German Wine Route: Sightseeing
The Palatinate (Pfalz) winegrowing region has numerous churches, castles, chapels and remnants of roman and celtic times. Wine festivals are held from march to october, starting with the Mandelbluetenfest (Almond blossom) in Gimmeldingen. Wine festivals combine socialising and wine in the palatinate way. Unlike other wine growing regions in Germany, the wine is served in 0,5l (50 cl) glasses, often mixed with lemonade as wine cooler or "Weinschorle". The glass is called "Dubbeglas" due to dimples or "Dubbe" that cover the glass, making it easier to hold when the grip gets a bit effected by the wine. It is said that local butchers "invented" this kind of glass at a "Schlachtfest", a fest when "the pig gets slaughtered" and the butchers did not work that hard that they where kept away from the wine...
Each village has several vintners and winemakers, most of them offering wine tasting and a shop where you can buy their products. The quality is ranging from top notch vintners that win international prices in a row to hidden gems with affordable prices that are (almost) impossible to find...
Restaurants range from first class to civil restaurants with opulent meals where the "Stammtisch" (regulars table) is hold each morning and evening.
Adjacent to the west of the German Wine Route is the biggest coherent forest of Germany, the Palatinate Forest, with its countless castles and sandstone rocks, a UNESCO biosphere reserve, one of the best hiking areas of europe and the most densely forested area of middle europe.
Altdahn castle between Dahn and Erfweiler, Palatinate Forest
Lookout point near Erfweiler, Palatinate Forest
Bonsai on sandstone rock
Lizard king on sandstone rock
Former US army area in the Palatinate Forest
The Palatinate forest has a long history of fortifications, starting from celtic monuments and ringwalls, roman fortifications and trading routes, medieval castles. Later, with the invention of gun powder, severe destruction of almost all castles and town fortifications, destruction of most villages in the war of the grand alliance around 1689, and the building of fortifications like the Maginot line before World War I, the Westwall fortification before World War II and in the cold war area after World War II, the Palatinate Forest was storage point for gas grenades, atomic missiles, low- and mid- range missiles, Nike missile launching areas, missile repairing and servicing units.
Almost all areas have been closed since the 1990`s. Whilst almost all storage units and stored `stuff` can be easily researched in the internet, a lot of buildings, bunkers, caves and storage areas have been lost to useless destruction.
You should also consider a trip to the rhine, the longest river of Germany that is especially worth to travel on the middle rhine section between Mainz and Koblenz.