The Fuschlsee and its special features

A spontaneous short vacation in my home country took me to the Fuschlsee region three weeks ago . I had expected the usual from Fuschlsee: Pleasantly warm but not too hot water, well-kept bathing beaches and sunbathing lawns that were not overcrowded. But it turned out that the Fuschlsee is a very special lake in Austria.

When we visited the natural lido “Hof” on the first day of our vacation, I was really surprised by the sight of the lake and the surrounding area. The water is turquoise blue. It reminded me of my vacation in the Caribbean . After visiting the most beautiful beaches in the world in Mexico, I have a good basis of comparison. I really have to admit, the shallow water right by the natural lido Hof is just as turquoise blue and crystal clear as in the Caribbean. Only the water temperature differed slightly from the Caribbean Sea: The lake was almost 21 degrees. Personally, that doesn’t bother me too much, because I like to cool off on hot summer days. The Fuschlsee is perfect for this.

The area around the lake also differs from classic tourist regions, where one lido or hotel is located next to the other. From the natural lido in Hof you can only see pure nature along the shore : meadows, forests and Fuschl Castle. You are also not allowed to drive to the lido directly by car. It must be parked in the designated parking lot and the way to the lawn must be mastered on foot. It’s not too far, around one to two kilometers. In midsummer you can work up a sweat even on this short route, but the short hike at the end is worthwhile. There is no car noise and you can relax in peace.

 

Natural lido Hof - Fuschlsee

 

The natural surroundings around the Fuschlsee are of course also ideal for sports. The circular hike around the Fuschlsee is a leisurely hike . We started in Fuschl am See and circled the lake in around 3.5 hours. The great thing about this hike is that you almost always walk directly on the lake shore and thus have a great view . If you want something more challenging, you can go on the Dragon Trail hike , for example . However, since we were primarily in the region to laze around, we stayed with the Fuschlsee circular hike. The lake is so beautiful that I wanted to spend the whole day on the beach.

For us, the short break was definitely worth it. This was guaranteed not to be the last vacation at Fuschlsee . Since then, the lake has also been my favorite lake in Austria. Our next vacation then takes us to the Bohemian Forest region in Upper Austria. After so much relaxation, we want to really work off again. The Bohemian Forest should be ideal for this.

A weekend at the North Sea

The North Sea coast offers special highlights for everyone, which can be experienced on a weekend vacation. In addition to the beautiful beaches, the towns and cities have interesting sights. In Wilhelmshaven, it is worth visiting the Christ and Garrison Church, the outer harbor and the city theater.

The North Sea coast is suitable for researchers and nature lovers, as a hike through the Wadden Sea and march tours present the peculiarities of the flora and fauna. Another highlight is the Rüstringen city park, the botanical garden or the historic Südzentrale power station.

The different travel destinations for a short vacation to the North Sea offer numerous, atmospheric impressions that are fondly remembered after the trip. Anyone arriving by plane lands in Hamburg or Bremen and can start their short vacation immediately.

You can find accommodation in all price categories on the North Sea, so that a cheap weekend holiday can also be planned.

Worth seeing on a weekend trip to the North Sea coast

In addition to Wilhelmshaven, water sports enthusiasts should visit Cuxhaven. At high tide, surfboards, kiteboards and kites can be unpacked here. There are kitesurfing schools right on the beach that teach kiters how to use their equipment correctly. If there is no wind, you can do laps on the nearby water ski facility.

The North Sea coast has even more to offer. In addition to the beautiful coastal strip, there are many islands in front of the coast, which are strung together like pearls on a necklace. The most famous island is Sylt. One of the most famous cities on the island is Kampen, where many celebrities stay in the summer months. But Amrum and Föhr are also popular travel destinations for a weekend trip . All islands offer many interesting features due to their flora and fauna. Dunes and long beaches are ideal for cycling and hiking.

Sights and culinary delights on the North Sea

The beautiful buildings that can only be found on the North Sea coast are worth seeing on a weekend trip. Thatched-roof houses line the street and radiate a special cosiness. On the promenades of the respective villages you will find beautiful cafes, restaurants and small inns that tempt you with culinary delights from international and regional cuisine. Fish, mussels and the famous garnet from the North Sea are on offer.

If you are in a party mood, you should visit the Lollipop, the Nachtschicht nightclub or the Beat Club in Wilhelmshaven. The combination of indescribable landscape, sights and culinary delicacies can be perfectly combined on a cheap weekend trip to the North Sea.

Hiking at Eltz Castle: The Eltz Castle Panorama Dream Path

Deep in the forests of the Elzbachtal in the Eifel, Eltz Castle is probably the most famous and one of the most beautiful castles in Germany. Her image adorned the 500 DM note before, but since Instagram at the latest, Eltz Castle has become an absolute magnet for tourists from all over the world and one of the most frequently photographed motifs in Germany.

I have also been drawn to the famous fairytale castle in the Eifel several times. Last time I finally managed to combine my visit with a hike to Eltz Castle . Because the castle is not only a pretty photo opportunity , but the hike on the Eltz Castle Panorama dream path is also very worthwhile for a day trip. Over a length of 12.6 km, the varied circular route leads past Eltz Castle, through the meadows of the Elzbach and over extensive fields and meadows that bloom in the most beautiful colors in the warm season. It is not without reason that the Eltzer Burgpanorama dream path was named Germany’s most beautiful hiking trail in 2013.

Eltz Castle

Eltz Castle: starting point of the hike

The official starting point of the hike to Eltz Castle is the parking lot of the village community center in Wierschem. Since the Eltzer Burgpanorama Traumpfad is a circular hike, you can of course start at any other point. We decide to start our hike directly at Eltz Castle, because in this way you can see the castle, which is the undisputed highlight of the whole, once at the beginning and once at the end of the route. This is particularly worthwhile if you also want to take nice photos of the castle, because you will have two different lighting situations during the day.

It starts at the Eltz Castle parking lot, your GPS will guide you there accurately. From there two paths lead down to the castle, the approx. 800m long road or the approx. 1.2km long footpath. Which one you take doesn’t matter. We take the shorter (and steeper) road, because we want to go down to the castle as quickly as possible so that we can take photos before the onslaught of the tourist masses by 9 a.m. at the latest.

Eltz Castle

We take the opportunity to visit Eltz Castle from the inside, for € 11 you can join a guided tour that lasts around 45 minutes. Then we start with our actual project, the hike. You can find more information about Eltz Castle here .

Dream path Eltz castle panorama

On the stone bridge in front of Eltz Castle there is a small staircase on the left that leads down to the picturesque Elzbach, which flows around the castle. The small staircase is already part of the Eltzer Burgpanorama dream path, which is well signposted. We follow the path down and cross the bridge over the Elzbach.

Eltz Castle hike Elzbach

After a few hundred meters through the forest, the path divides – to the left it continues on the official hiking trail, to the right it goes up to a mountain on which one of the most beautiful vantage points at Eltz Castle is hidden.

