It was sometime in 2016 when I stumbled upon pictures of a spectacular-looking suspension bridge on Instagram – it should be somewhere in the middle of the Hunsrück and be the longest suspension bridge in Germany. On the pictures you can see the Geierlay suspension bridge, which actually only opened in October 2015 and with a length of 360m, which floats 100m above the bottom of the Mörsdorfer Bachtal, was the longest suspension bridge in Germany to date. It connects the communities of Mörsdorf and Sosberg, two small villages in the middle of the Hunsrück. Otherwise, the dog is more likely to be buried here and there is not much to do for tourists. This was obviously a thorn in the side of the region and a tourist attraction in the form of this spectacular suspension rope bridge was needed – and what can I say, the concept worked perfectly. The Geierlay Bridge is now visited by thousands of people every day.
After a little googling it was clear – the bridge is only about 1.5 hours by car from my home region of Frankfurt and therefore perfect for a day trip. And so I saddled my chickens and camera and drove to the Geierlay suspension bridge for the first time in spring 2017.
The one with the longest suspension bridge in Germany has now been done, because in 2017 the Titan RT opened, a 483m long suspension bridge on the Rappbodetalsperre in the Harz Mountains. But hey, it’s not about length, it’s about beauty (and technology! Sorry, I couldn’t help it …).
A visit to the Geierlay suspension bridge is definitely worthwhile, so I would like to give you the most important information in this article so that you can start the wobbly mini-adventure well prepared.
Geierlay suspension bridge: information, location & tips
As already mentioned, the Geierlay suspension rope bridge is located in the Hunsrück, more precisely between the communities of Mörsdorf and Sosberg. The best thing to do is to simply enter Mörsdorf as the destination in your navigation system, because the bridge’s visitor center is located there. If you enter “Central Parking Lot Geierlay”, the navigation system will direct you to the parking lot of the visitor center. You can NOT drive directly to the bridge, but still have a walk to go.
At this point a brief overview of the parking options:
Parking Geierlay suspension bridge
Parking lot visitor center : This is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., the fee is 4 € for the first 2 hours. From there it’s about a 1.8km one-way walk.
Cemetery car park : This is relatively close to the visitor center car park, but it is probably strictly forbidden to park there. We haven’t tried it.
Alternatives are the sports field, industrial park or hiking car park. You can find all information about this here .
There is also a small restaurant and toilets at the visitor center. I recommend you to use this, because there is no food or toilets directly at the bridge or on the way.
The bridge itself is open all year round and accessible free of charge. However, in the event of a storm it may be closed at short notice.
Walk to the bridge
When I drove to the Geierlay suspension bridge for the first time, I was moderately irritated that I couldn’t see anything from the visitor parking lot that looked like a spectacular gorge with a bridge. Where is she? Lots of question marks in my head and a bit of disorientation – until I came across a sign that announced a 1.8km walk. Great shit. But well, don’t do anything. So let’s go – almost 2km, which, to put it mildly, lead relatively unimpressively over paved dirt roads. Which is definitely positive again if you generally did not expect a walk and do not wear the appropriate footwear.
At some point the paved path ends in a small forest and from there it is only a few meters until the view of the bridge finally opens up – and that actually compensates for the possibly previous lousy atmosphere ?
Photo tips for the bridge
- The Geierlay suspension bridge is a magnet for visitors, so it is of course full from midday, especially at peak times on weekends. If you want to take photos in which as few other people as possible are in the picture, then use the off-peak times, ie during the week in the morning or in the late afternoon just before dark
- Pay attention to leading lines to direct the viewer’s gaze. Don’t forget the symmetry of the lines either
- Plays with perspectives, ie photos from eye level are not always the best. Get on your knees or take photos from floor level
- Playing with sharpness / blurring in the foreground or background can also be exciting. To do this, it is best to open the aperture of your lens as far as possible (whereby an aperture of 2.8 is often sufficient depending on the lighting conditions) and manually focus the areas that you want to have sharp. Don’t worry, this is not rocket science ?
