In the beginning of November, Vetexbart and I went on another road trip. I feel we should make this a yearly thing. Anyhow, the destination for our road trip? Rheinland Pfalz, a region in western Germany, close to the Belgian border. We could not have picked a better period to go there. Read the blog to find out why!
First of all, I want to thank Rheinland-Pfalz tourismus to organize this trip for Vetexbart and me. We had a lot of fun exploring the region with our own eyes and minds.
A second thank you is in place for Land Rover Belgium. They borrowed us the awesome Defender 90 we took on the trip. A road trip feels so much more adventurous with the right car.
A bit of driving to Rheinland Pfalz
From Antwerp, where I have my home, it’s a bit of a drive before you can say you are actually in the region. Three hours, or 222 kilometers, was plenty of time for me to get used to the Land Rover Defender I borrowed.
The drive is not that long. So Rheinland Pfalz is the perfect short getaway for people from Belgium, south of the Netherlands, north of France, and of course the Germans themselves.
The Dauner Maare in Schalkenmehren
Our first stop was a bit of nature. A set of three volcanic lakes near the city Daun are a great spot to go for a short walk. Apparently, some of the Maars are good for swimming, but it’s autumn, so let’s keep that for a summer trip.
There are several free parking lots near the Maars, so taking a break from driving without having a big bill at the end is a big plus for me.
In the village of Schalkenmehren, there are a couple of hotels and restaurants. We went for a bit of pie in the Cafe Maarblick.
At the Dauner Maare, we climbed the hill. There you can enjoy a nice, but a bit intense, walk through the woods. Spot some goats grazing on the hillside and go further to the top. At the top, you can find the Dronketurm. There you can enjoy the view all around the region.
Instagram castle: Burg Eltz
A bit later, 45 minutes to be exact, we arrived at the magical castle, Burg Eltz. I saw loads of photos from it on Instagram, so my expectations were high!
I was a bit disappointed for that reason. I figured I would be blown away. In the defense of the castle, we arrived at a bit of a weird time. The sun was hidden behind the clouds, making the entire valley look pretty dull.
After a bit of walking around and going inside the castle, I got impressed. Although I didn’t like how it looked on my photos, it was an impressive piece of architecture and history.
In the castle, you have to option to take a guided tour in the construction itself or you can go for a walk in the forest around the fortress.
Why this castle is unique?
- Well, it never was damaged in any war.
- It is owned by the family that constructed it 850 years ago.
- There is no architectural comparison
- A lot of the furniture is still intact
- There is a lot of flora and fauna to find in the woods.
Sleeping & eating: Weingut Alfred Dahm and Zur Marienburg
During autumn, the sun sets pretty fast. So when we left the castle behind us and walked back to our car, it was already getting dark. We decided to head for the hotel and freshen up for the dinner we had planned.
We arrived at our room in the housey Weingut Alfred Dahm in Pünderich. It feels like you are stepping into a nice house. The owner didn’t speak English really good, but luckily we handled the situation in our broken German.
A short walk to Restaurant Zur Marienburg helped us enjoy the nice coldness of the autumn evening. On arrival, we were seated at our table and received an overview of three-course dinner.
After getting our tummies filled with local goodness, we went to bed for a good night’s rest and a personalized breakfast in the morning.
Beating vertigo at Geierlay suspension bridge
The first mission of the day as to beat my fear of heights. In Mörsdorf starts a nice walk through nature. One of the highlights is Germanies biggest suspension bridge.
Hanging 100 meters above the forest, the bridge was built in only 130 days. Since 2015 it’s a big hit, and you can find a lot of people enjoying themselves there. If you like to take photos without too many people in your shot, I can recommend going as early as possible.
The total length of the bridge is 360 meters. Perfect for those who want to take their time to find the perfect angle. Less perfect for people that just want a small taste of the height before going back to the safety of solid ground.
Rheinland Pfalz: the region for castles
When I was done conquering my fears, we went to a little town called Kastellaun. There you can find a beautiful old castle ruin. More importantly, there you can also find a couple of food options.
We went for lunch in the Badische Amtskellerey, but I can highly recommend the Taverne
Looking over the Rhine river
The best way for me to digest a nice meal is a nice drive across a beautiful region. So we hopped in the Defender 90 again and headed for Gedeonseck. A 40 minutes drive to a beautiful lookout point.
