The Natursteig Sieg is the hiking trail for the Cologne/Bonn Metropolitan Region. This is a delightful walk in idyllic natural surroundings along the tranquil Sieg river.

The first thing you notice on this trail? The glorious natural landscape. There is no doubt about it: we are in a lush natural setting on the Natursteig Sieg Trail: forests with ancient trees and rolling fields, meadow landscapes and tiny streams. The second thing you notice? The climb. Oh yes, we need to trek up hill and down dale. Our route is signposted with a curvy "S" on a blue background and leads us up to several spots in the uplands overlooking the river. The third thing? The Sieg river. The Sieg is a non-navigable tributary of the Rhine which meanders gloriously through the valley. The river is pretty much untouched and there are very few roads by its banks, making the Sieg a paradise for all aquatic birds. There are many great places to take a break along the Sieg, including Windeck, Dattenfeld and Schladern. And there are also excellent rail connections. Cologne is pretty much a stone's throw away from the Natursteig Sieg Trail.

TIP: Blankenberg

Manuel Andrack, editor, presenter, author and hiking blogger:

"With its 500 inhabitants, Blankenberg was once the smallest town in Germany. Time has seems to have stood still here. It still has an old town wall, half-timbered houses, castle ruins – and amazing gastronomy."

Explore the surroundings