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© J Esser, Nationalpark Eifel
© J Esser, Nationalpark Eifel

While the Ruhr Metropolis has much to offer, many options to escape can be found in regions beyond. Head along scenic routes through beautiful countryside or partake of other excursions farther afield.

Shorter Trips

Zons is situated on the Rhine to the west of the Ruhr and is a wonderful example of how picturesque the countryside can be. Two kilometres to the north is the Zonser Heide, a feast for animal lovers. There are wild boars, guinea pigs, pheasants, and many other animals in outdoor enclosures.

Across the river from Zons, a three kilometre pathway leads to historical Urdenbach. Its idyllic location and vicinity to the nature reserve Urdenbacher Kämpe promises an unforgettable experience for any nature lover. There are a number of half-timbered houses and ancient churches from the 17th and 18th century.

The Ardennes

To the south west lies the region of Eifel-Ardennes, located across four open borders. The area reveals scenic, rough and low mountains of the Rhenish Uplands. They lie in the Southeast of Belgium as well as on French and Luxembourg territory. The woody mountains between the rivers Meuse and Moselle in the East change into the Eifel and the region of the Hohes Venn in Germany. The average height of the mountain range is 550 metres. The highest peak named Baraque de Fraiture has 652 metres and lies in the northern province of Belgium. The whole landscape with a number of river valleys is traversed of many subsidiary streams. Indeed, the source of the Meuse is in the North of France from where it flows as far as Rotterdam in the Netherlands to reach the North Sea. Its subsidiary streams are the Korn, Semois, Lesse and Ourthe. The Moselle with its smaller streams of Sauer and Ur flow through the Ardennes. With their lovely green grasslands, the valleys of the Ardennes are highly picturesque, the uplands being somewhat austere with boggy and impenetrable fields.

The Eifel

The Eifel in the West of Germany reaches from Aachen in the North to the Rhine Valley in the East and from the Valley of the Moselle in the South up to Malmedy to the West. In that region, the Eifel blends into the geologically identical Ardennes. Thus, the Eifel is also a trans-border mountainous terrain and volcanic in origin. The highest peak of the Eifel is Hohe Acht with 747 metres. A must see for nostalgic racing fans is the Nurburgring where Germany’s famous racer Michael Schumacher won 5 competitions. Nature enthusiasts can take long-distance walks in the nature park of the Northern Eifel. Just as the Ardennes, the landscape of the Eifel is characterised by many streams and brooks as well as by reservoirs and natural lakes. The climate is fair. Winter is not too cold but rather long and can see much snowfall. In summer it is not too hot, can indeed be rather cool with heavy rainfall. For this reason the climate of the Eifel is eminently comfortable, especially in the uplands.

By Philipp Schiwek, updated, Jun 7 2021

Wald und Holz NRW Nationalparkforstamt Eifel

Urftseestrasse 34
53937 Schleiden-Gemünd

+49 2444 951 00

Suspended railway to airport


The airport in Düsseldorf is located under thirty kilometres from the centre of Essen. DUS offers the Ruhr Metropolis easy access to many destinations worldwide. Journey times can vary enormously depending on the time of day. Public transport includes ICE or S-Bahn trains to the terminal via a Skytrain connection.

Written text on paper


We stand in a foreign culture finding ourselves pointing, gesticulating and hoping to be understood. Many Germans speak at least some English. However, some expats relocating to the Ruhr Metropolis may wish to carry a few basic but helpful words with them for use in awkward moments.

Beaches in Ruhr

It may come as a surprise to newly arrived expats that beaches can be found in the Ruhr Metropolis. Fine sand and shingle are ideal for walking, playing, relaxing and picnicking. People flock to enjoy various spaces beside the rivers and lakes, especially on warm and sunny summer days. Photo © Ralph Lueger.

Beach scene with sunbathers