The Romantic Cities in Rhineland-Palatinate

Rich culture within easy reach, culinary temptations at almost every corner, quiet but not slumbering: the Romantic Cities in Rhineland-Palatinate are well worth a visit!

Trifels (c)Generaldirektion Kulturelles Erbe Rheinland-Pfalz

Trifels (c)Generaldirektion Kulturelles Erbe Rheinland-Pfalz

Porta Nigra (c)Tourist-Information Trier

Porta Nigra (c)Tourist-Information Trier

German Cornerr Koblenz

German Cornerr Koblenz

Centrally located in Germany and therefore ideally connected, these diverse cities are affordable destinations for short trips. They are also the perfect point of departure for journeys to popular neighbouring regions such as the Black Forest, Alsace or Luxembourg. The Almond Blossom Festival in Neustadt-Gimmeldingen, located on the German Wine Route, which traditionally opens the wine-festival season, always attracts many people to the cities between the Rhine and the Moselle. Their close proximity to the birthplace of the bicycle in 1817 makes the Romantic Cities the perfect location for celebrating the 200th anniversary with enjoyable themed trips . So, as Goethe said so well in Götz von Berlichingen, “On to Speyer!” where the Palatinate starts to resemble Italy and where an eventful round trip characterised by Mediterranean charm can begin.

Moving history

Richard the Lionheart’s captivity in the German Empire is one of the best known events of the European Middle Ages: an emperor holds a king captive, imprisoned in Trifels Castle, and demands that he pay a huge ransom – a scenario that has provided the backdrop to many a novel and legend. Trifels Castle commemorates this significant event with a special presentation between 20 May 2017 and 18 April 2018. In addition, the major exhibition ‘Richard the Lionheart’ will open at the Historical Museum of the Palatinate in Speyer on 17 September 2017, which may be visited until 15 April 2018.

Speyer

Speyer is not only the place that witnessed the birth of the Protestant movement. This year, the local diocese celebrates its 200th anniversary, during which the world’s largest Romanesque cathedral (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) will play a major, thrilling role: upon request, groups of up to five people can be secured by rope to visit the dwarf gallery, one of the cathedral’s outstanding, external architectural features, at a height of about 30 metres. An absolute insider tip for the summer season is the Speyer Rhine Beach, which includes a beach bar and beer-garden deck. Located adjacent to the youth hostel and just a short stroll from the cathedral, you can enjoy a Copacabana atmosphere until the beginning of October. The Medieval Fantasy Spectaculum, the largest touring festival of mediaeval culture in the world, is held in the Domgarten (cathedral garden) every August. Late summer culminates in the traditional Old Town Festival in August and September, which attracts many people from all over Germany eager to enjoy the various wines.

Worms

The city of Luther and the Nibelungs is again an attraction for real culture lovers from the 4–20 August. In its third year under the direction of Nico Hofmann, the winner of the International Emmy in 2014, the Nibelung Festival will again feature a premiere on the spectacular open-air stage in front of the Worms cathedral in 2017. Performances will once more be held on the west side, the first time since 2013. The Nibelungen-Bierradtour (Nibelung beer cycling tour) is just the thing for anyone wishing to experience the Nibelung myth from a somewhat different perspective. The tour travels from Speyer to Worms and is part of the Electoral Palatinate Beer Route established in 2011. The route comprises 23 breweries, from Neustadt an der Weinstraße to the northernmost point of Worms. You should also already note down the 1–3 June 2018, during which Worms will briefly oust Mainz as capital of Rhineland-Palatinate, since it will be hosting Rhineland-Palatinate Day, the major state festival.

