German Wine Route
At a distance of 30 kilometers from the Heinrich Pesch Hotel is the wine village of Bockenheim with the House of the German Wine Road, which marks the end of the German Wine Road. The picturesque wine route runs for about 85 kilometers through the wine-growing region of the Palatinate – from Schweigen on the French border to Bockenheim. Even in spring, the Wine Road is a special sight, because the Mediterranean climate in the “Tuscany of Germany” means that you can marvel at richly blooming almond trees along the route. Lined with wineries, wine shops and restaurants, the German Wine Road passes through many wine villages with local vintners. Historically, there is also much to see: The former residences of the Palatinate counts, such as Wachtenburg Castle in Wachenheim or Hardenburg Castle in Bad Dürkheim, to name just two. Another historical destination on the German Wine Route is Hambach Castle, located in Neustadt an der Weinstraße, which is known as a landmark of democracy in Germany due to the Hambach Festival of 1832. The German Wine Route has something to offer in every season: Rides on the Kuckucksbähnel, a historic museum train, through the Elmstein Valley; a wine tasting at one of the many wineries; the grape harvest with new wine and onion tart; the Deidesheim Christmas Market; or hunting for the famous Palatine mythical creatures, the Elwedritsche . In addition to the many sights and excursions along the German Wine Route, the region is also known for its wine festivals, which take place in the villages and towns of the Palatinate during the summer months. The largest wine festival in the world, the Wurstmarkt, always takes place in Bad Dürkheim on the second and third weekends in September; during a visit to the Wurstmarkt, you can not only stop in the wine village or drink “en Schorle petze” (a glass of wine spritzer) at the Schubkarch stands, as the Palatines say, but you can also marvel at the largest barrel in the world, the Bad Dürkheim Giant Barrel.
The Bergstrasse stretches from Darmstadt-Eberstadt in Hessen, about 50 kilometers from Ludwigshafen, to Wiesloch in Baden, about 40 kilometers away. Even at the beginning of the Bergstrasse, there is a lot to see: The university town of Darmstadt invites visitors to Mathildenhöhe; the Mathildenhöhe Artists’ Colony, which is located there, once made Darmstadt the center of Art Nouveau and is still an impressive sight today. For nature lovers, just outside Darmstadt lies the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site Messel Pit, where millions of years old fossils can be admired. There is also much to see and experience along the wider Bergstrasse. A variety of castles and palaces, such as the beautifully situated Auerbach Castle near Bensheim, the classicist Heiligenberg Castle in Seeheim-Jugenheim or the adjacent Windeck and Wachenburg Castles in Weinheim, invite visitors to take a vivid and impressive journey through history. Another highlight is a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Lorsch Monastery. Not only the old town of Lorsch, but also the historic Roman town of Ladenburg or the picturesque Heppenheim with its half-timbered houses invite you to stroll around. Of course, there are countless restaurants, bars and cafes, where both Hessian and Baden specialties as well as a glass of wine can be enjoyed. Numerous events, festivals and markets are offered throughout the year on the Bergstrasse. The annual Christmas markets in the old towns and around castles and palaces are also an attraction. For all night owls, Heppenheim still offers something very special, the Lantern Trail; over 130 silhouettes on the lanterns tell stories from Hessen’s legends; in the summer months, nighttime guided tours also take place.