The Southern Wine Route of Germany
This place is enchanted — a magical blend of airy light and panoramas that quickens the senses and ignites the imagination. It is not hard to tell that people here have an aesthetic vein — just look at the facades, the splendid gardens, the magnificent courtyards. The Südliche Weinstrasse (Southern Wine Route) does not just sound good, it tastes good, too. For connoisseurs and sommeliers, the wines from the Südliche Weinstrasse are like striking gold. The gates of the vineyards are wide open, the restaurants and wine taverns beckon. Be it for a simple meal in one of the countless wine taverns or at the exquisitely laid table of one of the many talented cordon bleu chefs.
The Südliche Weinstrasse (Southern Wine Route) is located in the Pfalz holiday region, approximately 160 km to the southeast of Frankfurt-Hahn Airport (see map on bottom of page).
The Pfalz is one of the nine holiday regions of Germany's Rhineland-Palatinate. The Pfalz, the southernmost part of the Rhineland-Palatinate, is a veritable Garden of Eden. Fruits such as almonds, figs and kiwis thrive here thanks to a climate that is exceptionally mild. This is a land of superlatives: with more than 150 million vines, the Pfalz has the largest uninterrupted wine-growing area in Rhineland-Palatinate. In Bad Dürkheim, you will find not only the biggest wine barrel in the world but also the biggest wine festival, the Bad Dürkheim Wurstmarkt. The Pfalz also has plenty to offer in the way of historical interest. Speyer's cathedral, for instance, is a UNESCO world heritage site. ... read more about the Pfalz holiday region
The Southern Wine Route is divided into eight vacation areas. Each area has its own special features and there is something new to be discovered in every one. These regions together form the Südliche Weinstrasse (Southern Wine Route), the southern part of the Deutsche Weinstrasse (German Wine Route).
- Annweiler am Trifels
- Home of many castles, Trifelsland (Annweiler am Trifels) is in the middle of the Pfalz (Palatinate), an area known for its little valleys of forest and grassland which dominate the landscape. Every season has its own charm here. Clear walking paths in spring, cooler shadows in summer, impressive colourfulness in autumn, tranquilising silence in winter. The romantic city of Annweiler is located in the heart of this charming region. History comes alive for kids and grownups alike. Annweiler and 12 other small nearby places in Trifelsland invite you to hike and climb the region. And take a break to eat a hearty palatine ‘Vesper’, a local snack from bread and cold cuts.
- Bad Bergzabern
- Already the famous doctor Sebastian Kneipp marvelled at the richness of nature here. In the health resort Bad Bergzabern you can find everything that benefits your well-being and boosts your vitality. The water has a special character and quality, air is clean and there are lots of forests and plenty of sun. In the city spa the healing water of Petronella-Thermae bubbles up from a depth of 450 m. A modern wellness facility awaits you and a generously invested health park invites a relaxing promenade. Bad Bergzabern has plenty to offer those who like sports, like hiking tours in the Palatine forest nearby, tennis in clay courts, or golf. In the afternoon you can stroll through the old town, wander around the market place and beside the patrician houses, walk to a beautiful Renaissance tavern and to the castle of the Dukes from Zweibrücken. Let charming café-bakeries seduce you. Then you are ready to experience palatine hospitality, which the small wine villages around Bad Bergzabern are famous for. In the comfortable boarding houses and in the traditionally styled wine parlours, come face to face with a wine-grower, who gladly discusses the wine and of course lets you taste it.
- ‘And lead me into temptation…’ This motto becomes reality in the Palatinate’s Garden of Eden. Sensual, pleasurable and luxuriant days are waiting for you. The Bavarian King Ludwig I was attracted to this place, assessing it as ‘the most beautiful square mile of my kingdom’. It was here that he had his castle built, and strictly prohibited people from building gardens around it. ‘There are already enough parks around me.’ From those days nothing has changed. Nature and art lovers experience this paradise with enthusiasm, bon vivants and wine lovers appreciate the wine parlours and the art studios in the baroque styled wine villages.
- Let yourself hike, meander, ride horses or drive by scooter between the smooth vineyards and along green tobacco fields. There are convivial cottages in the region that guarantee a comfortable stop. You can either try the traditional palatine ‘Vesper’ (a local snack of bread and cold cuts) from a wooden table, or experience luxurious specialities from a silver plate. Herxheim is famous for both. This area does not seduce only with good food and fine wine. It also has local history, dedicated folk theatre and an active art scene in its diversified program as well as endowed horse-racing and famous local running competitions in sand tracks.
- The old fortress city Landau has many nicknames: University City, wine and garden city, market and shopping city. Landau is not only geographically the central point of the Südliche Weinstrasse (Southern Wine Route); many leisurely activities are concentrated here. It is a city for living, shopping, studying and entertainment. Charming cultural events are held in the art nouveau styled festival hall highlighting the reputation of Landau as a cultural city. Nevertheless, rural charm dominates here. Out of eight wine districts, all of them over 1,200 years old, Landau is the biggest wine growing community in Germany.
