Follow the Eifelsteig to the eyes of the Eifel


There is a fantastic view over the Gemündener Maar in the upland Eifel region from the Dronketurm tower. The circular, mirror-smooth lake is surrounded by lush greenery and sits peacefully 150 metres below, against a backdrop of the volcanic peaks on the horizon. Born amid the thundering roars of a volcanic eruption, it is now an oasis of peace. And, looking up, it is easy to understand why local poet Clara Viebig calls the maars ‘the eyes of the Eifel’.

The brick-built observation tower has stood in memory of Adolf Dronke, the founder of the Eifel Club, for more than 100 years. It’s a long time, but it is but a mere blink of an eye in the history of volcanic activity, which goes back tens of thousands of years. The Eifelsteig goes right past it on its 11th stage from the spa resort of Daun to the castles of Manderscheid on the river Lieser. There are tables, swings and a delightful bench, making it the perfect place to stop, catch your breath and enjoy the wonderful views of the Vulkaneifel UNESCO Global Geopark.

The Geopark also includes the Eifel-Vulkanmuseum in Daun, which features pictures, models and original rocks to give its visitors an initial impression of the explosive force of the Eifel volcanoes that may have been inactive for 10,000 years but are by no means extinct. About 1.5 kilometres from Daun, those walking the Eifelsteig come to the district of Gemünden and the first maar, where they can compare theory with reality.

Impressive views of the Mäuseberg from the Dronketurm, Eifel

Impressive views of the Mäuseberg from the Dronketurm, Eifel

The Gemündener Maar is the smallest of the famous ‘Eifel eyes’ around Daun, which also include the Weinfelder and the Schalkenmehrener Maar. All three are peacefully and tidily lined up together. From the Mäuseberg plateau, you can catch a glimpse of the Weinfelder Maar far below. It can be seen right next to St Martin’s Chapel, which gleams bright white from the hill above the northern shore and has a certain mysterious attraction even from afar.

View of the Weinfelder Maar and the white St Martin’s Chapel, Eifel

View of the Weinfelder Maar and the white St Martin’s Chapel, Eifel

Walkers on the Eifelsteig along the Weinfelder Maar, Eifel

Walkers on the Eifelsteig along the Weinfelder Maar, Eifel

The chapel lost its congregation and the village of Weinfeld to the plague in the 16th century. Its bells ring out pretty much at random, as all visitors are invited to ring them as the mood takes them. The lake owes its second name ‘Totenmaar’, or ‘dead maar’ to the cemetery at the chapel. Before you get to the path along the shore of the Weinfelder Maar, you have to pass through a turnstile. This is to prevent the Boer goats, which have the healthy appetites required to maintain the foliage on the slopes around the maar and keep it from getting overgrown, from absconding.

Trusting Boer goats on the Mäuseberg near the Weinfelder Maar, Eifel

Trusting Boer goats on the Mäuseberg near the Weinfelder Maar, Eifel

Taking a break at the maar crossing with views over the Schalkenmehrener Maar, Eifel

Taking a break at the maar crossing with views over the Schalkenmehrener Maar, Eifel

The maars are under nature conservation orders. Walkers can enjoy carpets of water lilies, rare plants and water birds. Fishing, swimming and rowing is permitted in some of them, including the Schalkenmehrener Maar, which is embedded in the gorse and heath amidst fertile fields and is popular with boaters and swimmers alike in the summer.

More leisure tips for nature lovers in the Eifel region:


Eifelsteig trail

medium

313,1 km

94:45 h
Where rock and water accompany you: The long-distance hiking trail leads in 15 stages from the…

Pellenzer Seepfad

hard

16,0 km

5:00 h
Unique glimpses into the volcanic history on the Eppelsberg mountain. Live volcanism at Lake…

Eifelsteig Etappe 12: Manderscheid - Kloster Himmerod

hard

18,2 km

5:30 h
Along the initial section, the Eifelsteig Trail overlaps with the well-known Lieser Trail. This…

HeimatSpur MaareGlück

medium

10,9 km

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

The Lieserpath - From the source to the mouth

medium

73,8 km

21:00 h
On four stages, hikers experience how the small Lieser stream develops into a river. Far away from…

Circular walk NaturWanderPark delux: Felsenweg 1 (L-Echternach)

hard

20,4 km

6:00 h
The Felsenweg 1 rocky path takes visitors past strange rocky landscapes, meadows full of flowers and…

Vulkaneifel Trail: Manderscheider Castle-Path (around Manderscheid)

medium

5,4 km

2:30 h
The Manderscheider Burgenstieg (Castle-Trail) leads around the twin castles of Manderscheid.

Walks around the Eifel maars

Let us tell you about the wonderful walks around the ‘eyes of the Eifel’, the volcanic upland maars with their glistening blue waters.

Eifel Vulkanmuseum

Eifel Volcano Museum

Daun Visit the Volcano Museum Daun and let yourself be taken back to the explosive time of volcanism! Discover how the GesundLand Vulkaneifel was created…
Meerfelder Maar 1

Meerfelder Maar

Meerfeld The view from the lookout tower “Landesblick” is impressive: The Maar lake glistens around 200 metres below, gently embedded in the largest Maar…
Blick auf das fast kreisrunde Pulvermaar

Pulvermaar

Gillenfeld the storybook maar
Maarmuseum in Manderscheid

Maarmuseum Manderscheid

Manderscheid Experience an adventure and travel to the center of the earth! Climb into the capsule of the "Terranaut" at the Maarmuseum Manderscheid and dare an…
Laacher See in der Eifel

Laacher See

Maria Laach With around 3.3 km² and a depth of 53 m, Laacher See is the largest lake in Rhineland-Palatinate. The area around the lake has been a nature reserve…