One of Germany's oldest touring routes, the Deutsche Weinstrasse was inaugurated in 1935. It traverses the heart of the Palatinate (Pfalz) – a region of vine-covered hillsides, rambling forests, ruined castles, picturesque hamlets and, of course, exceptional wine estates. It's blessed with a moderate climate that allows almonds, figs, kiwi fruit and even lemons to thrive.
Starting in Schweigen-Rechtenbach, on the French border, the route winds north – through Germany’s largest contiguous wine-growing area – for 85km to Bockenheim an der Weinstrasse (not to be confused with the Frankfurt district of Bockenheim), 15km west of Worms. The Pfälzerwald, the hilly forest that runs along the route's western edge, was declared a Unesco Biosphere Reserve in 1993 (along with France’s adjacent Vosges du Nord area). Hiking and cycling trails abound.