Hiking And Sipping: Five Special Wine Regions In Germany

Five stunning wine hiking areas let you explore the German countryside while sipping delicious local wine, including Pinot Gris, Riesling and Burgundy. This activity is delightful throughout the year, but late fall, when many grapes are still harvested, is an uncrowded time for brisk walks, leisurely tastings, and cozy nights by a fireplace.

Rhinehessen: Following the Rhine Terraces

Between Worms, Mainz and Bingen lies Germany’s largest and oldest wine-growing region, the Rhineland-Palatinate area of Rhinehessen. The main grape is the Müller-Thurgau, but Silvaner, Riesling, Dornfelder or Burgundy are also grown here. From soft and flowery to spicy and tangy, the white wine variety is cultivated in all its variations.

Germany’s richest Rieslings come from the Rote Hang between Nierstein and Nackenheim. You can hike on the Rhine Terraces Trail, about 75 kilometres long, divided into six stages and passing through many charming hamlets.

Palatinate: Germany’s Oldest Wine Route

The region between the Palatinate Forest and the Rhine Plain is located in Rhineland-Palatinate. Lemons, figs and kiwis grow in the country gardens, but this region is strongly influenced by wine, with endless vines reaching down to the Rhine and Moselle. The grapes for Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Silvaner or even Chardonnay also come from the Palatinate.

Germany’s oldest wine route, the German Wine Route, runs through the middle of the Palatinate. Over a hundred wine villages, stately castles and palaces, wine festivals in summer and almond blossoms in spring are only a part of the charm. The small towns of Bobenheim, Birkweiler and Neustadt are particularly beautiful, and the Palatinate Keschde Trail, the Palatinate Almond Trail and the Palatinate Wine Trail are all worth hiking.

Baden: Lovely Weather, Wonderful Wine

Baden, the “Burgundy Paradise,” is one of the most versatile wine-growing regions in Germany. It stretches about 400 kilometres along the Upper Rhine Plain from Tauberfranken through Kraichgau and the Badische Bergstrasse to Lake Constance. Burgundy grapes are particularly fond of the warm climate. Another Baden speciality: the Cuvée wine.

Famous cities in this region are Freiburg, Heidelberg, and Baden-Baden with their beautiful Old Towns. The Baden Wine Route passes through many of these cities. An eco-wine trail leads through the Markgräfler Land, and the Ortenau Wine Trail is also well worth a mention. Atmospheric Lake Constance is bordered with scattered orchards and picturesque villages.

Moselle: The steepest vineyard in Europe; beauty along the river

Rieslings as well as Müller-Thurgau and Pinot Noir grow on the primeval shale. The steep slopes are made for experienced hikers, and allow unique views of a cultural landscape with castles, vineyards, waterfalls, ostrich farms and legendary wine villages.

Cochem and Bremm are popular towns. The Calmont ropeway offers hikers a unique view of the Bremmer Mosel loop, and you can walk to the Prinzenkopf with its steel lookout tower. A tour on Moselhöhenweg rewards with an impressive view of ornately arranged wine terraces.

Franconia: Smallish, refined

In the Middle Ages, Franconia was still seen as the largest wine region in the Holy Roman Empire; today it is one of the more moderately-sized wine-growing regions. Trademarks are the bulbous bottle, the Bocksbeutel. Müller-Thurgau, Silvaner as well as Riesling, and the typical Franconian Bacchus.

In Franconia, every year, 200 wine-related festivals take place. Nestled between the Spessart, Rhön, Steigerwald and Tauber valleys are romantic wine-growing villages, the Marienburg fortress and the residential city of Würzburg, with its imposing cathedral. You can hike through thick forests, gentle hills, and pass by villages with half-timbered houses.

Follow the Franconian wine country on the Main hiking trail, with its six stages. Along the Volkacher Mainschleife, you can expect Silvaner wine and a breathtaking view of Vogelsburg. Red wine lovers can go on the Red Wine hike to Dernau.

(For more info on Germany, listen to Episode #69 of my award-winning travel podcast, Places I Remember. To learn more about best places to hike, listen to Episode #71. Follow on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts. Or on my website.)

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