Wild bison, art and music in the forest
The Siegen-Wittgenstein region is full of surprises: Here visitors can encounter wild bison, mining history and a baroque painter, as well as art and concerts in the forest.
Outstanding hiking paths and wild European bison, art and concerts surrounded by forest, mining and a baroque painter – these are the surprises awaiting visitors to the Siegerland-Wittgenstein region. One particularly famous hiking path is the Rothaarsteig (Rothaar Trail), beginning in Sauerland and crossing Siegen-Wittgenstein as far as the Westerwald mountains. It is listed among the “Top Trails of Germany”. There are also a number of themed routes known as the “hiking highlights on both sides of the Rothaarsteig” for visitors who prefer discovery-filled day trips. Plenty of surprising discoveries also await the curious on the WaldSkulpturenWeg (Forest Sculpture Path), the only one of its kind in Germany. On the trail between Bad Berleburg and Schmallenberg in neighbouring Upper Sauerland, well-known artists have planted unmissable works of art in the wood.
One natural attraction of a very rare kind can be seen in the forests of Wittgenstein: the only wild population of bison in Western Europe. Visitors can see the bison up close at Wisent-Welt on the Rothaarsteig – a 20-hectare natural wilderness where a small group of the continent’s largest land mammal are able to roam freely.
Between the forests, there is also plenty to see in the region’s many historic towns. The centre of the idyllic half-timbered town of Freudenberg, for instance, has been recognised as a building monument of international importance. The historic old towns of Bad Berleburg, Bad Laasphe, Hilchenbach and Siegen with their castles and palaces are also well worth a visit. The city of Siegen even has two palaces, distinguished as lower and upper. The upper palace is the former seat of the Catholic line of the House of Nassau-Siegen. The fortified hilltop castle houses the Siegerlandmuseum, a regional museum for art and cultural history. As well as a comprehensive collection of portraits of major figures from the House of Orange-Nassau, the museum also exhibits original paintings by the baroque artist Peter Paul Rubens, who was born in Siegen in 1577. Just below the upper palace, an exhibition mine gives insight into the region’s mining history, which came to an end in 1962 with the closure of the last iron ore mine in Siegerland.
The regional events calendar includes the Siegener Sommerfestival in the courtyard of the upper palace, outdoor performances on the Freilichtbühne Freudenberg stage, and classical music concerts in a castle setting at the Internationale Musikfestwoche in Schloss Berleburg. KulturPur, the international music and theatre festival, attracts tens of thousands to Giller mountain, near Hilchenbach.
Arriving by plane