I like to think that Rick Steves knows his stuff, but WOW. How did this not make the “Germany” guidebook?
Sorry Rick, you totally missed the mark on this one. Bernkastel is far better than Beilstein, Cochem and (presumably) Zell—the villages featured in the Mosel Valley section of your book. (Granted we didn’t visit Zell. But then it didn’t exactly get a glowing write-up in the book, did it?)
Rumor is you have to pay to get into a Rick Steve’s guidebook. Perhaps that’s true…and Bernkastel didn’t pony up. Either way, after this (and some bad advice in the Italy book), I’m beginning to doubt the Rick Steves gospel.
I say, ignore Rick Steves. Skip Cochem, even Beilstein, and visit Bernkastel instead. Cochem Castle is worthwhile, but the rest of Cochem is blah, mediocre. Beilstein is lovely, postcard Mosel, but it’s also postcard sized. Tiny.
In Bernkastel, you’ll find all the charm of Beilstein, multiplied to the n-th degree. Bernkastel has more half-timbered houses, a castle, two lovely squares, a large pedestrian area, abundant shops and restaurants, and, of course, wine.
What’s there do? Same thing as every other wine village in the Mosel Valley—meander thru vineyards, hike to a castle, have a drink, test the limits of your credit card, eat an ice cream by the river and vow to return.
We visited Bernkastel twice on our week in Mosel, the second time to visit the castle, Burg Landshut. (Weird that it’s not called Bern Castle, right?) Burg Landshut is basically a shell—the ruins of the outer walls of the 13th century castle. It looks considerably more impressive from below, but there’s a small restaurant (and bathrooms) inside. And the view’s not so bad either.
A bit of advice: Don’t trust your GPS. To get to the castle, we went up some crazy narrow, steep road, as directed by the GPS, when we could have actually gone thru the K101 tunnel and up to a proper parking lot. Oh, Tom Tom.
Note: If you’re reading this Rick Steves, I’m more than happy to personally test your travel tips. Just send me someplace warm this winter. I’m thinking Morocco, Spain, Portugal, you get the idea.
M O R E P H O T O S
From Bernkastel-Kues, Germany. Shot May 29 and June 1, 2012 in Bernkastel-Kues, Germany
M O R E P H O T O S
From Burg Landshut. Shot June 1, 2012 in Bernkastel-Kues, Germany