Not the big wide world, but a pandemic-related vacation in their own country is still possible for many German citizens this summer. Many travelers are also motivated to discover new things when they go home. This wish has come true in the smallest country, the charming small Saarland. Not only culture and cuisine await holidaymakers, but also extensive hiking and cycling trails. The y whet your appetite for the attractive triangle between Germany, Luxembourg and France.
Charming cities, short distances
The architectural highlights of the Saarbrücken Castle and Ludwig Church await visitors here. For the “Saarvoir vivre” feeling, the real French bistro “Chez Victor’s” in the German-French garden is recommended.
The Schlossberg Caves in Homburg, Europe’s largest man-made red sandstone caves, are also absolutely worth seeing. Mysterious corridors through the brightly colored sandstone lead on twelve floors into fascinating domed halls.
From Homburg, visitors to the Saarland can reach Ottweiler, again only 20 kilometers away. During a tour with the night watchman, guests experience the historic old town at dusk. Winding alleys and old half-timbered houses take visitors back to the past of the former royal seat. If you choose Saarbrücken as your starting point, you will reach Saarlouis after 25 kilometers to the northwest.
The hexagonal fortress still defines the layout of the city center today. You can enjoy a little the flair of the Sun King in the themed suites of the Victor’s Residenz Hotel just a few meters from the main train station.
Bathing fun and sporty days at the Bostalsee
The Bostalsee in Sankt Wendeler Land is one of the most beautiful and largest recreational lakes in southwest Germany. Surrounded by the Saar-Hunsrück Nature Park, it not only offers water fun but also many opportunities for active days on vacation. Two outdoor pools with sunbathing lawns, sandy beaches and wicker beach chairs invite you to swim and are also the venue for beach chair concerts from May to July.
The boat rental rents out pedal boats and motor boats, which anglers also use to catch trout or pike. Sailing fans will find anchorages at the Kreissegelhafen as well as a selection of sailing courses.
The Bostalsee is also ideal for surfing and stand-up paddling. Walkers and joggers can enjoy the beautiful view on a seven-kilometer tour of the lake. Signposted hiking trails lead from the Bostalsee into the Sankt Wendeler Land. As the first archery hotel in Saarland, the Victor’s Seehotel Weingärtner invites interested and experts to use a bow and arrow.
The hunt for three-dimensional targets begins in the middle of nature or on the hotel’s own grounds. A detour to the Hunsrück-Hochwald National Park and Europe’s largest Celtic ring wall (Otzenhausen) is not far from here.
The Saar loop from above: treetop path
The stepless treetop path leads 1,250 meters long to a height of 23 meters above the beech and oak tree tops.
At the end, the highlight is a 42 meter high observation tower. When the view is clear, its platform provides a view of the Vosges. Those who want to get even closer to the Saarschleife can use the numerous premium hiking trails. On guided adventure tours, vacationers set out into the wilderness together with a national park guide.
The tour “Wild Celts – Old Forests” impressively combines history and nature. It leads through the enchanting, old beech forests to the quarries of the Celts.
Actively travel back in time
The work, which has been a listed building since 2019, is explored by guests in typical miner’s clothing. You can immerse yourself in the underground working world with guided tunnel tours and longwall visits. Mining you can touch is created by machines for coal extraction, conveyor belts, transport lines, pumping stations and cutter rollers.
The Reden adventure site also offers a look back at the world of miners. After the mining operations closed in 1997, an ambitious structural change project began to take shape. After almost 150 years of coal mining, Reden now stands for the expansion of renewable energies and the personal refueling of one’s own batteries. In terms of design, the water garden shapes the image of the area and invites you to take a walk.
The Redener Panorama Path is ideal for hiking, and visitors can get detailed information on the route with the help of QR codes. Tip: All audio recordings are also available here alongside High German in “Saarland flat”.
Unesco World Heritage Site Völklinger Hütte
The Völklinger Hütte World Heritage Site shares the same story. It is considered to be the only preserved ironworks from the heyday of industrialization worldwide. It combines industrial culture, modern exhibitions and science around the world of iron in a unique way.
The circular route through the Unesco World Heritage Site on 7,000 meters of signposted paths takes two to three hours. A multimedia introduction sends visitors on an exciting journey through time from the beginnings of the Völklinger Hütte to the present day. Another gateway to the past presents itself on the way from Saarbrücken towards Luxembourg: Saarburg.
The ruins of a hilltop castle from the 10th century on the Schlossberg are evidence of the eventful past. In the old town of Saarburg, visitors to the Mabilon bell foundry, founded in 1770, get an impressive insight into centuries-old craftsmanship.
The foundry was still in operation until 2002, producing magnificent bells weighing up to five tons for customers all over the world. Since then it has been functioning as a museum, and bells are still being made here and there. Saarburg’s main natural attraction is not to be missed: a twenty meter high waterfall that pours in the middle of the city center and can be heard from afar.
Wine experiences on the Saar and Moselle
The ninth generation family company is located on the border with Luxembourg and France. Here, on the sunny slopes, the Petgen family grows several Burgundy grape varieties, relying on sustainable and environmentally friendly viticulture.
Holidaymakers enjoy the Saarland Moselle wine here as well as at three other wineries in Saarland with enjoyable wine tastings – appointments by arrangement. Gourmets will also find happiness in other ways with traditional Saarland cuisine. For example, guests can try the “Hoorische” – a regional specialty made from raw and boiled potatoes as well as modern country cuisine.
Highest density of star chefs
But also gourmets get their money’s worth in the smallest federal state, Germany has the highest density of star chefs here. One of them is Christian Bau, who has held three Michelin stars since 2005. Gault & Millau has repeatedly recognized him for his culinary skills at Victor’s Fine Dining by Christian Bau as a top chef with 19.5 out of 20 possible points.
The 5-star superior domicile and place of work of Christian Bau is the Hotel Schloss Berg. Guests of the exclusive hideaway in the middle of the border triangle of Germany, France and Luxembourg will be enchanted by the historical flair of the sophisticated ensemble of Roman-inspired villa and romantic Renaissance castle and can embark on a journey through time in the immediate vicinity: from an excursion to antiquity to the Roman excavation site Villa Borg, via a detour into the Middle Ages just across the Lorraine border in the Château de Malbrouck to the recent history of open Europe in the European Museum in Schengen.
The sinkhole path, for example, starts right at the hotel, but guests can also start tours to the Moselsteig Trail or panorama path along the dream loops from here on foot or by bike.
The best way to discover over 100 excursion destinations in Saarland is with the Saarland Card. With it, visitors can experience a wide variety of attractions such as museums and thermal baths as well as city and adventure tours free of charge. Adventure parks or alpaca hikes are among the highlights for families.
The Saarland Card is available free of charge to guests of corresponding hotel partners with a certain number of overnight stays.