My insider tip: a detour to the most beautiful vantage point at Eltz Castle
We first follow the path up to the mountain, which is not part of the official hiking trail. But we accept the small detour of about 2km in length, because the goal is a wonderful vantage point at Eltz Castle. You can find pictures of it on the net, but unfortunately not really directions – so here we go: You follow the path further upwards, it winds completely up the mountain through the forest in a large curve. As soon as it becomes level again, you have to look out for a junction on the right-hand side. You follow this path, passing a bank covered with moss and finally reaching a rocky plateau that offers a breathtaking view of Eltz Castle.
Eltz Castle hike
Then you just go back down the path and follow the official dream path again from the fork in the road.
At first it goes a long way through the forest along the babbling Elzbach, which invites you to take short breaks in many places. After a few kilometers we finally reach the Ringelsteiner Mühle , where we take a real break to fortify ourselves with a cool shandy and a meat loaf.
Hike to Eltz Castle
As we continue our hike, we realize that this was actually the right decision – the most difficult part of the path follows from the Ringelsteiner Mühle. It goes up quite steeply for quite a while and unfortunately the signs are not really good here either (cell phone reception for GPS location is also not possible here), so we get lost quite badly and have to climb up a steep slope with scree. I admit it – I was scared to death.
Therefore my appeal: After the Ringelsteiner Mühle, pay attention to the signs to stay on the official route.
We finally get back on our way and are just glad not to have died. From here it gets less breakneck, as the hike now leads out of the forest into the vastness of the Moselle plateau. It goes for a while through the plain, past blooming fields and fragrant meadows.
Dream path Eltz castle panorama
In the wet late autumn or winter this is probably not the most exciting section and on hot summer days the sun will certainly burn relentlessly, but in spring it is really a pleasure for all the senses.
It goes past the village community center in Wierschem (the point where you can also start the hike, no matter in which direction), past colorful fields and back into the shady forests of the Elzbachtal.
Eltz Castle Dream Path Hike
The hiking trail now leads past craggy rocks, follows the quiet babbling of the Elzbach again and finally the forest clears and surprises you relatively unexpectedly with Eltz Castle, which is only a few meters away – the start and end point of the dream path.
Eltz Castle Dream Path Hike
If you like, you can make a second stop at the castle and fortify yourself at the end of the day in the castle restaurant. We were well done with the meanwhile 15km in our bones (including the little dangling to the viewing spot) and it was already quite late, so that we can get the last 1.2km to the parking lot behind us without another break.

Practical tips for the hike to Eltz Castle

Starting point & parking

You can start the hike to Eltz Castle either at the Wierschem village community center or directly at Eltz Castle. There are chargeable parking spaces at both starting points. Since this is a circular hike, you will come out at the starting point either way and it does not matter in which direction you hike. If you start at Eltz Castle, you will see the fairytale castle twice during the hike (at the beginning and at the end). The route is well signposted in most places, you can recognize it by the orange and white signposts.

Dream paths

Equipment & definitely pack

The hike is not very demanding, but because of the long distance you should wear comfortable shoes. The path leads largely over forest paths, these are also narrow and sometimes stony in places, and when it rains they can be slippery. Trainers with grip or comfortable walking shoes * are mandatory. If you do the hike in summer, I would recommend open trekking sandals * , then you can cool off with them on the way directly in the Elzbach.

The camera should not be missing on a hike to Eltz Castle. A small and light system camera is perfect for this, I take photos with the Sony Alpha 6500 * and I am super happy with the results. You should also pack enough water and a few snacks for on the go, as you will be on the road all day.

Refreshments on the way

If you want to take a real break on the way, the Ringelsteiner Mühle is ideal. We got ourselves a cool shandy and a meat loaf, but of course there is also a real menu with warm dishes, salads and cakes. Another option is Landhaus Neuhof in Wierschem * , where you can also spend the night.

Geierlay Bridge: A trip to Germany’s most beautiful suspension bridge

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.

Geierlay suspension bridge Hunsrück

Geierlay suspension bridge Hunsrück

Hunsrück Geierlay sunset

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 😉

Geierlay suspension rope bridge

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:

Geierlights Geierlay Bridge

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.

The Margarethenschlucht: The waterfall spectacle in the Odenwald

I don’t know about you, but I’m usually drawn to distant countries for which I feel (and sometimes actually) have to fly halfway around the globe. Now it’s spring 2020 and we’re all forced to rediscover more of the things in nature that are on our doorstep. The Margarethenschlucht in the Odenwald impressively proves that sometimes it doesn’t have to be that bad.

I had never heard of Margarethenschlucht before and I really wonder how I could miss such an incredible natural spectacle right in front of my nose. Today I will show you why a hike to the Margarethenschlucht is worthwhile and what to expect there.

The Margarethenschlucht: 110 meter cascades of waterfalls in the middle of the Odenwald

The Margarethenschlucht (sometimes also ‘Margaretenschlucht’ written without an h) is located in the municipality of Neckargerach in the Odenwald between Mosbach and Eberbach, embedded in the grandiose landscape of the Neckar Valley. The gorge is not just a gorge, it is home to the highest waterfall in the Odenwald and one of the highest in Germany: at a total height of 110 meters, the small Flursbach cascades down the gorge in several cascades, the highest being 10 m.

Margaretenschlucht in the Odenwald

And the best thing is: the hike to the Margarethenschlucht not only leads you to the gorge, but also through the gorge. Yep – right in the middle of the waterfall and over the cascades. The hiking route is neither particularly demanding nor particularly long and, from my point of view, easy to manage for everyone (including children) if you follow a few safety rules.

Key facts at a glance:

  • Starting point: Neckargerach train station
  • Length: 4.1 kilometers (circular hike)
  • Altitude difference: 143 meters
  • Duration: 2-3 hours, depending on how much time you take
  • Difficulty level: medium

From Neckargerach to the Margarethenschlucht

The starting point of the hike is Neckargerach train station. So you can either arrive by car (just enter Neckargerach train station in Google Maps in the navigation) or conveniently by train. There are enough free parking spaces available at the train station.

There the way to the Margarethenschlucht is already signposted. First it goes over a bridge to the other side of the train station, then to the right and past residential buildings for a while before the path narrows and becomes a dirt road.

Start of the hiking trail to the gorge

It doesn’t take long until we can enjoy the first view of the fantastic landscape of the Neckar Valley. The path runs without any major incline and it feels more like a walk than a hike – which suits me (not … haha). Only a few minutes later we are already standing in front of the entrance to the gorge, which, according to the sign, is only 800m away.

Neckar view

The sign also tells us that we are doing this fun here at our own risk, and that there is also a risk of slipping and generally dangerous and such … that is the moment when I get a bit of a whack when looking at my sneakers on my feet. But I can say it beforehand: there is nothing to worry about. With a little grip on the sole and normal surefootedness, the Margarethenschlucht can be done without any problems.

So we go on and after a few meters we have a first view of the beginning or a ‘branch’ of the gorge. We are immediately blown away by this fantastic landscape and have no idea that the actual gorge is even more spectacular and impressive.

Entrance to the Margarethenschlucht

From here the path leads over the water for the first time. Since the Flursbach does not have a lot of water during our visit, crossing it without getting your feet wet is no problem. It goes up the mountain slopes on a narrow path, some of the route sections are secured by wire ropes.

Margarethenschlucht hike in the Odenwald

Basically, you can’t miss the right path, because everything is well signposted and secured. You are faster in the middle of the gorge than you can see and the route leads you almost automatically over the waterfall cascades up through the Margarethenschlucht. You gain steadily in height and cross the Flursbach again and again.

The path can of course be slippery, especially if it has rained before, always carefully test the stones and wooden steps in the water before stepping on them. Now that sounds more dangerous than it is and I admit there have been places where the altitude made me feel a little queasy – but with common sense and reasonably decent shoes, the whole thing is nothing more than a pretty cool one , adventurous walk.

