Externsteine – magical rocks in the Teutoburger Wald
Is it a scenography for a new The Flinstones movie? No – these are 70 million years old rocks in the middle of the Teutoburger Wald forest – Externsteine.
Half way between Dortmund and Hannover, in the heart of the Lippe region you find a nature reserve with the unique natural monument. Externsteine is a rock formation, which was formed in the Early Cretaceous age.
For centuries the place was treated in a special way. People believe it has some magical features. It is thought it was used as an astronomic observatory or a temple.
There are 7 rocks in total. There is a possibility to climb the rocks within the opening hours. When you enter, first you can visit Artificial Grottos from medieval times and see a relief from the 12th century – the Descent from the Cross.
Then by following the stairs you can climb up. At the top of one of the rocks there is an observation platform. Another rock has an Altar Niche and to reach it you cross a little bridge. It is really worth doing, cause the view is amazing. You see all the surrounding forest and the lake.
There is a path surrounding the lake so it is possible to have a walk around and see the rocks from a different perspective. Everywhere there is plenty of grass and benches to sit and have a little picnic. Don’t want to carry your own food? No problem! There is also a restaurant there.
10 km away there is another interesting tourist destination – Hermannsdenkmal. If you plan to visit it as well, it might be worth to buy a combined ticket for both places (valid for one year!). Within the surrounding forest there are multiple hiking and cycling trails. The information centre provides GPS devices with trails to explore the area, so it is a very nice option for a day trip.
Almost half a million people visit this place every year, so it is sometimes very crowded. However, still in early spring or on cloudy days it is not so popular.
There is a huge parking area, just 5 minutes away from the rocks. You can also easily reach the place by bus from Detmold or Horn-Bad Meinberg. In summer time buses provide the option to bring your own bike for free.
Opening hours (April-October): 10:00 – 18:00