About the happiness of hiking, a tree-top trail, a varied bike path, water pleasures, cult sites and jungle adventures in a trekking camp – six very special outdoor tips in Saarland.
Hiking bliss on the Saar-Hunsruck Climb
On the Saar-Hunsruck-Steig premium hiking trail, you'll trek over hill and dale on narrow paths through varied nature, past the Saar Loop and Moselle Valley © Marcus Gloger
"Great things are always created on a small scale" is the official slogan for Saarland. This also applies to the first two, approximately 17 kilometer long stages of the Saar-Hunsruck Climb long-distance hiking trail. It has already been named Germany's most beautiful long-distance hiking trail for the second time and runs for a total of 376 kilometers from Perl in the Saarland to Boppard on the Rhine loop in Rhineland-Palatinate. After the first climbs, the first stage from Perl to Hellendorf already offers views of longing: of the border triangle of Germany-Luxembourg-France, of the wide Moselle valley, and of the surrounding countryside. Narrow paths lead through enchanted forests, orchid meadows and encounter ancient Roman sites along the way. Finally, the second stage from Hellendorf to Mettlach leads to a panorama that you won't forget in a hurry. Initially along babbling brooks, the trail continues through the Steinbach Valley nature reserve. After another ascent in the direction of Orscholz, it is finally reached and lies there as if it had been painted: the Saar Loop. On the descent there are always new perspectives of the natural wonder.
Around the country on the Saarland Cycle Path
In Saarbrucken, the state capital, you start on the Saarland Cycle Path, which is about 350 kilometers long, once around the entire state © Eike Dubois
Practical: The state is so small that you can cycle around it in just one week. The Saarland Cycle Path holds significant natural and cultural treasures in store along this 350-kilometer route. From Saarbrucken, it first leads along historic towpaths along the Saar River in the direction of Saargemund, and later along the Blies River in the direction of Blieskastel. The little town is a baroque feast for the eyes. On the further course of the trail – here counterclockwise – the cycle path winds through the beautiful green Ostertal valley. In the nearby St. Wendel, it's worth stopping at the late Gothic Wendalinus Basilica, and a picnic would be especially nice at Bostalsee. Soon you will reach the Peterberg in the southern Black Forest. This expansive panoramic view is a great place to recharge your batteries, while other tour highlights await: follow in the footsteps of the Celts along the ancient ring wall in Otzenhausen. The spectacular classics of the Saarland follow: The view of the picture-perfect Saar Loop, the border triangle, vineyards and vast orchards. A final highlight is a visit to the Volklingen Ironworks, UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Saarschleife Tafel Tour
On the 7 Tafeltours you combine hikes rich in experience and views with excellent regional cuisine © Eike Dubois
The "Saarland Tafeltouren" are a special variation of the premium hiking trails. Here, scenic hikes are combined with enjoyment, for example on the Saarschleife Tafeltour. The almost 16-kilometer-long circular trail is something for hikers who love stairs and bridges, castles and the finest views. It begins with an ascent along a forest path that leads to the tree-rich mountain ridge. The first destination of the Saarschleife Tafeltour from Mettlach: the medieval castle ruin Montclair, which is surrounded by the Saarschleife and used to serve as a perfect guard post over the stream. From here the route descends on serpentines towards the Saar, where there is a small boat adventure: the Saar crossing. To signal the ferryman, simply ring the bell. (Attention, Monday is day of rest.) Having sailed to the other shore, a hiking paradise begins here, in the Steinbach Valley, under a dense canopy of leaves. Across numerous wooden bridges, steps and stairs – a real fitness check – the trail leads on partly steep sections to the crowning highlight: the viewpoint Cloef, which promises the best view of the Saar Loop. A place to marvel, breathe and enjoy. Romantic paths through the Weselbach valley eventually lead back to the start, back to the st. Lutwinus pilgrimage church in Mettlach. On the way there are nice places to stop for refreshments, for example at the bistro in Montclair Castle or in the beer garden of the Mettlacher Abtei-Brau.
Wilderness under the starry sky
Close to the mighty Celtic ring wall at Otzenhausen, you can pitch your tents in the wilderness of the Hunsruck-Hochwald National Park © Marcus Simaitis
Who needs the Amazon jungle?? You can also experience real jungle adventures in the Hunsruck-Hochwald National Park. Where wildcats roam through the undergrowth, 1400 species of beetles crawl and moor dragonflies buzz, it gets even better: In the national park hide three wilderness trekking camps that hikers can book. The camps are called "Celtic Camp", "Dragon Camp" and "Wolf's Howl", they each have two wooden platforms, each with space for two small tents. Here, where Celts built a mighty ring wall more than 2000 years ago and Romans also roamed the countryside, you fall asleep with the spicy scent of the forest, wake up in the dense jungle greenery. The following applies to all camps: tents, food, drinks and toilet paper belong in your hiking backpack. Spring water bubbles only in the vicinity of the "dragon camp," but it should be boiled. Who likes, connects the three camps to a trekking tour of several days.
Stand-up paddling on the Bostalsee lake
You can glide across the Bostalsee, the largest reservoir in the Saarland, on a SUP. For beginners there are two-hour courses directly at the lake © Kevin Ehm
Bostalsee, a reservoir in the municipality of Nohfelden in the north of Saarland, offers a wealth of water sports and recreational opportunities. Here you can surf, sail, pedal boats. Not in the mood for it? Then the stand-up paddle, or SUP for short, is the perfect alternative for gliding out onto the lake in a relaxed way. The sport is easy to learn and the board can be rented by the hour. At the Bostalsee the Salt surf school offers two-hour courses. Here you quickly learn the most important tricks to keep your balance skillfully. And then it's nice to just drift across the water on the board and enjoy the view of sailboats and green shores.
Rock path in the Kirkel forest
The Kirkeler Tafelrunde leads to nature highlights and places steeped in history © Marcus Gloger
Criss-cross, narrow and winding, root-covered paths wind their way here through one of the largest forest areas in the state: The Kirkeler Tafeltour is probably one of the most spectacular hikes in Saarland. It's not so much about thrills as it is about immersion in an almost mystical natural landscape – the trail leads past moss-covered, bizarrely shaped and towering banks of red sandstone, to pulpits with great views and impressive caves. The highlight of the eight-kilometer tour is the mysterious Women's Well, a place surrounded by mighty rocks in the middle of the forest, which is believed to have served as a place of worship for the Celts. And with the castle ruin Kirkel there is another historical place on the way. For from the cone-shaped rock, on which today the mighty keep from the 13. The Roman legionnaires once kept a watchful eye on the trade route that ran through the valley from Inner Gaul to the Upper Rhine.