Bergisches Land for families
Reservoirs, discovery trails and secret worlds
Our tips for family days out in Bergisches Land: Unspoilt natural landscapes waiting to be discovered, with a fairy-tale forest and a monkey park among the attractions.
Adventures amid untamed nature
The unspoilt natural landscape of Bergisches Land has always been a draw for hikers and cyclists, but it also provides great opportunities for younger family members to have fun in the great outdoors. The region is known for its dams and reservoirs, which as well as glinting prettily in the sunshine also make ideal activity destinations for families. The popular Bever and Brucher reservoirs have facilities for swimming, sailing, rowing, pedalo boating, fishing and diving. And for those who prefer to stay on dry land, there is plenty of space to relax, play ball games or simply run about. Lifeguard-attended bathing beaches provide peace of mind for water safety. The more adventurous, on the other hand, can find re plenty of idyllic, isolated spots between the trees to enjoy a dip in the water.
A nature walk is always a fun adventure for kids ? and there are plenty of exciting things to discover in Bergisches Land! Several nature discovery trails invite families to learn more about local plants and animals as well as the landscape of the region. The Königsforst soil type discovery trail, for instance, takes in six stations where children and their parents can learn about different soil types ranging from wind-borne sand to peat. Then there is the Milchweg (milk trail), which focuses on the theme of milking cows and the dairy industry of Bergisches Land. Guided tours offering children and adults the chance to hear interesting information and stories about rural and sylvan life or take part in hands-on activities are available at the Oberberg biological field station, among other places.
In some places, the extraordinary natural beauty of Bergisches Land is hidden ? all the better for young discoverers to explore. A visit to one of the region?s show caves will be a treat for older kids in particular. Families will love the guided tours of Aggertal Cave and Wiehl Cave with their naturally-formed sculptures and atmosphere of being in a secret, romantic world.
Another secret world ideal for families awaits in the fairy-tale forest of Märchenwald Altenberg. Here, visitors take a short fairy-tale-themed path through the trees and pass by quaint little houses telling the story of 18 of Grimm?s Fairy Tales. In this forest, Cinderella lives almost next door to Little Red Riding Hood and the Frog Prince ? with all characters wonderfully brought to life thanks to modern technology. A pushchair-accessible path ensures that the littlest family members don?t miss out.
Monkey park and open-air museum
There is no zoo in Bergisches Land because there is one nearby in the city of Wuppertal (Bergisch Three). There is, however, a place where visitors can have entertaining encounters with furry and feathered friends: the monkey and bird park in Eckenhagen. The park is home to as many as 180 different species of monkeys and birds. The squirrel monkey enclosure is one of the biggest attractions. Here, the monkeys not only swing from tree to tree but also like to sit on visitors? heads or shoulders. There are also many colourfully feathered birds to admire ? from pink flamingos to magnificent pheasants and parakeets to the talking sulphur-crested cockatoo. A roughly three-kilometre-long circular walk leads through the park. There is also a mountain railway which might come in handy if the hilly path proves too long for families with young kids.
A hilly trail taking in meadows and fields also passes through the Bergisches Freilichtmuseum Lindlar open-air museum. Here, a number of Bergisch houses have been faithfully reconstructed to give visitors an idea of what life was like for country folk in the 19th and 20th centuries. For the kids, there is also an exciting museum tour and an environmental workshop with lots of interesting facts to discover about waste, recycling, textiles and water.