- This southern holiday region around Leinsweiler is deservedly called the ‘Tuscany of Germany’. Fifteen small inviting wine villages are situated amidst rolling hills, where poplars take the place of the Italian cypress. Especially present here is the light, always affectionate hospitality and remarkably mild climate that is suitable not only for wine, but also for kiwis, figs and lemons. The people there share their delicious products with guests by selling produce from the region and during the joyous wine festivals.
- Maikammer, Kirrweiler and St. Martin enchant with their historical alleys and dreamy corners. Small homelike wine parlours invite guests to stay. Convivial houses provide a comfortable sleep after numerous wine tastings. You can find one famous vineyard after another. To stay active with sports, there are hiking and cycle paths close by. Nature and technique have been combined in an exemplary way here, and maybe that is the reason why all the communities became a part of the world Expo 2000.
- Offenbach an der Queich
- Offenbach is situated along the small river Queich. Offenbach together with Bornheim, Essingen and Hochstadt form an oasis of tranquillity. Hayfields, where the storks feel at home, vary with vineyards and fructuous fields and gardens. You can enjoy the produce of this unique landscape in many guesthouses and wine parlours of the region. Strengthened by this, you may feel like playing a round of golf, using the sport tracks in Queichtalbad or taking the opportunity to make an excursion to the nearby city of Speyer, to Hambach castle or follow the Southern Wine Route.
There is hardly anything more lovely for a wine lover than going to ones own wine cellar and searching for a bottle of good wine. Maybe you have already found your favourite winegrower, whose products match your taste perfectly. There are hundreds of possibilities on the Südliche Weinstrasse (Southern Wine Route) to discover new wines, taste seasonal products or enjoy an older wine.
The Wine Days of the Südliche Weinstrasse (Southern Wine Route) will surely give you the best overview of the region. The Wine Days are held yearly on a weekend after the Feast of Corpus Christi in a delicious atmosphere in the Frank-Loeb House in Landau. Approximately 80 vineyards present their wine mainly from the previous year. It is extremely enjoyable to take some time off, talk with winegrowers, taste wines and put ones nose deep into a glass in such a cosy atmosphere.
Wine-growing localities organize more and more events on their own and make their districts to stand out from the crowd. For example the Maikammer Wine marathon in the middle of March with 24 hours of wine and culture is an original festival. Many people wake up consciously in the middle of the night, knowing, that also at 4 a.m. there is something going on. But also the Wine festival in Rhodt unter Rietburg, the Sigibaldus fair in Siebeldingen, Art & Culture in Gleisweiler or the Eschbach Wine Days are events that one gladly marks in the calendar.
There is a lot to choose from. The beloved pocket-calendar of wine festivals present all traditional wine festivals and fairs. And if you will get an impression as a visitor, that the winegrowers in the Südliche Weinstrasse (Southern Wine Route) would like to use the opportunity and offer you their specialities, you will have it right. The winegrowers have their doors open for visitors, their guests. They will gladly show you their wine cellars and go for a walk through the vineyards. They are glad if you stop by — the best would be after a notification by phone in forehand. Eventually you would perhaps like to have some time for yourself. And in the many restaurants, guest houses and taverns of the Südliche Weinstrasse (Southern Wine Route) it is possible to end the day peacefully with a glass of good wine.
Working and living with wine is doubtless the reason for the art of cooking good food that evolved in this region of Germany. Be it for a simple meal in one of the countless wine taverns where the innkeeper's wife does most of the cooking, or at the exquisitely laid table of one of the region's many cordon bleu chefs.
4.1 The Taste of the Southern Wine Route
It is a small miracle that despite numerous international influences, the good cuisine traditions in the fun-loving Pfalz (Palatinate) have not disappeared. The Palatinates have always been inspired by foreign cookware, and that is how the regional cuisine eventually got its character. Though its principles, the recipes have not changed. And that means: grandmother’s kitchen lives — above all according to the season. The year of the Pfalz (Palatinate) gastronome begins in the end of April, when the first asparagus will be cut. The next peak is autumn, when the wild season starts and barrels will be filled with new wine. The typical, favourite local food is well-known by its love for solid and sturdy food and the tendency to specialities.
4.2 Tasty Season Calendar
Restaurants, wine parlours and licensed houses create special dishes and menus seasonally. These products you will find on four different menus made with love of all part taking firms who then make them available. Posters with a title ‘So schmeckt die Südliche Weinstrasse’ (this is how the Southern Wine Route tastes) lead you to these houses. The Tasty Season Calendar begins on the Southern Wine Route with ‘Tasty Spring‘ and it will be completed with ‘Luxurious Summer‘, ‘Culinary Autumn’ and ‘Pleasurable Winter’.
Approximately 50 firms on the Südliche Weinstrasse (Southern Wine Route) have already joined the campaign ‘So schmeckt die Südliche Weinstrasse’. There you can enjoy the delicious specialities of the region. If you see a poster with a title ‘So schmeckt die Südliche Weinstrasse’, then you know the way to these houses.
- Museum under the Trifels
- Three old half-timbered houses and a mill make up this quaint museum. Visitors can discover the history of the Trifels fortress and region on 800 m². Location: Annweiler am Trifels » show on google maps
- This little museum shows the history of the world depicted with 20,000 pewter figures. Location: Bad Bergzabern » show on google maps
- Reopened in 1998 under a private initiative, the crenel stand for standard gunnery of the World Wars Siegfried Line has been made accessible and converted to a museum. Location: Bad Bergzabern » show on google maps
- City Museum Bad Bergzabern
- Museum of local history and culture with annual themes. Location: Bad Bergzabern » show on google maps
- Museum für Weinbau und Stadtgeschichte
- Museum of local history and culture with a permanent exhibit on wine and the region. In addition, changing special exhibitions. Location: Edenkoben » show on google maps
- Museum Herxheim
- As the Steinzeitkeller (Stone Age Cellar) opened in the Franconian Court Area it is for the first time possible to admire the ancient Neolithic findings from Herxheim, which are more than 7,000 years old and date from the beginning of the Early Stone Age. Location: Herxheim » show on google maps
- Frank-Loebsches Haus
- Picturesque building with a wooden gallery surrounding the courtyard. Home of Anne Frank's great grandfather during the 19th century. Permanent exhibits on the Jews of Landau and the Sinti and Roma of the Palatinate. Changing art exhibitions. Location: Landau » show on google maps
- Historic Museum (Haus Mahla)
- Historical city museum and city archive, history of the Vauban fortress with an impressive model of the town, bourgeois and peasant home décor, viticulture machinery, porcelain collection, oil paintings, scientific documentation, Landau newspapers. Location: Landau » show on google maps
- Nußdorfer Bauernkriegshaus
- This is where the peasants' revolt of 1525 in the Palatinate was decided. The only place in the Palatinate that commemorates the outbreak and course of the Palatinate Peasants' War and represents the events in an exhibit. Location: Landau-Nußdorf » show on google maps
- Located in a converted barn in the centre of town, visitors can experience changing special exhibitions as well as a permanent exhibit on the history of the region and the town of Offenbach. Location: Offenbach an der Queich » show on google maps
- Heimat- und Bürstenbindermuseum
- The museum of the craft of brush-binding showcases the history and many exhibit pieces surrounding the ancient art of brush-binding. Location: Ramberg » show on google maps
- Kaiserburg Trifels
- The undertaken Emperor’s Castle Trifels is situated on the highest hill of the three castle hills above Annweiler. It was founded by the ‘Salian Emperors’ who constructed castles from wood and rock. The German noble family Staufer expanded it into a huge castle and turned it to be the treasury of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nations. The castle also became important as state prison for the King of England Richard the Lionheart (1193-1194). Exhibition: Analogy of the emperor’s treasures and an exhibition of Richard the Lionheart. Location: Annweiler am Trifels » show on google maps
- Schloss Villa Ludwigshöhe
- King Ludwig I. von Bayern 1845-1854 built the Castle to serve as his summer residence ‘to the most beautiful Quadrate mile of his kingdom’. He used Italian villas as an example. The most representative furnishing of the 62 rooms is to be found in the kitchen; it is furnished in 1852 after the most modern cognitions. In the upper floor there is a permanent exhibition from the remains of the impressionist Max Slevogt. Location: Edenkoben » show on google maps
- Madenburg Fortress
- First documented in 1176, the fortress served to protect the exit from the Kaiserbach Valley and the surrounding fertile lands. 180 m long with structures spanning several eras. Location: Eschbach » show on google maps
- Inaugurated in 1262, the Cistercians church has suffered much damage and destruction. The choir, the first crossbeam, and the transept remain today. Location: Eußerthal » show on google maps
- Reptilium Zoo
- Germany’s largest reptile zoo. Close-up experience of 700 exotic reptiles on an area of 2,500 sqm. Feeding, animal shows, alternating events in the large desert hall. Location: Landau » show on google maps
- Landau Zoo
- The zoo is a very special attraction in the Pfalz: 550 animals and more than 120 mainly exotic species can be seen here. Location: Landau » show on google maps
- Cactus Land (Kakteenland)
- Over 1,000 varieties of cacti are exhibited on 7,000 m². Free admission, sale of cacti and other succulents. Location: Steinfeld » show on google maps
- South Palatinate Thermal Baths (Südpfalz Therme)
- The 32° thermal bath is at the heart of the spa facilities in Bad Bergzabern. This wellness oasis, located on sprawling rounds, offers a successful combination of adventure, therapeutics, and relaxation — with all amenities of a modern spa. Location: Bad Bergzabern » show on google maps
- Max Slevogt, the German Impressionist painter, lived on the Neukastell estate from 1898 onwards. Large wall and ceiling painting in the music room and the library. Today the estate is a restaurant and museum run by the painters succession. Location: Leinsweiler » show on google maps
There is much that is unique about this landscape in the heart of the Palatinate. The Palatinate Forest spreads over 180,000 hectares, the largest continuous stretch of forestland in Germany. Here is a true nature and hiking paradise in which even lynxes have become reacclimatized. Since 1992, the Naturpark Pfälzerwald (Palatinate Forest Nature Reserve), together with the Northern Vosges Mountains in the Alsace, has constituted a crossborder biosphere reserve. Man and nature harmoniously live side by side here. 12,000 km of well-marked hiking trails promise pure relaxation. Also unique to Germany is the tight network of over 100 huts that make stopping for refreshments into a memorable experience.
