The fourth nature tour offers a whole range of experiences, from hiking on the Wilderness Trail, sleeping in a treehouse, taking a snack in the mustard mill and walking through a yellow sea of narcissi.
Checking into the treehouse
Monastic peace and quiet and natural wilderness
The fourth nature tour experience starts in the Kloster Heisterbach monastery in the Siebengebirge nature park. The former Cistercian abbey is now privately owned by a society of holy orders, but is open for all visitors looking for peace, relaxation and silence. For anyone with a rumbling stomach, the “Klosterstube Heisterbach” restaurant offers traditional fare in a historical environment. During the winter, the cosy room has enough space to offer, while in the summer, visitors can enjoy the warm weather on the sunny terrace.
For anyone wanting to experience unspoilt nature, the wilderness area in the Siebengebirge nature park is the place to go. Here, nature is left to its own devices, and can unfold according to its own rules. Signposted paths through the wilderness enable visitors to enter the nature experience area.
Those who don’t want to miss out on an overnight stay in the wild can check into the V-Hotel in the Kottenforster Stadtwald forest in Bonn and share their accommodation shared with the squirrels in one of three treehouses - “Little Red Riding Hood”, “Rust Bucket” and “Forest Spirit”. Built about four meters above ground, the treehouses, which are all around 20 meters in size, are furnished with a bathroom and a balcony. And before you finally close your eyes at the end of the day, there’s still time for a quick look out of the window to wish the squirrels in the trees good night.
Discovering animal tracks on the Wilderness Trail
Roaring stags and a honey mustard parfait
The second day of the nature tour also takes you to wild landscapes. On the Wilderness Trail in the Eifel national park, hikers and leisurely strollers pass gushing streams, and walk through deep forests and green meadows. Participants on a ranger tour on the Wilderness Trail can even discover the tracks of wildcats, red stags and beavers.
The tour continues to the historic mustard mill in the wonderful Eifel town of Monschau. The family of NRW culinary ambassador for the Eifel region and Aachen, Ruth Breuer, has been producing mustard here for five generations. Guided tours of the mustard mill are offered for visitors who are particularly interested in how mustard is made. Gourmet fans and anyone preferring to taste the mustard are served food garnished and seasoned with the mustard produced in the mill in the “Schnabuleum” restaurant next door. How about a honey mustard parfait, for example? Anyone wanting more of this sharp-flavoured product can purchase various mustard delicacies to take home from the mill shop.
Walking further on through Monschau, visitors pass the famous Red House. It was built by clothmaker Johann Heinrich Scheibler and is open to visitors from April until the end of November. It is furnished in the rococo, Louis-Seize and empire styles, and reflects the opulence and splendour of the bourgeois living culture. The oak spiral staircase, which connects three floors, is particularly impressive.
From Monschau, it’s a short journey to the wild nature of the Eifel national park. There, it gets noisy during the autumn months of September and October. The roaring of the red stags, in their impressive attempt to attract females, rings out over meadows, through woods and into the valleys. With a bit of patience, from the viewing platform in Dreiborn, visitors can enjoy a good view of the largest animals in Europe living in the wild. During the entire rutting season, there are rangers on the platform who will be happy to give specialist information. The best way to wait for a sighting of these wild animals is with binoculars, a cushion to sit on and warm clothing.
In the evening, hikers can relax and recover after a long day’s walk in the Kloster Steinfeld monastery guesthouse, surrounded by the Eifel landscape. The wide-open wrought-iron gates form the entrance to the centuries-old monastery building. Whether you’re looking for four-star hotel standard or a simple monastic atmosphere, there is something here for anyone wanting to spend a night in the middle of the green Eifel region.
Walking through the Perlenbachtal valley
Golden yellow narcissi and shining river pearl mussels
The final day of the tour begins in Kalterherberg, which is part of Monschau. From here, the tour takes visitors to the Perlenbachtal valley, which is a particular highlight especially in the spring. From mid-April to the beginning of May, countless wild narcissi bloom here along the banks of the stream. There are hiking trails alongside the daffodils, which can be explored individually or as a group with a guided tour.
It’s not just the golden yellow fields of narcissi that make the Perlenbachtal valley a very special destination. Here, the last stocks of river pearl mussels in NRW can be found. Since the mussels need very clean, clear water as a habitat, they are among the most threatened local mussel species. As the name says, around one in every two thousand mussels contains a pearl. Please note, however: it’s still a well-preserved secret where exactly these mussels are to be found!