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The Pfalz and Rhine Terrace Travel Guide

  • Photo: milosk50 / Shutterstock

Plan Your Pfalz and Rhine Terrace Vacation

Pfalz and wine go hand in hand. This region of vineyards and picturesque villages is the home of the German Wine Road and the country's greatest wine festival at Bad Dürkheim. Six of Germany's 13 wine-growing regions are in the area.

The Pfalz has a mild, sunny climate, and that seems to affect the mood here, too. Vines carpet the foothills of the thickly forested Haardt Mountains, an

extension of the Alsatian Vosges. The Pfälzerwald (Palatinate Forest) with its pine and chestnut trees is the region's other natural attraction. Hiking and cycling trails lead through the vineyards, the woods, and up to castles on the heights.

The border between the Pfalz and Rheinhessen is invisible, but a few miles after crossing it you begin to get a sense of Rheinhessen's character. It's a region of gentle, rolling hills and expansive farmland, where grapes are but one of many crops; vineyards are often scattered miles apart. The slopes overlooking the Rhine between Worms and Mainz—the so-called Rhine Terrace—are a notable exception, with a nearly uninterrupted ribbon of vines, including the famous vineyards of Oppenheim, Nierstein, and Nackenheim on the outskirts of Mainz.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Wine German Rieslings are some of the most versatile white wines in the world—on their own or with food. If you've only had the sweeter style, then the rest may be a revelation.
  2. Festivals Wine is a great excuse for merrymaking, and there are scores of wine festivals throughout the region. The biggest and best is in the town of Bad Dürkheim, which features a wine barrel the size of a building.
  3. Pfälzerwald The Palatinate Forest is a paradise for hiking and cycling. Even a brief walk under the beautiful pine and chestnut trees is relaxing and refreshing.
  4. Castles Burg Trifels and Schloss Villa Ludwigshöhe are a contrast in style, inside and out. Both are wonderful settings for concerts.
  5. Cathedrals The cathedrals in Speyer, Worms, and Mainz are the finest examples of grand-scale Rhenish Romanesque architecture in Germany.

When To Go

When to Go

The wine-festival season begins in March with the Mandelblüten (blossoming of the almond trees) along the Wine Road and continues through...

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