With lakes, mountains, forests, rivers and castles, this region is so packed with things to do. Perfect for families and couples alike, read on to find out why you should be interested in this hidden gem!
During springtime, thousands of yellow daffodils spread a huge flowerbed across the fields and meadows. In summer you can sunbathe on one of the lakes and in autumn the wooded hills change into the most beautiful autumn shades. Finally, in winter you can ski down a white pack of snow – you can discover the Eifel National Park in any season. To the east of Luxembourg and Belgium lies the German Eifel, an impressive nature reserve of crater lakes, hills, forests and meadows. This is the birthplace of the famous beer brand Bitburg and the mineral water Gerolsteiner.
The biggest crowd-puller of the Eifel is nature itself: the volcanic lakes, the national park and the beautiful panoramas from the hills are a feast for the eyes. Every now and then you come across an ancient castle and as if that were not enough, the various towns also look like they come directly from a fairy tale. Below I will tell you more about the most beautiful sights of the Eifel.
Eifel National Park
If you have not been to the Eifel before, it is not strange to think that Eifel National Park and the Volcanic Eifel are one and the same. It seems only logical that the volcanic craters are located in the National Park. However, from the national park to the crater lakes it is about an hour’s drive away. Eifel National Park has five official gates to the park. Black storks, wild cats and many deer find their home here. The Rursee, Obersee, and Urftsee provide a varied landscape and on the Rursee you can take a boat trip with different moorings. The national park is one of the few places in Germany where you can see the milky way with your naked eye. A special attraction in Eifel National Park is Ordensburg Vogelsang. Here the Nazis indoctrinated their recruits in racial theory. Today the castle is a museum from where you have a magnificent view of the surroundings. one last tip for sightseeing near this national park is the grab bird station in Hellenthal, where air shows are given with impressive birds of prey.
The Volcanic Eifel
Ten thousand years ago, there were still large plumes of smoke hanging above the Eifel. The volcanic activity in the area has left a great legacy behind. 350 volcanoes and crater lakes and numerous mineral springs are located in the area around Daun, which has been named a UNESCO world heritage site. In the volcano museum, you can find out more about the volcanoes and crater lakes in the area. One of the top wonders to discover in the Eifel National Park.
The most beautiful places in the Eifel
One of the most beautiful places in the Eifel is Monschau. This former cloth weaver city is characterized by the typical German half-timbered houses and location on the Ruhr. The most famous building in the town is the Rock House with its world-famous spiral staircase of Oak and rococo interior. It used to be home to a rich family of weavers. The medieval town of Bad Münstereifel also has beautiful half-timbered houses and an almost entirely preserved city wall. Stroll through the picturesque pedestrian area and take a whiff of the “fragrance street” near the Pharmacy Museum. Towering above the Grand Market in the village of Mayern is the castle of Genoveva. The Eifel Museum is located here, where you can learn all about the origins of the region and its volcanoes. The castle also has a surprise in store, because under the castle is a mine where minerals and slate used to be extracted. Take your trip underground to take a look here as well.
Other interesting places you really don’t want to miss:
The historic centre of Stolberg with its half-timbered houses and impressive castle.
The castle of Nideggen with stunning views over the valley
The cold water geyser of the Wallender Born – here the water sprays out of the ground approximately every 35 minutes, after which it can be enjoyed for a while.
The castles of Manderscheid, where only the river Lieser kept the fiercely controversial boundary of the territories of the different rulers apart. A wonderful sight.
Euskirchen is not only home to Badewelt Euskirchen, one of Germany’s most beautiful thermal baths. You’ll also find the LVR Industrial Museum, where old steam engines and huge looms are exhibited, and you can see how loose wool was used to make cloth in the Tuchfabrik (cloth mill).
Hiking in the Eifel
In the Eifel, you will find hiking trails of all sizes and with beautiful names, from Traumpfad to Teufelspfad. Walk around the castle of Eltz, one of the most beautiful castles in Germany, or take the route along the lakes of the Volcanic Eifel. For children, there is the 1.5-kilometre long exciting Wilderweg , a nature park in Eifel National Park with ten interactive stations. Here, young and old alike can learn all about the plants and animals that live in the Eifel. The most famous hiking route is the Eifelsteig, a 313-kilometre long hiking route in 15 stages, which runs from Aachen to Trier. The sunlight shines through the trees while you walk up and down the hills through the woods. Cool down by one of the clear streams and then continue, along rivers, over the heathland, and through the meadows. The spectacular panoramas along the way make the trip a delight for the eye.
Gurutip: the tourist office has made a overview of the most amazing things to see in the Eifel. Enjoy the beautiful panoramas!
