Due to its central location in the Rhine valley Speyer is an ideal base for day trips to the Palatinate as well as to Baden.
Here are some tips:The Palatinate
It is just about 40 km to Bad Dürkheim
on the Weinstrasse with the world-famous barrel, the biggest wine barrel in the world and - in September - the Wurstmarkt ("sausage market"), the largest wine festival in the world. Allow yourself one day on the Weinstrasse, stroll through famous wine villages such as Freinsheim, Forst and Deidesheim. Taste famous wines directly at the winegrowers. Or follow the Weinstrasse to the south to the German Weintor ("wine gate") at the french border - or even beyond to the idyllic Wissembourg in Alsace. Passing famous castles like the Hambach castle
, the "cradle of the German democracy" near Neustadt or the Trifels
above Annweiler, once a dungeon for Richard the Lionheart. And not far from the border, in France, you come across the Maginot Line, a wide-branched system of tunnels to defend the eastern border from the 1930s.
you can dive into an oppressive underground world.
You would like to go for hiking? In the Pfälzer Wald there are hundreds of marked hiking trails, so you can explore nature for hours. A good start may be Kalmit
and the Hohe Loog Haus
of the Palatine Forest Association, to be reached after about 35 km - a half hour drive by car - via Neustadt and Maikammer. Plus hiking, of course.
For children and young at heart, the Holiday park
near Haßloch is always worth a visit as one of the largest theme parks in Germany.
What about a "Roman day"? Close to Bad Dürkheim you find at Wachenheim
the excavations of Roman villas, open to public as open-air museums. And in the "Krimhildenstuhl", a Roman quarry above Bad Dürkheim, you stand in the middle of the rocks from which the stones were once beaten for the villas.
Or attend the small, cozy zoo in Landau
in the South Palatinate. On the way there you can pass the wet meadows of Ottersheim and Offenbach, a refuge for countless storks. And on the way back a detour to the ostrich-farm
You would like to stay nearby and spend a lazy day? In Römerberg-Mechtersheim at the large bathing lake you can rent a kayak and float by the "jungle" of the old branches of the Rhine.
On Baden side, of course, a visit of Heidelberg with his castle
is a must, which you will share with all Japanese and Americans visiting Europe. You reach Heidelberg after about 30 kilometers. A journey upstream the Neckar Valley in the direction of Ebersbach is quite attractive. Tip: Have a cup of coffee on the terrace of Hirschhorn Castle! Great view.
Halfway to Heidelberg you will pass Schwetzingen. The Palace of Schwetzingen
is famous far beyond the country's borders for the beauty and harmony of its gardens. Its diversity can still be admired in its original state. The famous Versailles near Paris served as a model.
A Mecca for fans of motor sport is the nearby motor racing center at Hockenheim
, racing fever not only during the Formula One events.