Kaiserstuhl, literally translated it means Emperor’s Chair, is a hilly region northwest of Freiburg. One of its greatest attractions is its beautiful vineyards. Locals will proudly tell you that the vines are some of the oldest in Europe. They believe the vineyards originate from plants brought across the Mediterranean from Mesopotamia in ancient bible times.
The rich fertile soil of the Rhine valley has indeed produced many award winning wines. If you enjoy wine then take a day or two to visit many of the small cellars for wine tasting. Many of the winemakers are also the farmers and they will happily share with you the history of their wines.
The railways are a great way to explore the area. The train timetables are designed in such a way that you almost have to stop en route for wine tasting. It’s a relaxed and enjoyable way to explore the region. For a special treat you can board a vintage steam train that will take you through Kaiserstuhl’s scenic vineyards. For a round trip you can return on a leisurely cruise boat down river.
Of course if you prefer, you can simply opt for a leisurely boat cruise down the Rhine. Operating throughout the summer season this is a great way to take in the beautiful scenery of the region.
Bicycling is a popular way to explore the many quaint towns and villages as well as the countryside. There are several routes that have been designed around specific cultural interests. Maps are available so you can easily plan which route you would like to follow. Stop for a steaming cup of coffee at a roadside café and watch local town life unfold before you.
It is also possible to do a multi-day tour combining cycling and hiking routes. String several of the themed routes together or take an escorted and guided tour of the area.
Getting out from the towns and cities there are many hiking trails which form a network across the countryside. The tall trees of the majestic Black Forest provide welcome shade as you explore the forests.
The Kaiserstuhl has species of wild orchid that can be found in the countryside. Several of the hiking trails follow routes that specifically seek out these beautiful flowers.
The Nature center in the Black Forest offers guided walks. In this way you can learn all about the area without having to scan the pages of your guide book. It’s not only the flora that’s of interest, the legendary emerald lizard and many species of birds can also be seen on your explorations.
For something a little different, you can take a guided canoe trip down the Altrhein. Following the tributaries as you wind your way through the forest undergrowth you can watch the many birds as they flit between the trees. Fishermen can also enjoy some good angling along the river banks.
There is no lack of places of cultural interest in Kaiserstuhl. The historic towns of Endingen, Wyhl, Vogtsburg, and Breisach make for interesting meandering. Magnificent old buildings and a detailed history will keep you entertained in tales of Kings and Emperors from yesteryear.
For a bird’s eye view of the Kaiserstuhl you can view the magnificent forests, vineyards and meandering rivers from a 1920’s bi-plane or a hot air balloon. Sailing above the landscapes it is a great way to end a tour of this area.