Hiking The Vineyards!

One of the things I absolutely love most about Germany is the focus on being outdoors.  The minute the weather is decent (which for Germans seems to be anytime the thermometer tops 50 degrees Fahrenheit!) you will see locals sitting outside at cafes, spilling out into the many squares, and of course, hiking!

Ready for some walking and some wine!

Ready for some walking and some wine!

Germans do take hiking seriously, but that doesn't mean they aren't into having fun while doing so.  Seems at the top of nearly every hill is a biergarten or restaurant just waiting to satiate your hunger and thirst.  It's a great motivator!

This is why I'm so excited to introduce my newest tour: the Stuttgart vineyard wine hike!  If you love the outdoors and love wine, you really owe it to yourself to take this tour, which "officially" premieres this Sunday, April 13th.  I'll give you an in-depth virtual tour of what you'll see:

We start in the suburb of Oberturkheim, which is an easy, 10-minute ride on the S-bahn from the Stuttgart main train station.  We meet right outside the station at 12:10 p.m.  From there, we walk just a few blocks to the restaurant of the Winery Zaiss.  This restaurant, the "Sonnenbesen", is not only a great place to get a viertel of their excellent wine, but also has some of the best Swabian food in the whole area at very reasonable prices.  

Panoramic view from the Rotenberg

Thus fortified, we begin our climb - just about 15 minutes uphill, past the beautiful 15th-century church, up into the vineyards.  From there, we'll descend through fruit orchards in full bloom to the charming village of Ulbach, which has been a center of wine production for over 500 years, and is home to some of the region's most prestigious wineries.  Here we'll either stop for a private tasting, or enjoy a glass of local wine on the leafy patio of a local restaurant, and take a brief tour of the Weinbau wine museum, with ancient presses. 

The Grabkappelle

Then it's time to climb uphill again, as we skirt up the vineyard-covered sides of the Rotenberg mountain (more of a big hill, really!)  This used to be the site of the Wurttemberg's ancestral castle, before it was destroyed in a war in the 1300's forcing the Wurttembergs to relocate to what is now downtown Stuttgart's Alte Schloss.  At the top of the hill today is the Grabkapelle, a beautiful mausoleum created by King Wilhelm I as tribute to his beloved wife Queen Katharina, who died tragically young.  Admission to the Grabkapelle is included in the tour price.

After enjoying both the views and this moving tribute to eternal love, we'll start our descent to our next stop, a lovely outdoor besen for a glass overlooking the Neckar valley.  It's all downhill from there!  We'll finish at the Unterturkheim train station sometime between 5:00-6:00 p.m., where we'll hop back on the S-bahn towards the Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof.

I've personally done this hike four times in three different seasons, but in my opinion, Spring is when the scenery is at its best!  So grab your hiking shoes and make a reservation!  Space is limited on a first-come, first-serve basis.  All the details can be found here.  Hope to see you on Sunday!