Pfalz and wine go hand in hand. This region of vineyards and picturesque villages is the home of the German Wine Road and the country's greatest wine festival at Bad Dürkheim. Six of Germany's 13 wine-growing regions are in the area.
The Pfalz has a mild, sunny climate, and that seems to affect the mood here, too. Vines carpet the foothills of the thickly forested Haardt Mountains, an extension of the Alsatian Vosges. The Pfälzerwald (Palatinate Forest) with its pine and chestnut trees is the region's other natural attraction. Hiking and cycling trails lead through the vineyards, the woods, and up to castles on the heights.
The border between the Pfalz and Rheinhessen is invisible, but you begin to get a sense of Rheinhessen's character soon after crossing it. It's a region of gentle, rolling hills and expansive farmland, where grapes are but one of many crops; vineyards are often scattered miles apart. The slopes overlooking the Rhine between Worms and Mainz—the so-called Rhine Terrace—are a notable exception, with a nearly uninterrupted ribbon of vines, including the famous vineyards of Oppenheim, Nierstein, and Nackenheim on the outskirts of Mainz.