The German-Luxembourg Nature Park stretches across north-eastern Luxembourg and the eastern part of Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany, on either side of the Our and Sûre rivers. In Luxembourg, it partly covers the Mullerthal and Éislek regions. The park, which has a total surface area of around 800km2, was created in 1964 as Europe's first cross-border nature park. It is the perfect destination for anyone who likes Premium quality hikes in protected natural surroundings.
German-Luxembourg Nature Park – four parks combined
The German-Luxembourg Nature Park, which stretches over around 800km2, links several nature areas in Luxembourg and Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany. It covers four nature parks located within a relatively small area: the Naturpark Our and Natur- & Geopark Mëllerdall in Luxembourg, and the North Eifel Nature Park and South Eifel Nature Park in Germany.
A treaty that anticipated free movement
In 1964, Luxembourg and Rhineland-Palatinate signed a treaty to protect, tend and develop the landscapes on the banks of the Sûre and the Our by applying the same principles and approach. This established the first cross-border nature park in Western Europe. The treaty stipulates that the area covered by woodland cannot be reduced and that the governments must facilitate access for pedestrians wanting to explore the region beyond their national border. For in the early 1960s, although the European Economic Community had just been established with the 1957 Rome Treaties, the Schengen Agreements were still a distant prospect (they would be signed in 1985 and 1990). Visitors and residents needed to be able to cross the border without difficulty, and that was made possible by this pioneering treaty.
European Diploma for Protected Areas
In 1973, the German-Luxembourg Nature Park was awarded the European Diploma for Protected Areas by the Council of Europe. This international award is granted to natural and semi-natural areas and landscapes of exceptional European importance for the preservation of biological, geological and landscape diversity and which are managed in an exemplary way. In 2020, the diploma was renewed until 2028.
How to explore the German-Luxembourg Nature Park
Explore the natural environment
The best way to explore the cross-border park is by walking and hiking, especially in the South Eifel region and in Luxembourg. A total of 24 Premium quality circuits have been developed in recent years as part of the "NaturWanderPark delux" initiative. They include easy, moderate and difficult routes. Here is a selection:
- The Schneifel Moor Trail is an easy 14.9km trail that takes walkers to the highest forest in the North Eifel Nature Park. To protect the flora and fauna, there are boardwalks over particularly sensitive areas, with a chance to catch a glimpse of rare plants such as cross-leaved heath or common lousewort.
- The Rock Trail 5 – Prümer Burg Castle is a moderately difficult 16.9km route. Walkers can enjoy a wonderful combination of culture, wildlife and breathtaking views, including the Irrel waterfalls and the ruins of Prüm Castle (Prümerburg).
- The Eifelgold Route is a difficult 19.6km trail that requires at least 6 hours. It is particularly spectacular in spring, when the golden yellow broom is in full flower. The landscape is protected because it is home to countless species of insects, including 544 large butterflies.
What is a Premium trail?
Premium hiking trails are routes and circuits that are clearly waymarked and provide an outstanding hiking experience. Walkers can be sure that they are in for a treat with these carefully designed trails, which offer pleasant walking surfaces, stunning views, forest landscapes, rivers, rock formations, well-tended rest and relaxation areas, and cultural and historical heritage. The Premium label is awarded by the German Hiking Institute.
Although the park has been German-Luxembourgish since its early days, it is actually at the intersection of three countries: Luxembourg, Germany and Belgium. So there are also paths and routes that link up with the High Fens – Eifel Nature Park in Belgium.
Explore the heritage
Germany's Eifel region has always been home to a variety of cultures and peoples, and the area still bears traces of their heritage, with castles, fortresses, cloisters and churches all telling the story of power struggles over the centuries. Here is a selection:
- Castles, including the fairytale Eltz Castle, perched on a rocky outcrop and surrounded by woodland.
- Picturesque towns and villages, like the historic town of Aachen.
- Roman roads, with routes to explore on foot, by bicycle or by car that offer an insight into Roman architecture, culinary traditions and culture.
For more information about heritage on the Luxembourg side, see our articles about the Naturpark Our and Natur- & Geopark Mëllerdall. You will find all the tips and addresses you need to cultivate all your senses during your stay.