Ravine-like valleys, densely forested peaks, rugged rocks, and a dreamlike view of the river Rhine – composer Ludwig van Beethoven and poets like Heinrich Heine and Lord Byron were already swooning at the sight of the Siebengebirge. A total of seven mountain peaks, including the Stenzelberg, Petersberg, and Drachenfels, particularly stand out in this region due to their heights, though there are actually more than forty peaks to climb in the nature park. After all, there is nothing better than taking a break at the summit cross and enjoying the outstanding view when mountaineering.
Once a quarry, now a nature paradise
While the Siebengebirge is primarily a wilderness area today, with every right of calling itself North Rhine-Westphalia’s first nature park, it used to be exploited for two millennia. The region’s many different types of rock were quarried for building churches and castles, such as the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Augustusburg and Falkenlust. Nature has reclaimed the former quarries since, with animals and plants, including some rare species, feeling particularly at home here. Black woodpeckers and rock buntings can be found in this nature paradise, for example.
The Stenzelberg offers a special nature experience with a vast view across the river Rhine to Bonn. It’s something like the Saxon Switzerland of the Siebengebirge. Many different hiking routes, ranging from short strolls to day tours, will lead up the mountain through diverse mixed forests. A former quarry rising up as an unusual rock formation affords a unique natural landscape.
Following in the composer’s footsteps
Uphill and downhill, always following the letter “B”, which actually stands for Beethoven, the 15-kilometre circular trail makes it easy to see just why Beethoven found inspiration for his work in Siebengebirge nature. Leading through Nachtigallental valley, past Drachenburg castle, and up to the Drachenfels, crossing the Geisberg, Stenzelberg, and Weilberg and eventually reaching the Petersberg, it affords a multitude of different views, all of which impress with their beauty: Some show the hiker a mountain range, others the river Rhine or some castle ruins. You will need a bit of stamina here, but it will be well worth your effort. One highlight is taking a break in the Grandhotel’s beer garden on the Petersberg – where you will have a wonderful view of the river Rhine. Even the Queen and Bill Clinton have resided in this five-star residence before.
A delicious country tour
Hiking will leave you hungry. We suggest that you start out by walking, and then enjoy some of the region’s local delicacies. After all, the nature park Siebengebirge not only offers some impressive vistas, but also plenty of regional products, in particular in Lauterbachtal valley. Passing fields, pastures, and meadows, you can get to know the Pleiser Ländchen – also called the nature park’s fruit and vegetable pantry. Seven stops along the 6.5-kilometre-long Genusstour Lecker-Ländchen provide some background information on local agriculture and regional products. QR codes add information on farm shops, bakers, and markets in the region.
Treasure hunting & time travelling
Where do the gigantic holes come from? Why can entire mountains disappear? The nature experience trail Himberger See will let you discover a very special module. Seven experience stations call you to discover, take action, and explore to answer the question of why we are extracting quite so much material from the ground, and how we may achieve an environmentally friendly future.
Would you like to travel through time? The Zeitsprung discovery trail offers some insights into the past: How did people live here in days long ago? What were the consequences for nature from it? How are we living today? How important is environmental protection and nature conservation? 10 experience stations playfully approach some important subjects of our time, with a dreamlike view of an environmentally friendly future.