Electoral Palatinate: Places to Visit

A complete list of all the places I consider worth visiting.

Palatinate: Places to Visit
Justin Bunch | CityscapeTravel My suggested travel destinations with the top three destinations highlighted.

List of Places to Visit

DestinationTypeDescriptionScore out of 5
HeidelbergCityLegendary Old Town, despite the tourists still one of the prettiest towns in Germany. The castle ruins are famous for their influence on the romantic movement but the baroque architecture of the city is among some of the most influential in the Rhineland.3.5
SpeyerTownA small, but well preserved old-town surrounds massive Imperial Cathedral. As the largest remnant of the Salian-Romanesque style, it inspires primarily through its size. It would define Rhenish architecture for centuries. Less noticed is the wood-paneled Lutheran church, the last surviving example of ts kind.2.5
MeisenheimTownOnce the capital of a small palatine county, Meisenheim is home to one of the most fairy-tale old-towns in Germany. Boxed in on all sides by forest, you can overlook the sea of houses crowed by the late Gothic Castle Church, one of only a few built in the Frankfurt style.2.5
MainzCityIt is testament to the beauty of Mainz that even suffering near catastrophic annihilation in WWII, it preserves enough streets, squares and buildings to be worth visiting. From the high fortress, the mighty Staufen-Romanesque cathedral to the many lovingly restored Baroque churches, there is a lot to see.2.5
OppenheimVillageAn overlooked gem of the Rhineland, Oppenheim charms with its winding half-timbered streets, romantic castle ruin and spectacular French-Gothic church. 2
WeinheimTown Full of winding streets of half-timbered houses, Weinheim spreads over a small hill underneath a ruined castle, providing wonderful views at each corner.2
GundelsheimVillage with CastleLocated in the dramatic Upper Neckar valley, Gundelsheim is surrounded by castles and forest. Make sure to cross the river for the best views.2
Bad Münster am SteinVillage with Natural LandscapeThere isn't much town to explore here, but the location remarkable for its colossal red sandstone cliffs and castles dotting the surrounding landscape.2
HeppenheimVillageA quiet village on the Bergstraße north of Heidelberg, full of monuments to 19th century romanticism, a fairy tale village.2
Burg TrifelsCastleOnce a mighty fortress of the Staufen Dynasty of the mid 13th century, it once housed the King of England as prisoner and watched over the Imperial crown jewels for centuries. Though nothing of the interior survives, its location makes it one of the most dramatic castles in Germany.2
Bad WimpfenTownWith its foundations in a 13th century palace, its medieval cityscape overlooks the Neckar perched on a cliff overlooking the river.2
OtterbergMonasteryThe largest monastery church in the Rhineland-Palatiante and one of the largest Romanesque churches in Germany. Built at the end of the Staufen Empire, its late Romanesque style is unique and shared only with the Cathedral of Bamberg.2
DilsbergVillage with CastleOne of only a few walled hilltop villages in Germany. Its fairly epic to look at from a distance, and worth the hike up to the top.2
LadenburgVillageOne of the nicest overlooked towns in the Palatinate. It has a fantastic cityscape of Renaissance and Baroque half-timbered houses.2
NeckargemündVillageAnother hidden gem on the Neckar valley, with a beautiful collection of baroque half-timbered houses and spectacular views of Dilsberg and the Neckar Valley.2
Bad KreuznachTownThe old center of Bad Kreuznach is a charming trip back into the 19th century, complete with medieval bridge adorned with half-timbered houses. Unfortunately, much of the city was destroyed in WWII and by later ill-fated urban development. Its worth a quick visit if you have the time.1.5
SchwetzingenTown with Palace and GardensA remarkably preserved town from the 19th century and one of the largest intact Baroque gardens in Europe. The palace itself is small, but for a trip in the spring to see the flowers is worth the time.1.5
KaiserslauternCityKaiserslautern is a city of the 19th century, and some of its outer neighborhoods have the best preserved historicist avenues in the Palatinate. The inner old town was mostly destroyed in the war and during the 1950s, but there's enough for a charming afternoon.1.5
