History Lovers Love Wine and Bad Durkheim

History Lovers Love Wine and Bad Durkheim

It’s almost time for one of my favorite festivals in Germany. The Durkheimer Wurstmarkt wine festival in Bad Durkheim is the largest wine festival in the world. Yup– big reason to go, right?  But you don’t have to wait for the festival to enjoy Bad Durkheim. Located on the German Wine Road where you can enjoy lovey wine walks along the Deutsche Weinstrasse, there are dozens of great wineries to visit all year-long. And don’t limit your visit to satisfying your taste buds either. The city also has some impressive Roman ruins. Both wine and history Lovers will Love Bad Durkheim.

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What’s to Love Bad in Durkheim

Roman Ruins

The area boasts some of the greatest Roman ruins and historic sights north of the Alps. There are numerous wine festivals, most notably the largest wine festival in the world, the Durkheimer Wurstmarkt. Bad Durkheim is surrounded by vineyards, rolling hills, and meadows of golden mustard flowers lining the historical German Wine Trail (Deutsche Weinstrasse). The roads around Bad Durkheim have a few notable architectural wonders to see.

Don’t forget your GPS. Then, stop by the tourist information center on Schlossgarten Strasse for a map. The history is vivid but can be difficult to find. The ruins of Kloster Limburg overlook the nearby suburb of Grethen. Once inhabited by hundreds of people, the barren-shell of massive red-brick currently houses very loud nests of screeching birds.

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German Wine Road

This year’s Durkheimer Wurstmarkt wine festival is September 7 – 11 and September 14 – 17. In addition, they discovered a Roman wine estate in a suburb north of Bad Durkheim. History and romance come together. Among the finds was an ancient Kelterhaus (pressing house). A romantic wine festival is held on this historic site every year, in late June. Watch for signs to Villa Weilberg, to the left of the Wine Road.

Travel northwest of the city and you’ll come across a few pre-Christian structures and artifacts.

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Wine in and around Bad Durkheim

Situated between Kaiserslautern and Speyer, Bad Durkheim is the original historic capital of the area. And although wine growing started here in the 1700s, the wine road through the Palatine is not nearly as well-known internationally as the Mosel or Rhine River—providing a unique experience for the wine traveler.

Some of the wineries, 144 of them near Bad Durkheim alone, offer wine tasting and bed and breakfast lodging. Just follow the signs and you may even knock on the door to find yourself standing in someone’s private living room.

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History and Bad Durkheim

Adjacent to the parking lot is the entrance to the prettiest part of town, the Schlossgarten (palace gardens). The Schlossgarten is a collection of small parks; each decorated with its own fountain or elaborate flower display. Colorful half-timbered houses and stately statues encourage you along the paved walkway as stout shade trees hover above park benches to allow you to take a respite from the summer sun. Keep walking through the Schlossgarten and you will end up at the Kurhaus (cure house).

Taking the Salt Cure

Named for its seven mineral springs, Bad Durkheim (Bad is German for bath) was officially acknowledged as a state-approved spa town in 1904. The Kurhaus is a popular neoclassical remnant of those early days that offers salt and spring water cures as well as modern spa treatments and a casino. Every year in August, the Riesenroulette (Giant Roulette Wheel) is set up in the spa park as part of the Kurparkgala. It is the world’s biggest roulette wheel and uses a ball the size of a football.

Follow the Schlossgarten Strasse back to the main parking lot full of salty air.

The History of Salt in Bad Durkheim

Take deep breaths and stroll alongside the Bad Durkheim graduation, often referred to as the “graduation” or “Saline”. The Saline is a symbol of the town and is definitely a cultural monument you can’t afford to miss, especially if you’re seeking treatment for a respiratory ailment. Originally there were 5 in Bad Dürkheim, built as far back as 1736 as a way to separate salt from the river water. The remaining structure was built in 1847 and is more than 330 meters long—one of the longest in Germany. The Saline is popular with the locals and visitors who enjoy the saline tang in the air that re-creates a seaside ambiance.

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Abbey and Monastery Roman Ruins

The 9th century ruined Abbey sits at the edge of the Palatinate Forest. Emperor Konrad II laid the cornerstone in 1030. Supposedly on the same day that he laid the cornerstone of the Kaiserdom in Speyer. However, the monastery was never completely rebuilt after a fire in 1504. History comes to life. During the summer, it’s a majestic backdrop for open-air performances. Grab a snack on the tree-shaded terrace of the Klosterschänke restaurant. It’s right next to the ruins and has a great view too.

13th-Century History

The massive ruins of 13th-century Burgruine Hardenburg can be seen from the monastery, 3 km/2 miles west via B-37. In its heyday, it was inhabited by more than 200 people until a fire devastated it in 1794. The hike up to the castle is quite challenging though. Consequently, the view of the German Wine Road is phenomenal.

The Heidenmauer & The Teufelsstein

The Heidenmauer or Heathen Wall is a remnant of a great Celtic settlement complete with a 2.5 km-long ring wall. Built about 500 BC, the wall is up to 20 feet thick in parts. Rock drawings on the ruins date back to 400 AD.

The Teufelsstein is both the name of a hill close to the city of Bad Durkheim and of the monolith on top of it: a boulder 2.5 meters (more than eight feet) high and 4 meters (13 feet) broad. Bottom line, this town is definitely a great place to relax, restore, revel and rejoice. And the Teufelsstein (Devils Stone) is a pre-Christian sacrificial stone altar.

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  1. Ally

    This would be such a cool site to see. I really do love history and visiting historical places, it looks like you had a great time here.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Me too. I love traveling through history. I love using my imagination, trying to see it as must have been centuries before.

  2. duffelbagspouse

    HI Angie, I appreciate your support. Bad Durkheim is an awesome city with something to do for everyone.

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