The three mystical Daun maars

It seethed underground. Tens of thousands of years ago, the elements below the Eifel were locked in a bitter battle. Fire and water collided causing powerful eruptions and explosions. Volcanic vents opened up and swallowed up the ground above them. An inferno in the history of the earth.

When everything settled down again and the steam disappeared, something wonderful happened. Gradually, the craters filled with water and transformed the magma gorges into mystical shimmering blue lakes. A beautiful landscape grew up around these circular sinkholes, a landscape full of pretty woods and rare natural treasures. This was the origin of the maars, these magical volcanic lakes that are now the trademark of the region.

They are known as the ‘eyes of the Eifel’. The healthy climate spa resort of Daun is surrounded by three of the most beautiful of them: the Gemündener Maar, the Weinfelder Maar and the Schalkenmehrener Maar. The maars shape the landscape and hold an almost magical allure for people from far and wide. They are natural wonders that conjure up a calming yet invigorating landscape.

Just like the other two maars, the Weinfelder Maar is a nature conservation area. The village after which it is named has long since disappeared. It is sometimes also called the Totenmaar or ‘dead maar’ because of an ancient legend that says there is a sunken castle at its bottom. A footpath of just under two kilometres leads around the maar lake, along its unspoilt banks and through its unique flora.

Walking in this extraordinary landscape is always a pleasure. The “HeimatSpur MaareGlück”-path links the three Daun maars with a fantastic viewpoint in the middle: the 10-metre tall Dronketurm tower on the Mäuseberg, from which you can see the Gemündener Maar far down below in the valley. Nowhere else are the eyes of the Eifel as close together as they are here around the spa resort in the area known as GesundLand Vulkaneifel.

Selfie at the Schalkenmehrener Maar at the maar crossing, Eifel

Selfie at the Schalkenmehrener Maar at the maar crossing, Eifel

All three of the Daun maars have their own character. While the Weinfelder Maar is fully given over to nature, swimming is allowed in the Schalkenmehrener Maar and the Gemündener Maar. This is a refreshing experience in a completely natural setting. Boat trips and bathing in the crystal clear water is allowed, and a swim in a maar is an absolute must on a holiday in the Vulkaneifel.

Gaze into the distance with views from the Dronketurm over the Gemündener Maar, Eifel

Gaze into the distance with views from the Dronketurm over the Gemündener Maar, Eifel

A refreshing swim in the natural pool of the Gemündener Maar, Eifel

A refreshing swim in the natural pool of the Gemündener Maar, Eifel

The Gemündener Maar is up to 38 metres deep. Its shores are lined with dense deciduous forest, which forms a romantic backdrop for a natural lido that is open between June and September. The largest of the Daun maars is the Schalkenmehrener Maar. This was originally a double maar, part of which has silted up, producing the now charming combination of a sinkhole filled with water and a dry maar that is home to its very own low-moor bog vegetation. Sand thyme and oregano grow here, as do sweet woodruff and willow herb.

Walkers on the Eifelsteig along the Weinfelder Maar, Eifel

Walkers on the Eifelsteig along the Weinfelder Maar, Eifel

The various pubs and restaurants around Daun and Schalkenmehren are definitely worth a stop. You can treat yourself to a cold beer or a lovely drop of wine, served with excellent regional dishes typical of the delicious Eifel cuisine. One of the Daun specialities is healing water from the Dunaris spring, which bubbles up in the Daun spa garden. Not only is it healthy, it also tastes good, with minerals from deep within the Eifel and its volcanic roots.

More leisure tips in and near Daun:


The relaxing climate of the volcanic Eifel is very much apparent on a walk around the maars of Daun. Combined with the healing powers of the warm mineral spring, it is ideal for a short break.

HeimatSpur MaareGlück


10,9 km

3:30 h
On this varied hike, let the fascination of the peaceful Daun Maars take hold of you.

HeimatSpur Kleiner Dauner


8,5 km

2:30 h
Enjoy not only the fabulous nature of the Volcanic Eifel on this varied round trip, but also…

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