Surrounded by vineyards on all sides, Bad Dürkheim has a long tradition of winegrowing. Dating back nearly 600 years, the Dürkheimer Wurstmarkt is billed as the largest wine festival in the world and attracts more than 600,000 visitors. Bad Dürkheim also features the world's largest wine barrel, which is actually a restaurant. Thanks to the seven mineral springs in town, Bad Dürkheim was officially recognized as a spa town in 1904. Visitors come to Bad Dürkheim to breath in the salt air at the 330-meter long saline graduation tower. Another highlight is the Kriemhildenstuhl, the best preserved Roman quarry north of the Alps. The city also has a casino with the world's largest roulette wheel and a football-sized ball.
Situated between Frankfurt and Heidelberg, Bensheim is the largest town in the Bergstrasse district. Protected by the Odenwald, the Begstrasse is the smallest of Germany's 13 winegrowing regions and is the home to many family-owned vineyards. Bensheim and its nine districts together have a population of about 40,000. Looming over Bensheim is the medieval Auerbach Castle, once the summer residence of the royalty. Nearly all the buildings are in their original state, and the castle can be reached by car or on foot. The castle is surrounded by a park, which is also home to the oldest redwood tree in Germany.
One of the most important of the wine-growing villages along the German Wine Route is Deidesheim. The neighboring village of Forst produces what many consider to be the best wines in the Palatinate region. The Deidesheimer Hof was a favorite restaurant of former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and he often invited visiting heads of state for a meal of his favorite dish (Saumagen) and local wine. The market square, alleyways and gardens of this historic town are all worth exploring, as well as the numerous vineyards. Deidesheim is also one of the founding members of the German Cittàslow movement, which seeks to improve the quality of life through ecotourism. In August, Deidesheim hosts Weinkerwe, one of the largest wine festivals in Rheinland-Palatinate.
Visitors to Frankenthal are greeted by two monumental gates at the southern and northern end of town. The baroque Gate of Worms and Gate of Speyer harken back to Frankenthal's historical significance as the "Third Capital of the Electoral Palatinate". The center of the city is the historic town hall square, which features numerous cafes and open air markets. Every year in June, Frankenthal stages the Straw Hat Festival (Strohhutfest), one of the biggest street festivals in the Palatinate which attracts up to 250,000 visitors over four days. Frankenthal is also an ideal base for touring the Rhine-Neckar region and the nearby German Wine Route.
Located on the Rhine River between Speyer and Karlsruhe, Germersheim is a picturesque town with an international flair. More than 2,200 students from over 100 countries come to Germersheim to study at the School of Applied Linguistics and Cultural Studies, which is affiliated with the University of Mainz. Because of its strategic importance, Germersheim has a long history as a military post. In 1831, a major fortress was built - complete with a moat. Today, the Fronte Beckers fortress serves as a museum for both military history and local history. During the summer months, concerts and other cultural events are held at the fortress.
Heppenheim is the center of the Bergstrasse, one of the most picturesque winegrowing regions in Germany. Heppenheim's old town surrounds the historic marketplace and includes a number of well-preserved half-timbered houses. Thanks to the favorable climate and good soil conditions, high quality wines are produced in vineyards in and around Heppenheim. Heppenheim has a population of about 25,000, but the most famous son is Sebastian Vettel, who has won the Formula 1 Championship three times.