Ennepetal’s main claim to fame is a hole in the ground. But as you will soon discover, the Kluterthöhle is not just any hole, but an ancient cave that goes on for nearly five and a half kilometers, making it the largest underground system in the country.
Visitors come from far and wide to explore the 300 courses of this natural wonder. In the 1950s, the cavernous ecosystem was discovered to have healing powers, and it is reputed to help sufferers of bronchial asthma and certain skin allergies. It has therefore been officially recognized as a “health cave.”
Apart from any therapeutic influences, here you can find underground lakes, streams, and fossils, dating back some 370 million years. You can encounter interesting species of bats, eerie limestone formations, and the incredible total darkness and absolute silence that can only be experienced deep within the earth.
If you happen to be in the area in late October, arrange to join one of the Kluterthöhle’s popular Halloween tours. Witches, ghosts, ghouls and other bizarre characters populate the rocky chambers, which have been made over into a haunting subterranean wonderland.
Thanks to its location in the Ruhr River Valley, Ennepetal offers natural attractions above the ground, too. Camping in a tent or a caravan will allow you to appreciate surrounding woods and fertile fields, creatures in their natural environment, and some of the best-maintained hiking rails of North Rhine-Westphalia.
If you enjoy sports, you will appreciate the town’s facilities for all manner of ball games, cycling, mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing, swimming, and diving. A relaxing water palace called Platsch (splash) will sooth your tired muscles with its spa-quality thermal pools. ;-)
As for cultural activities, Sunday outdoor concerts, the Ennepetal House civic center, and the 24/7-365 Street Museum focused on the history of iron-making and machinery are just a few of the welcome distractions you will come across here. The old streetcar tracks downtown have been paved over to accommodate pedestrian and bicycle traffic, so getting around is really quite easy.