• Photo: (c) Mollymacinnes | Dreamstime.com

Bad Durkheim

This pretty spa town is nestled into the hills at the edge of the Palatinate Forest and ringed by vineyards. The saline springs discovered here in 1338 are the source of today's drinking and bathing cures, and at harvest time there's a detoxifying Traubenkur (grape-juice cure). The town is the site of the Dürkheimer Wurstmarkt, the world's largest wine festival, held in mid-September. Legendary quantities of Weck, Worscht, und Woi (dialect for bread rolls, sausage, and wine) are consumed at the fair, including enough wine to fill half a million Schoppen, the region's traditional glasses, which hold a half liter (about a pint). The festival grounds are also the site of the world's largest wine cask, the Dürkheimer Riesenfass, with a capacity of 450,000 gallons. Built in 1934 by an ambitious cooper, the cask is now a restaurant that can seat more than 450 people.

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