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The Externsteine sandstone rock formations

The Externsteine rock formations – a grandiose and mystical spectacle of nature

The Externsteine, a unique and bizarre set of rock formations near Horn-Bad Meinberg in the Principality of Lippe, are a medieval sacred site and a grandiose spectacle of nature to behold and climb. This is the ideal place to feel grounded.

Perched on the edge of the Teutoburg Forest, the Externsteine are a wonder of nature with an eventful history. The surrounding region is a nature reserve and a European natural heritage site. Rare varieties of heather, woods and moors are once again flourishing, and beetles threatened with extinction, such as the hermit beetle, have found a new home here. Standing majestically at the centre of it all are the Externsteine, a group of 13 to 40 metre high sandstone rocks which has risen from the Wiembecke pond over millions of years. A pilgrimage church was also erected here in the 12th century. A relief depicting Jesus' descent from the Cross is carved into the face of the main rock, suggesting a Christian origin. Relics such as the medieval grotto or the viewing platform and steps dating back to the 19th century are a testament to the rocks' eventful history.

The Externsteine, one of Germany's most outstanding natural tourist attractions, have inspired legends of folklore, speculation and theories – which were not always scientifically sound – from the very beginning. Nowadays, there is plenty of scientific research into the historico-cultural background of the Externsteine. Yet the fascination surrounding these rocks will always remain.

The Externsteine rock formations

Opening hours: January/February: Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 4pm; March: 10am to 4pm, closed on Mondays and Wednesdays; 1 April to 1 November: 10am to 6pm; 2 November to 18 December: 10am to 4pm, closed on Mondays and Wednesdays

Entry: free

Nearest train station: Paderborn Central Station

For information on guided tours (including the grotto) from 1 April to 31 October on Sundays and bank holidays (for a fee), rock climbing (for a fee) and special guided tours, visit: