Schloss Paffendorf in Bergheim, © Rhein-Erft Tourismus e.V., Foto: David Asmuth

Castles & buck­et ex­cav­at­ors - A jour­ney of con­trasts along the Rhine and Erft rivers

Rhein-Erft Tour­is­mus e.V.

A group tour with one night’s ac­com­mod­a­tion to vis­it ma­gic­al castles and the im­press­ive evid­ence of lig­nite min­ing in the area

Map of NRW

Rhine-Erft-County is located downwind of the major cities of Cologne, Düsseldorf and Bonn. Because of this proximity, over 50 castles, palaces and stately homes can be found today in this region between the Rhine and Erft rivers. This is the moated castle capital of Germany, and it is also where two particularly beautiful palaces can be found: Augustusburg and Falkenlust, which were together listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.

On a very different note, this region is also known as one of Germany’s major centres for lignite mining – an industry which has shaped the land and the people for centuries. Rhine-Erft-County has developed into a region of contrasts, a region where you will find a medieval abbey close to the world’s largest bucket excavator, an open-cast mine not far from an idyllic moated castle, and a state-of-the-art photovoltaic plant in the vicinity of the popular Erft river-side cycle path.

The group day-trip begins with a guided tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Augustusburg palace in Brühl and Falkenlust hunting lodge. Then it is onwards to Bergheim, where a stroll through the town centre will be followed by lunch. The next stop is Paffendorf castle, where you will learn all about the history of lignite mining in the Rhineland. After that you will go to an open-cast mine viewing point for a breath-taking vista of the world’s largest man-made holes and the huge bucket excavators. You will also learn about how the area is being re-cultivated and find out about places which are disappearing because of ongoing open-cast mining as well as the new locations to which they form a complete contrast.

On request, Rhein-Erft Tourismus e.V. as the organiser of this package can arrange an overnight stay and meal either before or after the day-trip.

Included in the package

  • Bed and breakfast in a double room
  • Admission to and guided tour of UNESCO World Heritage Site of Augustusburg palace
  • Visit to Paffendorf castle with its exhibition on lignite mining in the Rhineland
  • Guided visit by bus to the open-cast mine viewing points with chance to see the huge bucket excavators


The package can be booked by groups (more than 30 people) between February and November. Day of arrival every day except Monday. Day tour from 10:00 to 17:00

This package can be booked upon request and subject to availability.


Additional information:

Bus parking spaces are available at the individual stops; some are subject to a charge.

Other options for visitors who wish to extend their break:

  • Numerous other castles and beautiful parks (some of which are found on the Garden Design Route (Straße der Gartenkunst))
  • Max Ernst Museum in Brühl (with over 70 of the artist’s sculptures and his entire graphical oeuvre)
  • KERAMION - Centre of Modern + Historical Ceramics Frechen: exhibiting the pottery known as Pingsdorf Ware, historical Bartmann jugs, Rhenish stoneware and earthenware from the Lower Rhine
  • Brauweiler Abbey: former Benedictine monastery in Pulheim. Now one of the outstanding cultural monuments in the Rhineland and a venue for concerts, readings and art exhibitions



More details

Travel period

01.02.2018 - 31.12.2021

Duration in days



When booking for a group of 30 or more:

From EUR 67.00 per person sharing a double room in a 4* hotel with breakfast, including day trip schedule
Single room supplement: EUR 17.00

Prices for smaller groups available on request.

The bus costs are not included in the price.
Room rates valid except for dates of trade fairs.
Package can be booked between February and November. Day of arrival every day except Monday.
Day tour from 10:00 to 17:00

This package can be booked upon request and subject to availability.


Images and videos

Be inspired: images of your NRW

Erklärende Worte bei spektakulärer Sicht in den Braunkohle-Tagebau Hambach, © Rhein-Erft Tourismus e.V., Foto: David Asmuth
Die Orangerie mit dem traumhaften Garten des Schlosses Augustusburg in Brühl, © Heinrich Pützler
Das Schloss Paffendorf in Bergheim gehört zu den schönsten Schlössern der Region, © Rhein-Erft Tourismus e.V., Foto: David Asmuth
Im Schloss Paffendorf in Bergheim wird unter anderem die Dauerausstellung über die rheinische Braunkohlenindustrie präsentiert, © Rhein-Erft Tourismus e.V.
Mittagspause im Schlosshof in der Schlösser- und Burgenregion Rhein-Erft, © Rhein-Erft Tourismus e.V., Foto: David Asmuth
Blick in die Ausstellung zum rheinischen Braunkohlenrevier im Schloss Paffendorf, © Rhein-Erft Tourismus e.V., Foto: David Asmuth
Der Aussichtspunkt bei Elsdorf-Angelsdorf bietet beste Sicht über den Tagebau Hambach innerhalb des Braunkohleabbaugebiets Garzweiler, © Rhein-Erft Tourismus e.V.
Ein Schaufelradbagger im Tagebau Garzweiler, © RWE Power

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