"If you want to experience exciting things, you don't have to fly halfway around the world or have expensive equipment": This was roughly the motto of Alastair #Humphreys, who National Geographic named Adventurer of the Year 2012 and who introduced the term "micro-adventure". And the British-born adventurer is right! As beautiful as the journey to another continent and paradisiacal islands may be: Those who are looking for #adventures and #experiences can also find them on their own doorstep.
From Cologne via Heimbach into the National Park
For example, if you come from the Cologne area or even the cathedral city itself and are looking for a little variety and adventure, a trip to the National Park #Eifel southwest of #Cologne might be just the thing for you and your friends. If you're not in the luxury position of owning a car, it's best to take the train from Cologne Central Station to Heimbach, as the National Park is not directly accessible by train. From here, buses will take you and your entourage to various points in and around the #national park.
Once in the national park, no less than 240 kilometres of hiking trails await you, which you can explore on guided ranger tours, on horseback or on your own. A spectacular scenery of open and lake #landscapes and extensive forests as far as the eye can see as well as the rare species of black stork, eagle owl and wild cat await you.
Hiking adventures on the wilderness trail to Monschau
The so-called wilderness trail is particularly recommended. You start at the national park gate Heimbach - where you can also consider a #canoe trip - and hike into the natural forest cell "Wiegelskammer". From there, passing the only Trappist monastery Mariawald, you will enter the fascinating beech and oak forests of the "Kermeter" mountain range before you finish your first day of hiking after 22.5 kilometres in a pension or holiday apartment in #Gemünd.
The next day you experience breathtaking #views over the open Dreiborn plateau and the lake landscape on your 20.5 kilometre long #trail from Gemünd to Einruhr. The trail is peppered with numerous #viewpoints, one of Europe's largest dams (Urft dam) and steep slopes along the Obersee. Arrived in #Einruhr, you can end the day on the camping site in Simmerath-Hammer.
On the third day, the 24.7 kilometre route between Einruhr and Monschau-Höfen is the most strenuous part of the tour for you and your troop, partly because of the many metres in altitude to be overcome. But if you consider the adventurous high altitude paths at #Hirschrott, the beautiful view over the #Obersee, the idyllic valley in #Erkensruhr or the romantic meadow valleys and yellow daffodils that adorn the path in spring, the effort is quickly forgotten. In addition, the old clothier town of Monschau with its historic half-timbered houses has an enchanting old town centre. Finally, from Monschau you take the bus again and travel to #Düren, from where you can take the train back to Cologne: with a lot of fresh air in your lungs and a few kilometres in your calves.