Things to do in Germany
The top 10 destinations in the Westerwald
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When you visit the Westerwald, you have an array of activities to choose from, whether hiking or cycling, feasting on traditional cuisine or enjoying refreshing beverages. Many of the innumerable beautiful sights in the Westerwald can be combined within a single day trip or can be used to make up an exciting, active holiday lasting several days.
Here are our top ten of these activities.
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Everyone will love these 18 sections, which form part of a longer circular trail near Bad Marienberg: adults and children alike can experience how different the various materials feel on the bare soles of their feet. They range from wood chips, natural stone paving, lawn, and bark mulch through to fir cones, and many more. The mud at the end is a highlight of the experience – and you can wash your feet afterwards. The barefoot path is accessible all year round. The spa gardens also offer a host of other attractions, such as a Kneipp wading pool, concerts on the shell-shaped stage or the apothecary’s garden. The oldest part of the town, the Marienquelle, is just outside the part, and well worth a visit.
In 1931, the mine near Steinebach/Sieg was closed after more than 200 years of operation, but it came back to life in 1986. Today, it is one of the few exhibition pits in Germany that can still be accessed. Children's birthday parties and weddings are often held here. A variety of stations (some with multimedia components) provide information about the ore, the hard working conditions underground and the route that the ore took once it had been mined. This makes a visit to the exhibition mine an enjoyable experience for young and old alike. Afterwards, the beautiful surroundings, along with the nearby forest and nature trail, tempt visitors to make further discoveries.
Foto: Andreas Pacek, Touristik-Verband Wiedtal e.V.
The Herbstlabyrinth cave near Breitscheid is an extensive system, but only the “Knöpfchenhalle” is open to visitors. However, it is a very large space and offers wonderful views of the many stalactites that can be discovered there. Breathtaking forms, which can otherwise be found around the globe, are brought together here in large numbers. The cave is considered a main tourist attraction as “Europe’s first stalactite cave with a comprehensive LED lighting concept”. This special lighting concept ensures that your walk through the history of the earth becomes a bona fide tour of discovery for young and old.
There is no doubt that the brown bears that call this park home are one of its main attractions. In addition, there are fallow deer, eagle owls and a petting zoo, meaning that the whole family will have a great time. If you don’t fancy walking down the hill, you can use the mobile railway. Failing that, there is also a 400-metre long summer toboggan run available. An adventure playground and barbecue area are also on offer for guests to uses, and if that weren’t enough, you can even take part in a game park rally. As a result, you can have a lovely day here while making the most of the various opportunities for staying active. There are also a good number of hiking trails in the immediate vicinity of Gackenbach, which you can explore on the other days of your stay.
This fixed rope route near Döttesfeld was the first of its kind in the Westerwald. It is quite challenging, but it’s also bags of fun: over a length of 300 metres, you have to overcome an altitude difference of 80 metres on very different parts of the trail. Good footwear and professional equipment are a must, and you take on the ascent at your own risk. The via ferrata is located by the WesterwaldSteig so you can simply continue your path from this point, especially if the via ferrata is closed from time to time. There are also other circular hiking trails around Döttesfeld, encompassing various distances and degrees of difficulty.
One of the best things to do in Germany is visiting one of the many castles and forts. Casemates are vaults reinforced by walls and earth, which were used for defence. The casemates near Dillenburg date from the 15th and 16th centuries and are part of an amazing fortification complex on the castle hill. Visitors can take a guided tour to learn all there is to know about the history of the complex, finishing off by visiting the 62-metre deep Lion’s Den well and the Rubens prison. There are also several hiking trails around Dillenburg, such as the Rothaarsteig, the WesterwaldSteig and the Lahn-Dill-Berglang-Pfad, including additional routes. Dillenburg is also home to a game park in the Donsbach district and a historic spa garden.
The clay mining museum near Siershahn portrays the history of clay mining in the Westerwald, where this raw material has been mined since the Middle Ages. At first there were open bell pits, with mines and open-cast mining following later. One of these original pits, the “Gute Hoffnung”, can be seen in the museum today. In addition to this highlight, there is an exhibition on the creation of the clay deposits prior to their use by humans and their subsequent recultivation. If you like, you can also partake in a short hiking tour: at Siershahn, the surroundings are perfect for exploring on foot.
The climbing forest near Bad Marienberg promises a great adventure and bags of fun. Ten courses and over 100 climbing elements between three and twelve metres high await you here, offering a tempting opportunity for beginners and advanced climbers alike. In addition, there is a team course and a sports climbing wall, so there’s plenty of variety. Put on your helmet, fasten your climbing harness and off you go! Children aged three and above can enjoy their first climbing experience here, with children aged six and above able to climb to loftier heights. There is a lookout tower and a revolving restaurant in the immediate vicinity of the climbing forest. And if you still haven't had enough, you can enjoy a hike on the well-maintained paths around Bad Marienberg.
Here, children are free to let loose and enjoy their adventures: this playground even offers barbecue areas and is open all year round. Bring along balls and a badminton set! The Dreifelder Weiher is also nearby, which is part of the Westerwald lake district. Plus, there is a café & restaurant called “Haus am See” where you can have breakfast. Hiking trails tempt you to explore the well-signposted routes. For some people, the playground is a place to take a lengthy break, while for others it is suitable for a half-day excursion (the afternoon could be spent in the café with a coffee and some cake).
Höhr-Grenzhausen is part of the Kannenbäckerland, which takes its name from its huge clay deposits. The products that can be made from this raw material are shown in the ceramics museum, which is the largest of its kind in Europe, at least. You can explore this german tourist attraction with its 2500 square metres via a chronologically organised tour: start with the origin of the clay itself and end with contemporary ceramics to travel through almost five centuries of ceramic history across four levels. One focal point is the well-known salt-glazed stoneware in a greyish blue hue. From the museum, it is not far to the forest with its hiking trails: how about a visit to the castle hill in Grenzau?