Region At the beginning of spring, when things start to blossom, nature is a big attraction for hikers. But off the beaten track, there are numerous day trips to take you exploring in the surrounding countryside. Here are some suggestions.
With milder weather finally making an appearance, there are many opportunities here in the region and beyond to get out and explore. Whether it’s a hike through a meadow of flowers, going with donkeys through the Bliesgau Biosphere Reserve, taking in the peaceful beauty where the Saar meets the Mosel River, or visiting ceramics markets and festivals, here are some of our suggestions.
Visit Schenkenschanz (Kleve)
Sheep are grazing on the meadow in Schenkenschanz (today known as the town of Kleve) on the Lower Rhine, but it was once a scene of strife. During the 30-year war, the small town was a contested fortress. Anyone who speaks enough German and wishes to immerse themselves in the story can be guided by the milkmaid Änneke Schenk through Schenkenschanz “island” and learn a lot about the life of Martin Schenk and the 425-year history of the former fortress Schenkenschanz. But for non-German speakers, a visit to the historic baroque gardens is worth a stop, as well as a visit to the British cemetery (Reichswald Forest War Cemetery) for RAF and other allied military graves, and there is a small zoo, (Tiergarten Kleve) great for kids.
Contact: 02821/84806, www.kleve.de
Special exhibition “Nackte Tatsachen” (Naked Facts)
The Roman baths in Zülpich are considered to be the best preserved antique bathhouse north of the Alps. The attraction sees itself as a "museum of bathing culture". After all, 2,000 years of sweating happened here. But the curators are also thinking outside the box and have an upcoming exhibition on nudism in the formerly divided Germany. It begins March 11 and translated to English it’s called "Naked Facts". In short: Those in the west - “Wessis” wore their swimming trunks in the Italian resort town of Rimini in the 1950’s, while those in the east - “Ossis” went nude on the island resort of Rügen in the east. On exhibition are old photos, bathing suits and hygiene articles.
Contact: 02252/838060, www.roemerthermen-zuelpich.de
Where: Andreas-Broicher-Platz 1, 53909 Zülpich
Opening hours: Tuesday - Friday 10am to 5pm, Saturday - Sunday 11am to 6pm
Price: Two euros, some qualify for reduced price of 1.50 euros (for the special exhibition)
Place of rest in Konz
Konz is where the 235-kilometer long Saar River meets up with the Mosel River. It’s like a work of art, with a large triangular stone, often with a bird sitting on it. People are invited to enjoy this “place of rest”. The tourism board says that the way the stone is situated, people can stand or sit inside and view the mouth of the river. Further, “When in the stone, it is quieter, and the sound of the water is intensified.”
Contact: 06501/6018040, www.saar-obermosel.de
Where: Konz, on the riverside of the Saar and Mosel
Donkey walk in the Biosphere Reserve
A chance to just unwind, enjoy the moment and take in the view: With a seasonal hike accompanied by donkey this is certainly no problem. The spring hike in the Biosphere Reserve Bliesgau is on April 14, 10am to 2 pm. It begins and ends at the farm Sonnenbogen in Wolfersheim. One passes by fruit trees, fruit tree nature monuments, Celtic graves, orchards and quarries. At the end of the tour, regional delicacies await visitors in the donkey stable.
Contact: 06841/1047174, www.saarpfalz-touristik.de
Where: Hof Sonnenbogen, Wolfharistrasse 75, 66440 Blieskastel - Wolfersheim
When: April 14, 10am - 2pm
Price: adults 29 euros, families up to three children 85 euros, 45 euros for single parents with one child
Walking in a field of blooming crocuses
1.5 million flowering crocuses along the way - The elaborately designed Zavelsteiner Krokusweg is unparalleled. From the beginning of March, the unique spectacle of nature attracts many flower lovers to the Teinachtal. There are special guided tours (in German). Information about the trail, tips for explorers and GPS data is available on the website of Teinachtals. The route length of the Krokusweg is 4.5 kilometers, the altitude goes up to 89 meters.
Contact: 07053/9205045, www.teinachtal.de
Where: Start at Marktplatz Zavelstein, 75385 Bad Teinach-Zavelstein
Pottery in Kannenbäckerland
The Kannenbäckerland, less than an hour's drive from Bonn, has a diverse range of cultural attractions. Worth a visit is the largest European ceramics museum in Höhr-Grenzhausen. Large events display the diversity of ceramics, including the festival "Höhr-Grenzhausen brennt Keramik" (Höhr-Grenzhausen Makes Ceramics) and the ceramic market Höhr-Grenzhausen. A visit to the pottery market in Ransbach-Baumbach (Sat / Sun, October 7 & 8, 10am - 6pm) is worthwhile.
Contact: 02624/19433, 02623/86500, www.kannenbaeckerland.de
Ceramics Museum in Höhr-Grenzhausen: Lindenstraße 13, 56203 Höhr-Grenzhausen, price: seven euros, reduced prices of one to four euros for those who qualify, opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday 10am - 5pm
Höhr-Grenzhausen Makes Ceramics: Easter Monday, April 2, 11 am to 6 pm, more information is available here.
Keramikmarkt Höhr-Grenzhausen: Saturday - Sunday, June 2-3, 10am - 6pm, more information is here.
Pottery market in Ransbach-Baumbach: Sat-Sun, October 7-8, 10am - 6pm, more information is available here.
Astronomy day in the planetarium
Friends of the stars will enjoy this: On March 24, from 2 to 8:30 pm, an astronomy day will take place in the planetarium of the Museum of Natural History in Münster. It's about "The Secret Life of the Stars". Adults and children can experience little star miracles in shows, hands-on activities or readings. And if the sky is cloudless, there is a sky guide in the evening in the outdoor area. The exact program as well as the entrance fees to the individual events is listed on the Planetarium website.
Contact: 0251/59105, www.lwl-planetarium-muenster.de
Where: Sentruper Straße 285, 48161 Münster
(Orig. text: ga.de, ck / Translation: ck)