Three charming places on the Ahr


The Ahr valley in the north west of Rhineland Palatinate is famous for its landscape, its steep vineyards and cliffs, and its castles and half-timbered villages. The source of the Ahr is in Blankenheim and the river flows through charming villages for 89 kilometres before meeting the Rhine in Sinzig. Blankenheim, Altenahr and Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler are just three of them.

1. Blankenheim

The little town of Blankenheim lies on the western edge of the Ahr mountains in the heart of the Eifel region. At the guildhall of this pretty little town, there is a life-size sandstone statue of John of Nepomuk, the patron saint of bridges. The source of the Ahr is in the cellar vaults of the building next door, a half-timbered house built in 1726.

The medieval town centre is home to numerous half-timbered houses, the Georgstor, the Hirtenturm, the late Gothic church and the 12th-century Blankenheim Castle watching over the town. All in all, it is not just tranquil and pretty, it has a lot of history behind it. The Counts of Blankenheim brought around 500 relics from their travels to Rome and Jerusalem back to the Ahr and kept them in the castle chapel along with the relic book. The magnificent reliquary altars from the castle chapel can now be found in the church below the castle.

Count Dietrich III of Blankenheim made himself the talk of the town in the 15th century with the construction of a spectacular water pipeline. He had a long-distance pipeline built from the castle to the spring around one kilometre away, which involved digging a tunnel through the ‘Tiergarten’ mountain spur. The Tiergarten tunnel footpath has information boards and leads to the ‘Alte Quelle’ where the spring was tapped, along the route of the pipeline, to the Tiergarten tunnel, the water cottage and the counts’ castle with its baroque garden.

View over the swan lake in Blankenheim, Eifel

View over the swan lake in Blankenheim, Eifel

Walking past Blankenheim Castle, Eifel

Walking past Blankenheim Castle, Eifel


2. Altenahr

The Ahr snakes its way between Altenahr and Mayschoß in wildly romantic little bends through steep vineyards terraced with drystone walls and cliffs. The Mediterranean climate and the slate soil create perfect conditions for ripening what are primarily black grapes. One of the grape specialities grown on the Ahr is ‘Blaue Frühburgunder’, which ripens earlier in the season than its big brother, ‘Spätburgunder’, also known as Pinot Noir.

The romantic ruins of Are Castle stand on a mountain peak high above Altenahr. The ancestral castle of the Counts of Are can look back on a chequered history spanning more than 900 years, although only parts of the defensive walls, the old gate tower, parts of the Pala and the Romanesque chapel are preserved today. It was once one of the largest castle complexes in the Ahr valley. Are Castle is the perfect starting point for a gentle walk along the Red Wine Trail and the Ahrsteig Hiking Trail to Mayschoß, as it is downhill almost all the way.

Mayschoß at the foot of the Saffenburg mountain is home to the oldest registered wine-making cooperative in the world, which has been operating from 1868 to the present day. The treasure chamber of the large barrel vault stores bottles of many remarkable wines covered in the dust of ages.

Walking along the Ahr near Altenahr with Are Castle in the background, Ahr valley

Walking along the Ahr near Altenahr with Are Castle in the background, Ahr valley

Tour of the wine cellar of the Mayschoß wine cooperative, Ahr valley

Tour of the wine cellar of the Mayschoß wine cooperative, Ahr valley


3. Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler

The little town of Arhweiler is the perfect backdrop for a fairy-tale film. There are little alleyways full of half-timbered houses that are completely surrounded by the medieval town walls. Neighbouring Bad Neuenahr has a more elegant feel. The spa district with its bathing house, casino, white townhouses and generous spa gardens gives the resort a charm all its own. Although the two Rhineland Palatinate towns are very different, they have gone by the joint name of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler since 1969.

The spa garden was designed by master gardener Lenné and forms the heart of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler’s extensive park, which is considered one of the loveliest in Europe, primarily for its old trees, colourful flowerbeds and numerous relaxing places to sit. Every October, it forms the backdrop for the ‘Klangwelle’ a unique spectacular of water, fire, light, lasers and music. Roland Nenzel from Bonn, where he is known as ‘DJ Ronaldo’, and show designer Mischa Anton from Vienna are the brains behind Klangwelle. They have designed the sophisticated systems that shoot 120,000 cubic metres of water up to 30 metres into the air through more than 800 jets, which involves 100 water pumps and 10 kilometres of power cables.

Springs in Niederhutsstrasse in the picturesque old town of Ahrweiler, Ahr valley

Springs in Niederhutsstrasse in the picturesque old town of Ahrweiler, Ahr valley

The Grosse Sprudel in the spa garden in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Ahr valley

The Grosse Sprudel in the spa garden in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Ahr valley

But it is the Ahr that is setting the tone for the design of the Regional Garden Show 2022. All the garden attractions follow the course of the Ahr, from the ‘Wilde Ahr’ in the east of the town through Kaiser-Wilhelm-Park, Lenné-Park, Dahliengarten, Kaiserin-Auguste Viktoria Park and Rosengarten to Ahrweiler.

Fantastic show at the Klangwelle in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Ahr valley

Fantastic show at the Klangwelle in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Ahr valley

Relaxing in the spa garden of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Ahr valley

Relaxing in the spa garden of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Ahr valley

More leisure tips for nature lovers in the Ahr valley:


Ahr-Radweg (Blankenheim-Sinzig)

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Red wine hiking trail from Bad Bodendorf to Altenahr (The Tour)

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