At this point some more information for those who are interested: The Margarethenschlucht consists of the red sandstone typical of the Odenwald and has been a nature reserve since 1940. Due to the humid climate, a particularly large number of ferns are at home here and fire salamanders are probably darting around (at least that’s what a sign said, but unfortunately I didn’t see any).

And before you ask: I have no idea whether you can bathe in the water. To me the small stream looked very shallow and the current was only slight, I don’t know whether there are deeper basins below the cascades. In any case, the water was brown, the Flursbach collects the forest along the way.

After we have crossed the Margarethenschlucht and reach its end on a hill, the route now leads us to the left on a dirt road a little further uphill before it goes downhill again towards the starting point. On the way we come across a small wildlife enclosure, where we have the last photo stop of the day, because from here the route back through the forest is relatively unspectacular until we come out again at the small refuge at the entrance to the gorge.

View of Neckargerach

Practical tips & information about the hike

Parking & starting point

The starting point of the hike is Neckargerach train station, where you can park for free. From here the way to the Margarethenschlucht is well signposted.

Equipment & camera equipment

Normal sports or hiking clothing is suitable for the hike. In my opinion, a pair of sneakers with a relatively non-slip sole is sufficient for the shoes. In the gorge you have to pass some damp and possibly muddy places where you definitely need enough support. If sneakers are too tricky for you, you can also wear hiking boots. I have these hiking boots * and can highly recommend them.

There are no toilets and no places to stop for refreshments on the short circular hike, so take enough water and provisions with you.

The camera should also be on board, because the Margarethenschlucht is really a wonderful photo backdrop. I take photos with the Sony Alpha 6500 * , a lightweight system camera, and I am super happy with it. It is well known that waterfalls are also ideal for long exposures, so you should of course pack a tripod . This is a light, not too expensive, entry-level tripod * , I’ve been using a more professional tripod myself for some time * that is stable even in wind and weather (which is not necessary in the gorge). By the way, my long exposures here were shot out of hand without a tripod – the image stabilizer in the Sony Alpha 6500 actually did it. Did I say I love this camera? <3

More excursion tips for the region

I already mentioned it at the beginning, I myself am only just about to discover my home region around the Odenwald, Spessart, Frankfurt, etc. and gradually more tips will be added here. Until then, I have made a few book recommendations for further hikes and excursions in the Odenwald:

  • Hiking guide Odenwald: the 40 most beautiful tours *
  • Odenwald travel guide with Bergstrasse, Darmstadt, Heidelberg *
  • Odenwald: The most beautiful valley and mountain hikes *

Do you want more holiday ideas for Germany? Then get the Germany travel guide with 47 great destinations and micro-adventures for only € 8.90:

To the travel guide *

Waterfall in the Margarethenschlucht

The Olpererhütte: a hike to the craziest photo spot in the Zillertal

One of the most scenic photo spots in Austria awaits you deep in the Eastern Alps in the Tyrolean Zillertal: a suspension bridge that seems to float at a dizzying height in front of a fabulous mountain backdrop with a turquoise-blue lake in the background. In recent years this photo has haunted my Instagram feed so often that at some point I couldn’t help myself and planned a stopover in the Zillertal on my way to South Tyrol. This breathtaking spot high in the mountains can be reached via a short but very strenuous hike to the Olpererhütte , which is very worthwhile during the ascent, if only because of its amazing views.

In this article, I’ll tell you how to get to the Olpererhütte and the adjacent suspension bridge, what to watch out for on the hike and what to expect at the famous photo spot.

The suspension bridge at the Olpererhütte in the Zillertal

The suspension bridge, which you can find on Google Maps under Kebema Panorama Bridge , is located at an altitude of 2389m in the Zillertal Alps, only a few meters from the Olpererhütte. It can be reached via an ascent of 600 meters from the Schlegeis Reservoir – the Schlegeis Reservoir is accordingly also the turquoise-blue shining lake that you can see wedged between the mountain slopes from the suspension bridge and which makes this panorama so unique during the ascent.

Olpererhütte hike

You cover the 600 meters in altitude on a very short distance of only 3 km, so be prepared that the hike to the Olpererhütte will not be a Sunday walk.

The most important things at a glance (tracked by GPS):

  • Distance: 3.7 km (one way)
  • Duration: 2 hours, 45 minutes
  • Average speed: 1.3 km / h
  • Minimum altitude: 1791 m
  • Maximum altitude: 2389 m
  • Ascent (total): 598 m

Schlegeisspeicher: Approach from Mayrhofen and starting point of the hike

The ascent to the Olpererhütte starts at the Schlegeis reservoir (also called Schlegeis reservoir), which is already at an altitude of almost 1800 meters. You reach the Schlegeisspeicher via the B169, the last larger town with numerous overnight accommodations on the B169 is Mayrhofen. The best way to get from Mayrhofen to the Schlegeis warehouse is by car via the Schlegeis Alpine Road, which is subject to a toll shortly after the village of Ginzling. The toll costs € 14 per car (as of 2020). Since the road is partly single-lane from here, the access is regulated by a barrier, so there may be waiting times at the toll booth. Alternatively, you can take the bus from Mayrhofen to the Schlegeisspeicher (approx. 1 hour from Mayrhofen).

The hike to the Olpererhütte

It starts at the Schlegeisspeicher parking lot, where the way to the Olpererhütte is well signposted. The ascent is said to take 1.5 to 2 hours, but this probably only applies to experienced hikers. We needed a good 2.5 hours with breaks and photo stops.

The entry starts relatively leisurely through wooded sections of the route, but then quickly becomes steeper and more uncomfortable. It goes up like a serpentine over scree and rocks and you will work up a sweat. Basically the route is safe, there are no via ferratas or the risk of falling, but you should be sure-footed due to the scree and wear suitable footwear. By the way, you can’t get lost, because there is only one way – up!

Olpererhütte hike

On the way, we repeatedly pass places that already offer a breathtaking view of the Schlegeis reservoir. We regularly take short breaks to enjoy the wonderful panorama of the Zillertal and to shoot tons of photos.

For a long time we walk next to an almost raging mountain stream, which, fed by the snowmelt, plunges steeply downwards. The water is crystal clear and we use it to cool ourselves both inside and out.

Hike to the Olpererhütte

At some point you can discover the Olpererhütte far away on the horizon and from there it is not far anymore. Admittedly, the last few meters are dragging on, because the steep ascent is really tough, but finally it’s done and we reach the Olpererhütte.

Olpererhütte Zillertal

The Olpererhütte is one of the oldest mountaineering huts in the Eastern Alps and is located at an altitude of 2389 meters. It used to be a typical mountain hut, today it has been expanded into a real hut with overnight accommodation and sanitary facilities. There is also a restaurant there that probably has a delicious Kaiserschmarrn on the menu, but even if you don’t like to eat, it is worth taking a short break with a cyclist just for the fantastic view.

The famous suspension bridge in the Zillertal: 600m above the Schlegeis reservoir

When we arrived at the Olpererhütte, to our confusion, nothing can be seen far and wide of our actual destination, the suspension bridge with the crazy view of the Schlegeisspeicher. But the puzzle solves quickly, the panorama bridge is only about 100-200m slightly to the right above the Olpererhütte.

