and the river, fine wine, a sprinkling of castles (Burg Eltz is tops), and lots of friendly small pensions. Boat, train, and car traffic here is a trickle compared to the roaring Rhine. While the swan-speckled Mosel moseys 300 miles from France's Vosges mountain range to Koblenz (where it dumps into the Rhine), the most scenic piece of the valley lies between the towns of Bernkastel-Kues and Cochem. I'd savor only this section. Cochem is the handiest home base, unless you have a car and want the peace of Beilstein.