Located on a scenic spot by the River Moselle, Bernkastel-Kues urges travelers to slow down and bask in the simple pleasures of life with a glass of delicious wine in hand.
A perfect holiday in Bernkastel-Kues would mean taking a tour of the historic architecture in town, going on a lazy river cruise, learning all about the rich history of wine-making in the region and tasting some of the best wines the country has to offer. Here’s our pick of the best activities in town.
Explore the old town (Altstadt)
The old town square of Bernkastel is deemed to be among the most well-preserved in the country, and still exists much the same way it used to stand several centuries back. The square is lined with rows of gabled, half-timbered houses, dating as far back as the 17th century, giving travelers the distinct feeling of stepping back in time. The old town square also has the best cafes and restaurants in town, most of which offer traditional German cuisine.
See beautiful historic architecture
Looming over the old town square is the magnificent late Renaissance architecture of the Rathaus (Town Hall). This 13th century construction stands out because of its unique elements, including a basalt column, a delicately-curved Baroque roof and the stone sculpture of Salvator carrying a globe. Also worth checking out is the town’s last remaining fortification gate, Graacher Tor (Graach Gate), constructed in 1300. During its lifetime, it has protected the town from invaders, served as a prison and housed the homeless. Today, a small museum tracing the local history of the town occupies the gate.
Rathaus – Markt 30, Bernkastel-Kues, Germany, +49 6531 500190
Graacher Tor – Graacher Str. 3, Bernkastel-Kues, Germany, +49 6531 4659
Tuck into delicious food
The Moselle region boasts delicious cuisine. Perhaps you would like to sample some juicy, melt-in-your-mouth pork knuckles or a hearty schnitzel (pork cutlet), or be a little more adventurous and try smoked eel? If you are looking for a truly special meal, make a beeline for to Doctor Weinstube, an immensely-popular restaurant housed in a restored 1688 building and known for its authentic German cuisine, delicious wines and unique atmosphere.
Visit an ancient castle
The 9th-century hilltop Landshut Castle was originally built as a residence of the archbishops of Trier. In 1692, most of the castle, along with its treasures, was ravaged by a devastating fire. While the castle is mostly in ruins, it is still worth visiting because of its surviving thick ring walls, myriad passages and the panoramic view the terrace commands over the entire town and beyond. The castle is also a great starting point for several hiking routes through mountains and verdant forests. Landshut Castle can be reached by foot up a steep path through the vineyards or aboard a vintage bus leaving from the old town square.
Burg Landshut – Bernkastel-Kues, Germany, +49 6531 972770
Go wine tasting
The former St. Nikolaus Hospital, established in 1458 by Nicholas of Cusa with the initial aim of caring for the poor, has now undergone extensive makeover and opened its doors to wine connoisseurs. The basement of the building is now a vinotheque, which gives wine connoisseurs the chance to taste up to 160 varieties of wine. Alongside, innumerable taverns and wineries across Bernkastel-Kues offer wine-tasting programs, and most restaurants stock an excellent range of wines as well.
St. Nikolaus Hospital – Cusanusstraße 2, 54470 Bernkastel-Kues, Germany, +496531 2260
Visit a wine museum
Bernkastel-Kues being located in the midst of the oldest wine-producing region in the country, Moselle Valley, it is no surprise that it has a wine museum. Right next to St. Nikolaus Hospital, the multimedia Mosel Wein Museum walks visitors through the 2,000-year-old heritage of wine production in the region.
Mosel-Vinothek & Wine Museum – Cusanusstraße 2, Bernkastel-Kues,Germany, +49 6531 4141
Sign up for a wine tour
For those looking to explore and understand the wine culture of Bernkastel-Kues in even more depth, the Doctor-Wein-Tour tour comes highly recommended. The 90-minute tour will introduce you to Doctor Wein, the legendary winemaker who cured Trier Elector Boemund II of a serious illness with his wine. The tour concludes with two glasses of special local wine. The tour runs only on specific dates, so look up the schedule online before planning.
Cruise down the River Moselle
A visit to Bernkastel-Kues wouldn’t be complete without taking a lazy cruise down the River Moselle. You can sign up for one-hour cruises that start and finish in Bernkastel-Kues, or longer cruises to other picture-postcard towns along the Moselle Valley. No matter which cruise you choose, you can be sure of being rewarded with fantastic views of sleepy villages wrapped in rolling vineyards.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.