The German Wine Route (Deutsche Weinstrasse) boasts amazing scenery, ample walking and cycling opportunities, delicious cuisine and of course fine wines!
The 85-km scenic drive runs in the middle of the Palatinate Forest’s foothills and the Upper Rhine Valley, through inviting towns and vast countryside, featuring a bounty of vineyards, as well as fig, chestnut, lemon, almond and kiwi orchards. “Given the time, I could easily have made lengthy stops at nearly every town, as each one had something special and unique about it—an old castle here, a canal there, a monastery around the corner,” describes Tom Galvin on his Travelogue Page. “…It really is one of the prettiest drives you will ever take.”
Each season, Germany’s sunny Palatinate region (where the wine route is located) showcases a gorgeous backdrop as well as events that celebrate the area’s rich farm and human culture. Autumn, the time of grape harvest, is no different! Many wine and also chestnut festivals take place in the vicinity through September, October and November, not to mention Oktoberfest and Christmas markets leading into the yuletide season. The world’s largest wine festival, the Wurstmarkt held in Bad Dürkheim, has already passed. But you should still stop at the spa town to see the famous 44 million-gallon wine barrel converted into a restaurant. And don’t worry; there are still plenty of events to enjoy! For example, in October the town of Neustadt and der Weinstraße hosts the German Grape Harvest Festival, which features the country’s biggest wine-themed parade, a Wine and Sekt (sparkling wine) fair with offerings from across Germany, amusement park rides and the crowning of the wine queens.
Also in October, Landau (like several other towns along the route) hosts a Festival of the Federweißer (new wines) as well as an annual Night of the Open Wine Cellars. The St. Martin Wine Festival in November, in the town of the St. Martin, usually closes out the autumn wine festivities along the route. Aside from the expected wine fare, it features artisanal crafts, a lantern parade, roast goose and the blessing of the horses, and coincides with the November 11th Martin of Tours holiday.
One of the best ways to experience the German Wine Route is to get out of your car and explore it out on the open. A 130-km bicycle trail, which runs in line with the driving route, is challenging at times, but the scenery is worth the sweat, and there is ample opportunity to stop and enjoy great food and drink. Also within the Palatinate region there are three main walkingtrails that can be broken up into small hikes or multi-day adventures. These include the Pfälzer Höhenweg, the Pfälzer Weinsteig and the Pfälzer Waldsteig “These trails offer more than 400 kilometres of hiking fun in total, winding around Donnersberg Mountain, across the Nature Park Pfälzerwald, and along the German Wine Route,” states the Romantic Germany Rhineland-Palatinate website. “Along mostly narrow trails, your hikes will take you through idyllic villages, past spectacular rock formations, or ancient castle ruins, and across working vineyards.”
To learn more about the plethora of walking possibilities in this German region, visit Touching Nature’s Rhine Valley & Mosel Valley page.