24 Top Places to visit in NRW & Rheinland-Pfalz (and Hessen)

The pandemic canceled a lot of our plans – not only travel plans. Luckily, the lockdown in Germany was not too bad like in other countries. We could still go outside and enjoy our surroundings. A good thing about Corona: We got to visit places close to where we live, we usually won’t really do as probably most of us think: Oh, I can go there anytime I want as it’s close. But in the end, we rarely do these trips. I want to give you some ideas for beautiful places in North-Rhine Westfalia (NRW) and Rheinland-Pfalz in Germany you can easily visit doing a day trip. A day trip, which is worth it!

1. Burg Satzvey

Burg Satzvey is located in Mechernich in the Eifel region.  It’s a beautiful medieval castle which has been a family-owned castle for over 300 years and still is today. You can visit the castle only from the outside, which is already very beautiful and the perfect photo spot. But you can also do a guided tour. Today, the castle is used for different events and you can also stay over night there. It’s a nice stop on your way to further destinations in the Eifel or even the Eifel National Park. There are also some hiking opportunities around Burg Satzvey.

2. Rursee, Eifel

I started my short 12 km hike around the Rursee from Heimbach, a small town in the Eifel. You can extend your hike for even 42 km which will include the lakes Obersee and Urftsee. You can even do a bike tour. We just walked around Rursee which was wonderful and visited afterwards the castle in Heimbach where you can enter the ruins free of charge and have a nice view from above on the town of Heimbach.

3. Monschau

Monschau is a really beautiful, probably the most beautiful town in the Eifel region. A fairy tale place which is also called „Pearl of the Eifel“. You should not miss that place! The historic center is a must see and you can just get lost walking around, turning left, turning right, going up, going down, you won’t get lost!

4. Burg Eltz

Burg Eltz is not in North-Rhine Westfalia but Rheinland-Pfalz. Nevertheless, it’s not far away from NRW and can be done as a day trip. In general, the whole Mosel region is very beautiful and worth to visit! You can read more about Burg Eltz here.

Burg Eltz

5. Lavender Fields Fromhausen

Lavender fields are not only a great and beautiful photo spot but also something very nice for your eyes. It just looks beautiful. The fields bloom from May until July, beginning of August. Fromhausen is a really nice spot close by to experience this beauty of lavender fields and only a 10 minute drive away you can find the Teutoburger Forest with the famous Externsteine. So you get to see even more beautiful places in 1 day!

6. Externsteine (Teutoburger Wald)

As mentioned before, you can visit 2 places in 1 day, a 2:1 :) The lavender fields Fromhausen are only a 10 minute ride away from the Teutoburger Wald. The giant Externsteine have been standing in the Teutoburger Forest since the ice age. They are actually sandstone pillars. It’s again really beautiful but crowded place. To make sure you get to experience the Externsteine in calmness, you should be there early in the morning. The forest itsself is also very nice and you can do quite a bit of hiking around the Teutoburger forest.

Not far away is Bielefeld, Paderborn or Detmold. At the end of your day trip you can visit one of these cities and have a nice drink and snack.

7. Drachenfels (Siebengebirge)

Siebengebirge – that region is just behind the city of Cologne and Bonn and means „seven hills“. Just south of Bonn you can find the beautiful Drachenfels (Dragon’s Cliff). It’s the name of one of the seven hills. More precisely, it is a hill located on the river Rhine between Königswinter and Bad Honnef. If you do the hike, which I highly recommend up to the top you get a fantastic view! On the top you also can see the ruins of a castle. On the way up you pass the castle Drachenburg. It’s a private villa styled as a palace but looks really beautiful! You can visit the castle. The entrance is 7 Euro (July 2020). The hike is very steep and if you are not in good condition you can also take the railway (don’t know about the cost) up.

8. Linz am Rhein

Linz am Rhein is also not in North-Rhine Westfalia but Rheinland-Pfalz but same as Burg Eltz, it’s very close, even closer than Burg Eltz, dependant from which region in NRW or outside NRW you’re coming from. The cute little town is located on the right bank of the river Rhine. It’s a famous destination for tourists due to its location at the river Rhine and its colourful, half-timbered houses. What can I say? Just stroll around Linz, its pretty small but very beautiful. You can also do a nice bike tour in that region.

Oh, and you should go to Castle Arenfels. It’s located a bit outside of the historical center. The castle is from the 13th century and constructed in the neo-Gothic style by the same architect who constructed the beautiful Cologne cathedral. Today, it serves as an event location. There is a very nice beer garden with a fantastic view not only on the vineyards.

9. Xanten

Xanten is the only german town beginning with a „X“. Xanten is situated in the region called „Niederrhein“ at the river Rhine. The historic city center is nice to stroll around and at the „Xantener Südsee“ a lake in the city, you can just chill, swim, ride your bike or rent a boat.  All this you can do at the promenade. There is also a nice restaurant where you can have a drink or some food.

Xanten is very famous for its Archaeological Park which is one of the largest archaelogical open air museums in the world.

