After spending a few days in Munich and Stuttgart the country was a welcome change of pace. Munich is a great city to visit. Its historical sights and Porsche Factory tour in Stuttgart were highlights, but we did not start to unwind and hit full vacation-mode until we arrived in Piesport. The German countryside is beautiful: lush green farm land, rolling hills, canola fields in bloom, winding rivers, and small towns with quaint churches litter the hillside. We came to the Moselle in the hopes of rejuvenating in a peaceful environment while hiking, biking, and of course, tasting all the local wines! We were not disappointed.
Piesport is a small and very quiet town located on the Moselle in between Trier and Bernkastel-Kues. It is approximately a 5 hour drive from Munich. The entire area is beautiful. We chose Piesport because we found an Airbnb we liked there, but all of the towns are equally picturesque. There is an abundance of biking and hiking trails in the area. The challenge for us was picking which trails to cover when we only had a couple days.
I wanted to see Bernkastel-Kues as it was recommended by a friend. On our first day we rented bikes from Rad Tour Mosel – http://radtourmosel.com/ (€10 per bike) and set off on the 19km ride from Piesport to Bernkastel. There are bike paths along both sides of the Moselle that are very well marked, the north-side requires that you ride on the road for part of the way which was a little scary (European roads are very narrow). It took us about 1.5 hours each way. The path goes along the river, past vineyards and open fields, and through little towns.
Bernkastel-Kues was bustling with activity. It was surprising given how quiet all the surrounding towns were; there were tourists everywhere! That being said, it also had much more to offer; hotels, restaurants, and shops. We did not go up to the castle, but we had a nice lunch overlooking the river and the castle on the hillside and strolled through town afterwards.
Choosing a hiking trail was even more of a challenge. I ultimately left it up to Bradley to decide based on our criteria – intermediate to difficult trail, at least 3 hours, and some sights along the way. The Moselsteig trail runs along the Moselle River for 365 kilometers and you can hike from town to town [http://entest.moselsteig.de/the-moselsteig-trail-legs/]. We wanted a loop so opted for one of the “side trails and dream paths” – Moselsteig Seitensprung Graf Georg Johannes Weg [http://entest.moselsteig.de/moselsteig-side-trails-dream-paths/tour/moselsteig-seitensprung-graf-georg-johannes/alpstein.html]. This trail is medium difficultly, 14km, 600m elevation, and is estimated to take 5 hours. It was one of the best hikes I have ever done.
You start and end in the town Veldenz. We did not think it would take us the full 5 hours as I tend to keep the pace up while Bradley grumbles behind me ;). But this trail was so beautiful that we were constantly stopping to take in the scenery and snap photos. The trail was wide, clear, and very well marked. There were numerous benches, viewpoints, and picnic tables along the trail.
The trail takes you through a bit of everything: dense forests, wide open fields, beautiful viewpoints overlooking the countryside and the historic castle Schloss Veldenz, and flowing streams, or babbling brooks as Bradley describes them. The trail takes you around Schloss Veldenz, which you can visit at certain times. The trail was well shaded by trees but plenty of sunlight danced through the branches. There was an awesome surprise at kilometer 15 of our 16km walk (we took a couple detours so ultimately walked 16km). At this point in our hike Bradley’s whinging was intensifying and he was “about done with the elevation changes.” We came upon on opening where there was a cupboard filled with .25L wine bottles (red, white, and sparking) and wine glasses. A bottle of wine was €3 and there were benches and chairs set up overlooking a beautiful view where you could sit and enjoy a glass or two. The last pleasant touch was guestbook at the end of the trail.
Where we stayed:
We found a great AirBnB at Reuscher-Haart winery for $75CAD/night [http://www.weingut-reuscher-haart.de/index.php/en/apartments/2018-11-28-11-41-26]. The apartment was spacious, clean, comfortable, and had a fully equipped kitchen that allowed us to take a break from eating out. We also enjoyed a couple of their dry Rieslings. I have never been a fan of Riesling as I thought it was too sweet, but I learned a bit more about it on this trip and found some dry Rieslings that were very easy to drink 🙂
Next stop Alsace, France