Trullo huts and Döppekuchen potato cake, Elwedritsche birds and Schoppen glasses, Katz and Maus towers – hiding behind these strange terms are just a few of Rhineland-Palatinate’s peculiarities and specialities, as varied as the state itself. The scenic and cultural diversity of the ten regions that comprise Rhineland-Palatinate – Ahr Valley, Eifel, Hunsrück, Lahn Valley, Naheland, Moselle-Saar, Palatinate, Rhine-Hesse, Romantic Rhine and Westerwald – invites visitors to linger, because there is much to see, taste and discover. Whether on the trail of red grapes in the Ahr Valley; hiking or cycling in the Hunsrück, the home of legendary robber Schinderhannes; the Westerwald, home to the Kannenbäckerland, a small region known for its ceramics; the Eifel,with its maars – the “Eyes of the Eifel” – the wine growing region on the Moselle, along the Romantic Rhine with countless fortresses and castles, travelling in the “Land of 1,000 Hills” and Trulli Rhine-Hesse, relaxing in the spa towns in the Naheland, canoeing on the Lahn or enjoying incredible wines in the Palatinate – endless variety and memorable experiences are guaranteed.
Almost no other German holiday destination can offer such a diverse landscape as the Ahr Valley. The gentle hills, rugged cliffs, deep forests, steep vineyards and places to relax in this red wine paradise entice large numbers of visitors: The famous spa town of Bad Neuenahr, for example, thrives on the charm of its spa quarter, bathhouse, casino, parks and the Ahr river that winds its way right through the heart of the town.
The low mountain range Eifel, the “green heart of Europe”, presents its volcanic character. Bordered by the cities of Aachen, Cologne, Koblenz and Trier, the Eifel captivates visitors with its scenic diversity. Forests, unspoilt valleys, extinct volcanic peaks and the maars are typical for the scenery. Whether it be hiking along the Eifelsteig trail or along magical paths, cycling along old railways or visiting one of the countless castles and historical cities or the legendary Nürburgring – there is something for everyone.
Equally popular as a paradise for hikers is the Hunsrück, featuring the Saar-Hunsrück-Steig long distance hiking path. This low mountain range is located in the heart of Rhineland-Palatinate and – framed by the Moselle, Nahe, Saar and Rhine rivers – is a scenic and cultural gem. Not one, but two nature parks – Saar-Hunsrück and Soonwald-Nahe – attract visitors with their unspoilt and untouched natural landscapes.
Cycling on the Lahn bike path, in a canoe on the Lahn River or on foot on one of the many hiking trails, you can experience the tranquil and picturesque nature of the Lahn Valley. Here, where the Lahn, one of the most romantic rivers in Germany, winds its way through the natural surroundings, you can discover the region around the river valley on many award-winning paths. Proud castles and fortresses, impressive churches, monasteries and cathedrals are visible evidence of the cultural richness of the Lahn Valley. Endearing old towns with picturesque half-timbered houses give clues to the hustle and bustle of days gone by.
The region comprising Trier, the Saarland and Luxembourg was once settled by people from the Mediterranean. To this day, visitors to the Moselle region are never far from the 2,000-year history of the region around the Moselle River: The UNESCO world heritage sites Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St Peter and Church of Our Lady, as well as the Porta Nigra in Trier, the oldest city in Germany, line the route. With its unique, steep-sloping and terraced vineyards, the Moselle wine growing region provides a fascinating backdrop for tours of discovery by car, by bicycle, on foot or by boat.
Experience wellness, wine and gemstones in the Naheland: Nature, fascinating history and culture, health and wellness, fine wines and culinary delights or sparkling gemstones – visitors from all over the world value the Naheland as a place for unforgettable experiences. Here you can discover unique natural beauty, recharge your batteries, walk on historical paths and award-winning hiking tails such as the Soonwaldsteig, enjoy excellent wines or be enchanted by the gemstones along the Deutsche Edelsteinstraße (German Gemstone Route).
A Mediterranean climate, figs, lemons and wine as far as the eye can see await visitors to the Palatinate, one of the sunniest regions in Germany. From the Rhine plains to the mountains, the Palatinate region entices with its diverse landscapes and wide range of holiday activities and, as the second-largest wine growing region in Germany, offers an impressive vineyard landscape along the Deutsche Weinstraße (German Wine Road), providing wine indulgence at the highest level.
The largest contiguous forest in Germany is the Palatinate Forest biosphere reserve. Its endless kilometres of solitary hiking trails, rustic huts and bizarre rock landscapes are just waiting to be discovered. The award-winning Palatinate hiking trails promise a premium hiking experience.
With vineyards covering 26,500 hectares, Rhine-Hesse is Germany’s largest wine growing region. In the region around Bingen and along the Rhine terrace from Mainz to shortly before Worms, the wine-growing region is characterised by the hillsides rising up from the Rhine, while the Wonnegau and the rolling hills draw their charm from their endless horizons and fertile soil. Along with the wine experience, Rhine-Hesse also displays cultural diversity and witnesses of great period of history, such as the cathedrals in Mainz and Worms. Bingen keeps the memory of the great scholar Hildegard von Bingen alive.
Steeped in legend, the Romantic Rhine is a paradise for explorers and gourmets. The Rhine presents it most romantic side between the Rolandsbogen meander and the Mäuseturm (Mouse Tower), and not only due to the famous Loreley. The Upper Middle Rhine Valley UNESCO world heritage site combines history with a modern lifestyle along more than 100 kilometres of river in a rather small geographic area. Fortresses, castles and idyllic towns provide a lively backdrop for all types of events: the Rhine Cycle Route and the Rheinsteig and RheinBurgenWeg hiking trails attract with a constant stream of new active experiences and magnificent views. The ideal setting for an eventful active holiday can also be found in the largely rural Westerwald. A wide variety of natural landscapes, diverse flora and fauna and the 235-kilometre-long Westerwald-Steig hiking trail invite you to take a tour of discovery. The Kannenbäckerland, the southern-most region of the Westerwald, is home to the region’s ceramic industry. Here, ceramic craftsmanship is impressively demonstrated at the Höhr-Grenzhausen ceramic museum, for example.
Additional information can be obtained from
Rheinland-Pfalz Tourismus GmbH under www.rlp-info.de
or by telephone on +49 (0) 1805 757-4636.
Born in 1966, the author studied Economic Geography and Economics at the RWTH Aachen University. He received his doctorate in 2000. From 2002 to 2003, he was Deputy Managing Director of Rheinland-Pfalz Tourismus GmbH in Koblenz, before becoming Managing Director in 2003. He is also Managing Director of Tourismus- und Heilbäderverbandes Rheinland-Pfalz e.V..