In the south west, Aachen is surrounded by the largest forest of the region. On passing through you stumble over many old border stones &nbdash; you often cross the old borders to the Netherlands and Belgium without even noticiting it. Aachen’s highest point is the Lousberg situated in the north of the town. As the legend goes it was piled up by the devil, but in reality the Lousberg was designed as an English park in Napoleon’s times. From here you have a magnificent view of the city.
The surrounding area also has a lot to offer: the German Belgian nature reserve “Hohes Venn-Eifel” is situated a few kilometres to the south. It consists of 4,500 ha of bogs, heath land, and bushes. In the Perlenbachtal, you can find more than 80 different types of flora and fauna.
The Rursee is about 30 km south east of Aachen. With a capacity of 205 million m³ the Rursee is one of Germany's largest reservoirs. Almost all types of water sport can be practised here. Cycle tours around the lake and eel angling are also popular. The annual event “Rursee in Flammen” that takes place in July is a highlight. Thousands of visitors observe the pageant from boats or the banks.
Bicycle lovers can go on a discovery tour of the beautiful natural countryside via the “Vennbahn” cycle path between Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg. The “Vennbahn” between Aachen and Troisvierges in the north of Luxembourg, with the unique upland moor “Hohes Venn” inbetween, is one of the longest railway line cycle paths in Europe covering 125 kilometres. In the summer individual points of entry on the track are also operated with a bicycle bus from Aachen inner city. Ebikes can be hired at the bicycle station at Aachen main railway station. The point of access to the “Vennbahn” cycle path (Aachen Rothe Erde) is easy to reach from the main railway station.
Leisure activities at one with nature
The Eifel is a low mountain range covering 5,300 km2 stretching from the federal states of Rhineland- Palatinate and North-Rhine Westphalia to Belgium and Luxembourg.
The German-Belgian natural park stretches over a surface area of about 2,700 km2 in North-Rhine Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and East Belgium. Its countryside provides unique variety: It offers outstanding natural diversity, including upland moors, rivers, streams as well as 15 lakes and dams, a colourful variety of species in the chalklands of the Eifel, forested hills in the Upper Eifel and the foothills of the volcanic Eifel region. The Eifel National Park lies in the middle of the nature park, the only National Park in North-Rhine Westphalia.
Official internet site of the Eifelsteig on which you will find all the important information about the Eifelsteig. The hiking trail runs over 313 km through the Eifel from Aachen to Trier. From the flat north near Aachen, over the “Hohes Venn” (or “High Fen”), through the lonesome Rurtal, past imposing dams, the “Eifel National Park” and over the lime Eifel and Vulkaneifel to the Southern Eifel, the Eifelsteig passes through a wide variety of areas, constantly revealing new landscapes to hikers.
Website on the “Vennbahn” cycle track running from Aachen to Troisvierges (Luxembourg) is one of Europe’s longest railway tracks.
The trail runs along the former track bed of the “Vennbahn” between Aachen (Rothe Erde) via Sankt Vith to Troisvierges. The trail of the “Vennbahn” cycle tracks runs partly through Kornelimünster, Roetgen, Lammersdorf, Monschau, Kalterherberg and St. Vith to Troisvierges. As a result of the border changes after the First World War the “Vennbahn” cycle track runs through German and Belgian land alternating several times.
Majestic forestland, romantic river valleys and genuine regional cuisine: In the Wallonie the French-speaking south of Belgium nature and pleasure meet. The Ardennes is the green heart of the region. On the website for Belgium tourism you will find further information on leisure and cultural offers in the Belgian borderland.
The most southern province of the Netherlands, Limburg, has its own distinctive character. Compared to the rest of the Netherlands Limburg has a hilly landscape and the majority of the Catholic population speaks their own dialect (Limburgian). Thanks to its charm almost everybody falls in love with this green and hospitable province. You will find further information on the website of the provinces of Limburg.
The Rursee lies in the middle of the Eifel national park in unique scenery surrounded by untouched nature. If you don’t want to go round the lake on foot or by bike, you can go by Rursee ship to the next stop.