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As spring is -finally- coming, I feel the urge to go outdoors more than ever! Fortunately, there are plenty of nice spots around Düsseldorf where you can enjoy a nice walk in the woods. For this one, I am taking you to Bergishes Land in the northeast of Düsseldorf.
The hike, which is around 12 km long, begins and ends at the Schaberg Solingen rail station by the Burg Castle and runs primarily along the Wupper river passing by the Müngstener Bridge a couple of times too.
For the first part of the trip, we will walk on the 4th leg of the Bergisches weg (orange signs) towards Burg (direction south, on the eastern side of the Wupper river). The Bergisches weg is a 260 km path that encompasses 14 different legs from 11 to 27 km long. It begins in Essen at the Baldeney See and I can only recommend using it to inspire you to head out for even more hikes this spring.
The second part, after leaving the Burg and Unterburg village, goes along the Erlebnisweg Wupper (black sign with a white triangle) on the western side of the Wupper river (direction north, towards the Münstener Brücke).
Places to see along the walk
The first highlight of the trail is the Müngstener Bridge which will remind you of another bridge: the Dom Luis I Bridge in Porto! In fact, both bridges were built in the same period: the Dom Luis I Bridge was completed in 1886 after 5 years of construction while the Müngstener Bridge construction began in 1894 and was completed 3 years later.
The Müngstener Brücke is 107 meters high, making it the highest railway bridge in Germany.
It is also higher than Porto’s bridge which is only 85 meters high. This arch bridge that crosses the Wupper river is still used by trains today (you may have taken it if you reach Schaberg by train from Wuppertal). It is also a tourist attraction especially since the renovation of the site in 2006.
After 6 km walking into the woods along the Bergishes weg, you will arrive at the Burg village. From there, you will see and be able to reach the second highlight of this trip: the Schloss Burg (Burg Castle).
Its construction started around 1130 and from then, the Dukes of Burg lived there for several centuries. By the end of the 15th century, as their area of influence extended almost to the whole of North Rhine-Westphalia, they moved their seat of power to Düsseldorf. As a consequence, the castle was abandoned and in the middle of the 19th century, it was in ruins. However, thanks to a local initiative, it was rebuilt. By 1919, reconstruction work was mostly complete.
As you arrive in Unterburg village, you can choose between two options to reach the castle.
- If you are tired from walking or want to use a fun means of transport, you should definitely take the little cable car to reach the castle.
- If you are fit enough to continue walking or suffer from vertigo, I recommend you to cross the parking lot and follow the path to the Burger Diederichstempel. This pavilion was erected in 1896 and has nice paintings on its ceiling. Above all, you will have a great view of the castle and on Unterburg village.
From there, there are many paths that lead to the castle, just choose one of them!
After you take a close look at the outside of the castle (you may also have the opportunity to explore the inside of the castle, but check ahead of time as it is currently closed due to the pandemic) and maybe enjoy some waffles and coffees, you will get down to Unterburg village and from there you can follow the Erlebnisweg Wupper (a black sign with a white triangle).
While you cross Unterburg village, you will see on your left a nice roman church which is worth having a look at. In the back of the church, there is an old cemetery with some interesting graves from the 19th century.
When you continue on this path along the river, you will be able to see, again, the Müngstener Bridge through the trees. If not, there is a second Dietrichstempel where you will have a better view of the bridge and the Wupper river.
You will then continue to the Napelonsbrücke, a nice stone bridge that crosses the Wupper river. Despite its name, it was never taken by Napoleon. In fact, the bridge was completed in 1848, so it is not old enough to have been crossed by Napoleon the 1st! Up until the sixties, the traffic went through here until a larger bridge of concrete was built just on its side.
After you cross the bridge, you will continue along the Wupper river to the visitor center at the foot of the Müngstener Brücke. The site was converted in 2006 into a tourist attraction. There, you can have a drink (sadly, also temporarily closed) while your children can play around: there are some very fun playground installations here (like a terrific toboggan).
From there you can reach the Schaberg station where the beautiful walk will come to an end.
How to get to the Burg Castle & Müngstener Bridge trails?
You can get to Schaberg station from Düsseldorf by train (S1 to Solingen main station and then the S7 to Wuppertal). It takes around one and a half hours to get there from the Düsseldorf main station. If you prefer to use your car, you can park in the parking lot north of the Napelonsbrücke (Search: Parkplatz Müngsten or Parkplatz Brückenpark).
This hike leads to very interesting sites and can definitely help motivate your children (or your partner) to come along. You may also enjoy the quiet of the woods and the nice sounds of the Wupper river. This path can be adapted to be more or less demanding. It definitely sounds like the perfect trade-off for your next day trip, doesn’t it?
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