The Bergstrasse Route runs for approximately 80 km between the Rhine Plain, the Rhine and Neckar rivers and the western slopes of the legendary Odenwald forest from the university city of Darmstadt in the north to the wine-growing city of Wiesloch south of Heidelberg. This charming little patch of vineyarded countryside is known for its fine wines and has many an exciting tale to tell. When Germany is in bloom, we can tell you exactly where spring can be enjoyed at its fullest.
The Bergstrasse, which was once known to the Romans as the "Strata Montana", is nestled in a mild-climated region that enchants visitors with its swathes of pink and white blossom in spring, lemon harvests, overflowing fine wines, flourishing sequioa trees and picturesque half-timbered medieval towns.
The Bergstrasse: the region with a racy local flavour
In the Bergstrasse wine growing region, the sun shines for 1,600 hours per year and the people who live here know that the sun produces the finest wines: varietal and distinctive wines like its famous riesling, which has striking names like Auerbacher Fürstenlager, Bensheimer Streichling or Heppenheimer Centgericht, or the pinot gris, pinot blanc or pinot noir that are also produced here. Wine from the Bergstrasse was first mentioned in the 8th century in the "Codex Laureshamensis" written by monks from the Abbey and Altenmünster of Lorsch. Charlemagne would later enjoy the wines here like so many of the great men who came before and after him.
Worth a visit
Just a stone's throw away from the kingdom of the legendary Nibelungs, the castles, palaces, royal residences and abbeys of the Bergstrasse line up one after the other like pearls on a string. These magnificent buildings are a testament to the wealth of the Middle Ages and are a reminder of a time of knights, princes and kings. Proud half-timbered town halls lord over cobbled market squares whilst the Abbey of Lorsch (Lorscher Reichskloster) is known for the central role it played in the politics of the region across the centuries. As the oldest building in Germany, the Carolingian gate house (King's Hall) is really worth a visit.
In the Bergstrasse region, culture and nature come together in harmony. Concerts, exhibitions and festivals at historic locations will tempt you at every turn while parks and gardens take centre stage in the region's wine festivals, historic parish fairs and chaotic town fairs. A good feast is always welcome on the Bergstrasse and visitors will be greeted with tables overflowing with fresh produce, fine wines and other regional delicacies.
This enchanting landscape, which straddles over 2,000 years of history from the past to the present, can also be travelled on foot, although you certainly don't have to walk the entire route. An immersive experience from beginning to end and always worth visiting: if you've never been, then now is the time to see what all the fuss is about!
Length: approximately 80 km
Theme: sun, flowers, wine, culture
Bensheim: museum, German Academy of Performing Arts (Deutsche Akademie der darstellenden Künste)
Birkenau: sun dials
Darmstadt: art nouveau, residential palace, the Messel Pit Fossil Site (Grube Messel) UNESCO World Heritage Site
Heidelberg: castle, old quarter
Heppenheim: half-timbered houses
Hirschberg: Villa Rustica, castle
Ladenburg: town where Carl Benz made his cars
Lorsch: UNESCO World Heritage Site, Carolingian gate house (King's hall), abbey
Nieder-Beerbach: Frankenstein Castle
Seeheim-Jugenheim: Raubritterburg castle ruins, Goldsmith Park
Weinheim: twin-castle town, the Gerberbach Quarter (Gerberbachviertel)
Zwingenberg: oldest town on the Bergstrasse
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