German Volcanoes Route, North Rhine-Westphalia
The German Volcanoes Route takes drivers on an unforgettable adventure over a distance of 280km. The whole route is located between Bonn and Trier in the Eifel Highland region, and there are plenty of great places to stop along the way. This drive can be completed in less than half a day but, with so many great stops, why not take your time and enjoy the comfort of an RV, campervan or motorhome from Frankfurt or Cologne, instead of rushing your way past all the sights?
Laacher See to Holzmaar
Your scenic drive begins near Laacher See (the largest lake in Rhineland-Palatinate). From here you can enjoy some fantastic views and even rent a boat to explore the lake, which was created by volcanic activity.
As you travel, you will reach the village of Glees where you can spot the Maria Laach Abbey.
A quarry of stone made from volcanic ash awaits in Eppelsberg before you travel to the Roman Mine Museum, near Kruft. This is an interactive museum and teaches all about the mining performed by the Romans who once lived here.
When you reach Plaidt, make sure that you visit the Rauschermuhle Information Centre. Here, you can enjoy films and displays that detail how the volcanic eruptions I these parts contributed to the landscapes.
The next stop you will make is in the town of Mendig where the Lava Dome awaits! You can venture down 32 metres beneath the surface and into the “volcano cellars”.
Once you reach Niederzissen, feel free to take a break and visit the St Germanus church and perhaps enjoy a ride on the Volcano Express Railway.
Hohe Acht is the highest peak in the region and, if you visit in the winter, you can enjoy some skiing here. Alternatively, there are a number of walking paths and it's a great place to just relax and enjoy the views.
Next up is Ulmener Maar where you will find the ruins of the Knights Castle which date back to the 11th century. Local legend tells of a water monster much like Loch Ness so keep your camera handy just in case!
Immerather Maar is next followed by Pulvermaar which is great for swimming. Next on your itinerary is Holzmaar and you can also stop at Durres Maar and Hitche Maar if you like.
Holzmaar to Gesteinsfalten
This part of the drive will take you in the direction of Daun. On the way you will drive past Weinfelder Maar where you can stop to see the local church and enjoy a relaxing walk around.
Once in Daun, you can visit the Volcano Museum where you can learn more about the local volcanoes and other active volcanoes around the world.
Arensberg is home to a pilgrimage church that dates back to the 12th century and was once a medieval Roman quarry. The Volcano Garden in Steffelm is a must see as well as the Roman Mansion Rustica.
The cold-water geyser in Wallenborn is an amazing sight so make sure that you stop here before you continue on to Meerfelder Maar and the local village. Next up is Windsborner Kratersee followed by Manderscheid which is home to the Maarmuseum. Your drive comes to an end in Gesteinsfalten but you don't have to stop here! You can continue exploring other parts of the country before you return home.