While driving I couldn’t help myself to stop a few times and take photos of the car in the nice landscape.
At Gedeonseck you can find a viewpoint over the river Rhine. You can see an entire meander coming towards you and leave again. A nice spot to enjoy a sunset… or a nice apfelstrudel in the restaurant there. Your call!
Koblenz: A bit of city in nature
It’s only a short drive from the Gedeonseck to Koblenz. A city where modern and old meet each other. It’s also never far from nature, as in all directions you can find a proper place to go hiking, find a viewpoint or just drive through the nice landscapes.
We had reservations in the Sander hotel, a modern hotel in the city center. They also had parking for our Defender. Which was a perfect combination for us.
After check-in and a shower, we decided to hit town.
In the Altes Brauhaus, you can find a lot of beers on draft. They also serve meals. It’s a bit of an Irish Pub, but with a German twist on it. Decent meals, big glasses of beer, and a nice atmosphere.
And as usual, with a full stomach, Fred falls asleep.
The next day we strolled around the city of Koblenz. There are a couple of nice places to go. Like the Deutsche Eck, where the Rhine and the Mosel meet each other. You can find a big statue there, which is worth a climb.
At the other side, you can find a large fortress on the hillside. With a cable car, you can get there. If you do so, I suggest buying the combination ticket. In my opinion, it’s not really worth the money. Although I can imagine it’s a lot of fun to do if you have kids that like to go for a ride in the cable cars.
Andernach: another typical German town
Half an hour by car, you can find Andernach. It’s a small town. The highlight is a castle ruin that looks beautiful on sunny days. Nearby you can find a couple of hiking routes, a large geyser, and some museums.
Our goal, however, was a lunch at the Michelin starred restaurant, YOSO. We had a two-course meal there. If you don’t know the restaurant yet, here are some keywords: experimental Asian fusion. It was delicious!
Traumpfädchen Kleiner Stern: a hike through nature
A bit up the hill, you can find a parking lot. It’s also the start of a hike around the valley and through the forest. For me it was ideal. Digesting my delicious meal while enjoying nature.
You have a couple of viewpoints along the walk. It also contains parts through the woods and through the fields. This way, you don’t get bored of the landscapes around you easily.
I can recommend some decent hiking shoes, as it’s not the best road and can get muddy. Especially if you are doing it during autumn as I did.
Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler: a town from ye old days.
We then went to another little town. It’s a bit of a mouthful: Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler. It’s an old town, with castle walls all around it. You can enter it through one of the four gates. I didn’t know better and went in with our big car. Don’t be like me: find a parking spot outside the walls and walk the last bit. It will save you a lot of stress.
So Bad Neuenahr is an old city. It’s nice to walk through it a bit. Enjoy the architecture of the church. Discovering the little streets.
We slept at the Hotel Rodderhof. A comfortable hotel inside the walls. The building feels as if it was a hotel/inn for a long time already. Which only adds to the atmosphere of the city.
At Winzerhof Körtgen we had a table reservation. The host greeted us with a big smile and handed us the handwritten menu’s. All German classics, but with the best products used. Of course, you have to try some wine from their big collection.
Ending the trip at Mayschoss
Again, a short drive. 15 minutes from Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler you find the little town of Mayschoss. It doesn’t sound so impressive, but there you can find a huge wine cellar. Winzergenossenschaft Mayschoß is the main company the help the wine-farmers around the area.
They have their own installations to make and store the wine. So walking through the shop and cellar is pretty impressive. One of the connaisseurs took us on a trip. It’s safe to say I never learned so much about the production of wine. From the fields to the bottles. It was amazing really.
Naturally, we ended with a short tasting. Very short for me, as I still had to drive our Defender back home.
My tips for a road trip to Rheinland Pfalz
Going to Rheinland Pfalz as a road trip destination is an awesome idea. To make it even better, I’d like to share a couple of tips.
- Bring decent hiking shoes
- A coat, gloves and a scarf are not a luxury
- Make time to experience everything
- Try the different wines they region has to offer
- Go with friends or your lover
Have you visited Rheinland Pfalz already? Let me know your recommendations in the comments below!