Narcissi meadows in the Olef valley
A sea of yellow flowers in the Eifel: the wild narcissis are in bloom!
They need lots of light so that they can happily stretch their little heads towards the sun: In spring, between March and May, the delicate wild narcissis - Narcissus pseudinarcissus - transform many a valley meadow in the Eifel into a magnificent yellow sea of blossoms. Whether on a guided tour or on your own - a hike in the Oleftal valley becomes a special experience at this time.
Hiking trails to the narcissis in the Oleftal valley
Two signposted circular trails - one 5 kilometres, the other 7.5 kilometres long - lead from the "Hollerather Knie" car park near Hellenthal-Hollerath on the B265 through the daffodil meadows. Both trails can be experienced on your own or with expert guidance. Every two years there is a large narcissi festival with a varied family programme and free guided walks.
The remote stream valleys have been used for haymaking for centuries since the 12th century. In early spring, they were fertilised with a special irrigation system, the so-called Flüxgräben, with the stream water containing suspended matter. This is how these meadows were created over the centuries, which turn into a sea of flowers in spring and are a habitat for many plants and animals. The meadows were not mown until July, which is good for the narcissis because they flower from March to May. In the 1950s, however, haymaking was no longer profitable for the Eifel farmers, many valley meadows were afforested with spruce and deprived the small narcissis of their light, some meadows were fertilised more heavily and used intensively.
Thanks to an initiative of the NRW Foundation, the area was finally placed under nature conservation in 1976 to protect the meadows with their magnificent flowers. Farmers now use the area extensively - no fertiliser is allowed and it is only mown once late in the year and the spruces were removed: there was again room for the wild narcissis, the bearwort, flower-rich wetland and marsh meadows and arnica-rich bristly grass lawns. Biodiversity has recovered and butterflies, beetles and birds feel at home again.
Many meadows are now covered with narcissis in spring. This is a natural spectacle that can only be found in Germany in the Eifel and Hunsrück. The little spring bloomers have taken the hearts of hikers by storm and many are drawn to the paths through the daffodil meadows at this time of year. If you like, you can take part in guided tours where the guides tell you lots of interesting facts about the yellow spring bloomers and the surrounding area. But you can also explore the meadows on your own on the hiking trails.