Home Germany The best hidden gems in Germany: Blankenheim

The best hidden gems in Germany: Blankenheim

written by ipanematravels 2nd April 2017
The medieval town of Blankenheim, Germany, hidden gem, half-timbered houses

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. At the time of writing of this post the museum is closed for reconstruction. Please, check the official site before you go there.
  • 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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Riely 14th May 2017 at 4:20 pm

This is the type of place I love to find along my travels. Blankenheim looks incredible with its’ half timbered houses and nature. A perfect destination to rejuvenate and recharge yourself. Definitely my kind of holiday!

One Tech Traveller 13th May 2017 at 9:30 pm

This really is discovering a hidden gem! I didn’t know about Blakenheim until now but there are many trails and historic places to see. A great feel here thanks to your lovely photos.

Iza (@IzaAbao) 13th May 2017 at 4:37 pm

Blankenheim looks like a lovely town. I find unpopular places more appealing to me like this one. I would have a better chance to experience a lot of outdoor activities because there will be few tourists only. The houses look beautiful. I suddenly remember the first few scenes of the Beauty and the Beast where Belle was singing. Blankenheim looks kinda similar to it but better. I would add this on my bucket list.

Iza c/o Janine (Fill My Passport)

bruceschinkel19 13th May 2017 at 4:31 am

I One of my favourite things about this area of Europe was finding these hidden gem villages! Blankenheim totally looks like the perfect place to visit

Anna 12th May 2017 at 12:40 pm

such a Pretty place, made me read it till the end. Nice picture too and i would be really interested to see the inside of one of those classy house as well. maybe you should share it with us ?

ipanematravels 12th May 2017 at 6:31 pm

That’s a good idea! Thanks! I think, I have photos from our B&B which was in one of those old buildings.

Only By Land 12th May 2017 at 7:53 am

Visiting Blankenheim looks so much better than a visit to Berlin or Munich. What I like about a visit to Blankenheim is the beautiful buildings and quiet neighborhoods. The walks sound good too, and I’m sure they are well signposted.

ipanematravels 12th May 2017 at 6:30 pm

Yes, indeed it is very peaceful in the surroundings. If you want to escape from the big cities, this is a wonderful place.

Stacey Billingsley 9th May 2017 at 2:54 am

What a charming place. It looks like it’s out of a fairytale. Maybe someday I can manage to visit Germany! The photos are so beautiful!

ipanematravels 9th May 2017 at 9:10 pm

Thank you!

Sierra (@passportvoyager) 9th May 2017 at 2:50 am

I’d definitely never heard of Blankenheim before, but now I’m intrigued! It looks so quaint, cozy and pretty! Loved your photos and tips, thanks for sharing!

ipanematravels 9th May 2017 at 9:11 pm

Yep, it’s also so totally romantic!

Monika Mizińska (@MonikaMizinska) 9th May 2017 at 12:48 am

I haven’t heard.about it before but it looks like a true gem, especially that Freilinger lake. Love its colors !

ipanematravels 9th May 2017 at 9:09 pm

Yes, it’s a nice place to relax in the summer!

Chiara Cisario 14th April 2017 at 2:50 pm

II’m planning a trip to Germany and I found this really useful 🙂 never heard about this place but I’ll gladly check it out!

waitingforrain28 13th April 2017 at 10:26 pm

I love off the beaten path travel. This looks like a really wonderful town. Just beautiful!

snowtoseas 13th April 2017 at 9:53 pm

Blankenheim is seriously picture-perfect! I had also never heard of it before, but those half-timbered houses are everything! Thank you for sharing this hidden gem 🙂 I want to go!

Lara @ Find Your World Girl 13th April 2017 at 9:51 pm

These photos made me so nostalgic for my time in Germany, I just love these classic little towns! Thanks for reminding me why I need to go back 🙂

remoteleigh 13th April 2017 at 6:43 am

simply beautiful scenery! I’m headed to Europe later in the year, this area will be on my list.

ipanematravels 13th April 2017 at 6:42 pm

Enjoy your trip in Europe!

Alexa 12th April 2017 at 11:42 pm

You’ve gotta love German Architecture. It’s so cool! Looks like a sweet trip you had with great weather.

dressingdanishly 12th April 2017 at 10:07 pm

I’ve never heard of Blankenheim before, but it looks so cute – love them houses! Do you think 4 days is enough, or could you visit over a couple of days?

ipanematravels 12th April 2017 at 11:08 pm

Depends on what you are planning to do – even one day is enough there, but if you want to do some of the walks, you need to stay longer.

Thecandidmillennial 12th April 2017 at 9:36 pm

What a pretty town! It reminds me of the village in Beauty and the Beast. I have not made it to Europe, but this looks like a wonderful place to visit!

ipanematravels 12th April 2017 at 11:07 pm

Oh, I hope you will make it one day to Europe! There are so many places worth the visit, so I am sure you will have some tough time planning 🙂

Sara MacIntosh 12th April 2017 at 9:01 pm

This place is so picturesque! How did you hear about this town before visiting it? I’d love to go around Germany and visit the small towns so I will definitely be saving this article for trip planning!

ipanematravels 12th April 2017 at 11:06 pm

I had a show there with my dancing group, so I used the opportunity to make a small trip out of it.

Kyntra Strickland 8th April 2017 at 11:43 pm

I’ve never heard of Blakenheim before! It looks and sounds like a fun, relaxing city to explore. Thank you for sharing your vacation with us!

Audrey 8th April 2017 at 2:02 pm

Thank you for your informative article! I live close to Germany at the moment and I’m definitely on a quest to little weekend getaways 🙂 will keep your article in my bookmarks!

ourpassion4travel 8th April 2017 at 12:50 pm

II enjoyed reading your article. It’s close to where I live and never heard of it. It looks very beautiful and worth the visit. It’s amazing to know we have beautiful places so close to home. We also work full time and like to take weekend trips to explore. Great piece of history.

Rhiannon 8th April 2017 at 12:41 pm

I’ve never heard of this place before, but I’m glad you introduced me to it! Such beautiful photos 😀

ipanematravels 8th April 2017 at 12:46 pm

Thanks Rhiannon!

louboutinsinmyluggage 4th April 2017 at 9:23 pm

Your photos have convinced me! I’m based in Berlin so I’m always looking for places to to travel in the country that are off the beaten track! Thanks for sharing 🙂

ipanematravels 4th April 2017 at 10:43 pm

I’m sure you will love it there! I’m also much of an off-the-beaten-track traveler.

Lisa 3rd April 2017 at 12:48 pm

Even though I’m german I have never heard about this place before, but it looks nice 🙂

I hope you have a great Day! 🙂

Lisa | Travelblog Joy Della Vita

ipanematravels 3rd April 2017 at 8:52 pm

It is not popular at all, but it is absolutely worth the visit! I am happy if I can discover and write about less know places.


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