Germany might not be the first place that comes to mind when you hear the word ‘volcano’, but the land of Bauhaus and beer has over 20 of these geographical phenomenons, including a supervolcano which is rumoured to be overdue an eruption and three volcano parks. Here are Germany’s top 5 destinations for volcano votaries.
The Andernach Geyser
Laacher See is a lake that sits on top of Germany’s supervolcano, which was apparently due to erupt in 2012, although adrenalin junkies will be disappointed to hear that this claim has since been disputed.
There’s still plenty to see, however, as the Laacher See is based in the Eifel mountains, next to a 12th-century Benedictine monastery, and it's just down the road from The Andernach Geyser, the highest cold-water geyser in the world.
Staying at the village of Andernach gives visitors easy access to the Geopark Vulkanland Eifel (a national park devoted to Germany’s most impressive volcanoes). Get a room with a river view at the Hotel Villa am Rhein.
The blue eyes of the Eifel
Another volcanic destination in the Eifel mountain range, the spa town of Daun has hot springs, the superior Kneipp mineral baths, and the beautifully-maintained Daun-Gemunden spa gardens.
The town is located to the south of Hohe Acht, the highest Eifel mountain. And the landscape surrounding Daun includes three volcanic lakes, nicknamed ‘the blue eyes of the Eifel’ but officially known as the Dauner Maare.
After a tour of the lakes, visitors can drop into the town’s Volcano Museum, while the Sporthotel & Resort Grafenwald Daun provides a good base for further exploration of the region.
The Mendig Lava-Dome
The small town of Mendig is in the centre of one of the Mayen-Koblenz Volcano Park’s most impressive routes. It also has the Mendig Lava-Dome, the Mendig Lava Cellars (three square kilometres of volcanic rock chambers that run under the town) and every July plays host to ‘The Night of the Volcanoes’ festival.
Visitors still thirsting for volcanic trivia can visit the Wingert, a museum perched on a cliff face just outside the town, which provides visitors with everything they would hope to know about the last Laacher See eruption.
Finally – and for some visitors most importantly – Mendig even has a Volcano Brewery. Finish your day with a glass of locally-brewed beer and then retire to the adjacent HANSA Hotel.
The Rhon Mountain Range
A collection of low mountains at the southeast of the Hesse Highlands in Central Germany, the Rhon Mountains owe their existence to volcanic activity. Popular with gliders and comprising over 6km of hiking trails, the Rhon Mountains are protected as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Fulda is the mountains’ closest city, located between them and the Fulda River in Hesse, making it impossible to move without running into an awe-inspiring view.
The city also has its own Benedectine Monastery, for the days when you prefer less arduous sightseeing, and the Maritim Hotel Am Schlossgarten, which overlooks the Fulda Palace Gardens.
The Hohentwiel in the Hegau area
Part of the Hegau region, Singen is an industrial city with a strong connection to the past, thanks to its most popular landmark: the volcanic stub of Hohentwiel. This mountain is part of a chain of volcanoes that run through Hegau and is topped by the remains of an ancient fortress.
The walk to the top is challenging and sensible shoes are a must, but it’s worth the climb as at the summit, you’ll be greeted with unsurpassable views of the surrounding countryside, including the Swiss, German, and Austrian Alps. Recover from the climb by relaxing at the Best Western Hotel Lamm.