The mountain stream that we already passed on the ascent is in fact a small raging river up here that has dug deep into the mountain slope and the suspension bridge is the only way to cross this river. In the pictures it looks like the bridge is floating at a dizzying height over an abyss, but in reality it only hangs a few meters above a comparatively small abyss. It’s all a question of perspective 😉

Suspension bridge Zillertal Olpererhütte

In any case, this perspective made the Zillertal suspension bridge at the Olpererhütte famous and so, as expected, we are not the only hikers who have found our way here today. At the entrances to the bridge small queues form from time to time, because of course everyone wants to take this one fabulous photo. We wait a while and wait for a while before we finally have the bridge to ourselves for a few minutes (which is surprisingly shaky despite its small span).

Olpererhütte suspension bridge Zillertal

Tips for taking photos of the suspension bridge

So that you can take a few nice photos home with you as a reward for the arduous walk to the Olpererhütte, I would like to give you a few more tips, we give you exactly this perspective that makes the combination of the suspension bridge with the blue mountain lake so special in photos , can achieve.

First of all: you won’t be able to do this with your smartphone. The magic word at this point is the compression effect . In photography, the compression effect describes the physical phenomenon that objects in the background appear larger the larger the focal length used. A higher focal length not only changes the image section, but also how the objects in the image appear in relation to one another.

For your photos of the suspension bridge with the mountain range in the background, this means: the lake and the mountains appear larger (and the person on the bridge smaller), the larger your focal length. Therefore, you cannot create this perspective with a smartphone that works in the wide-angle range and with optical zoom. Take a real camera with a lens that covers a focal length of at least 50mm.

We took our photos standing at the edge of the river bed from a little distance, with focal lengths between approx. 40-70mm (camera with APSC sensor, this is important for converting the required focal length if you use full format, for example).

Here you can see in comparison how the whole thing works when you take photos with a small focal length, i.e. in the wide-angle range. Completely different, right? 😉

Panorama bridge Olpererhütte Zillertal

The right time to visit the suspension bridge

The right time is also important for the perfect photo. I mentioned it before, the Olpererhütte with the suspension bridge is a popular photo spot and there is a lot going on here at lunchtime and on the weekends. If you want to take photos in peace, then use the off-peak times until early morning or from late afternoon. Then the light falls much nicer and the Schlegeis reservoir shines in its great shades of blue.

Practical tips & information about the hike

The hike to the Olpererhütte is not a circular hike, ie it goes back down the same way. Accordingly, the descent is just as steep as the ascent, it is neat on your knees and requires good surefootedness. So give yourself enough time, we needed almost 2 hours for the descent.

Equipment & definitely pack

Normal sports or hiking clothing is suitable for the hike. When it comes to shoes, a pair of sneakers that have a lot of grip will do, but it’s not optimal. I have these hiking shoes * and can highly recommend them (unfortunately I haven’t had them in the Zillertal yet, so you can see me with sneakers in the photos).

In the summer months you walk the entire hiking trail in the blazing sun, there is no shade. The mountain sun is particularly aggressive, so use sun protection with a high SPF. Also take enough water with you, at least 1 liter. You can fill up the bottle on the way by the river and finally there is food, drinks and toilets up at the Opererhütte.

Camera equipment

Photos …. that’s what we’re here for, right? 🙂 I take photos with the Sony Alpha 6500 * . For the correct perspective, as described above, I take a lens with me in my backpack that covers a focal length range of at least 50mm. My standard lens is the Sigma 17-70mm * (in my opinion one of the best travel lenses and available for many camera systems) that I have attached to my Sony Alpha using an adapter * .

By the way, I was traveling with Jens from Overlandtour.de , so we could take photos of each other. You can find his report on the hike here .

Opening of the Olpererhütte & the route

The access to the Schlegeisspeicher via the toll road is open approx. From May to October , depending on the weather . The Olpererhütte can only be reached during this time via the normal hiking route and is only managed during this time. You can also spend the night in the Olpererhütte, e.g. if you want it to be part of a multi-day hike.

More information about the Olpererhütte and booking a room can be found here .

Hotels in the area

The hike to the Olpererhütte is an exhausting all-day activity, just getting to the starting point from Mayrhofen, which is already deep in the Zillertal, takes about 1 hour. So you should plan at least one night in the vicinity either before or after. We decided on Mayrhofen because there are a large number of hotels there and you can find something reasonably cheap.

We slept in the Hotel Garni Glückauf * . Not a luxury hotel, but perfectly fine >>> View rooms and prices here * (we paid 80 € / night)

The closer you get to the Schlegeis reservoir, the more expensive it gets. So I definitely recommend Mayrhofen as a starting point, you won’t go wrong with that.

>>> See more hotels in Mayrhofen here *

Nothing included or too expensive? Then an AirbnB might be an alternative. If you register via my link, there is a discount of up to € 25 for the first booking:

Get your Airbnb discount now *

Further hikes in the Zillertal

The Olpererhütte is part of the Berliner Höhenweg , a multi-day tour in the high alpine Zillertal Alps. The Zillertal itself offers almost endless possibilities for hiking, here you will find an overview of the hiking trails in the Zillertal .

Recommended hiking guides for the Zillertal:

  • Zillertal with Gerlos and Tux valleys *
  • Compass hiking guide Zillertal *

If you feel like hiking to extraordinary photo spots and perhaps planning a journey from Austria to South Tyrol, then the hike to the bright blue Lago di Sorapis could also be something for you.

Zillertal suspension bridge Schlegeisspeicher

Hiking in the Odenwald: On the Romerweg around Miltenberg

If the corona crisis had one good thing, it is that we all have the opportunity to rediscover much more of our own home in Germany . My home region is located in the middle of Germany in the Churfranken am Main region, somewhere between the Odenwald and Spessart – an area that is known as a pleasure region, for its wine-growing and numerous hiking opportunities.

At the foot of the Odenwald lies the small town of Miltenberg, about 70 km southeast of Frankfurt am Main, which then, as now, is more a holiday destination for retirees. But Miltenberg can do more than a boat trip on the Main and coffee in a jug – it is also the starting point for many hiking trails that allow you to discover the beauty of the region on foot.

One of them is the Römerweg (M1) , which leads you on a circular hike over the roofs of Miltenberg into the tranquility of the Odenwald.

Miltenberg

The Römerweg: The best view of Miltenberg

The Römerweg is an approx. 14 km long hiking trail that runs above the Miltenberg old town once around the city through the Odenwald. The route offers wonderful views of the city below as well as many kilometers of cool and shady forest paths, which is why it is ideal for really hot midsummer days. But why is the Römerweg actually called the Römerweg? To be honest, this didn’t become so clear to me during the hike, as I expected visible fragments of Roman buildings that somehow didn’t show up (or maybe I just overlooked them). In any case, the Römerweg runs in parts along the ring wall and partly also over the Limesweg, hence its name.

Information board Römerweg

In total, you cover a good 450 meters in altitude, which is bearable over 14 km. Nevertheless, large parts of the route are steadily uphill, so a certain basic level of fitness should be there.

