The spa town of Manderscheid is famous above all for its two medieval castle ruins, which stand directly opposite each other on steep mountain spurs not far from the town's narrow streets. The once mighty structures, which were destroyed in several wars in the 17th century, are separated only by the little Lieser River, which cuts a spirited path through the densely wooded rocky landscape in the valley. Between the castles stretches a meadow which - equipped with a barbecue hut - becomes a perfect place in summer for a breather while hiking the Eifelsteig or for a family picnic with children.
On a weekend in August, however, the castles and the meadow are ideal settings for the spectacular Castle Festival with quaint crafts, jugglers, jousting tournaments and minstrel singing. In Advent, the Manderscheid Castle Christmas on the first weekend of Advent lends the town a special magic. The imposing, metre-thick walls were not always so romantic and full of carefree fun and games. Both served as fortifications in the conflict between the Electorate of Trier and the Duchy of Luxembourg. The enmity was deep-seated, and suspicious eyes were cast across the narrow valley.
The freely accessible upper castle with its five-storey keep still looks martial today. The lower castle can be explored on guided tours - even at night - or on your own; it only remains closed in bad weather. In the 12th century, the noble family of the Lords of Manderscheid expanded it into a magnificent, fortified seat of power. If you climb the steep path to the upper castle, in summer you will smell the bewitching scent of wild strawberries. Birds are chirping, the Lieser is lapping peacefully. The sun-drenched walls are a refuge for small lizards or wild bees. Nature has filled the once warlike scene with peace.
It can be experienced while hiking on the Eifelsteig and Lieserpfad trails as well as on the Vulkamaar Trail, all of which touch the spa. The Manderscheider Burgenstieg (Manderscheider Castle Trail) and the hiking tour "Grafschaft-Pfad" connect the cultural history and spectacular nature around the small town. The Maar Museum with the "Urpferdchen" (primal horse) or the Moll candle factory make Manderscheid, beyond the castles, an excursion destination for people with a longing for down-to-earth things.