Bernkastel-Kues Cruise Port

Port of Bernkastel-Kues: An Overview

If you're looking for European quaintness, it's hard to do better than the pretty German town of Bernkastel. Located in the heart of Moselle wine country, Bernkastel specializes in dry white whites made from the Riesling grape; if you think all German wines are sweet, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the quality in this area.

Even if you don't like wine, Bernkastel provides a pleasant stop. The old town is full of half-timbered buildings from the Middle Ages, including the Town Hall, which dates back to 1608. There are also cafes and restaurants for people watching or a late lunch, as well as shops for souvenirs. Those seeking a nice walk can go up the hill to the ruins of Castle Landshut, which offers nice views of the valley; there's also a shuttle bus from the village. If your riverboat has bikes onboard, there's a path along the river for riding. Finally, Bernkastel is occasionally used as a jumping-off point for day trips to Trier or Luxembourg.

Don't Miss

Wine: Bernkastel has some of the oldest vineyards in Germany, and the crisp whites that come from the region are world famous. There are several ways to tipple, depending on your level of enthusiasm. The easiest is to walk into town, find a cafe and order a few glasses from different vineyards; plenty of wine shops also offer samples. If you're more ambitious, set up your own tasting at a local winery such as Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler or Dr. Loosen, the latter well known here in the States (often river cruise lines include a tasting at similar vineyards in their tour options). Another option, also part of some river cruise itineraries, is a visit to the Mosel-Vinothek & Wine Museum; tastings are also part of the draw here. Or if you're a true fanatic, make sure you time your Moselle river cruise during a wine festival. The town's largest kicks off the harvest season during the first weekend of September, but nearby towns have theirs throughout the summer and fall.

Luxembourg: Some river cruises run an optional excursion from Bernkastel to the country of Luxembourg, about a 90-minute drive. Highlights of the country include Luxembourg City, where the historical center and fortifications have UNESCO World Heritage status. If you have a whole day in the city, make time to visit the Bock casements, tunnels that run under the old fort. If your time is limited, meander around the plazas and stop at a cafe, where you'll find the food to be a nice mix of French flavors and German portion sizes. Most Luxembourg day trips also stop at the small country's American Cemetery. Many veterans of World War I and World War II are buried here, marked with white crosses. The cemetery is also the final resting place for General George S. Patton, who famously asked to be buried with his men. A moving experience.

Where You're Docked

River cruise ships may dock on either the Bernkastel or the Kues side of the Moselle. If you're on the Bernkastel side, the Martkplatz is less than a five-minute walk from where the boats tie up. If you're in Kues, you can take a taxi or walk across the suspension bridge over to Bernkastel.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

Germany uses the euro. ATMs are available throughout the town.

Language

The language in Bernkastel is German, but most people in the tourist trade speak English.

For More Information

On the Web: Mosel Tourism

Cruise Critic: River Cruise Ports

Independent Traveler: Germany Travel Guide

--By Chris Gray Faust, Senior Editor

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