For many people, hiking springs to mind when they think about taking a trip to the Eifel or the Ahr. But the region has much more to offer. For many activities you often need no more than a bit of curiosity and some provisions.
There are some beautiful places for a day trip not too far from your front door. If you want to get away from it all, the Eifel offers plenty of leisure activities – whether you’re alone, with friends or with the family.
The giant bench in Heimersheim
There’s lots to see along the Ahrsteig. One unusual sight the giant bench (“Riesenbank”) in Bad-Neuenahr-Ahrweiler / Heimersheim that has been there since April 2014. From Oberzissen, you’ll reach it by car if you follow the signs to Burg Olbrück. There are small steps to help normal-sized people to climb onto the bench, and once you’ve made it there’s space for the whole family. The trip is definitely worth it for a quirky photo.
Location: Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler / Heimersheim
The Laacher See
Between the Rhine, the Moselle and the Ahr, Lake Laach (Laacher See) is nestled in the largest nature reserve in Rhineland-Palatinate. Where volcanoes were active 10,000 years ago, today you can enjoy pure nature and tranquillity. Whether you’re hiking, cycling, jogging or going on pilgrimage - the well-signposted routes let you immerse yourself in nature and enjoy the beautiful landscape. The monastery restaurant will reopen after renovation work in March 2022.
Location: Laacher See (about two kilometres from the A61 exit).
Costs: The only costs are parking fees for the public car park. For cars up to a height of 2.30 metres, the first half hour is free of charge. After that it’s 1 euro for the first hour and 3 euros for the second. Then the daily maximum of 5 euros applies. For higher vehicles, the ticket costs 2 euros more each time.
Schwanenteich animal enclosure
If hiking alone isn't enough for you, you can find variety at the Schwanenteich (Swan Pond) Animal Enclosure near the Bad Bodendorf Ehrenfreidhof (soldiers’ cemetery). About 200 animals of various species live together on the grounds here. Cute raccoons, cheeky goats and majestic peacocks, to name but a few animals, can be visited, photographed and sometimes even petted. There are no opening hours for the animal enclosure; the grounds are designed so that you can walk past the enclosures at any time. However, the flood disaster destroyed the grounds, so the park has not yet been able to return to regular operation.
Location: Talendweg 14, 53489 Sinzig
The Cheese Grotto
The Cheese Grotto (Käsegrotte) is really called the Elf Grotto (Elfengrotte). But 50,000 years ago the lava piled up here in such a way that it looks as if wheels of Gouda cheese have been piled up. To get to the grotto, you follow an old lava flow. The 2.4 km walk leads along narrow and wide paths along the Üssbach. Behind the grotto, you can observe a waterfall that plunges into a picturesque pool. The path also leads along a high crater wall and various caves.
Location: Bad Bertrich
With its mix of motor racing and a host of other events, the Nürburgring, aka the Green Hell (Grüne Hölle) is always worth a visit if you’re planning a day trip to the Eifel. After a two-year Coronavirus break, "Rock am Ring" is back again in 2022. Formula 1 will not be hosted in the Eifel this year - at least not for the time being. But there are numerous trackdays or driving trainings at the Nürburgring, such as the Nürburgring Formula Courses. That's why there have been "contactless tourist drives" on the Nordschleife since 2020. The most demanding racetrack in the world is waiting for you with a length of 20.83 kilometres, 73 curves and 300 metres altitude difference per lap. Anyone who drives their car here needs special skills, caution and, thanks to Coronavirus, an appointment, which they can book online at www.nuerburgring.de/greenhelldriving.
Location: Otto-Flimm-Straße, 53520 Nürburg
Sculpture River Banks and Secret Gardens
The Skulpturenufer Remagen (Remagen Sculpture River Bank) involves 14 art objects on the banks of the river Rhine stretching 14 kilometres from Rolandswerth to the town of Remagen. The project was developed together with the Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck to mark the 2000th anniversary of the town of Remagen. Anyone looking at the sculptures should also make a stop at the "Secret Gardens Rolandswerth". They are part of the Skulpturenufer of Remagen and were created from the once stately park of the Villa Hentzen. The seemingly overgrown grounds are located on the corner of Parkstrasse and Weingärtenstrasse between Bundesstrass 9 and the Rhine.
Location: Rolandswerth, corner of Parkstraße/Weingärtenstraße
The Volcano Express
A journey on the historic Brohltalbahn is more than just a train ride. It is deceleration and a technical and natural adventure. The journey with the vintage trains takes you through the volcanic landscape of the Laacher See region and overcomes around 400 metres in altitude between the Rhine and the Eifel.
Further information, prices and timetables at www.vulkan-express.de
The Fairytale Forest in Bad Breisig
In the Fairytale Forest (Märchenwald) you will find a some of the most beautiful Grimm fairy tales. The artist Willy Zeh has recreated them from old originals in a child-friendly way and with lots of detail. The moving and talking figures are handmade. At the push of a button, they each narrate a scene from a fairy tale. Konrad Beikircher has lent them his voice.
Venue: Am Kesselberg, 53498 Bad Breisig, Germany
Admission: 5 euros for adults, 4 euros for children
Wallender Born: Cold water geyser
Every 35 minutes, a fascinating spectacle takes place in the small village of Wallenborn: the only cold-water geyser in the volcanic Eifel, the Wallende Born, spews metre-high fountains from the earth. Suddenly, a fountain with nine-degree cold water shoots into the sky, bubbling upwards for six minutes. Then, just as suddenly, the spectacle is over. The 3.5-kilometre Brubbel Trail follows the Wallenden Born. The information points along the Brubbelpfad provide insights into the village life of Wallenborn, the dialect of the village and the special features of the landscape.
Visiting times: As a rule, the geyser is open daily from April to October from 9 am to 7 pm. From November to March it is also open to the public. Admission can be paid into the small cash box at the kiosk.
Daun Game and Adventure Park
The Daun Game and Adventure Park is in a natural area in the Volcanic Eifel. An eight-kilometre-long car route leads through this landscape of forests, streams and gorges: Families with children can experience animals up close here. There are stops with viewing platforms and feeding places. The Daun Game and Adventure Park has mouflons, wild yaks, llamas and nandus, red deer, fallow deer, wild boars and more. In a gorge covered with ancient beech trees, which can be explored on foot, Barbary macaques cavort and eye up the visitors.
From 15 March, summer operations will start under 3G regulations.
Location: Wildparkstraße 1, 54550 Daun-Pützborn
Translation: Jean Lennox