In the middle of the Rhine and the Neckar valleys in Baden-Württemberg is the compact town of Vaihingen an der Enz. With its white hilltop castle — Schloss Kettenstein — sitting high to one side and surrounded by woodlands and farmland, it is like a picture from a storybook.
With a history dating back from the 8th century, its no wonder that this peaceful setting is so alluring. With the lows hills in the distance to the lively winding river through its center, it is the perfect location to relax in and take a break from the rest of the world. :-)
Due to its proximity to the fertile valleys on both sides, Vaihingen an der Enz certainly has a part to play in the local wine business — mainly reds. With several productive vineyards across the area, take time to make a visit to one if you are there in the height of the growing season in spring or summer.
Alternatively, visit over winter for a taste of the new vintage during the local Besenwirtschaft — where vendors hang a broom outside their home or store to declare their wares. Many wine growers also offer meals to visitors, including local Swabian recipes. You should certainly taste them for yourself for the experience, and its a great way to keep the tradition alive.
Just to the north west of Vaihingen, in Maulbronn, is the amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Maulbronn Abbey. A one-time Cistercian Monastery is one of the best preserved of its kind outside of the Alps. It gives a great insight into monastery life making it an essential part of any cultural tour.
For those wishing to spend time outdoors, head north to the low hills of the nature park Stromberg-Heuchelberg to trek in the highlands and spot vineyards in the distance on the Württemberger Weinstraße. Another tourist route — the Half Timbered Road — runs through the picturesque village of Riet on the banks of the Enz river.