10. Cochem

Also not located in North-Rhine Westfalia but in Rheinland-Pfalz and also doable as a day trip, especially in combination with Burg Eltz. There you can find another really nice castle called Reichsburg castle. The town is also really beautiful. You can read a little bit more about Cochem here. There a lot more beautiful places at the Mosel region than only the two mentioned here but so far, I haven’t explored all of them.


11. Hängeseilbrücke  Geierlay (Suspension Bridge)

The suspension bridge Geierlay is very nice located within nature and really cool! If you like adventure and heights the bridge is the place to visit for you! It is located in Hunsrück, Rheinland-Pfalz and also only a day trip away.

Make sure to be at the Geierlay bridge early in the morning to avoid crowds!!!

There are also hiking trails around the bridge which in total is 410 km long. The length of the bridge is 360 meters and the height 100 meters.

12. Trier

Trier is a beautiful city in Rheinland-Pfalz and at the same time the oldest city in Germany. Trier used to be a Roman metropolis. Therefore you can find a large number of well-preserved Roman monuments – the city’s nickname is „Rome of the north“. The Porta Nigra gate is one of the most famous and beautiful sites of the city. But don’t miss the beautiful medieval historic city center of Trier! Also the Trier cathedral is the oldest in Germany, more than 1,700 years old.

13. Schloss (Castle) Moyland

Castle Moyland is a beautiful neo-Gothic castle in the district of Kleve. The name appeared for the first time in 1307. Today, the castle is a museum exhibiting the world’s largest collection of the artist Joseph Beuys. It also serves as an event location surrounded by a beautiful park.

14. Hohes Venn 

Hohes Venn is a nature preserve located in the Eifel region. The park is partly in Germany and partly in Belgium. So far, I only got to visit in winter time but it is very beautiful, especially in winter with all the snow: Winter Wonderland 🙂 It’s definitely a must go if you like to hike. I’ll go back in spring/summer to see a different landscape.


15. Traumpfad Bergheidenweg

Also located in the Eifel region is „Traumpfad Bergheidenweg“ (North-Rhine Westfalia).  You can do 3 loop roads: 6, 9 and 11 km. In general, this area offers you a lot of hiking opportunities. I also got to know this hiking route during winter.



16. Unkel

Unkel is just at the border between NRW and Rheinland-Pfalz (located in Rheinland-Pfalz) and if you live close by you should go and stroll around this small but very beautiful, almost a fairytale  town. I didn’t really know if it’s worth to drive 1,5 hours but I was not disappointed at all.


17. Erpel

Erpel is just around the corner of Unkel in Rheinland-Pfalz. It’s famous for its view point „Erpeler Ley“. Here you get a beautiful view on the river Rhine. Around Erpeler Ley you can also do a lot of hiking, for example walking through the forest towards Linz (4,5 km). Erpel itself is also a very small town like Unkel. I even liked it a little bit more.


18. Krefeld Linn with (Castle) Burg Linn

Krefeld Linn is part of the city of Krefeld. Here you can also find „Burg Linn“. You can also visit the castle if not Corona. It is especially nice for children. But the historic centre of Linn is a fairytale and very nice to have a walk. I can highly recommend to visit this part of Krefeld in Northern-Westfalia.


19. Zons

Zons is part of Dormagen just behind Düsseldorf in Northern-Westfalia. If you live close by and you want to see something new, come here for a walk 🙂


20. Loreley

Loreley is a high and steep rock on the right bank of the River Rhine (Middle Rhine) at Sankt Goarshausen in Rheinland-Pfalz. The Amphitheater on top of the rock is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This place is very beautiful and you can do a lot of hiking there. Also you can find „Burg Katz“ there and if taking the right hiking route you get a really beautiful view on the castle. Loreley is a very beautiful place to relax and do some hiking. Around that region are also some other castles to stop at.


21. The castles in Brühl

In Brühl, close to Cologne you can find the UNESCO World Heritage Site castles Augustusburg and Falkenlust. You can park almost in front of castle Augustusburg, which was my favourite one, it’s really nice and have a good ca. 3 km walk to castle Falkenlust.



22. (Castle) Schloss Dyck

I read quite a few about it and then finally I made my way towards castle Dyck. Castle Dyck is located in Jüchen, North Rhine-Westfalia. I went there in winter, I strongly believe that it’s more beautiful in spring or summer, especially the park where the castle is located. In winter, it was not sooo beautiful and in my opinion the entrance fee of 5 Euro was not really worth it. Nevertheless, it’s a nice place located in quite a big park where you can have a good walk 🙂 If the weather is nice, you can take some really cool photos.



23. (Castle) Schloss Paffendorf

Castle Paffendorf is located in Bergheim within a park . The castle itself is really nice to look at and take picture. The park where the castle is located is good to have a nice walk. Today, the castle is used for events and gastronomy.



24. Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe

Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and neither located in Northrhine-Westfalia nor Rheinland-Pfalz but in Hessen. Nevertheless, a day trip from North Rhine-Westfalia is doable and very much recommended. The Park is beautiful, especially in autumn! Be aware that the park is mountainous and you should be able to walk that. Kassel, the city where Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe is located I do not recommend to visit. Nothing special to se there and not very beautiful.



There are many more places close by to visit. I haven’t been everywhere yet. Do you have any suggestions? Please feel free to comment 🙂

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