Just two towns over from France lies the town of Kippenheim, also found along the picturesque foothills of both the pristine Upper Rhine Valley and the mighty Black Forest.
What’s even better, that’s not all Kippenheim has going for it. I should tell you, this town isn’t all that big — just 20 square kilometers — but the place is layered in history, offers super fun festivals, and wine. Oh yeah! ;-)
But, I started all this about Kippenheim’s natural beauty, so maybe it’s best to keep going here.
For some people, their ideal day of rest and relaxation is doing nothing more than casting a fishing line hoping to catch something T-H-I-S B-I-G, and Kippenheim’s fishing lake could very well be the place to accomplish just that.
Would you rather have something a bit more active? No problem, the town’s got quite the extensive network of marked hiking routes and cycling trails — there are even opportunities to try mountain biking.
Whatever you choose to do, you’re bound to work up quite the appetite, so grab something delicious at one of the local eateries. It’ll be even better eating if you’re here for one of Kippenheim’s festivals. Actually, it’ll be better eating and drinking, during the Bockbierfest (1st weekend of July), and the Schmieheimer Kilwi (held at the Palace Gardens) in May.
The festivities don’t end here. The Castle Festival is one of the biggest events — right down to its “medieval” theme with knights-in-shining-armor, jugglers, and beer brewed by the strict German Purity Laws. This is all in addition to the Kippenheimer Weinfest (Wine Festival, 2nd weekend of September), and Christmas Market.
Speaking of drinking, let’s talk about wine for a minute. Not only does Kippenheim have wineries and wine co-ops, but it also lies along the Straussenführer Ortenau, a “scenic route” of sorts that’ll take you to unique wine taverns that are only open for about 16 weeks in the year, like Ackermann’s Keller.
Have I missed anything? Ah, yes, history. And it’s a combination of beer and history combined at the Schlossbrauerei Schmieheim, a staple around town for almost two hundred years.
Just about as old is the former synagogue; built in the 1850s, the center for Jewish life was destroyed in 1938. If you look close enough, the damage of Kristallnacht is still visible. While the synagogue might technically be gone, the town still holds cultural events throughout the year.
What a pleasant surprise Kippenheim turned out to be — a great town that’s so much more than just its location in the Upper Rhine Valley. ;-)