One of the neighboring regions to the Ruhr Area which is always worth a visit is the Rhine Valley. Divided into the Upper Middle Rhine Valley or Rhine Gorge, and the so-called Lower Rhine region, both areas offer delightful countryside close by. Exceptional scenic and cultural diversity turn the region into a real tourist draw.
The Lower Rhine region is home to the cities of Cologne, Bonn, Düsseldorf and Duisburg. It is famous for its charming, gently sloping river flood plains, hills and moorlands. The large meadows that are surrounded by hedges and trees, the landscapes alongside the river and the bordering alluvial forests all invite to extensive walks.
In the Rhine Gorge, beautiful historical buildings, hillsides covered in vineyards, a multifarious flora and fauna and idyllic villages on the riverbank have inspired numerous artists. In this context, the rock of the figure of the Loreley is very much worth seeing. The Loreley is the region’s landmark and many legends are told about her.
The German romantic poet Heinrich Heine, who was born in Düsseldorf, dedicated his famous song to her.
Another famous tourist attraction is the Drachenfels, a 1,050 ft high mountain in the Siebengebirge, a mountain range of volcanic origin near Bonn. A German legend says that Siegfried, the legendary hero of The Song of the Nibelung, killed a dragon that lived on that mountain. In 2002, the UNESCO designated the Upper Middle Rhine Valley as a World Heritage Site.
Another region next to the Ruhr Metropolis is Westphalia, which is divided into the areas of Münsterland, Ostwestfalen and Sauerland. While the north of the region, called the Westfälische Bucht, is relatively plain, the south is characterized by a number of low mountain ranges, for instance the Rothaargebirge. One of its highest peaks, the Kahler Asten, is over eight hundred and forty metres high and a very popular winter sport region.
In numerous natural parks in the Teutoburg Forest and the Eggegebirge visitors can discover the beauty of the landscape, where bogs, seas, woods, meadows and fields demonstrate Mother Nature’s multifariousness. The Weserbergland is a hilly region in the east of Westphalia, the charm of which largely consists in a mixture of pristine nature blended with the remains of historic buildings and castles.
No wonder that some tales of the Brothers Grimm, like Snow White, Rapunzel or Sleeping Beauty, are set here.