EberbachTownA charming town with architecture from the Baroque and Historicist periods.1.5
HirschhornVillage with CastleA town on one of the more dramatic bends of the Neckar River, with a castle perched high on a cliff overlooking the valley. 1.5
MosbachTownOnce an administrative center for the County Palatine, today it has a charming, but small old town complete with church and half-timbered market houses.1.5
Hochheim am MainVillageA beautiful old baroque town between Mainz and Frankfurt. It has some of the best places to get wine in this part of the region.1.5
LorschVillage with Monastery RuinsThere isn't much here except for the monastery ruins. What makes these special is the Carolingian Gatehouse, the highest quality and best preserved example of this style and as a result included on the UNESCO register of landmarks. Nevertheless, its a pretty niche destination.1
MannheimCityOnce the capital of the Palatinate, Mannheim once claimed the most spectacular examples of German baroque, historicist and art nouveau architecture. None of this as survived to the present day and aside from the Palace there is nothing to see here.1
WormsCityWorms was once a great city of churches and medieval avenues, until the war. Not WWII, but the Nine-Years-War in 1697, when the French reduced the city to rubble. The town never recovered, but just to be sure the British bombed it a few more times. There's nothing here except the cathedral.1
SobernheimVillageThough having one of the nicer old-towns on the Nahe, this says more about the Nahe as a destination than about Sobernheim. The main sight is the parish church with a rich collection of medieval frescoes.1
GermersheimTownGermersheim is a quaint little town, but the main thing to see here are the reconstructed portions of the city fortress, the only such defensive structures to have survived in the Palatinate.1
BruchsalTown with PalaceThe town itself was annihilated in WWII and literally nothing survived. The Palace has been lovingly reconstructed and is worth visiting.1
Burg LandeckCastle RuinOne of the more interesting castle ruins in Germany, possess not only an intact curtain wall, but also elements of later Renaissance fortification.1
Festung HardenburgCastle RuinOne of the largest castle ruins in the Palatinate, it has an extensive Renaissance fortification ring in addition to the large ruin itself1
Bad DürkheimTownLimited old-town due to wartime destruction, but in a convenient location to see nearby castles.1
StaudernheimVillageHome to a monastery ruin and an excellent open-air museum. Not much to see in the town itself.1
KuselTownA remarkably preserved 19th century town full of high quality historicist architecture. Not much else to speak of though.1
ThallichtenbergCastle RuinTechnically the largest castle ruin in the Palatinate, there isn't much to it however. Still kind of cool.1
StrombergVillageA charming village in the Hunsrück with a late Romanesque chapel.1
Gau-AlgesheimVillageA charming village near Mainz, might be worth a visit1
IngelheimVillageA charming village near Mainz, this one has a fortified church and the remnants of a high medieval imperial palace.1
Neustadt an der WeinstraßeTownThough it has some charming corners, less of Neustadt survived than I would have appreciated. It is noteworthy for retaining its divided church, one half for Protestants and the other for Catholics.1
GrünstadtVillageJust a nice village, maybe consider driving through. It's basically a relatively intact 19th century village.0.5
AlzeyTownOnce an inland center of trade, it did not survive the war. There are still a couple of nice streets, but overall not worth visiting.0.5
KirnVillageThough once it may have been beautiful, alas it is not anymore. The castle ruin is kind of cool, but not much else to say.0.5
Idar-ObersteinTownOne of the greatest disasters in German urban planning. Once a beautiful village with its cliff-side church and romantic castle ruin overlooking the Nahe. They paved over the river and turned the ruin into a hotel. Much of the old town was dismantled as well, leaving nothing but sadness and depression.0.5

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Electoral Palatinate

Once the heart of the medieval Holy Roman Empire, it was put to the torch by its many enemies. Today only enigmatic monuments betray its past glories.

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