Have you ever heard of Blankenheim? Most probably not. Me neither, before I went there. This is one of the trips I made without any planning; a place where I had to be and still I fell in love with. This small town surprised me with its architecture and with the serenity it was radiating. If you love half-timbered houses (Fachwerkhäuser) and lavishly green nature, head to Blankenheim!
How to get there?
Blankenheim is a small medieval town in the Eifel region in Germany, a region popular with the beautiful nature, dreamy villages and wine trails. It is probably one of the most romantic regions in Germany. Blankenheim is located at 70 km to the South-West of Cologne and 240 km to the North-West of Frankfurt. We went there by car from the Netherlands, but the town is also accessible with public transport. It takes a little more than hour from the Central Station in Cologne and there are trains each 60 minutes. You can check the schedules here.
Use the map below to plan your trip from Cologne or Frankfurt. Blankenheim is also easily accessible from the airports of Weeze, Cologne/Bonn and Frankfurt.
What to do?
Don’t expect a lot of attractions or great museums there, just go to Blankenheim to enjoy its peacefulness and the beautiful nature.
- Medieval half-timbered houses – they are everywhere. Stroll around and enjoy this charming place. Go back in time and walk the cobbled streets passing under the many town gates, or even drive under one of them.
- The source of Ahr – you would expect from a river to start flowing from a mountain, but this one starts from a cellar in a house built in 1726. The Ahr River flows for 89 km before it gets into the Rhine. The valley of Ahr is absolutely gorgeous with vineyards on the hillsides, famous for the Spätburgunder grape.
- Freilinger See – it’s a small lake just outside the town. It offers numerous water activities like windsurfing, fishing, diving, and swimming. There are also pedal boats. We couldn’t do any of these as we were in April, but you can just walk around the lake and enjoy its calmness or go for a pick-nick there if the weather is nice.
- The Castle of Blankenheim (Burg Blankenheim) – It was built in 1115 on the hill overlooking the hamlet by Gerhard I and became seat of the House of Blankenheim. For more than 100 years the castle remained abandoned following the invasion of the French troops in 1794. In 1936 the castle was converted into a youth hostel and still functions as such.
- The Eifel Museum – You can see there a model of the Karststein caves (Karststeinhöhle) where the Neanderthals settled 60 thousand years ago. There is also shown the way of life around 1900 in the farming communities in the neighbourhood. Check the opening hours here. Admission is free.
- The Carnival Museum – one of the most unusual museums, located in the Gate of St. George, it hosts an exhibition dedicated to the festivities around Lent.
Walking trails around Blankenheim
Blankenheim and the area around are a paradise for those who love nature and walking.
- The Ahrsteig trail – The 90 km long trail begins at the source of Ahr and you can choose from 2 routes – red and blue. The red finishes at Altenahr while the blue one continues along the river to Sinzing where Ahr flows into the Rhine. You can switch between the two routes via four connecting trails.
- The Eifelsteig trail – The 313 km long Eifelsteig trail that crosses the whole Eifel valley passes through town. At Blankenheim there ends the 6th stage of the trail and begins the 7th.
- Jakobsweg – The famous Road to Santiago passes also through Blankenheim. The town is a stop on the route from Cologne to Le Puy.
Where to stay?
You won’t expect it but there are a lot of hotels and other types of accommodation in Blankenheim. My advice – stay in one of the half-timbered houses in the historical centre. The atmosphere those houses have is incomparable. It feels as if you go back in time.
We spent 4 days in Blankenheim, one of my favourite types of holidays. Having a 9 to 5 job, you can allow yourself those short breaks that will charge you up. The place was so authentic, a small gem hidden in the forests in the Eifel valley. We absolutely loved walking around. There was also time for sitting outside in the cafes with a glass of wheat beer and a flammkuchen, enjoying the first warm rays of sunshine for the year.
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