Forests, rivers and deep valleys in Western Germany
The Eifelsteig is a well-marked trail meandering through the German states of Nordrhein-Westfalen and Rheinland-Pfalz along the borders of Belgium and Luxemburg. The trail offers magnificent paths through deep valleys, along pastures and delving into heavy forests, and there is always some form of river, stream or lake nearby making the trail varied and beautiful. The “tag line” for the Eifelsteig is “Just you, the water and the rocks”, and while the “just you” part isn’t always true as there are quite a lot of people hiking in these areas, there is a lot of water and a lot of rock formations to explore along the way!
The Eifelsteig has fifteen parts, starting in the outskirts of Aachen and ending in Trier some 300 kilometers later. There are ample lodgings available along the track, nestled in small villages and in the surrounding countryside. The trail is very popular so it is prudent to book some B&Bs or hotels beforehand, even though it is possible to just wing it and book as you walk. This is of course not true if you are hiking during the summer holiday season when everything is usually booked solid months in advance. Don’t be afraid to ignore the official trail division of the path either. There are a lot of places to stay in the middle of the stages, and some of them give you great value for your money, if you are willing to walk a handful of extra kilometers into the next stage before hunkering down for the night.
A short update for the 2021 season – quite a few places have been affected by the devastating floods in Germany and Belgium this summer. There are some minor detours to the normal route because of this, but these have been clearly marked. Be sure to check with the autorities and with locals whether a particular leg is passable on foot or not.