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Burg Hardenstein | © Kira Nerys / WikiCommons
Burg Hardenstein | © Kira Nerys / WikiCommons

The Top 8 Things to See and Do in Witten, Germany

Picture of Anwesha Ray
Updated: 26 February 2018

Witten is a tiny gem in Germany’s Ruhr region, lapped by the River Ruhr and considered to be the birthplace of the Ruhr’s rich mining industry. Today, this beautiful town woos tourists with a number of unique mine-themed attractions: industrial museums, hiking trails dotted with remnants of the industry, and exciting mine tours. Let’s plan a wonderful short getaway to Witten.

Zeche Nachtigall

The shaft mine Zeche Nachtigall, opened in 1714, was among the first in the Ruhr area. After sitting disused for over 100 years since 1892, the mine got a whole new lease of life when the LWL-Industriemuseum was opened in its premises. Visitors, armed with miners’ lamps, get to explore a real coal seam and check out a working steam turbine and an ancient coal barge.

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Streichelzoo und Wildgehege Hohenstein

If you wish to take  break from the industrial landscape of Witten and enjoy some quality family time, head to the Streichelzoo. This petting zoo is home to friendly goats, deer, guinea pigs, chickens, and more. You can also purchase food from the vending machines and have the animals eat them off your hands. The green meadows are also great for strolling in, or simply lazing.

Freizeitbad Heveney

Just outside Witten, Freizeitbad Heveney on the Kemnader See is everyone’s favorite spot to unwind, especially in summer. Relax in their sauna or take a dip in one of the hot or cold pools, soak in the luxuriously warm brine pool, and let the massage jets make you feel as good as new. The highlight of Freizeitbad Heveney is the warmth emanating from the Hevener Kegel, a red granite rock that is warmed by the steam from the mining seam.

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Berger Denkmal

If you want to see the Ruhr area spread out in all its glory below your feet, you must climb up a spiral staircase to the observation deck of Berger Denkmal. This sandstone cultural monument perched on the riverbank is well known not only in Witten, but all across the Ruhr area. Entry to the Berger Denkmal is free.

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River cruise

The idyllic landscape of the Ruhr Valley is best enjoyed from a cruise boat. The MS Schwalbe II glides lazily down the river from Uferstraße in Witten-Bommern to Freizeitbad Heveney. This 4.6-mile (7.5-kilometer) stretch is said to be the prettiest section of the Ruhr.

Burg Hardenstein

Ruins of the medieval castle Burg Hardenstein sit in the midst of delightful greenery and rolling hills on the shore of the River Ruhr. This 14th-century castle, once a royal residence, has been lovingly preserved, even though it has not been used for centuries.

Bergbauwanderweg Muttental

Bergbauwanderweg Muttental (“Muttental mining trail”) is a hiking route promising unusual and super-interesting attractions. This 5.6-mile (9-kilometer) trail meanders through the wooded landscape of the pristine Ruhr Valley. As you walk, you get to see remnants of centuries of mining in the Ruhr. Expect to find a quarry, the mining museum Zeche Nachtigall, outdoor exhibitions, a railway museum, hoists, head-frames, tunnels, and more.

Gruben- und Feldbahnmuseum Zeche Theresia

A very popular site along the mining trail is this railway museum, Gruben- und Feldbahnmuseum Zeche Theresia. Train lovers are going to love the 92 locomotives and 200 wagons on display, alongside mining carts, English engines, and peat-mining trains.

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