located BETWEEN THE RHINE, LAHN, DILL AND SIEG RIVERS, THE westerwald stretches from the city of Frankfurt across hessen'S state borders with the Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia.
The region's forests and grasslands are broken up with rivers and lakes and dotted with small towns and villages. It can easily be explored on foot, two wheels or even by horse or boat.
The 16-stage Westerwald hiking route (Westerwald-Steig) runs for 26km before it crosses Hessen's border with the Rhineland-Palatinate. The trail incorporates areas of shady forest and lush meadows, running past an animal park housing over 90 different species of birds and small animals (the Tierpark Herborn) as well as a remarkable network of stalactite caves (Schauhöhle Herbstlabyrinth Breitscheid). The route offers panoramic views as you make your way across the basalt plateaus of the upper Westerwald and over the 605m-high Knoten hill.
The R8 cycling route, which runs through the Taunus and Westerwald to the Bergstrasse, involves both gentle and more challenging climbs. In winter, snow enthusiasts should head to one of the region's five ski resorts to indulge in some skiing, snowboarding or sledging.
The area surrounding the municipality of Driedorf is home to several lakes, reservoirs and ponds surrounded by unspoiled nature. They make for wonderful places to stop for a paddle or a swim, but also provide excellent opportunities for fishing and diving. Campsites in the area offer activities including archery and nature trails on horseback as well as the option to overnight in offbeat accommodation such as tipis or colourful wooden hiking huts.
The Westerwald is also home to a number of remarkable castles and half-timbered buildings. The historic town of Herborn is famous for its romantic old town, which features buildings that span eight centuries. Nearby Dillenburg is a must-visit stop on the German Half-Timbered Route (Deutsche Fachwerkstraße). The ancestral seat of the Dutch royal family, the town is also home to a ruined castle with vaulted chambers and the Wilhelmsturm, an impressive lookout tower. More royal connections are to be found in Hadamar, a former princely residence home to a magnificent Renaissance palace (now a hotel and spa) complete with a gorgeous English rose garden and a glass museum housed in its stables.