Walkers let wild donkeys accompany them part of the way.
Deep-blue. Crystal-clear. Primeval. The maars of the Volcanic Eifel.
Formed by titanic natural forces thousands of years ago, they can scarcely be surpassed for beauty today: twelve maars filled with water make the Eifel a unique and colourful natural setting. The crystal-clear water sparkles in the sun, the clouds are mirrored on the surface. Get acquainted with these magical places during a walk along the shore – and you may also bath and swim in some of the volcanic craters.... read more
Visit the Trautzberger Maar, the smallest volcanic lake in the Eifel! For many years this was a dry maar, until in 2014 it was rewetted. As a result, the flora and fauna in the immediate vicinity was able to recover. Unlike many other maars in the Eifel the Trautzberger Maar is set not in woodland but discreetly amid flowery meadows. From the bench on the small rise you have a wonderful, restful view across the small maar lake and the Tiefenbachtal.
You have the best view across the Meerfelder Maar from the Landesblick viewing tower. You look at the lake, as it sparkles in the sunlight, about 200 metres further down. It is discreetly embedded in the Eifel’s largest volcanic crater. With what force the maars were once formed is shown clearly along the wayside: to be found everywhere along the way are so-called olivine bombs. These roundish rocks were thrown out during the eruption of the Meerfelder volcano and still impressively document today what once happened there. Incidentally, you can bathe and fish in the Meerfelder Maar – a quite special experience.
Listen hard! Birds twitter here that you otherwise hear very seldom or not at all. The area round the Jungferweiher is a paradise for the feathered folk. Accordingly a bird reserve was also set up here. The maar is one of the oldest and has an eventful history. Where today visitors enjoy the view of the crystal-clear water people hundreds of years ago worked incredibly hard. By the Jungferweiher peat to be used for heating was once dug. Because of that on and off the maar almost completely dried out. At present the way around the maar is being made barrier-free so as to soon be also accessible to wheelchair users.
Strictly speaking, the Windsborn Crater Lake is not a maar, even if it was once called one. Here over many thousands of years the crater of a volcano has filled with water. Unlike in the case of the maars, though, no steam explosion has ever occurred. The Windsborn Crater Lake is the only crater lake north of the Alps to be constantly filled with rainwater. Around its rim animals and plants have made their habitats, creating an unusual and fairy-tale-like atmosphere.
A positively melancholy atmosphere surrounds the Weinfelder Maar. Many tales are told about this still eye of the Eifel. So, for example, a castle is said to have stood at the place where the crater now lies, a castle in which a lord lived with his wife and his only child. One day, when returning from the hunt, he found that, as punishment for the wickedness of his wife, the castle had sunk, and all that he could see was a lake and on it a cradle floating towards the shore with his – miraculously unharmed – child in it. They say that, if you look at the dark surface of the water for long enough, you can make out the outlines of the castle.
That the volcanoes are still active today is shown at the Ulmener Maar. At about 11,000 years it is by far the youngest of the maars. At the edge of the water you discover small bubbles that rise from the depths – a sign of continuing volcanic activity. If you are walking there, be sure to make a detour and visit the Ulmener Burgruine (Ulmener castle ruin) and walk in the footsteps of Mediaeval knights.
The Pulvermaar is a maar right out of a picture book. Almost perfectly round and nestled in steep, beech-covered slopes, it is like a little paradise. Whoever comes here enters a world that seems to stand still. The blue water and nature have a calming and at the same time invigorating power. The Pulvermaar is one of Germany’s deepest lakes. In summer you may also bathe in it.
On a walk around the Holzmaar you will notice the buoys that are floating in the water. These are there for scientific reasons, because currently research is being conducted into this maar. The lake came into being about 40,000 years ago. It is therefore younger than its sisters, the Hitsche Maar and the Dürre Maar, which are both dry. The Holzmaar owes its name to the use to which it was once put: some few hundred years ago the water powered a wood mill that ensured the inhabitants’ continued existence.
This, the oldest of the three Daun maars, came into being about 20,000 to 30,000 years ago. Originally it probably had an even more impressive shape, because there was another maar joined to the western maar lake of today. During the eruption a double maar was formed. However, the eastern crater was filled up again with the tuffs of the western maar and completely covered over. Over time it turned to swamp. In this part marvellous low-moor vegetation grew up, and willows lend the area rural charm. Moor grass meadows and sedge provide living space for various rare animal species, especially wetland- and water-loving bird species. A live experience can also be had by the shore and on the slopes: herds of goats and sheep graze the meadows round about – Eifel landscape care of a special kind.
If on coming from the Weinfelder Maar one traverses the Eifelsteig on foot, a view of this maar lying 150 metres further down unfolds – breathtaking scenery in dark-blue and fresh green. In autumn the wood seems to shine with colour, between leaves and wood fascinating fungi thrive.
With some 7 hectares of water surface the Gemündener Maar is the smallest of the three famous Eifel eyes. At an elevation of 416 metres above standard zero it is also the maar most deeply embedded in the volcanic landscape around Daun. You can see a long way down into the clear water, but not right to the bottom 39 metres down.
If you would like to learn more about the maars, you will find further information on the page about the Nature and Geo-Park.
Almost every maar invites you to walk around it. The fabulous walks around the quiet waters allow the walker to feel the Eifel’s vital force. Just follow the signs to the maars; parking spots are mostly to be found right beside these blue lakes.