Bernkastel-Kues is a well-known wine making town along the Moselle River in Germany. The town itself is broken into two parts, Bernkastel and Kues, nestled along either side of the river. Having been to Bernkastel-Kues before for their beautiful Christmas markets, it was always a plan to travel back when temperatures were a little warmer to explore the beautiful walks, hikes and vineyards that it has to offer. So on the 19th of September 2018, we returned and temperatures were definitely a little warmer. All the surrounded hills were covered in grape vines which were ready for harvest, as picking had commenced while we were there.
When we arrived into Frankfurt Hahn from Kerry Airport on Wednesday evening it was 26 degrees to our delight, having just left Ireland to the tail-end of hurricane Ali. With Bernkastel-Kues been approx a 30min drive from the airport, we travelled by taxi which cost €50, we were at our hotel (Hotel Arns, our hotel was situated in Kues this time round) bags dropped and heading for a walk around by 7pm. We crossed the bridge into Bernkastel, hungry and ready to drink some local wine, we found ourselves tucking into some superb Italian food with red wine in hand along the cobbles at Da Marco's.
We hadn't planned on much the first evening as it was late when we arrived, but we did make one of many trips to Bahnhof Cues on the way back to our hotel. Bahnhof Cues was an old station house, but now a brewery, crafting three of their own specialty beers Cusanus Bräu Hell, Cusanus Bräu Dark - the strong and Cusanus Bräu Wheat - the refreshing. They also had a summer addition of (my favourite) an apple beer. We visited Bahnhof Cues each day taking advantage of their beer garden in the beautiful warm weather, if you're a beer lover, this brewery should defiantly be on your to-do list, as the beer on offer was some of the best German beer I've tasted, and they also serve traditional German food.
Waking up bright eyed and brushy tailed after sampling all of Bahnhof Cues's beers the night before surprisingly hangover free might I add, we had breakfast and embarked on our hike up to Burg Landshut (the above picture is from half way up) With spectacular views on the way up and at the castle, it was worth the mid morning sweat to get there, we had went the longer way up and it was 27 degrees, burnt the beer calories off anyway. We returned to our hotel, quick shower and back for a wander around the town again for lunch, ice cream, dinner and more drinks, think I fell asleep before I hit the pillow.
There was no plans for any of this trip, we knew there were various hike routes and when we woke up we decided what we would do for the day over breakfast. So following morning we were unsure what we were doing so we just started walking.
We went into Bernkastel and headed left and walked high up in to hill side among the vineyards and found ourselves 2hours later in Graach an der Mosel (approximately 7km of hill walking to get here). As the weather was after changing and it had started to rain, we stopped in Weinhaus Hotel zum Josefshof for some coffee. Unfortunately or fortunatly not sure which, the heavens opened and it rained for 3hours straight, so it gave us an excuse to try the local wine that was being produced in this area and have an amazing lunch. One of the wineries of this village was across the road from this hotel, and the hustle and bustle of tractors coming with their produce really added to the experience. You have the choice to walk here through the vineyards or by the river, so when the rain finally stopped, we walked back by the tranquility of the river semi filled with Graach an der Mosel Reisling.
We decided the following morning while drinking an iced coffee in one of the beautiful cafes, that we would hike the opposite direction along the moselle to Lieser, the next village on from Bernkastel-Kues. Again it is possible to travel by two routes to get to Lieser, one along the road and river which is all flat ground, or two is up high through the various roads along the vineyards. We walked by the river to get there and returned via the vineyards. The views were amazing and there was so much activity in the vineyards because of harvest season, as you can imagine to our surprise in this day and age, the majority of the grape picking along the Moselle River is done by hand, the odd vineyard has machinery but most is by groups of workers, working up against the hills picking.
Following morning we left Bernkastel-Kues at 11am to catch our flight back to Kerry, both happy and relaxed.
If your looking for a chilled break away for a few days with the added convenience of flying from Kerry Airport to Frankfort Hahn, in a quite German town, I would highly recommend here, either during harvest season which is September / October, or for the Christmas markets in December. Both are amazing.
Links to flights and hotels
Da Marco Italian restaurant
If you need more information on anything, feel free to give me a message