Key facts at a glance:

  • Starting point: Miltenberg market square (Schnatterloch)
  • Distance: approx. 14 km
  • Duration: approx. 6 hours, depending on how many breaks you take
  • Minimum height: 126 m
  • Maximum height: 454 m
  • Ascent (total): 461 m
  • Difficulty: easy to medium

From Miltenberg’s old town in the middle of the Odenwald

The hike starts at Miltenberg’s historic market square, the so-called Schnatterloch, on which there are a number of old half-timbered houses with beautiful facades. You can park directly opposite on the Main in the Pfarrkirche car park (free of charge).

Miltenberg Schnatterloch

From the market square, it first goes a few hundred meters along the Main promenade to the west before going up a small stone staircase on the other side of the street into Bismarckweg. Halfway there is a photo spot waiting for you, from which you have a fantastic view over the Mainschleife and the Miltenberg old town.

Römerweg View of Miltenberg

Then it goes further up and soon you are high above the roofs of the city, which finally disappears from view the further the path leads you into the forest. You will stay in the forest for a while, because the Römerweg leads you in a large loop through the Odenwald around Miltenberg. It goes steadily upwards. We take our time, take photos, take small breaks and just enjoy the peace and quiet. We don’t meet many people on the way, maybe 2-3 in total.

Roman path Odenwald Miltenberg

Do you fancy nice photos? Here I show you all my equipment. Light, reduced to the essentials and perfect for beginners:

My photo equipment *

Roman path hike

Signpost madness: As I said … Miltenberg is the starting point for many hiking trails 😉

We finally reach a hill on which the forest thins out and we walk a short stretch across flat fields and meadows before returning to the cool forest.

Roman path hike Miltenberg

Roman path hike

Haagsaussicht: The most beautiful view of Miltenberg

Almost at the end of the route you finally reach the highlight of the hike on the Römerweg: From the Haagsaussicht you have another wonderful view of the Mainschleife near Miltenberg in clear weather. In the past, sandstone was mined here from 1900 to 1980 and some of it was transported down to the city by a braking train. To commemorate this time, you can find a small cart there today.

Haagsaussicht Miltenberg

Otherwise, it is worth taking a short break at the Haagsblick, there are a few wooden loungers and a hut that serves as protection in bad weather. We enjoy the last warm rays of sunshine of the day before we continue our hike and start the way back towards Miltenberg.

At the very end, another small highlight of the route awaits you with the Mildenburg – unfortunately the castle was closed for us (and we were also too broken, but we have firmly decided to come back on another day).

Mildenburg Miltenberg

Practical tips & information about the hike

The hike on the Römerweg is a circular hike mostly on forest trails. There are no climbing passages or the like, so no particular surefootedness is required. Since the hike is quite long and you also have to overcome a few meters in altitude, a little basic fitness doesn’t hurt. The start and end point is Miltenberg’s historic market square.

Equipment & definitely pack

Normal sports or hiking clothing is suitable for the hike, you do not need hiking sticks or other equipment. A pair of normal sneakers is enough for the shoes, but if you still want to wear hiking shoes I can recommend these hiking shoes * .

There are no places to stop for refreshments and no toilets on the way, so pack enough provisions yourself. There are of course cafes and restaurants in Miltenberg’s old town – but if you want to eat there after the hike, pay attention to the opening times and don’t plan your return too late. Most restaurants only have hot meals until around 9 p.m.

Recommended is the Gasthaus Zum Riesen , for example , which has been serving guests since the 12th century and is therefore the oldest inn in Germany . The restaurant also has a hotel, so you can stay overnight in the historic building.

>>> View the rooms and prices of the Hotel Zum Riesen *

Camera equipment

As always, I had my beloved Sony Alpha 6500 * with me for the hike on the Römerweg . If, like me, you occasionally travel alone and still want to have pictures with yourself on it, then I can recommend this affordable entry- level tripod * . But now I use a higher quality and more stable tripod from Rollei * . Otherwise no major photographic challenges await you on the Römerweg, so that you can just enjoy the hike and the rest for most of the time.

If you are interested in further hikes, you can find all my hiking articles here . Here you can find more ideas and destinations for a vacation in Germany.

Haagsaussicht Miltenberg

Karersee – The Regenbogensee in the heart of the Dolomites

One of the most beautiful mountain lakes in South Tyrol is located in the heart of the Dolomites at an altitude of 1500m: the Karersee. With a length of only approx. 300m and a width of 140m, Lago di Carezza is more of one of the smaller mountain lakes, but thanks to the incredible mountain scenery and its bright water colors, it is also one of the most impressive. Surrounded by the gray mountain peaks of the Latemar massif and green fir trees, it shimmers from deep blue to emerald green in all colors of the rainbow and is rightly a protected natural monument.

Where the play of colors in the water comes from, which can also be observed underwater, it is still not known exactly – it is probably due to the underground springs and tributaries of the Latemar Mountains that feed the Karersee. According to legend, however, a water fairy is responsible for this: she is said to have lived on Lake Karersee hundreds of years ago. A sorcerer is said to have tried to capture them, he conjured up a rainbow over Lake Karersee to attract the water mermaid. He forgot to dress up, however, the fairy recognized the trap and disappeared back into the lake. Out of anger about the unsuccessful action, the sorcerer smashed the rainbow, which disintegrated into many individual parts and sank into the lake – which is why the Karersee still shines in all rainbow colors today.

Karersee Dolomites

Whether you want to believe the story with the mermaid or prefer the rational variant with the underwater tributaries – I was so fascinated by the mystique of Lake Carezza that I really wanted to see it with my own eyes.

In this article I will tell you what to expect when you visit and how you can best plan your trip.

Karersee: Worth knowing for the visit

The Karersee is a popular excursion destination and an obligatory stop on every pensioner coffee trip through the Dolomites – which unfortunately means that it can get quite crowded there during the day. Therefore, here are the most important tips for your visit:

Directions & parking

The Karersee is located about 20 km southeast of Bolzano and can be reached via the state road 241, also simply called the Dolomite Road. Just enter it as the destination on Google Maps and you will be safely navigated there. There is a large parking lot on site, where you can quickly find a place even during busy visiting hours, because most visitors do not stay long.

The best time to visit

The best time to visit Lake Carezza is during off-peak times, preferably in the morning before 9/10 or in the late afternoon. So you can enjoy the magic of this extraordinary place in peace without the crowds of tourists and also have even better light for photos.

As far as the seasons are concerned, summer is of course the better choice, because the charm of the Karersee lies in its colors and the reflection of the majestic Latemar mountains in its water surface. In winter it is frozen over and the lake doesn’t look very spectacular, but see for yourself:

Karersee in winter

What you should know: In autumn 2018 a storm devastated large parts of South Tyrol, the region around Eggental and Karersee was particularly hard hit. When I visited Lake Karersee in December 2018, I came across a picture of devastation that made my heart bleed – for miles there was nothing to be seen except bent, meter-high fir trees. In the meantime, nature is slowly recovering, but it will be decades before the region is completely reforested.

Can you swim in the Karersee?

No. Theoretically, of course, that works, but the lake is a nature reserve and bathing or swimming is prohibited. The bank is therefore also demarcated by a fence. Instead, there is a circular path around the lake and also a viewing platform and a suspension bridge, which allow a wonderful view of Lake Carezza.

Lake Carezza

 

Photography tips for the Karersee

Karer See South Tyrol

I already mentioned that it is best to choose the off-peak times for your visit, because then you have less to contend with the crowds that are out and about on Karersee during the day. But there is another reason for this: the nicer photos can also be taken during off-peak times, because this is how you avoid the harsh light of the midday sun.

