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Rising up from beyond the Rhine and Moselle rivers, near Germany’s border with Belgium and Luxembourg, is the Eifel: a landscape of dark green wooded hills, bizarre crags and wild streams cutting through deep valleys. Though the mountains here no longer spit fire, the Eifel region is still volcanically active in geological terms.
Black storks, eagle owls and wildcats are just some of the 1,400-plus endangered animal and plant species found in the Eifel National Park. Walkers, cyclists and horseriders all have dedicated paths here. The flow of visitors is carefully managed to ensure that nature can develop unhindered and is not compromised by the interests of tourists. Just a short distance from the city of Cologne, woodland, water and wilderness have reclaimed their natural cycle of creation and decay.
The good life – quality-certified produce
The Eifel quality marque, one of the first such certifications in Germany, has united local businesses in the timber, food and tourism industries since 2004. Wherever you see the logo – a yellow ‘e’ superimposed on four coloured blocks – you can expect high-quality products and services that are Eifel through and through. Wine from the Ahr valley, water filtered through volcanic rock, premium ham and sausage specialities, breads, eggs, milk and honey all capture the taste of nature. You’ll also be pleased to hear that most of the produce used in Eifel restaurants is locally sourced.
Spirituality for all
Explore the Eifel, and find inner peace, walking along the Creation Path near Simmerath-Hirschrott. Boards with excerpts from the Bible as well as secular texts guide you on your way and offer a spiritual view of nature. Contemplation is also writ large at Maria Laach Abbey: in the conservation area surrounding the Laach crater lake, you can go hiking in the pure air, clear your head, relax with a massage, enjoy the comforts of the Maria Laach lakeside hotel and embrace everything nature has given you.
The disabled-friendly Wilder Kermeter nature reserve welcomes visitors with restricted mobility and sensory impairments. The paths to the Hirschley viewpoint, for example, are suitable for wheelchairs and wheel walkers. Blind and visually impaired visitors are also able to access nature thanks to a special guidance system that covers the entire reserve, and information boards in raised lettering and Braille. People with hearing loss can book guided tours in German sign language. National park rangers and expert forest guides have been specially trained to ensure all visitors enjoy an unrestricted experience of nature.