“Experiencing” for yourself the beauty of the countryside along the Vennbahn under your own steam and far away from crowded roads is an unforgettable trip through three natural landscapes: In the north, woodland and meadows await you, as far as the eye can see. Distinctive water landscapes, rare species of plants and animals and, to top it all, a picture-book nature reserve are to be found on the high moors of the High Fens. In between, and particularly in the southern part, the low mountain ranges of the Eifel and the Ardennes form an impressive backdrop.
And the best thing about it? Whether on your own, in a group or with the family, the relative flatness of the Vennbahn means that even the less well practised won’t get out of breath too quickly.
The gently undulating hills to the north of the Vennbahn are suffused with picturesque wildflower meadows and ancient woodland, and characterised by hedgerow landscapes.
Take some time out at the forest stream, out of the sun under the shade of the trees. Simply unwind, listen to the ballads of the forest and lose track of time.
Kornelimünster, with its lovely churches and old bourgeois houses, the former abbey and today’s museum, provides the perfect backdrop for a leisurely stroll. Outstanding art treasures, the historical fête “Historischer Jahrmarkt”, the “Korneli-Oktav” event featuring music and religious services and the Christmas market are good reasons to pay a visit to the former pilgrimage site. The restaurants and cafés in the romantic alleyways attract both locals and guests in equal measure.
The moated castle of Raeren rises above the village with an air of resilience. The castle is home to the pottery museum of the village from which stoneware was exported all over the globe from the 16th to the 19th century. Over 2,000 exhibits document the erstwhile significance of the pottery factories. The self-assured craftsmen did not mince their words. In around 1590, Jan Emens-Menneken, Raeren’s most famous potter, adorned his tankards with ribald sayings criticising the church – which visitors can read for themselves on one of the jugs displayed in the glass cabinet. In addition, Roman and contemporary ceramic works from the Meuse–Rhine Euroregion forge a historico-cultural bridge from the ancient world until the present day.
Nestled among the rich greens of the Eifel woodlands, visitors are drawn to the deep blue water of the Rursee. Unwind on the soft, lush grass of the banks. The Rursee provides the ideal environment for a relaxing excursion while offering many possibilities for recreation. With a capacity of 205 million m³, it is one of Germany’s largest dams and an absolute paradise for watersport enthusiasts since the possibilities are virtually boundless.
The roof of Belgium, unspoiled and secluded, presents itself as a natural link between the surrounding landscapes of woodland, meadows and low mountain ranges.
This wild and mythical high moor landscape with a unique blend of Nordic character and the endlessness of the Serengeti will soon have you captivated by its ancient evolutionary history.
Vibrant activity within old walls, a mediaeval townscape with idyllic half-timbered houses, narrow alleyways and cobbled streets. Monschau is the cultural centre of an entire region and one of the most popular destinations for holidays and day-trippers in the Eifel. Its location, far removed from through roads and the turmoil of war, enabled the town to develop an infrastructure – by and large without any impediments – for the production of high-quality woollen cloth in the 17th century. The building stock of the town centre from the cloth-making period of the 17th and 18th century, including grand bourgeois houses such as the “Rote Haus” and “Haus Troistorff”, which also served as factories at the same time, as well as larger factories in the old part of the town, have essentially been preserved.
It is a long time ago that Robertville was known for its peat cutters, The dam, with which the Warche river was backed up to form a lake of around 198 acres in size almost 90 years ago, has made Robertville a Mecca for those looking for rest and relaxation. Dense forest extends right up to the banks. The Haelen bridge, which crosses the middle of the lake, affords the most spectacular views.
The dam, erected in 1932, resulted in the formation of a lake spanning around 297 acres and has become a veritable magnet for recreational activities. Sailing boats and surfers are a prominent feature there in summer. Visitors are drawn by the sandy shores and lawns for sunbathing on the banks of the lake. Hiking trails and bicycle and mountain bike tours encircle the lake. In a nutshell, a paradise for outdoor and water sports enthusiasts.
A bicycle tour through these rolling hills is a pleasant up and down. The distinguishing feature of the heavily pared low mountain range is its predominant, darker green of the coniferous forests. In contrast thereto, there are grass-green plateaus in the valleys. The countryside is characterised by the lively village life of the region.
The Our valley is an unspoiled river valley deep in the south of East Belgium not far from the border with Luxembourg. In addition to stunning panoramic views, the valley is characterised by lively villages and farms nestled in picturesque settings.
When the Vennbahn cycle path was under construction, bats were discovered in the tunnel near Huldange. At least 13 different species of bat have settled there since railway operations were discontinued, including some rare species unknown in Luxembourg to date. Consequently, the tunnel and the surroundings were designated as a protected area and a bypass for cyclists was put in place.
Reuland Castle dating from the 12th century was a towering complex well into the 18th century. Today’s ruins still measure 55 metres by 65 metres. Besides the actual fortified castle, it also had a castle ring and a moat on two sides with a rampart. Until the early 14th century it served as the residence of the noble Reuland family. The castle boasts a collection of finds from on-site archaeological excavations.