THE WÜRTTEMBERG WINE CYCLE PATH: Red, red wine
Known as Germany's premier red wine region, Württemberg is all about picturesque half-timbered towns, vine-covered landscapes, wineries and rustic taverns. See them along the 350-km / 217-mile Württemberg Wine Cycle Path
(Württemberger Weinradweg). With 6 stages, the route from Niederstetten to Rottenburg am Neckar weaves through pretty valleys dotted with small towns. Some are busy, such as Bad Mergentheim, with its ancient castle and tales of knights of old. Others are sleepy, like Niedernhall, with its medieval half-timbering. Famous attractions include the university town of Tübingen and Stuttgart, the bike-friendly capital of SouthWest Germany (and Germany's only major city with its own winery). You’ll see the picturesque Remstal valley, Ludwigsburg with its magnificent Baroque palace, and Heilbronn, Württemberg's oldest wine town. Württemberg‘s famous red wines include Trollinger, Lemberger and Schwarzriesling (pinot meunier or Müllerrebe). Also unusual is Schillerwein, a local rosé with origins in the Middle Ages. Unlike most rosés, this is made by blending red and white grapes prior to fermentation. Meet the locals and learn about their wines at one of the region’s many wine festivals, often called ‘wine villages’. It’s a great way to relax after a day of cycling! And, of course, where there is good wine, there is always good food!
SPECIAL: An authentic local Württemberg experience is enjoying an informal drink and meal at Besenwirtschaften. Like pop-up pubs run by winegrowers, these are open for a few weeks in spring and autumn. Look for a witch-like broom (Besen in German) on a house or by the road. The wine must be straight from the vineyard; dishes must feature local produce.
Start: Niederstetten, 90 min northeast of Stuttgart
Finish: Rottenburg am Neckar, one hour southwest of Stuttgart