Mainz

You can now discover Mainz, the capital of Rhineland-Palatinate and the only German member of the internationally renowned Great Wine Capitals network, in the comfort of the new, bright-yellow 360° cabrio bus. The hop-on, hop-off bus tour of the city, held simultaneously in several languages, lasts 90 minutes. There are a total of 16 stops, all located in close proximity to Mainz’s main attractions and monuments. Perhaps this could also be a transport option during the main summer event, the Mainz Wine Market (24–27 August and 31 August to 3 September). In 2018, Mainz commemorates the 550th anniversary of the death of Johannes Gutenberg, whose invention of the printing press paved the way for the mass distribution of Martin Luther’s reformation theses. Preparations for the varied programme of events celebrating this great anniversary have already begun.

Koblenz

The world-famous Deutsches Eck, the spectacular cable car up to Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, and home to one of the most popular youth hostels in Germany, Koblenz is not only a popular destination for many river cruise ships, but also a meeting place for many cycling enthusiasts. It is where two of the country’s major cycling routes, the Moselle and the Rhine cycle routes, intersect. Bikes are therefore the ideal way to discover the city. Why not rent an e-bike? There are plenty of rental stations. ‘Weindorf’, an establishment on the idyllic banks of the Rhine erected on the occasion of Rhineland’s 1,000th anniversary, is an ideal place to relax. ‘Tal toTal ’, the cycling event par excellence, will take place on the 25 June. The Middle Rhine Valley will be a car-free zone starting from Stolzenfels in Koblenz. Summer is a time for cultural indulgence, particularly the ‘Horizonte’ world culture festival (14–16 July), the International Juggler and Cabaret Festival (28–30 July) and the great Koblenz summer festival culminating in the Rhein in Flammen (11–13 August).

Trier

Raise your glasses and celebrate, preferably at the open-air musical event Porta³ on the penultimate weekend of June! According to a recent study by the online travel platform TravelBird , Porta Nigra, a landmark of Germany’s oldest city, is the 18th most published German landmark on Instagram. Visitors can learn more about the ‘secret of the Porta Nigra’ during a special guided tour. A centurion in gleaming parade armour takes visitors back to the days when Rome ruled the world and the emperor in Trier determined the fortunes of the empire. Suddenly, spectators are plunged into those turbulent times – and not just as passive observers! The Romans also brought wine to Trier, an event commemorated by the wine festivals in the districts of Zurlauben on the Moselle promenade (7–10 July) and Olewig (4–7 August), with live music and culinary specialities, every summer.

Idar-Oberstein

Idar-Oberstein is the main point of departure for a trip along the German Gemstone Route. Established in 1974, this 48-kilometre route now connects all the places shaped by gemstone processing. Germany’s current Chancellor’s famous black, red and gold necklace originates here. Visitors can look over the shoulders of craftsmen in more than 60 polishing mills, immerse themselves in the fascinating world of gemstones, prospect for gemstones themselves or learn the art of jewellery design in hobby courses. Or how about a mine tour, including an ‘underground’ wine tasting of six high-calibre Nahe wines? The German gemstone route traverses one of the most attractive German low-mountain-range landscapes, which is why the town is also connected to a network of special hiking trails – simply follow the signposted route (Traumschleife Saar-Hunsrück and Nahe-Felsen-Weg). The German Gemstone Cutter and Goldsmith Market is a major event in summer (5 and 6 August).

Neustadt an der Weinstraße

Cycling events are a Palatinate invention, so it is no wonder that hardly any other German holiday region has as many festivals for cyclists, inline skaters and hikers. The most popular event is surely the Erlebnistag Deutsche Weinstraße, which annually attracts several hundred thousand visitors on the last Sunday of August and will be held for the 32nd time. Only a few areas in Germany are favoured with such a good climate as the Palatinate. Figs, kiwis, almonds and chestnuts are produced here, and of course fine wines. It is no accident that the Palatinate Rhine plateau is known as ‘Germany’s vegetable garden’. No wonder then that there are several farmers’ markets in the Palatinate, where locals and visitors can delight in the abundance of the Palatinate’s natural resources. The next one will be in Neustadt on 5 November. We recommend a ride on the historic steam train Kuckucksbähnel (from May to October) for the nostalgic and the romantic. ‘Travelling wine tasting’ and St Nicholas rides are only available with advance notification!

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