South-west Germany is where the country flaunts its most serene, sunny side. The scenery is radiant – it alone puts a smile on hikers' faces.
Germany's largest expanse of forest lies in the heart of the Palatinate. The route we take also sees us peering through the many trees. But there's nothing to worry about as the Palatinate Wine Trail joins up the region's vineyards, an area of the Palatinate which is actually rather flat.
And there is plenty to marvel at, including the eight ruins belonging to Trifels Castle, where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned. We edge our way along crazy ridge walks and gaze at panoramic views of the Upper Rhine Plain. We walk through Neustadt an der Weinstraße, where the German Wine Queen is crowned every year. You never know, you could be the next hiking royalty of Germany! When in Deidesheim, you have to try a local delicacy: Saumagen (meaning "sow's stomach"). Helmut Kohl invited Mikhail Gorbachev and Margaret Thatcher to try it on their visits! These are just a few of the highlights on this friendly hiking trail.
Manuel Andrack, editor, presenter, author and hiking blogger:
"Don't miss the chance to see Hambach Castle. Nestled in a wonderful forest landscape, this castle is the symbol of German democracy as this is where a national democratic festival was celebrated and the German flag was "invented" in 1832."
At a glance: Palatinate Wine Trail
Length: 170 km
Number of stages: 11
Altitude variation: lowest point 121 m, highest point 677 m
Terrain: 66% unmade, 17% asphalt, 17% other, e.g. farm tracks
Certified quality hiking trail
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