A visit to the Eifel is especially worthwhile in spring. An elongated yellow carpet of six million wild daffodils turns an area of 280 hectares into a beautiful work of art. At the end of April, a large daffodils festival takes place. South of Monschau, you can walk a special route through the Perlenbach Valley that lets you witness this in all its glory. You take a guided tour to see this beautiful natural spectacle. In the Olefdal, the Daffodils blossom to announce the coming of spring.
Cycling in the Eifel
The Eifel is ideally suited for a cycling holiday. You’ll cycle along former railway tracks, rivers and even to the peaks of the Eifel, where you’ll enjoy breathtaking views. A large part of these routes is unpaved fields and forest paths, far away from passing traffic.
Nowhere else does it cycle as beautifully as downstream along the rivers. The Erft cycle route runs continuously downhill from Nettersheim nature village (the middle point of the Eifel) to Neuss. The route is 108 kilometres long in total. A bike ride along the Ruhr will also take you past beautiful places, such as the castle of Nideggen. This 161-kilometre long route starts in Belgium, then winds into Germany and ends in Roermond. Some of the most beautiful routes through the Eifel run along former railway tracks. You don’t need to worry about cars or other motorized traffic and you can enjoy the tranquility and beautiful nature that the Eifel has to offer. This way you drive on a forest path, then again you drive meters high on an impressive route. One of the family-friendly routes is along the Dreimühlen waterfall.
There are also themed routes, such as the Eifel-Höhen route (203 kilometres), which starts at Urft. It may take some effort to conquer the hills of the Eifel, but the panoramas on the summit are very worthwhile. Once the summit is reached, it goes down very fast, after which you cycle through forests and highlands and even encounter some gorges. A shorter route is the volcano park cycle route with a length of 33 kilometers. Along the route, you can stop at various places, such as the German volcano museum.
Mountain bikers also get their money’s worth in the Eifel. Not only do the unpaved forest paths form a course, but the mountain bike park of Huertgenwald also ensures hours of cycling pleasure.
Accommodation in the Eifel
It will not take much effort to find a nice hotel or a holiday home in the Eifel. From traditional hotels in a picturesque town like Monschau or, a chalet near the crater lakes at Daun or even to a holiday home in the middle of nature. There is plenty to choose from. For a relaxing, luxurious holiday, a stay at the thermal baths and spa is ideal. You will also find comfortable holiday homes in the holiday parks of Center Parcs and Landal. For the campers among us, there are plenty of campsites in the area. In the evening you can make a campfire and watch the stars in the Eifel! If you’d like to escape into nature, you can reserve a place in one of the four hiking stations. After a walk through nature, you’ll arrive at the tent platform, which only has enough space for two tents. You can book one of these unique places for €10 per night at Hiking-Eifel in Nettersheim.
The weather in the Eifel
With an average of around 23 degrees all summer, you can spend a wonderful summer holiday in the Eifel. But take a jacket with you because in the evening and in the higher altitudes it can cool down, even in the summer. With seven to eight hours of sunshine a day, you can sunbathe on one of the lakes in the Eifel. There’s no better way to work on that tan than by a beautiful lake.
In the Eifel are several lakes where you can take a refreshing dip:
The Schalkenmehrener Maar in Daun: you can swim in the largest of the three crater lakes around Daun!
Outdoor swimming pool Pulvermaar in Gillenfeld: one of the deepest lakes in the country with 74 meters. Pulvermaar has a beautiful round shape and is situated in the middle of a forest.
Lake Echtz in Düren: here you can sunbathe on the beach and a large lawn. Also on the terrace overlooking the lake is a good place to stay. Cheers!
Lake in Düren-Gürzenich: this lake used to be a lignite quarry. Now you can swim in it and enjoy the weather.
Also in Lake Kronenburg and the Einruhr nature experience pool, you can dive in and cool down!
You can go hiking and biking in the area in spring and autumn. Occasionally it can rain and thunder but as soon as the air is clear again it can be wonderfully fresh. The winter in terms of temperature is about the same as those in our sometimes chilly country with the difference that there is less (on average) rain in the Eifel. In winter it can occasionally snow and you can even ski in the mountains of the Schnee Eifel, appropriately called Snow Eifel. You can ski near Daun, Monschau, in the Hellenthal and on the ski slopes of the Schwarzer Mann and the Wolfschlucht at Prüm.
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Experience an active holiday in the Eifel
I am sure you will enjoy the beautiful Eifel. This special nature reserve deserves much more hype! With these tips you will certainly not get bored. Have you ever been on holiday there? Then I’m curious what your insider tips are!
This is of course one of the many hidden gems that I’ll be sharing with you during my spotlight on North Rhine-Westphalia this week, so be sure to keep checking back for even more inspiration!