In addition, the wind also plays a decisive role when photographing Lake Karersee: The wonderfully reflective surface of the water is of course only visible when there is no wind. This is especially the case early in the morning, so the same applies to Lake Karersee as to Lake Braies : the early bird catches the worm.

Alternatively, the late afternoon is also possible, but then you may have to wait a little for calm moments.

The polarizing filter is particularly important if you aim to reflect the surface of the water in your photos. With a polarizing filter you can either increase or reduce this so that you can achieve interesting effects. With my focal length of 17mm (on an APSC camera) I just got there, but an ultra-wide angle lens would definitely have been the better choice.

Karer See

Hiking on the Karersee

A narrow hiking trail leads around Lake Karersee, on which you can walk around the lake in about 30 minutes. If you really want to go hiking, there are countless opportunities in the region around Karersee, Latemar and Eggental, the hike from Karerpass to Karersee is particularly popular. An overview of the hiking opportunities is available here .

Hotels near the Karersee – my tips

The closest place to Karersee is Welschnofen. Here are some recommended and rustic, modern accommodations:

  • Hotel Rosengarten *
  • Gasthof Loewen *
  • Hotel Moseralm *

My personal recommendation: The Gasthof zur Traube in Montan * is still a long way away from Lake Karersee, but very rustic . We didn’t stay there because we had unfortunately already booked another accommodation, but by chance, while looking for something to eat, we came across what is by far (!) Perhaps the best pizza in northern Italy in the restaurant. An absolute lucky find and the most delicious pizza I’ve eaten in years. Absolute heart recommendation <3

Nothing included or too expensive? Then an AirbnB might be an alternative. If you register via my link, there is a discount of up to € 25 for the first booking:

Get your Airbnb discount now *

Lake Carezza

For me, Lake Karersee is one of the most beautiful spots in the Dolomites and rightly a must on every round trip through South Tyrol. Other highlights in South Tyrol that might also interest you:

  • The Lago di Sorapis – on a hike to Italy’s bluest lake
  • The Pragser Wildsee
  • Merano – highlights & tips for a mini city trip

Rakotzbrücke – The mystical Devil’s Bridge deep in Germany’s east

Deep in the east of Germany on the border with Poland lies a bridge that has become famous in recent years thanks to Instagram: the Rakotzbrücke. The pictures show a semicircular bridge over a lake, surrounded by a densely tree-covered bank, which together with its reflection in the water surface forms a perfect round circle. The small but imposing bridge from the 19th century looks gloomy and mystical – a real devil’s bridge. However, the Rakotzbrücke is not as remote as the pictures suggest – it is located in a landscape park, the Rhododendron Park Kromlau, a district of the municipality of Gablenz in the district of Görlitz.

For me it is unfortunately not necessarily on the doorstep and that’s why it took me some time to finally see the Rakotzbrücke live, but in combination with a short trip to Saxon Switzerland it finally worked.

In this article I will tell you where you can find the Rakotzbrücke, what to expect there and what you have to consider when visiting.

The Rakotz Bridge

The Rakotzbrücke was built from 1863 to 1882, among other things from basalt stones. It spans the 35m wide Rakotzsee in a semicircle, which is reflected in the lake and thus optically becomes a circle. Due to this special construction, the bridge has become a popular motif, especially with photographers, and has become a little celebrity thanks to social media in recent years. A short tour around the surrounding lake is also worthwhile, because there are some other constructions made of basalt stones, such as organ-shaped basalt columns, which give the mystical overall picture of the Rakotzsee the finishing touch.

Rakotzbrücke with Rakotzsee

Location & directions to the Rakotzbrücke

The Rakotzbrücke is located in the Kromlauer Rhododendron Park in the municipality of Gablenz. Just enter your destination in your GPS and you will arrive there safely. There is a paid visitor car park at reasonable prices where you can park comfortably. From there, a short path leads directly to the park and to the Rakotzsee. The park is open 24/7 and entry is free.

Tips for your visit

The Rakotzbrücke is a popular excursion destination, but not overcrowded on normal days. Still, a little planning is necessary, especially if you want to take nice photos on site.

The best time to visit

The Rakotzbrücke is most beautiful in autumn, because then the trees and bushes that surround the Rakotzsee bear colorful foliage and offer a backdrop like from an old Grimm fairy tale. In addition, the lake is filled with more water than, for example, in midsummer, which makes the mirror image of the bridge particularly effective, especially when there is no wind.

Landscape Park Kromlau | Rakotz Bridge

Photography tips for the Rakotzbrücke

When you come to the Rakotzbrücke to take photos, not only the season of the year plays a role, but also the time of day. The light is particularly beautiful in the mornings and evenings, and there are fewer people around the lake at this time. Since the lake can be circled on a small path, it can happen that you always have people in your pictures. If you don’t want that, you should choose the off-peak times for your visit.

If you come in the morning in autumn, you might also be lucky enough to find the Rakotz Bridge and the lake embedded in thick clouds of fog or to experience a fantastic sunrise. In addition, there is usually less wind in the morning than during the day, so the chance of a perfect reflection is greater here too.

Rakotzbrücke warning sign

Otherwise, wonderful shots are also possible away from this photo motif. You don’t need any special camera equipment, with a normal wide-angle lens you are well equipped.

Rehabilitation of the Rakotz Bridge

The renovation of the Kromlau Landscape Park including the so-called Rakotzensemble (basalt organs, Rakotzbrücke and grotto next to the bridge) has been in full swing since mid-2018. This also applies to the Rakotzbrücke. The Rakotzsee was drained for the purpose of restoration work, the bridge is currently in scaffolding and unfortunately does not provide a good photo opportunity. The renovation will probably be fully completed by the end of 2020 / beginning of 2021, until then you will have to be patient. You can see the current status of the work here .

My pictures were taken in autumn 2017, so you can see the Rakotz Bridge in its original state before the restoration.

Access to the Rakotzbrücke

Devil’s Bridges – what is it all about?

Devil’s bridges can be found all over Germany. These are bridges that have such a special construction that they actually could not have been built by human hands. According to legend, the devil helped build these bridges, in return he received the soul of whoever was the first to cross the newly built bridge. In most cases this should have turned out well for the population, because they simply sent an animal such as a goat or a sheep across the bridge. In the case of the Rakotzbrücke it should have been different, because here the bridge builder accidentally went over it first after completion. In Germany and the neighboring European countries there are a total of over 30 bridges known as the Devil’s Bridges.

More tips for excursions in Upper Lusatia

As described at the beginning, I combined my visit to the Rakotzbrücke in Kromlau with a long weekend in Saxon Switzerland. Saxon Switzerland is admittedly not really around the corner, but if you plan an extra day for the journey and the visit to the Rakotzbrücke, then the two can be easily combined. Other beautiful excursion destinations near the Rakotzbrücke are:

  • The Fürst-Pückler-Park in Bad Muskau with the Muskau Castle
  • Muzakowski Park (already in Poland)
  • The Muskau Forest Railway: You can travel on various sections of the route in Upper Lusatia in a steam locomotive that is more than 100 years old, e.g. from / to Kromlau. You can find more information here

Are you still looking for a hotel near the Rakotzbrücke? Here you will find an overview of the accommodations in the region *.