Do you fancy nice photos? Here I show you all my equipment. Light, reduced to the essentials and perfect for beginners:
Hiking trails around the Geierlay suspension bridge
When the weather is nice, longer hikes around the Geierlay bridge are also possible. For example, it is part of the 6km long Geierlay loop and the Saar-Hunsrück-Steig also leads along the bridge. You can find more information here .
The Geierlights: Winter spectacle at the Geierlay Bridge
In 2018 I came across the hashtag #geierlights for the first time on Instagram and there was something very special hidden there: an illuminated Geierlay suspension bridge. Strings of lights are stretched along the bridge railing, bathing the bridge in a unique light in the evening. What a great idea! Unfortunately I missed the spectacle this year, because the Geierlights only take place once a year on the 3rd weekend in Advent. The bridge is illuminated from Friday to Sunday in the evening hours, plus there is a mini Christmas market with mulled wine and a little bit of hut magic around the bridge entrance.
Geierlights 2019 : 13.12. until December 15th The lights will be on from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. (the date for 2020 is not yet known).
In 2019, however, I wrote down the date in bold and bold in the calendar and the result is this:
If you are not in the Christmas mood now, I can’t help you either … you Grinches ?
Photo tips for the Geierlights: In this case, it is extremely difficult to get sharp photos. On the one hand, you have to open the aperture of your lens wide (it’s dark), on the other hand, the bridge sways, i.e. you have to go into manual mode and select the shutter speed there probably shorter than the automatic shutter control of your camera suggests. The pictures are much too dark at first, but this can be corrected with a good image editing program.
As you can see, I didn’t quite manage to get sharp photos in the dark either. But I think the mood of the Geierlights comes across quite well ?
A long exposure with a tripod works if you don’t place the tripod on the wobbly bridge and don’t want to take pictures of people in the picture (hair is flying, etc., that means you have blurring again).
Practical tips & FAQ for your visit
Finally, a few practical tips and for your visit to the Geierlay Bridge:
- If you want to come on the weekend or on a public holiday, be there early. First, the parking lot at the visitor center fills up quickly, and second, you have better chances of nice photos in the morning hours
- There are alternative parking spaces, but the walk is even further from there. Alternatively, you can park in the community of Sosberg on the opposite side of the bridge, there is less going on
- Take a small snack with you when you are out and about, because, as I said, there is no food at the bridge (except for the Geierlights). Before starting the ‘hike’, use the toilets at the visitor center, because here, too, there is no evidence on the way or at the bridge
- Otherwise you can eat in one of the restaurants in Mörsdorf or directly in the restaurant at the visitor center
Can I go to the bridge with children or a stroller?
That’s fine. As long as a 4km walk is no problem for the kids. The path is paved right down to the last stretch, so prams are no problem either. On the bridge itself, however, it gets pretty tight, because it is only 85cm wide. The stroller should be narrow enough so that other people can pass it on the bridge. Otherwise, the bridge is completely secured with tight wire up to adult chest height, so no dwarf or pet can fall through.
Where can you stay overnight in Mörsdorf?
Mörsdorf is a super small town and somehow one does not seem to have adjusted to the rush of visitors that the construction of the suspension rope bridge brought with it. Still, there are a handful of accommodations:
Can I take my dog with me on the bridge?
Sure, if Fiffi dares. But on a leash, please ?
What about the bike?
That is also possible. However, pushing is the order of the day on the bridge.
Does the bridge wobble a lot?
That depends. For people who are afraid of heights, the Geierlay suspension bridge is probably a bit difficult, objectively speaking it fluctuates a little at most in the middle. The steel cables are very tight and the bridge as a whole is certainly a little adrenaline rush due to its height alone, but completely harmless.
You can find more information at Geierlay.de .
What else is there to see in the Hunsrück or in the area?
It’s hard to believe, but there is actually still a lot to marvel at in the region. Right at the front, of course, is Eltz Castle , which became something of a star thanks to Instagram, and a hike on the Eltz Castle Panorama dream path is also very worthwhile . The town of Cochem with its castle is absolutely worth a visit and not far away is the famous Bremm viewpoint on the Moselle loop .
My insider tip: the village of Monreal . It is a little northwest of Eltz Castle and is about the sleepiest but prettiest nest of half-timbered houses that I have seen in a long time.