Here in the Palatinate, where the Palatinate Forest and vineyards touch one another, arose the biggest networked Nordic-Walking region of the German Ski Association (DSV). Nordic Walking is within easy reach with 12 centres and almost 300 km long path network. On the Southern Wine Route Nordic Walking centres are situated in Leinsweiler/Eschbach and in Rhodt unter Riedburg — and in other locations. Every Nordic Walking Centre covers at least 3 tracks with different degreases of difficulties and with a total length of at least 18 km. There are modified signs after every degrease of difficulty. On the way there are information boards with tips for heart rate measuring and stretching. The instructions are illustrated. Tourist offices in Edenkoben, Landau-Land and Bad Bergzabern offer information about Nordic Walking offers for beginners as well as advanced walkers.
It conjures up images of adventure, wilderness and isolation in distant lands. Germany’s Palatinate region, with its numerous, well-developed hiking paths and cabins in the Palatinate Forest, certainly doesn’t come to mind. However, those in doubt are mistaken. In July 2009, the Südliche Weinstrasse e.V. [Southern Wine Road Association], together with the state forests, opened seven trekking areas between the castle ruins of Guttenberg in the south and Kalmit in the north. For the first time, overnight camping in the biosphere reservation of the Palatinate Forest nature preserve is officially allowed. One needn’t stray too far from the familiar paths to have the feeling of being alone in the woods with fox and deer. All of the areas are located some distance away from communities and common hiking trails in places that pose no threat to water and nature preservation. They can only be reached on foot and have up to six camping spots, a fire pit and basic WC. Nothing more. Trekkers must bring their own water and food. As stated in the house rules, which every guest must accept in order to camp in the forest, all rubbish must also be taken home. Additional information and booking can be found at www.trekking-pfalz.de.
On the Southern Wine Route cycling is twice as fun. First of all because of the many well built cycle paths and cycle paths that are away from noise and cars. They wind through the vineyards, mountains and fields always giving a wonderful view of the diversified and sunny landscape. This means ‘a smoother active holiday’ with the whole family in the Southern Wine Route. The Southern Wine Route fulfils the cyclists’ wishes. Also available with baggage transfer and accommodation to unplanned routes.
A highlight for cyclists is the ‘Erlebnistag Deutsche Weinstraße’ (Discovery Day along the German Wine Route). Every year, on the last Sunday in August, cyclists, pedestrians, and inline skaters populate the German Wine Route by the thousands. On ‘Discovery Day’, Germany's oldest wine tourism route is closed to motorized traffic from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. over a stretch of approximately 80 kilometres (from Bockenheim to Schweigen). In the villages and at the stands along the way, Palatinate wines and local specialities are offered while the Palatinate people celebrate the longest wine festival in the region with their guests.
There is always something happening — whether it is art, music, wine festivals or a host of other activities. The Events Finder gives you an overview about what is on, where and when. Here you can search for events and festivals in the region.
Here you have direct access to the online accommodation reservation service of the Tourist Board of Rhineland-Palatinate. No other hotel reservation system on the Internet offers you such a broad and comprehensive list of accommodation in Germany's Rhineland-Palatinate regions. You can list accommodation, search accommodation, contact accommodation establishments and make online reservations.
- Hotel Finder — Südliche Weinstrasse (Southern Wine Route)
- Holiday Flat Finder — Südliche Weinstrasse (Southern Wine Route)
Frankfurt-Hahn Airport has no direct railway connection. However, the buses from the airport will take you to the railway stations in Koblenz, Trier, Mainz, Frankfurt Main Airport, Frankfurt Main City, Kirn, Idar-Oberstein and Saarbrücken where you can connect with Deutsche Bahn trains or local transport links.