In the center on the Ruhr Valley in southern North Rhine-Westphalia is the old coal mining town of Fröndenberg. To the south is the flat sweeping valley floor covered in fields and meadows, and the north is more urban and wooded.
Not only does this make it a great stop-over for anyone interested in the culture and local history of this region, it also makes for a great tourism infra-structure. You will not have any trouble getting around on public transport here, and the levels of service and accommodation are high. Ideal for that “no worries” vacation. :-)
Being just outside of the busiest areas and close to open spaces and the Ruhr River itself, you can still find that peace and quiet if that’s what you are looking for. Just south of the river you can step into nature in the Sauerland — famous for its foot and cycle trails through beech and fir forests.
There are also several castles around Fröndenberg if you fancy fresh air and a romantic walk around hill-top ruins! Burg Ardey is surrounded by woodlands, Hünenknüfer Castle comes with a legend of a ghostly wagon, and the more modern Altendorf Wasserburg has plans to dig out and re-flood its surrounding moat.
Closer to the city center there are just as many buildings and historic landmarks to look for and admire. The strangest of these has got to be the 14 m or 46 foot high black funnel right in the middle of some houses! It was regularly used to squeeze the last droplets of water out of pulp for the local paper mill which, when in use, shaped the whole region.
Neighboring this is the metal forging museum in a small but characterful building filled with information about the local trades.
There are just a few half-timbered buildings remaining in Fröndenberg — but you must see the Abbess House if you only see one. It is a 6-storey whitewashed giant and contains 2 courtrooms, offices and a pleasant little restaurant. So while you are here, why not sample some local dishes and stay a bit longer!