Malerischer Luftkurort: Heimbach
A place for explorers, nature lovers and history buffs
Hengebach Castle towers majestically above the town, standing on its greywacke rock 200 metres above sea level like a rock in the surf for many centuries. Even today, the castle is the landmark of Heimbach, the smallest town in North Rhine-Westphalia, and a place to explore the beauty of the Eifel. With the protective castle behind you, the many beautiful corners of Heimbach are easy to discover. Half-timbered houses line the streets, shops, cafés and restaurants invite you to take a stroll through the town and enjoy culinary breaks with regional specialities. The Rur meanders through the narrow valley and invites you to take a walk along its banks. Pedal boaters and paddlers get their money's worth and enjoy their time on the water extensively. Water is also the big theme in the Art Nouveau power station, which is unique in its kind in Europe.
Nature and culture combine to form a unity in Heimbach, they give each other space, open-air places become art spaces, historic buildings host exhibitions that have nature as their theme. Visitors can revel in history while enjoying the landscapes around them. Breathing deeply becomes a must, because the climatic health resort spoils you with its clear air, so that every walk through the town or along the banks of the Rur becomes a pampering programme. Heimbach is also an ideal starting point for adventurous excursions into the surrounding area.
It can be seen from almost everywhere in the village: Hengebach Castle. Built in the 11th century, it is one of the oldest buildings in the Eifel. Various lords once lived and ruled at the fortress. The lion of the Jülich counts still adorns the town's coat of arms. The courtyard, battlements and keep are open all year round free of charge. From the courtyard there is a magnificent panoramic view over Heimbach.
Heimbach International Academy of Art
Giving free rein to one's creativity within historic walls is a special feature that Heimbach has to offer, for the renowned Heimbach International Art Academy is based in Hengebach Castle. The academy is an educational and training centre for fine arts and is aimed equally at amateurs and professionals interested in art. The students present their works of art at regular exhibitions.
Art in the bush
Visitors can experience even more art at the Meuchelberg. On a two-kilometre-long, barrier-free circular walk called "Art in the Bush" (Kunst im Busch), there are various sculptures, sculptures and installations. On the walk, the view opens up again and again in the direction of the reservoir and Hengebach Castle.
Art Nouveau Power Station
Generating electricity with water power: The power station was commissioned in 1905 and is still used to generate electricity today. The Art Nouveau building has been completely preserved and is therefore unique in Europe. The power station draws its water from the Urft reservoir via the Kermeter tunnel, which merges into two pressure pipes 110 metres above the power station. Guided tours of the hydroelectric power station are available.
On the water
Who has the most stamina? Muscle power is in demand in the reservoir below the Rur dam: pedal boats and canoes can be hired by the hour. After a trip on the water, it's time to relax on the shore. If you want to experience more of the Rur, you can book canoe tours on the Rur. The trip is possible as far as Zerkall, passing towering red sandstone cliffs in places.
National Park Gate and beaver tours
The Heimbach National Park Gate and Tourist Information Centre are located in the old railway station. Visitors can not only get the best tips for hikes and excursions in the surrounding area, they can also immerse themselves in the "Forest Secrets" exhibition and learn more about the landscapes of the Eifel. The beaver tours show how a small rodent can change landscapes. Three pairs of beavers were reintroduced to the Rur in 1981 and they have been busy providing offspring. About 400 beavers live in the Eifel again and obviously feel at home. They build their dams undisturbed and thus provide small reservoirs in which numerous animals and plants have settled. With a bit of luck, participants of the evening tours can catch a glimpse of the shy master builders. The guided tours into the beavers' habitat start from Heimbach and Hürtgenwald.
For hikers, Heimbach and its surroundings are a veritable Eldorado. Whether the monastery circuit up to Mariawald Abbey, to the Eifel view "Luna" with views in the direction of the Eifel National Park, to the Eifel view "Schöne Aussicht", along the Rursee or around the reservoir in Heimbach or up the Meuchelberg - hikers have the choice and can choose between hiking tours of different lengths.
Excursions in the surrounding area
From Heimbach, the Eifel is an excellent place to discover. The Rursee is not far away. The reservoir is one of the largest in Germany. Hiking and cycling paths lead along the Rursee, and those who like to take it easy can take one of the Rursee boat trips across the lake. A place of contemplation is Mariawald Abbey. The roots of the monastery go back to the 15th century. At first, the Cistercians worked in Mariawald, then from 1861 the Trappists. Turbulent times were experienced by the monks over the centuries, many pilgrims visited the monastery, but in 2017 the time of monastic life ended, as the convent was dissolved. However, it is still a place of contemplation and prayer, and as part of a guided tour, those interested can take a look at the former cloistered area of the monastery. There is also a restaurant, a liqueur factory and a monastery shop with a book and art shop.