Wine and Holiday
on the German Wine Route
Directly on the German Wine Route south of Bad Dürkheim, in the
middle of the Palatine Forest Nature Park (Naturpark Pfälzerwald) and
surrounded by acres of sparkling vines lies the little town of
Wachenheim, which is famous for its wine and "Sekt" (sparkling wine)
Wachenheim, home to around 5.000 inhabitants, is the seat of the parish covering the wine villages of Ellerstadt, Friedelsheim and Gönnheim.
Wachenheim is a gem to behold in any season: When as early as the end of February the almond trees start blossoming on the German Wine Route the feeling is distinctly Mediterranean. The summer offers plenty of sunshine, numerous wine festivals and a large range of leisure facilities. Autumn is grape harvest time and the vineyards and forests seduce the visitor with their enchanting palette of colours. In winter one can enjoy the famed German "Gemütlichkeit" (cosiness) in the many restaurants or wine taverns where at the light of flickering candles the visitor may gaze at the countryside from within. We certainly do not exaggerate when we say that
There is a lot to see in our area
The beginnings of Wachenheim can be traced back to the late 6th or the early 7th century. Going on a walking tour of the town the visitor will not be able to venture far without coming across sights conjuring up past times. It is particularly worthwhile seeing the "Dalberger Hof" courtyard, the "Old Mint" (Alte Münze), the "Pointed House" (Spitzes Haus) in the Mühlgasse, the "Thieves’ Tower" (Diebsturm), the "St. George Church" (Simultankirche St. Georg) and "Ludwig’s Chapel" (Ludwigskapelle) in the market square. Why not go for a leisurely stroll through Wachenheim’s narrow lanes and streets where ancient courtyards such as the "Zehnthof", the "Wachenheimer Hof" or the "Steinhausserscher Hof" seduce you with their old-fashioned charm.
We are also very proud of our ancient town wall, which in days gone by used to be 1,200 metres long and which, after the town was awarded its own town rights in 1341, ensured its protection. Taking part in the 1,500 metres round walk following the remnants of the wall you will get a fine impression of its structure. Its Western section, which is the best-preserved part, still features more than 300 meters of continuous wall, which gives you a good idea on how it may have looked once upon a time.
Or perhaps you may like to visit the Jewish Cemetery on the eastern side of town, which has been in existence for many centuries and where not only Jewish people from Wachenheim itself but from the whole region between Frankenthal and Speyer were interred.
Also worth mentioning are our many museums and private collections that stimulate the interested visitor with a range of artefacts produced by our craftsmen and gives him/her an insight into our wine growing culture: The "Historic Smithy" (Historische Schmiede), the "Wine Producer and Vintner Museum" (Kellereimuseum/ Winzer-museum). In the "Scales and Weights Museum" (Waagen- and Gewichtsmuseum) you will find exhibits of more than 500 scales and 1.000 weights ranging from models that date from ancient times to items that are still in use today.
Obviously you can also book a guided tour of the town with the Tourist Information Wachenheim where you can obtain further information about Wachenheim.
Not very far from Wachenheim itself, from the top of the Wachtenburg castle, the symbol of the town, you can enjoy
The Wachtenburg Castle – also know as the balcony of the Palatinate – towers high above the town. The castle was built around the 11th or 12th century and – due to the height of its fortified central tower (22 meters) – it can be seen from afar. It may be fun to explore the ruins, which bear witness to a long and tortuous history, and to enjoy the views over the Rhine Valley stretching as far as the Odenwald Forest and – weather permitting – even the Black Forest. Apart from the ruins, which are a favourite destination for young and old, the other attraction is the cosy castle tavern that entices the weary visitor to enter, linger and enjoy.
Further down the valley you can follow the footsteps of the ancient Romans when you visit the
During a farming consolidation programme that was carried out in 1980 the remnants of a large Roman country estate (villa rustica) were discovered to the east of Wachenheim. It took 10 years to excavate and restore these archaeological finds.
The main part of the site that can be viewed at any time contains the
remnants of a 60-meter long Roman country house, the owner of which
appears to have belonged to the upper echelons of Roman society from the
nearby administrative district. The very generously proportioned
outbuildings as well as the bathrooms and above all the hypocaust
heating system point to a fairly wealthy occupier.
The excavations are being presented in a very visitor friendly way and are accompanied by notice boards containing plenty of useful information. There is a car parking area along road (Bundesstraße) 271.
The Wachtenburg as well as the villa rustica can also be viewed as part of a guided tour of the town.
Let us now return to Wachenheim itself: Something that we have in abundance around here is an amazing
Range of leisure facilities
Apart from the sights and guided tours that we have already mentioned
you can go for long leisurely walks or hikes using the many signposted
forest and winery trails around Wachenheim and in the neighbouring
"Palatine Forest" (Pfälzerwald) – and you can savour the hearty regional
cuisine and enjoy the area’s specific flair in many of the cosy pubs,
taverns or forest lodges.
To please the hiking enthusiast we have established a circular Roman trail as well as winery and nature trails. The Tourist Information Wachenheim can assist you with many maps and brochures.
A good time to go on a guided hiking tour is during the almond blossom season in the springtime when you can enjoy walks underneath the budding harbingers of spring.
