Length: 83km/52miThe Deutsche Weinstrasse follows the east side of the Pfälzer Wald (Palatinate Forest), with its many old castles, through one of the largest regions in Germany (some 21,000 hectares/52,500 acres). It begins at Bockenheim, a few kilometers west of Worms, and ends at the Weintor ("Wine Gate") at Schweigen, near the frontier with France.The Deutsche Weinstrasse traverses an almost uninterrupted succession of orchards and numerous picturesque towns and villages.
Bockenheim, at the beginning of the district, is the starting point of the Deutsche Weinstrasse. From here it runs south down the east side of the Pfälzer Wald nature reserve to the little town of Grünstadt, and the vine-growing villages of Kirchheim and Kallstadt.
Over the old-world little town of Wachenheim on the Deutsche Weinstrasse loom the ruins of the Wachtenburg. Southwest of the town lies the Kurpfalz-Park (big game; amusements).The most important estates in the Pfalz, Dr Bürklin-Wolf and the Schloss Wachenheim are based in this town.
Deidesheim (pop. 3,500) is an important town along the Deutsche Weinstrasse. It has a handsome Town Hall with an external flight of steps; Ceramic Museum; and Museum in the Old Town Hall (open Wed-Sun).It is perhaps the most famous town in the Pfalz region. It is worth wandering the cobblestone streets to look at the interesting vintners' houses of the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries.
Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, Germany
Neustadt an der Weinstrasse (pop. 53,000) is one of the great centers of the Palatinate. In the Marktplatz stands the twin-towered Stiftskirche (1368-1489), with the "Imperial Bell", one of the largest cast steel bells in the world. Opposite the church is the handsome Town Hall (18th-19th C). There is an interesting Railway Museum (trips on the "Cuckoo Line").
In the district of Hambach, to the southwest of Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, is the Hambacher Schloss (the Maxburg), which was destroyed in 1688; the interior was restored from 1979 onwards. This was the scene of the "Hambacher Fest" in 1832, a demonstration in favor of democracy and republican government.
Maikammer is situated below the highest peak of the Haardt mountains. It features many half-timbered houses dating from the 16th C.The Alsterweiler Chapel has a Late Gothic triptych.
It is worth making a detour from the Deutsche Weinstrasse to the picturesque village of St Martin, a few kilometers west of Maikammert.The annual festival of St Martin is usually held on November 11.
Edenkoben is an attractive little town along the Deutsche Weinstrasse. Three km/2mi west can be found the palatial Villa Ludwigshöhe, built in 1846-52 for King Ludwig I of Bavaria. Above it are the ruins of the Rietburg (chair-lift).In the Villa Ludwigshöhe is the Max Slevogt collection of 19th and early 20th C. paintings, drawings and sculptures.
Off the Deutsche Weinstrasse to the east is Landau (pop. 37,000), with a Late Gothic Augustinian church (beautiful cloister) and the Early Gothic Stiftskirche. Remains of fortifications built by Vauban in 1687; Festhalle in Art Nouveau style; beautiful parks (particularly the Goethe Park); Zoo.
From the junction with the road to Landau the Deutsche Weinstrasse to the west leads to Annweiler am Trifels, with handsome half-timbered houses.
Above Annweiler stands the old imperial stronghold of Trifels (fine panoramic views), in which Richard Coeur-de-Lion was held prisoner in 1193.The castle was rebuilt in 1937.
The Deutsche Weinstrasse continues to Leinsweiler. Above the village is the Slevogthof, once the summer residence of Max Slevogt (1868-1932), with mural paintings by the artist. His grave is in the garden.
Bad Bergzabern, Germany
The spa of Bad Bergzabern (pop. 6,000) along the Deutsche Weinstrasse has a 16th C Schloss, modern thermal pools, indoor and outdoor; Kneipp cure.The magnificent Renaissance Gasthaus zum Engel (Königstrasse 45) is a superb example of this period in the Pfalz region.
From Bad Bergzabern an attractive detour can be made from the Deutsche Weinstrasse to Dörrenbach, 2km/1.25mi west (fortified church, half-timbered Town Hall).
In Schweigen stands the Weintor (1936-37), marking the end of the Deutsche Weinstrasse. There is an instructive trail.