20 Best things to do Near the Nurburgring when the track’s shut

Alex Gassman

by Alex Gassman

things to do near the nurburgring

If you’re heading to the Nurburgring to experience the greatest 13 miles of tarmac on earth, there may be a couple of days where the track’s closed and you want to keep yourself occupied. Or you’ve tried to pass your trip to the Ring off as a family holiday and need to keep the rest of your clan happy.

This article lists the best things to do near the Nurburgring that don’t involve driving your car around the circuit.

Contents

What's the closest town to the Nurburgring?

The closest town to the Nurburgring is Adenau. This is near Breidscheid bridge which is half way around a lap of the Nordschleife. There is an exit off the circuit at Breidscheid, but no longer an entrance.

Apart from some of the best restaurants near the Ring, there isn’t much else to do in Adenau that doesn’t involve gawping at all the nice cars driving to and from the circuit. For that you need to look elsewhere.

Top 20 things to do near the Nurburgring

Below is my list of 20 other things you can do around the Nurburgring when the track is shut, or if you just fancy a change of scenery. I’ve been visiting the Ring and the surrounding area for the last two decades so have had plenty of time to work out what other attractions are nearby.

These are ordered by the driving distance from the track entrance, starting with the closest.

Nurburg castle

A beacon overlooking the town of the Nurburg and the circuit itself is the ruined Nurburg castle. Situated up a short hill directly in the village of Nurburg itself, it’s almost rude not to go here for a walk around. If you do, wait for a clear day as the view from the top over the Eifel region, Nurburg and the circuit will be worth it.

There’s a small charge to enter, usually cash only.

Nurburg castle

Ring Kartbahn

If you and your mates have still got a score to settle about who’s the fastest driver, why not battle it out on the kart track? There is an electric indoor kart circuit at the Ring Boulevard near Nurburgring sign. But if you want proper petrol karts on an outdoor track, read on further down this list.

Ring Kartbahn near the Nurburgring

Ring Werk Museum

Right next to the karting is the Ring Werk museum. Full of race cars, bikes and trucks old and new this is well worth a walk round as a way to pass an afternoon, and revel in motorsport nostalgia. They have different exhibitions on at different times, but last time I checked they were running one in memory of Sabine Schmitz.

Ring Werk Museum near the Nurburgring

Nurburgring eSports bar

If you want to get some practice on the Nordschleife when it’s shut then head to the Nurburgring eSports bar directly opposite the Nurburgring sign. They have some great high-quality motion sim rigs and if you can get a group together then battling it out with your friends in the virtual world is a lot of fun. It’s a bar and serves food, so it gets busy during peak evening hours.

mountain biking around the Nurburgring

  • Distance from Nurburgring: 10 minutes
  • Bike rental companies here, here and here.

If you want to do something active whilst taking in the beautiful scenery around the Ring, then hiring a mountain bike is one of the best (and most strenuous) ways to do it. There is a path that goes around the whole of the Nordschleife, and you get to find some great viewing spots next to the circuit.

Some of the steep hills are not for the faint of heart. Last time I did it I hired a normal mountain bike, it took about 4 hours and I was wiped out. Next time I’d definitely be hiring an E-bike! 

There are three mountain bike rental companies in Adenau, links are above.

Mountain biking around the Nurburgring nordschleife

Alpaca trekking

Want to be in touch with nature whilst touching some nature? How about hiking with alpacas? A local alpaca farm offers guided tours for small groups. Probably one of the stranger things to do near the Nurburgring, but a great way to get outside when the weather is good.

Alpaca trekking in the Eifel region of Germany

Summer Rodelbahn Altenahr

One of my favourite things to do near the Nurburgring is the Summer Rodelbahn. There are a few of these dotted around the Eifel region but the one I’ve always gone to is the closest, based in Altenahr. This toboggan run near the Nurburgring is a surprising adrenaline rush. Some of the corners are pretty tight and you pick up some good speed. Just try not to use the brakes!

Altenahr summer rodelbahn

Daun Wildlife park - animals / quad bikes / adventure playground

A wildlife park with lots of animals, a quadbike track, falconry, a big adventure playground and another toboggan run, all in one place. This is a great place to visit with young children as they can get up close to the animals and there’s a lot to keep them occupied.

Daun wildlife park

Niederburg Manderscheid

Another ruined castle, this time even bigger, more impressive and in a more stunning location than Nurburg castle. Only 35 minutes’ drive away from the Ring, if you’re in to your old castles then this could be worth a look.