Nothing included or too expensive? Then an Airbnb might be an alternative. If you register via my link, you will get a discount of up to € 25 for the first booking: Get your Airbnb discount now *

The Edersee – The most beautiful highlights and excursions to Hesse’s largest reservoir

Admittedly, the Edersee was not necessarily high on my travel bucket list. But as is well known, the year 2020 went a little differently for all of us than planned and so I (like probably most of us) went on many small trips and excursions in Germany in this strange year . Since the Edersee is only a good 2 hours drive from me, I spontaneously decided to take a short break at Hesse’s largest reservoir on a hot late summer weekend. And what can I say – despite the somewhat dusty 80s flair of the Edersee, I really liked it there!

The Ederstausee is not a naturally grown lake, but was created with the construction of a dam, the Edertalsperre, in the Eder river of the same name at the beginning of the 20th century. It is located in the middle of one of Germany’s largest nature reserves, the Kellerwald-Edersee National Park, and is the second largest reservoir in Germany in terms of area. And that means: There is a lot to discover here. You can now find out which highlights, sights and excursions on the Edersee you shouldn’t miss out on. Be curious!

The Edersee dam – the Edertalsperre

The Edersee dam, the Edertalsperre, was built in the years 1908 to 1914, which is what made the Ederstausee possible in the first place. It is still used today to regulate the water level of the Weser and the Mittelland Canal, primarily to ensure the water supply and thus the navigation on these waters in the summer months.

With its 400 meters length, the dam is a really impressive structure, which you can walk like a bridge and simply use to cross the Edersee. There are numerous hotels, restaurants and cafés around the dam, and some boat rental companies have also set up shop there.

 

 

Edersee dam in the evening

My tip: Visiting the Edersee dam is particularly worthwhile in the evening, because after dark the dam is illuminated and you can enjoy a wonderful light show for free (in the summer months this is the case from around 9 p.m.). The perfect spot for this is on the side of the Edersee car park, where there is even a small viewing platform. In addition to your daytime visit, you should definitely make a short detour to the Edertalsperre in the evening, it’s worth it!

Edersee dam illuminated

 

With the Waldecker Bergbahn up to Waldeck Castle

One of the most famous sights on Edersee is Waldeck Castle , a castle from the 11th century. It towers 120m high above the Edersee on the edge of the village of Waldeck and offers one of the most beautiful views of the entire Edersee. You can either drive up to Waldeck by car or – and that is definitely the funnier alternative – with the Waldecker Bergbahn.

Waldecker Bergbahn

“Yeah, a cable car… not sooooo exciting” you will think now, and you are right: The adrenaline thrill will most likely not be there when you ride the Waldecker Bergbahn (at least for those without fear of heights. And there is no great view either However, the mountain railway first elicited an incredulous shake of the head and then quite a flash of laughter, because what you can experience here is history live: The Waldecker Bergbahn was put into operation in 1961 and has not really changed since then. So you climb into a brightly colored egg-shaped gondola, which only offers space for two people, then someone turns on the engine and you rattle upstairs in your retro time capsule.

 

Once at the top, Waldeck Castle is just a few minutes’ walk away. Today it houses a hotel and restaurant as well as a museum and you can visit parts of the complex and learn a lot about the sometimes gruesome history. Due to time constraints, we limited ourselves to the wonderful view of the Edersee.

Waldeck Castle

My tip: A short walk through the village of Waldeck is also worthwhile. Get yourself an ice cream and discover the great viewpoints at Waldeck Castle and take a look at the cute half-timbered houses. In one of them, the old city fountain has even been exposed.

Waldeck on the Edersee

A boat trip on the Edersee

If the Waldecker Bergbahn has already given you a good dose of retro feeling, here’s the next highlight that will instantly transport you back to the 80s: with coffee in a pot, biscuit rolls and an average age of around 65 of the other passengers relaxed on a small 2-hour boat trip across the Edersee.

And I don’t mean that in a cynical way: a boat trip across the Edersee is really relaxing and you will learn a lot about its origins and the submerged villages that are known today as Edersee Atlantis. These had to be flooded over 110 years ago in the course of the construction of the Edertalsperre and the newly emerging lake. However, they reappear every summer at low tide and reveal fragments of the history of the Edersee. Some of these otherwise submerged places are particularly easy to see from the ship, which alone is worth the tour. And the cake is delicious too 😉

Schifffahrt Edersee boat tour
Two passenger ships operate regularly on the Edersee
Waldeck Castle can also be seen clearly from the water

Edersee shipping

Edersee Atlantis: The sunken villages in the Edersee

In the course of the construction of the dam, the villages of Asel, Berich and Bringhausen , which were on the banks of the Eder, had to give way to the newly emerging Edersee. Most of them were relocated, but some buildings were simply sunk because relocation would not have made sense. These buildings become visible again every summer when the water is low and are known as Edersee Atlantis – an absolute highlight and one of the most famous sights of the Edersee.

Before my visit, I thought that the water level of the Edersee would drop so much due to the sun’s rays, but that is not the case: During the summer months, water from the reservoir is directed via the Edertalsperre into the Weser to raise the water level there and secure shipping. The level in the Edersee continues to fall and gradually exposes the old buildings. You can find out the current water level and which parts of Edersee Atlantis are already visible here . Here is a small overview of the ruins of Edersee Atlantis:

The Aseler Bridge

The old 4-arch bridge of Asel was built between 1887 and 1890 and is the best preserved structure in the old Edertal. Today it is a listed building and can be walked on. It becomes visible from a water level of 235m above sea level. NN.

Aseler Bridge Edersee Atlantis
The old bridge of Asel is the best preserved structure of Edersee Atlantis

 

The village of Bringhausen

At the village Alt-Bringhausen are from a water level of 231 m above sea level. NN you can still see some foundation walls, grave fields and the Bringhausen bridge, which used to connect the places Bringhausen and Nieder-Werbe. The Love Island, which is otherwise not accessible on foot, is also fully visible. Admittedly, for some of the ruins you need a lot of imagination to have an idea of ​​what it might have looked like here in the past.

Love Island Edersee
The love island at Bringhausen is exposed when the water is low

Incidentally, over the summer the areas that are otherwise covered with water are wonderfully green and blooming, we unexpectedly discovered a really nice photo spot here near Alt-Bringhausen, but see for yourself <3

 

 

 

 

 

The Bericher Hut and the barrier wall model

At the entrance to Werber Bay was the Bericher Hut, which was abandoned in 1875 and was already in ruins at the time the barrier was built. The barrier wall model was a 1:40 scale device for testing the water drainage of the newly constructed barrier wall. Both ruins are from a water level of 223 or 221m above sea level. NN visible. During our visit, the model of the barrier was not yet visible.

 

The Berich village and the Berich burial ground

At the place of the village Berich is today from 232m above sea level. NN can still be seen a cemetery. Originally there was also a rich nunnery and the church of Berich, but this was demolished by the residents and rebuilt in Neu-Berich.

 

Gut Vornhagen

Gut Vornhagen was at the foot of Waldeck’s Schlossberg. The remains are visible from 218m above sea level. NN, which is why nothing was to be seen during our visit.

The Stollmühle

At the time of the construction of the dam, the mill was already neglected and allegedly the former owner was not unhappy about the expropriation and the related compensation payments. The ruins are visible from 219m above sea level. NN, we couldn’t see anything yet.

