In March and April, spring spreads a blanket of colour over the southern Palatinate in Germany. Glimmering in pink and white, it immerses the landscape around the German Wine Route in a magical world of flowers and fragrances. Stroll along the paths where the almond trees blossom and you will literally be looking at nature through rose-tinted spectacles, knowing that winter is finally over. The best way to experience this natural sensation is on one of the many hiking trails flanked by these blossoming trees.
When is almond blossom season in the Palatinate?You don't have to go to Mallorca to see almond trees in blossom – especially if the Palatinate is closer to where you live and as it can also be reached by motorhome or caravan. The natural beauty of the Palatinate in southern Germany is inspirational enough for a trip in spring. Moreover, festivals, wine tastings and activities are held here to celebrate the almond blossom. So what are you waiting for? Simply park your mobile home or caravan under a tent of pink flowers. You won't be able to experience almond trees that blossom so magnificently as they do in the Palatinate anywhere else in Germany. The German Wine Route region, with its romantic vines, castles and traditional wineries, is worth a trip in any season. But the pink springs are truly special. The Palatinate Almond Weeks run from early March to late April. Every almond blossom season is slightly different, but the main flowering period is usually between 20th March and 10th April.
How and where can you experience blossoming almond trees in the Palatinate?
There are many almond trees in and around the village of Gimmeldingen – more than 2,500 to be precise. They have been celebrating the Almond Blossom Festival here for several decades now. Visitors can learn about the history of the almond trees while in the midst of a sea of flowers. Culinary specialities are sold at the stalls and each year an “Almond Blossom Queen” is crowned, her duties include planting a young almond tree. But the festival not only revolves around the almond blossoms, it is also a wine festival where local wines from the surrounding vineyards can be tasted. Visitors can also take part in daily guided tours along the Almond Trail where they can learn a lot about this fruit. Lasting roughly two hours, they end at the King Ludwig Pavilion – a popular vantage point that King Ludwig I of Bavaria used to enjoy visiting. The date of the Almond Blossom Festival is generally set at very short notice: the decision whether the festival will take place the following weekend or not is made on a Monday after a certain amount of flowers or buds have opened. It is, therefore, worth checking the Almond Blossom Festival website regularly or to sign up to the organiser's email notification list.
After the Almond Blossom Festival was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to coronavirus, the city decided to cancel the festival once again in 2022. And the COVID-19 situation is not solely to blame: up until 2019, the Almond Blossom Festival had slowly become a mass event. Much too large for the capacity of a village as small as Gimmeldingen – not least because of parking and mobile home pitches. This is why the authorities are looking into what the Almond Blossom Festival could look like in the future and are even thinking of making it significantly smaller. The aim is to put the spotlight back on the almond trees and nature.
Our Freeontour tip: if you are planning on visiting Gimmeldingen during the Almond Blossom Festival, look for a pitch or campsite in the neighbouring towns and villages and then cycle to Gimmeldingen. Or simply go on a hiking or cycling tour through the natural surroundings to avoid all the hustle and bustle.
Time to get active: hiking and biking tours along the Almond Trail
The Almond Trail is perfect for anyone who wants to combine the almond blossom season in the Palatinate with an outdoor activity. The Almond Trail stretches 77 km through a valley of almond blossoms and is suitable for both hikers and cyclists. The Palatinate Almond Trail begins in the village of Bad Dürkheim and goes through Wachenheim, Deidesheim, Königsbach, Gimmeldingen, Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, Maikammer, Edenkoben, Gleisweiler, Klingenmünster, Gleiszellen and Bad Bergzabern to Schweigen-Rechtenbach. You can obviously start your route in Schweigen-Rechtenbach and cycle or hike the other way around. Apparently, the entire tour is of medium difficulty for hikers. However, two of the five stages are easy to walk as it is relatively flat. You can see each stage in detail here. If you prefer to hike single stages, you can take the regional train from various locations back to the starting point.
Round trips during the almond blossom season
If you would rather return to your motorhome or caravan without taking any other means of transport, there are a number of circular walks through the pink sea of blossoming almond trees that you can choose from. At Edenkoben you will find three circular walks and a circular cycle route. The shortest route through the almond groves is 4.5 km long and takes about one hour to walk. The longest hiking route is 8.2 km long and takes about 3.5 to 4 hours. There is a longer cycle route (13.3 km) that also starts in Edenkoben and goes through vineyards, fields and almond groves. Another circular hiking trail starts in Maikammer. It is 12.5 km long without any notable slopes and goes past almond groves and almond alleys, beautiful viewpoints as well as historical attractions and monuments. Detailed descriptions of the almond blossom round trips can be found here.
Other highlights during the almond blossom season in the Palatinate
Not only the almond blossoms shine in various shades of pink during the Palatinate Almond Weeks, which will take place from 1st March to 18th April in 2022. Since 2010, the palaces, castles and wineries on the German Wine Route have also been bathed in a pink and white light during the Almond Weeks. Historical attractions include the Wachtenburg ruins in Wachenheim, Hambacher Castle, Trifels Castle near Annweiler, Landeck Castle in Klingenmünster and the German Wine Gate in Schweigen-Rechtenbach. They all have their own magic – the almond blossoms are aglow during the day and the historical walls at night. Another special event is held during the Almond Weeks: “Vino Lumino” will take place on 2nd April 2022. A number of wine shops in the region will be cast in pink. Rosé wine and dishes made with tasty almonds can also be savoured. And if you don't feel like getting behind the wheel of your mobile home or car after enjoying some wine, then you can book the panorama bus to take you to "Vino Lumino".
The events for the Palatinate Almond Weeks in 2022 have been provisionally announced – dates and cancellations may be made at short notice subject to the pandemic situation and even the participation requirements under coronavirus restrictions can change very quickly. You can see an overview of the events planned for the 2022 Palatinate Almond Weeks here.
What is the origin of the almond blossoms in the Palatinate?
In addition to wine, the Romans also planted almond trees in this area of the Palatinate, which is known for its mild climate and fertile soil. The trees, usually native only in the Mediterranean region in Europe, have been thriving here ever since. In the 16th century, the Bishop of Speyer had thousands of almond trees planted as they were considered the most important type of fruit tree then. Many place names such as "Gimmeldinger Mandelgarten", "Edesheimer Mandelhang" or "Birkweiler Mandelberg" still bear witness to the long tradition of almond trees in the Palatinate. Most of the trees are of the pink blossoming "Pearl of the Wine Route" and the white blossoming "Dürkheimer Krachmandel" varieties. However, you will also be able to find the "Princess Almond" and "Palatina" varieties. Traditionally, after the almonds have been harvested, they are used to make regional products such as almond bread, almond chocolate or almond ice cream. If you are here during the Almond Weeks, don't leave without trying these delicious specialities.