We hike exactly 244 kilometres on this circular route through the Bergisches Land low mountain range to the east of Cologne. Our trusty guide on this hike is the signpost consisting of a black cross on a yellow background.
We don't just see mountains from the Bergisches Land – we are also surrounded by bodies of water. We ramble beside countless little streams and see the Agger and Wupper rivers up close. The Bergisches Land has the highest concentration of reservoirs in the whole of Germany, and the Bergisch Panorama Trail takes us past most of these. Some of these idyllic lakes have bathing areas, others are purely for drinking water. The drinking water reservoirs, particularly the Dhünntalsperre, have the wild charm of Canadian mountain lakes.
We pass stalactite caves and enjoy fantastic panoramic views across the Rhine Valley to Cologne. We visit the Bird and Monkey Park in Eckenhagen, and we stop off at historic pubs in the evenings and drink a beer brewed using locally sourced mineral water.
Manuel Andrack, editor, presenter, author and hiking blogger:
"Many pubs in the Bergisches Land mountain range serve Bergische Kaffeetafel. The coffee is poured from a traditional Dröppelminna coffee pot. It is accompanied by bread, honey, rice pudding and a waffle with cherries and cream."
At a glance: Bergisch Panorama Trail
Length: 246 km
Number of stages: 12
Altitude variation: lowest point 131 m, highest point 500 m
Terrain: 37% unmade, 18% asphalt, 45% other, e.g. farm tracks
Certified quality hiking trail