The church in the Edersee

Another attraction on the Edersee is the so-called Kirche im See, a steeple that protrudes from a reservoir of the Edersee in Nieder-Werbe. Contrary to the assumption, this is not another part of Edersee Atlantis, but a reconstruction. The church of Nieder-Werbe actually had to give way to the construction of the holding basin in 1912, but it was simply removed and not flooded. In memory of the former location of the church, a replica of the church tower was built in its previous position in 2014.

Church in the lake Edersee

Church in the lake Edersee

Edertal Edersee in late summer
The view of the Edertal near Nieder-Werbe is wonderful

Hiking on the Edersee: a mini hike to two fantastic viewpoints

Hiking on the Edersee? Yeah, that works. After all, we are in one of the largest forest areas in Germany, the Kellerwald-Edersee Nature Park. If you really want to go hiking extensively, then around the Edersee there is the 68km long Urwaldsteig , which you can walk in several daily stages. For the short vacationers among you, however, there is a less time-consuming and more relaxing way of not having to forego a little hiking pleasure and great views.

Hike to the clock head pulpit

The clock head pulpit is located directly above the Edersee dam wall and offers a really impressive view of the imposing structure and the lake. If you look closely, you can see the pulpit from below high up in the mountainside above the dam – but don’t worry, the hike is really uncomplicated. The starting point is directly on the road opposite the Hotel Ederseeblick * , there is a small path into the forest. Just follow the signs or the paths marked on Google Maps.

 

The route is quite steep, but really not long, after about 15 minutes you will already reach the Uhrenkopfkanzel. Once at the top, you have what is probably the most beautiful view of the dam wall that the Edersee has to offer.

Uhrenkopfkanzel Edersee hike

Uhrenkopfkanzel Edersee hike

My tip: Do you remember the illuminated dam wall in the evening? Grab a flashlight, a pair of sturdy shoes and go on a short night hike to the Uhrenkopfkanzel. The view of the illuminated wall from up here must be breathtaking (unfortunately I couldn’t test it myself, as we only discovered this great view spot on the last day).

Hike to the lookout point Kanzel am Edersee

If you just continue to follow the signposted Kanzel-Rundweg from the Uhrenkopfkanzel, after another 25 minutes you will come to the lookout point Kanzel am Edersee. This is a little further away from the dam towards Waldeck, but also offers a great view of the Edersee.

Edersee hike Kanzelrundweg

Pulpit at the Edersee lookout point
A hike takes you to the Kanzel lookout on the Edersee

Then you can simply start the way back, the signs will lead you safely back to the starting point. We needed about 2 hours for this mini hike at a leisurely pace and with a lot of photo time.

If you fancy extensive hikes on the Edersee, then I can recommend a look at the Urwaldsteig & Edersee * hiking guide .

Even more view: the treetop path on the Edersee

For a few years now, the Edersee has had another attraction, the TreeTopWalk canopy walk directly on the edge of the Edersee. It goes through the forest at treetop height on footbridges, along the way there are always display boards and small interactive stations that illustrate the life of the forest dwellers. This is of course particularly exciting for children, but the treetop path is quite entertaining for adults.

TreeTopWalk Edersee

 

Various forest dwellers can be discovered in the treetops

 

 

At the end you will reach a viewing platform with a view over the Edersee. Unfortunately the picture is quite disturbed by the ugly (sorry) campsite on the opposite side. All in all, the TreeTopWalk is very cute and educational, but personally I would have expected more from it.

Parts of Edersee Atlantis can also be seen from the viewing platform of the Baumkronenweg – I’ll spare you a view of the campsite 😉

Admission for adults costs € 8.50 (as of 2020), but there are combination tickets and discounts for seniors, students and families. If treetop trails are generally your thing, here is an overview of all treetop trails in Germany .

The great house on the Edersee

I have to admit – the point of this sight on the Edersee did not fully open up to me. The Tolle Haus is a house that was built upside down, including all furnishings. So table and sofa on the ceiling, ceiling lamps on the floor, etc. This is probably another thing that is particularly interesting for families with children, a quick look from the outside was enough for me.

 

Entry costs € 5 and the Tolle Haus is open all year round. The Eder draisine also starts at the Tollen Haus . For € 15 (as of 2020) you can rent a trolley for up to 4 people and thus jet along a section of the old railway line (unfortunately no circular route).

Restaurants and hotels on the Edersee – my tips

When it comes to hotels and restaurants on the Edersee, you have to – you already guessed it – be content with 80s charm. You won’t find any fancy boutique hotels or vegan restaurants here. That doesn’t bother me personally, but I would like to give you a few recommendations that offer more than rustic oak and schnitzel with fries.

As the name suggests, all variations of pancakes are on the menu at the Pfannkuchenhaus restaurant. The restaurant is located in the old train station in the village of Netze and is really nicely decorated, the pancakes are also very tasty. Definitely something that at least I don’t eat every day since I no longer live with mom and that’s why it’s worth a recommendation for me.

 

No pizza, but a pancake in the pancake house on the Edersee. Nom!

 

Another unusual location is Zündstoff City * , a not quite classic biker meeting place in the style of an American western town, right near the Edersee dam. There is not only a restaurant (with a very tasty pastrami sandwich), but also a motel with smart and clean rooms at reasonable prices.

 

Edersee Hotel Zündstoff City

Edersee Hotel Zündstoff City

>>> View rooms & prices of Motel Zündstoff City here *

Otherwise, you should pay attention to a central location near the Edersee when choosing your accommodation. Here are some recommended hotels (some not really modern, but central and well-kept):

  • Hotel Ederseeblick * – located directly on the Edersee and the Edertalsperre
  • Bio-Hotel Belvedere * – rustic organic hotel in the hills of Waldeck
  • Hotel Seeschlösschen * – located in the hills of Waldeck, with pool and sauna
  • Waldhotel Wiesemann * – directly on the Edersee with a view of the lake

Nothing included or too expensive? Then an Airbnb might be an alternative. If you register via my link, there is a discount of up to € 25 for the first booking:

Get your Airbnb discount now *

More tips for the Edersee and the surrounding area

I was surprised how many excursions and attractions the Edersee has to offer and unfortunately we didn’t have enough time for everything on our short Edersee vacation. For the sake of completeness, here are a few more tips that I would have liked to have looked at with more time:

The Edersee Wildlife Park: It is right near the TreeTopWalk and is particularly interesting for children. There are many different wild animals and a bird of prey show to marvel at. As a combined ticket together with the Baumkronenweg, entry is cheaper.

The funicular to the Peterskopf: It goes up to the Peterskopf, a 500m high mountain in the Edertal. From above you have a phenomenal view of the Edersee and the Edertal, and a hike should also be very nice. Unfortunately, the funicular was closed for us and there wasn’t enough time to hike up.

The maize labyrinth in Vöhl am Edersee: A labyrinth in a maize field – actually self-explanatory, right? That sounds like a lot of fun to me (and one or two ticks: p), but time was too short for that too. Next time. The maize maze is only open in the summer months (logical).

Finally, a practical tip for parking at the Edersee : There is sufficient parking space along the lake. These are signposted and chargeable, the prices are okay. The best thing: you can continue to use the parking ticket you have started (you pay every hour, two-hourly, four-hourly) in one of the other public parking spaces and don’t have to take a new ticket every time you change parking spaces. So you don’t waste parking time that has already been paid for. That’s a nice move – thank you Edersee! 🙂

Edersee view from Waldeck Castle