Wachenheim and its surrounding area are also a paradise for cyclists, mountain bikers and inline skaters: Using the sign-posted cycling paths you can go on long tours offering different degrees of difficulty while still enjoying our lovely countryside or you could try the "Cabbage and carrot" hiking trail (look out for white signs featuring a green bicycle and a carrot/Kraut- und Rübenradwanderweg) which was established in 2003 and covers a stretch of 135 kilometres. Starting in Bockenheim in the north and finishing in Steinfeld in the southern Palatinate it takes you past wineries and farms giving the visitor an insight into the rural character of the region. Another surprise for cycling enthusiasts: The cycling path of the parish of Wachenheim (green sign with white bicycle) starts at the car park outside the public swimming pool and winds its way past vineyards and fields of fruit and vegetable through to Friedelsheim, Gönnheim, Ellerstadt and back to Wachenheim.
Something that is not to be missed is the annual German Wine Route event: On the last Sunday in August the German Wine Route is closed to all motorised traffic offering cyclists and inline skaters a great chance to pursue their hobby in peace and make use of the many attractions on the side of the road.
If after all that hiking, cycling or skating you have still some energy left, you can make use of our tennis courts, the boules area, the heated outdoor swimming pool with attached beach volleyball field, our athletics facilities, a keep-fit trail, bowling alleys, the nearby Sportpark Friedelsheim (gym/tennis/squash) as well as the riding centre in Ellerstadt.
Or perhaps you would like to admire our beautiful corner of Germany
from far above enjoying the bird’s eye view in a hot air balloon.
Enthusiasts of vintage cars will be able to indulge in their passion by taking part in rallies or by taking their vehicles on a tour of vineyards or castles.
Then there is the draw of the Kurpfalz-Park, which appeals
to young and old alike. This is a large game and leisure park, which is
situated in the middle of vast woods and unspoilt hilly countryside, not
far from Wachenheim and covers an area of 170 hectares. Apart from being
able to admire stags as well as red and black deer in their natural
habitat you also see – at very close proximity – birds of prey giving
you a performance of their amazing skills that earn them their
reputation as masters of the skies. Last but not least there are
some wolves you can watch.
Steering and pedal boats, a summer toboggan run, a slide paradise and a huge adventure playground with a knight’s castle make sure that boredom is not an issue.
If you require any further information please contact the website www.kurpfalzpark.de or the Tourist Information Wachenheim.
But, at the end of the day, where would Wachenheim be without
Its wine, its "Sekt", its cuisine and its culture
Wine and "Sekt" (sparkling wine) play an important role in the
everyday life of Wachenheim. You will not fail to notice this when you
visit one of the many famous wineries, take part in a wine tasting
session or have a look behind the scenes at a vintner’s during a weekend
Wachenheim is the seat of the Sparkling Wine Producers "Schloss Wachenheim" who are not only the largest sparkling wine producers in the world but also boast a very attractive estate including an English park near the former town wall.
With regard to its culinary delights, Wachenheim can offer the
discerning visitor anything from rustic fare in a cosy wine tavern to a
gourmet menu in a sophisticated restaurant – as long as it is
accompanied by the right wine, sparkling wine or digestif produced by
You should also sample the regional specialities offered by establishments such as the Palatine Butchery Hambel or the apple growing estate Zimmermann.
The people of the Palatinate are known for their penchant to celebrate which is why there are many opportunities to do just that all year round: during the Carnival season, at Easter, at the wine and sparkling wine gala during Whitsun weekend, during one of the numerous castle, wine and country festivals in summer and in the pre-Christmas season. If you want to find out more about these events and their dates please contact the Tourist Information Wachenheim.
If culture is your thing Wachenheim will not disappoint you: Whether it is concerts, exhibitions, readings or workshops, matinee performances, children’s programmes or cabarets – you will be able to choose whatever takes your fancy. What is particularly special about some of these events is their setting in historical buildings with a stylish ambiance. What about a serenade or chamber music concert taking place at the sparkling wine producing estate of "Schloss Wachenheim" a night of jazz in the "Badehaisl" music pub or a children’s performance in the "Kulturey" cultural centre? It is hard to make up one’s mind when there is so much on offer…
Wachenheim offers its visitors a range of accommodation in small family run hotels and guesthouses. It is also possible to book private rooms and holiday flats. Approximately one kilometre outside the town there is a camping site equipped with tennis courts, boules areas and many other facilities.
From Wachenheim, which is not far from the motorway A65, it is easy to get to Neustadt (Hambach Castle, historic old town), the "Quadratestadt" Mannheim, which owes its name to the grid based layout of its city centre (castle, city centre shopping), Worms (imperial cathedral, oldest surviving Jewish cemetery in Europe, the Liebfrauenkirche church), Heidelberg (castle, historic old town), Speyer (imperial cathedral, Historisches Museum der Pfalz, Technikmuseum), Bad Dürkheim (casino, spa park) or even Strasbourg and the neighbouring region of Alsace.
We look forward to seeing you!
For any further information please contact:
Tourist Information Wachenheim
Telephone: 06322 9580-801
Fax: 06322 9580899