How much wine could you possibly fit in 135km? I’ll tell you, thirty-plus small towns and villages (some with less than 300 residents) that you’ll find along the Nahe Wine Route, or Naheweinstraße, in the Rhineland-Palatinate.
This is a driving route, and we all know that drinking & driving doesn’t mix. So either find a designated driver or expect to take a while to complete the entire thing. But, a smaller 98km cycling trail runs parallel to the Nahe Wine Route, in case you’re interested in traveling by this mode of transport.
The Start Of The Nahe Wine Route
The Nahe Wine Route starts in the former Roman town of Bingen am Rhein, more precisely in its Bingerbrück district. On top of its 40 vintners, there’s a Villa Rustica (an old Roman building), a Roman graveyard, a stunning basilica, and an island tower built because of a villanous bishop.
It’s also home to the Monastery Rupertsberg whose former abbess, Hildegard, created 30 remedies from wine.
Oh, we’re off to a good start, aren’t we?
Our next town is Münster-Sarmsheim, where wine grapes have been grown since the days of the Romans. Other sightseeing here would include visits to the Old Customs House (now a vineyard), its 15th century church, 16th century Rathaus, and if you’re lucky you’ll be here for the Sts. Peter & Paul Church Kerb in early August.
Eighteen wineries await you in Rümmelsheim. This town has 144 hectares dedicated to growing (mostly white) grapes, so the scenery — and its Burg Layen — are the real highlight here.
Waldlaubersheim might be close to the 10th century Castle Stromberg, but it’s its seven wineries that give it its place on the Nahe Wine Route.
The same number of wineries await you in Schweppenhausen, as does many half-timbered houses, a former synagogue, and Jewish cemetery.
Over in Windesheim you’ll find the Organ Museum, Clock Museum, and a charming chapel, and a wine walking route that follows along the best of the town’s vineyards.
In Guldental there’s a Vineyard Museum, which is part of the Local History Museum; and a lovely Baroque church from the 18th century.
Look, another castle! Burg Gutenberg (built circa 1200) might be a ruin, but you’ll love it just as much as you will all the wine houses and vineyards.
Wallhausen has two wine festivals, so if you can’t make the Red Wine Fest in May — you can try for the Wine Festival at the end of August. Can’t make either one? It’s alright… just take lots of pictures of the many half-timbered houses or visit the 18th century church and Jewish Cemetery instead.
Oh, wait — sorry, Wallhausen’s August Wine Festival is in the village of Sommerloch (another town on this wine route). It also plays host to a fun, wine drinking church festival in September; and has a number of Nordic Walking trails.
Braunweiler’s motto Wald, Wein, und Wandern (Forest, Wine, and Hiking) says it all — a fantastic forest with lots of hiking trails to get lost in (not really lost — but lost from the stresses of daily life) and all the wine you could possibly drink. It’s also a pretty good place to party with a Potato Festival (Oct), Forest Festival (July), Fire Festival (August), and a Cherry Fair in July.
Life doesn’t get much better than this on the Nahe Wine Route.
It does, however, get a bit quieter in the next town Sankt Katharinen — a municipality of only around 350 people, who are greatly outnumbered by all the grapes. ;-)
Mandel, while not a huge city (population 880), has plenty of vineyards, wineries, and two wine festivals. It’s also close to Castle Koppenstein — for a proper castle ruin visit.
Both Sponheim and Burgsponheim have their own respective wineries, but you’ll find castle ruins (Castle Sponheim), a 12th century church, and hiking & biking trails in the Sponheimerweg in the Naturpark Soonwald between them.
Bockenau is a nice place to stay the night, as its Guesthouse Dockendorf offers a nice place to stay (it’s got a beer & wine garden). After a restful night’s sleep, look around at all the framework houses and its 18th century Baroque church.
Here’s where the Nahe Wine Route gets a bit tricky. The route follows to the village of Daubach, which is actually part of the “collective municipality” of Bad Sobernheim. Doesn’t sound so bad yet? Wait.
There are actually four other villages of Bad Sobernheim (not including the town proper itself) on your journey — but, I’ll do my best to break them down individually.
Starting in Daubach you’ve got a fun Wine & Hike Weekend every August, but also an annual wine festival. Merxheim, another one of the spa town’s wine villages is just charming — especially its 15th century Rathaus. And lastly is Meddersheim, where you’ll love the Wine Festival at the end of August every year.
I would suggest heading off to one of Bad Sobernheim’s many spa treatments right about now, but a stop to the ruins of the Kloster Disibodenberg should be first.
Actually, the monastery technically belongs to the village of Odernheim am Glen, just as the Wine Festival (September) does too. In Staudernheim there’s a former synagogue and a 19th century Protestant Church to see — and a Barefoot Path to do. Nice.
Too bad we’re almost at the end of our trip — I’m rather enjoying all the wine. Delicious! ;-)
Auen is next up with the 1000-year old chapel known as the Willigis-Kapelle. It’s also got a Kneipp area to soak your tootsies after exploring the hundreds of hectares of vineyards.
Hmm, visit the eight wineries in Monzingen or the thousand year old St. Martin Church? Both! In celebration of wine, Monzingen holds a yearly Wine Festival in mid-September.
Wine drinkers rejoice, as 85% of the Duchroth’s grapes are of the white variety. But, I’m taking an educated guess that you’ll find something you like at one of the town’s 11 wineries. If not there, then at the annual Weinfest, for sure.
Looking for a romantic spot? I suggest the bridge over by the mill pond in the village of Norheim. Don’t stick around too long — you’ve got five more towns to go.
For which Bad Münster am Stein-Ebernburg (aren’t we Germans just crazy for long names?) is one of them. Let’s see… natural rock formations, a 14th century castle (hosting a Medieval Market in September), and a Wine Festival in July. The town’s name might be really long, but you don’t have to say it, just visit it. ;-)
Bad Kreuznach is the motherlode of all the towns on the Nahe Wine Route. Spa services await you after a day (or two) visiting the Faust House, the mosaics of an old Roman Villa, and hiking one of the largest wine growing regions in the state.
As if Bad Kreuznach isn’t perfect enough, it’s got to throw in a 5-day festival, half-timbered houses, a castle, and 15th century houses built right over the bridge to top it all off.
Bretzenheim doesn’t have that many attractions, but its 17 wineries and mid-August Wine Festival will more than make up for it.
The last two towns on this circular route will bring you to Langenlonsheim and the village of Laubenheim. The former has a yearly wine festival at the end of September, 14 wineries, and its very own Wine Queen. The latter having 13 wineries to add to the equation.
For all of Germany’s many wine-themed scenic routes, the Nahe Wine Route has to be one of the most idyllic. And I guess I answered my own question about how much wine could one pack into 135km. ;-)
Nahe Wine Route Web Site
Here is a Web site dedicated to the Nahe Wine Route and the Nahe wine region as a whole.