The Palatinate holiday region, located in the south of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, comprises four holiday regions. The Palatinate Uplands with the Donnersberg in the north, the Palatinate Forest Nature Reserve in the west and the Rhine Plain in the east envelop the holiday area of the German Wine Route.
And if this alone wasn't complicated enough, the German Wine Route holiday region is also sub-divided into two separate areas: the Central Haardt in the north and the Southern Wine Route in the south. This sub-division is ultimately politically based. The northern region consists of the district of Bad Dürkheim and the municipality of Neustadt a.d.W., and the southern region of the Southern Wine Route district and the municipality of Landau.
Both regions are picturesque, beautiful and charming. But how do the Central Haardt and the Southern Wine Route differ?
The Central Haardt region has long been famous for its wine. The Renaissance and Baroque architecture of its major buildings, the design, position and size of which are similar to palaces, is impressive. The very large estates lead up to the edge of the forest: Forster Kirchenstück, Deidesheim Paradise Garden and Bad Dürkheim Michelsberg to name but three. Wine has had a long tradition here in the Central Haardt since the 16th century. Just as exhaustive are the other pleasures to be found: four starred restaurants compete for the honour of being the best. And yet you can also enjoy exceptionally good and regional cuisine in inns, wineries and wine taverns. All this is to be found in the Central Haardt: a magnificent wine-growing region, pretty villages, and at higher levels, the forest with many castles and Hambach Castle.
And what sets the Southern Wine Route apart? In the last three centuries, this part of the Wine Route was occupied by the French again and again. Traces of this can still be found: in the small settlements, in the way the people take life as it comes to them. Everything is just a bit more rural and sleepier here. There are fewer grand buildings here and the view over this country is expansive and impressive, more like a fairytale land. The vineyards are sweepingly large and finely undulating, the houses and lanes charming and romantic, with the Palatinate Forest watching impressively and mysteriously over them. The wine-growers, who were gently kissed out of their slumber some time ago, have suddenly started to produce some spectacular wines. The culinary artistry and holiday mood are second to none. The Southern Wine Route, small and picturesque with major ambitions.