The German Wine Route: a symphony of grapes in the sun-kissed Palatinate region

The German Wine Route, running through the Palatinate countryside from Schweigen-Rechtenbach to Bockenheim, certainly doesn't stint on its delights. Simply follow the signs showing a bunch of grapes and enjoy 85 kilometres of pure joie de vivre, fine wines, congeniality and award-winning cuisine.

The Palatinate region and wine – truly a match made in heaven. In Germany's second largest wine-growing region, the vines are so tightly clustered that the rolling landscape resembles a vast emerald lake, through which Dionysus and Bacchus, the two gods of wine, might playfully cavort. The sunny Palatinate is a real mecca for wine lovers, where grapes grow like there's no tomorrow, vintners become inn keepers and congeniality rules. But the Wine Route also has plenty to offer fine food connoisseurs, art lovers and those who simply adore having fun; primarily: the art of enjoying life to the full, at the many convivial wine festivals, for example, or Bad Dürkheim's celebrated Wurstmarkt wine festival. Wine-tasting sessions at local vineyards are civilised occasions, with a variety of tastefully presented fine wines, and the traditional rustic Palatinate dishes are a definite must too, as is a peek at the world's largest wine barrel in Bad Dürkheim. The surrounding countryside, peppered with castles, palaces and the remains of Roman settlements, is enchanting, and the route is lined by small towns – often more than 1,000 years old, wine-growing villages, romantic corners, museums and sites of historical interest. The German Wine Route can be experienced in either direction, of course, so it's ideally suited to repeat visits. And, imitation being the sincerest form of flattery of course, the fact that the Wine Route has been copied so often elsewhere is proof of its brilliance.

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