Bernkastel-Kues, Germany

Cliffnotes:
A good link in English is here: http://www.bernkastel-kues.de/allgemein/bernkastel-kues.html
then click on “ferienregion” in the left column. Click again on “ferienregion” this time at the top of the page, then click on the British flag in the center of the page for a nice guide of the area in English.

In May you’ll be awed by the steep Mosel hills covered in sticks, but by September the hills have come alive covered, in all directions, with fat clumps of grapes. The bare sticks of spring don’t hold a candle to the grape filled greenery that grows up and around each hill up and down the Mosel River. From Burg Pyrmont and Burg Eltz, Bernkastel-Kues is not too far to go. There, you’ll encounter a picturesque town with a large number of wine-tasting shops nestled among 16th century half-timbered houses.


Below are photos taken of Bernkastel-Kues and the surrounding area while on a boat ride in that area.

For you, your camera toting visitors, and your kids, the boat tours are a must-do. Common all along the Mosel, it’s fun for the children and will give you a vantage of the Mosel valley that is a lot more difficult to capture by car. The boats are easy to catch running regularly and picking people up at well-marked ports along the river bank. My kids loved it and I enjoyed taking pictures. All the green on the hills are grape vines with the exception of the trees, all that flat green space in the photos above- is all grapes. Even walking through the town, you’ll see the grape vines running down the hill coming right up to the back of the buildings and into peoples little yards.

Wandering into the town, you’ll be amazed by the number of the half-timbered houses all around the town. The half-timbered buildings are all 16th and 17th century, but the new paint walks a fine line between quaint and tacky. It is nice when you see a couple, but they are overabundant and very bright with color. Tourists were ant-like throughout the streets and there was no end to the tacky German souvenir shop. That is a disappointment here. Where there is something to see, there are tourists, and where there are tourists, there are tacky gift shops. Still, there are plenty of nice restaurants and wine tasting rooms to enjoy and the walk around the town was very enjoyable. There is a lot there to see beyond the town square, so it’s worth exploring.

The Louer wine shop has been tested by some friends and us as well. They have some nice white wines for both tastes – sweet or dry.

What I did love were the clusters of grapes dangling like jewelry from vines that climbed up and over doorways and the large cascades of bright flowers spilling out from most windows. Those touches of beauty are commonplace here, but still very nice to see.

On the day that we went, as we walked back down one street toward our car we passed a fire station. It was a modern building sitting among the old ones. You could see old buildings and grape vines in the background. There was nothing especially notable about the station itself, but we all came to a stop to look up at the flag that flew there. Until then, I’d forgotten the date. It was September 11th, and there, in that little German town, was an U.S. flag flying at their fire station. That, above the quaintness, the beauty, and the history, endeared me to that town more than anything else.

Burg Landshut sits on a hill overlooking Bernkastel-Kues and the Mosel valley. There is a trail to hike to it from the town, but with small children, the hike is too long. The drive is easy and there is plenty of parking. If you have time, you must make the short drive if nothing else but to stand up at the top and admire the view. There are no words – you just have to see it. The castle itself is surrounded by grapes on their vines. Inside is a small cafe serving coffee and dessert (yes, they have a bathroom as well). The castle is a ruin, but still looks nice from the outside.

Burg Landshut surrounded by grapevines with the town of Bernkastel-Kues and the winding Mosel River in the background. Though it is hard to see in the photo, the right side hill along the river, as far as the eye can see, is completely covered in grapevines.

Links: http://www.bernkastel-kues.de/, http://www.bernkastel-kues.de/allgemein/bernkastel-kues.html, http://www.mosel-schiffstouristik.de/englisch/index1.htm,

Restaurants:
Subway: Bornwiese 1; Bernkastel Kues — +49-6531-500863

One Response to “Bernkastel-Kues, Germany”

  1. Anonymous March 25, 2012 9:45 pm #

    The Bernkastel fest is held the first weekend every September and has the best fireworks show I have ever seen…. every year! Everyone gathers on the grassy shore opposite the castle and on the bridge. When it’s time, all the street and park lights are turned off and the show begins, with fireworks being set off from a barge on the river and then the castle itself. In the end, the barge always wins and the castle is lit up to look like it’s on fire. We have been to the Bernkastel fest at least 4 times (1992, 2000, 2001 and 2011) and the fireworks show ALWAYS amazes. During the entire weekend, there are wine and food booths set up all over both Bernkastel and Kues, with a carnival set up on the Kues side. All the shops are open and there are bands playing in the streets. Last year was very warm, so we drank a lot of water and moved to the park side in the grass and shade a bit early in the afternoon to wait for the fireworks and to let the kids run. We LOVE Bernkastel!

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