Niederberg-mandersheid castle

Eagle and Wolf park Kasselberg

If you want to get up close and personal with some Eagles in flight, Wolves at feeding time and a whole bunch of other animals then check out this park set in the grounds of in Kasselberg castle. It has a café and adventure playground so great for a day out with the family.

Wolves in the snow

German Cold War government bunker

If Cold War history is your thing then this could be for you. This government bunker is supposedly one of the most secret buildings in the Federal Republic of Germany. Its nuclear bomb-proof structure was built in the 1950s in an old underground railway tunnel than runs through the Ahr mountain. It was in use throughout the cold war right up until 2008 when it was taken out of service. It’s now a museum open to the public with 90 minute guided tours.

German cold war government bunker near the nurburgring

Cochem

Cochem is a beautiful town that lines the banks of the Moselle river. It has some lovely medieval architecture, lots of little cafés, bars and restaurants and is a great place to have a walk around during a nice summer day. But in tourist season it does get very busy and some of the bars and cafes on the water’s edge can feel a bit like a tourist trap.

There’s a great lookout point that has stunning picturesque views over the town and river.

Cochem castle

When visiting Cochem, you can’t help but notice the castle overlooking the town. Sat high up on a hill and with wonderful views at the top, if you’re in Cochem anyway and it’s a nice clear day then it’s worth a visit. The walk up there is pretty steep though, you have been warned!

Cochem castle

Bundesbank bunker

Another piece of Cold War ar history again in Cochem, this time a secret bunker built for the Deutsche Bundesbank. It was designed to survive a nuclear war and stored around 15 billion Deutsche Marks of currency at any given time, around 8 billion Euros in today’s money!

The entrance is on top of a steep hill, there’s no parking up there so keep an eye out for the shuttle bus that runs in the summer season.

Bundesbank Bunker in Cochem near the nurburgring

Burg Eltz

For you castle fans this one takes some beating. Burg Eltz is not a ruined castle, it’s still inhabited by the Eltz family and they open their doors for the public to visit. The interior decorations and furnishings are almost as stunning as the exterior and the castle’s location. 

Burg Eltz castle

Ordensburg Vogelsang

If you’re more interested in WW2 history then Ordensburg Vogelsang, about an hour away from the Nurburgring, might be worth checking out. This former Nazi training centre is now a fully preserved museum, with educational exhibitions offering visitors the chance to learn a lot from this sombre period of history.

It now calls itself the Volgersang International Place for tolerance, peaceful coexistence and diversity.

Geierlay suspension bridge

If you want to test your fear of heights check out this suspension bridge. Set in lovely surroundings this huge bridge is a pretty popular tourist spot on sunny days. The bridge spans 360 metres, is around 100 metres above ground level and is free to cross in either direction. This is a great thing to do near the Nurburgring, and a spot for some pretty cool picture taking as well.

Michael Schumacher kart centre

For some proper go-karting near the Nurburgring, this is where you need to go. The Michael Schumacher Kart Centre has both indoor and outdoor tracks. The outdoor circuit is a proper track used for some high-level national karting events, with 13hp Honda engined petrol karts available for hire.

Book in advance as it can get pretty popular at peak times.

Michael Schumacher kart centre

Cologne cathedral

The Cologne (Koln) cathedral is an incredibly impressive piece of architecture. It looks like it’s black on the outside but that’s not how it was designed, nor is it dirt. The sandstone in the building’s structure has reacted with the sulphuric acid in rain and made most of the cathedral look distinctively black and grey.

You can enter the cathedral at select times and the inside is just as impressive as the outside.

Cologne cathedral

Motorworld car museum Cologne

I’ll finish this list of the best things to do near the Nurburgring with two car museums. The first is Motorworld in Cologne. This has a huge range of cars on display, from classics to F1 cars and also Michael Schumacher’s personal collections.

Motorworld museum in Cologne

Classic Remise Dusseldorf

The second museum is Classic Remise in Dusseldorf, but this is a little further away. If you’re flying in to the Ring via Dusseldorf it could be a good stop before you head towards Nurburg.

This museum has another huge selection of old and modern classic cars and bikes, and is free to enter.

Classic remise in Dusseldorf

Alex Gassman

I‘m Alex. I write F1 and motorsport travel guides based on my experience as racing driver and full-time motorsport nerd. I’ve traveled the world watching F1 and other racing series.

I started oversteer48 with the aim of helping other motorsport fans who are planning on watching some racing themselves.

leave a comment

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Get my full guide to the Nurburgring

Everything you need to know about planning a trip to the ‘Ring, driving the track, lap records and more.

Plus a few crucial pieces of info you MUST know before taking your own car on the Nurburgring.