The Eifel, a rural area of gentle hills, tranquil villages and volcanic lakes, makes for a lovely respite from the mass tourism of the Moselle and Rhine Valleys. Its subtle charms are best sampled on a bike ride or a hike, though it also has a few headline attractions, including a national park with a Nazi-era castle-turned-peace-institution, a world-class car racing track, a dazzling Romanesque abbey and a serene wine region, the Ahr Valley.
The Ahr River has carved a scenic 90km valley stretching from Blankenheim, in the High Eifel, to its confluence with the Rhine near Remagen. This is Germany’s most famous red-wine region – growing Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) in particular – with vineyards clinging to steeply terraced slopes along both banks. The quality is high but the yield small, so very few wine labels ever make it beyond the area – all the more reason to visit and sample them for yourself.