Germany's Highlight: Winnweiler

Germany's Highlight: Winnweiler

by Amanda Palumbo
Stripes Europe

Anytime someone finds out I live in Germany, they assume I travel every single weekend, dine nightly on schnitzel in a castle while drinking Bier in a Dirndl seven nights a week. One of those is correct. 

Traveling to a famous European destination every weekend simply isn’t possible or economical but there are several hidden gems hiding in your own backyard. Beautiful Winnweiler is small in size but mighty in experiences. Just a 20-minute drive or 35-minute train ride north of the Kaiserslautern area, there’s something for everyone.

For the history buff 

Winnweiler is home to the Jewish Museum of the North Palatinate, a museum dedicated to the rich Jewish history in the Pfalz starting in the 1600s all the way through World War II. Just down the street is the Synagogue Memorial Stone dedicated to the synagogue burned down by the Nazis. 

If you have “visit a really old castle that sits on top of a former volcanic vent” on your bucket list, you can check that off here. Now ruins, the Falkenstein castle was first mentioned in 1135. The ruins are just 10 minutes north of Winnweiller and you guessed it, sits on top of a former volcanic vent. French troops blew up the castle in 1647 and it was finally destroyed 20 years later in yet another battle. Now the ruins serve as a backdrop to a number of festivals and even a Christmas Market. 

For the outdoorsy type

Winnweiler is considered the “Gateway to the Donnersberg” and is a starting point for a number of trails that weave through the forest and mountains. You can save leg day for the Pfälzer Höhenweg (Palatinate High Route). It’s a trail with monster hills and beautiful sites, including the area’s highest elevation. 

If you’re more likely to have fun on two wheels, you can hit the Alseztal Cycle Route, a 30-mile stretch that starts in nearby Alsenborn, which takes you through Winnweiler and ends near Bad Münster. The trail moves along the river and through dozens of small picturesque villages where you can stop and take a break. 

For the fun-loving social butterfly

It’s Germany, so naturally, there’s a brewery. If you’re a craft beer snob, look no further than Schnorres Brewery. Located in a former butcher shop, these Winnweiller brewers specialize in small craft beers. They even offer tastings in their taproom which ends with a Palatine Worscht & Cheese Platter. If you’re beer shopping in the Pfalz, you’ve likely seen their brews. They’re the ones with the big black mustache logo. 

The Winnweiller community knows how to throw a party. Several festivals are held here each year including street food festivals, fire shows, beer fests, medieval festivals and Christmas Markets. This introvert loves Winnwiller festivals because where you can avoid the ridiculously large crowds and actually find a seat to enjoy your beer and brat.

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