In the land of knights and castles

The Lieser flows gently past the Eifel village of Manderscheid, winding in picture-perfect loops between wooded cliffs. It is a tributary of the Moselle that has remained both original and idyllic. To its left and right, there are two ruined castles, romantic waypoints that almost seem to have been put there to make you pause a while and dream of a world of knights and damsels.

It was a turbulent time when bitter rivals were armed to the teeth. In the upper castle were the troops of the belligerent Bishop of Trier. Below were the Counts of Manderscheid, who were not keen on the idea of defeat. For two hard-fought years in the 14th century, the Trier troops laid siege to the counts of the Eifel, with just the Lieser river separating the warring parties. But William V of Manderscheid held his ground and built up the lower castle into a virtually impenetrable fortress.

You can still see how imposing it would once have been. A tightly-woven mesh of walls and towers sits atop the cliffs, while the remainder is a medieval labyrinth designed to confound the enemy. The best views of the landscape are from the Belvedere viewpoint, where the valley of the Lieser and its two castles are laid out at your feet like a painting.

View of the lower castle in Manderscheid from the Lieser path, Eifel

View of the lower castle in Manderscheid from the Lieser path, Eifel

Belvedere forms part of the Manderscheid castle trail, a five-kilometre walk along magical paths amid beautiful surroundings. There are breathtaking mountain passages and quiet valley floors. You can hear the Lieser bubbling along as you approach the village of Manderscheid and the very ruins in which the adversaries entrenched themselves.

In 2020, the Manderscheid castle trail was named the third best one-day walk in Germany by leading hiking magazine Wandermagazin. It is a perfect region for walking, as Manuel Andrack also discovered. The author and former partner of show master Harald Schmidt once described the path along the Lieser as the loveliest walk in Germany.

View from the Belvedere viewpoint on the Manderscheid castle trail, Eifel

View from the Belvedere viewpoint on the Manderscheid castle trail, Eifel

Tour of the walls of the lower castle in Manderscheid, Eifel

Tour of the walls of the lower castle in Manderscheid, Eifel

The Lieser path also affords lovely views of the Manderscheid castles. It crosses the Burgenstieg and runs along the same route as the Eifelsteig in places. Everything comes together in Manderscheid, which is another good reason to take a break here for a couple of days and enjoy the clear air. The healthy climate spa resort is a place to breathe deeply and recuperate with natural wellness for the mind, body and soul.

Picnic at the Kaisertempel viewpoint near the Manderscheid castles, Eifel

Picnic at the Kaisertempel viewpoint near the Manderscheid castles, Eifel

It is also charming at Advent, when the traditional castle Christmas is celebrated within the walls of the lower castle in Manderscheid on the first weekend of Advent. The castle festival is a real spectacular held on the last weekend of August every year, with jousting, knights in suits of armour and medieval banquets. The castle café serves home-made cakes and there are all sorts of tasty Eifel dishes to be had in the local restaurants.

For culture vultures, the Maar Museum also offers insights into the geological history of the region and how the Eifel maars were formed. You can book a workshop and learn about the fine art of candle dipping at the Moll candle factory. This casts aside any remaining doubt that Manderscheid in the GesundLand Vulkaneifel is the perfect destination for a short break.

More leisure tips in and near Manderscheid:


The healthy climate spa of Manderscheid, which sits between the Lieser and Kyll rivers, is just the ticket for recharging your batteries using natural healing methods.

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93:35 h
Where rock and water accompany you: The long-distance hiking trail leads in 15 stages from the…

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