Fifteen villages make up the town of Ense, some barely having a few hundred full-time residents. What does that mean to you, the traveler? How about a chance for an uncrowded destination? Better yet, how about a chance to really mingle with the locals?
This area is popular with many Dutch visitors from the nearby Netherlands and, what do they know what you don’t? After reading this, you’ll know their well-kept secret.
Ense sits along the northern edge of the Sauerland, a stunning rural area of North Rhine-Westphalia. The Sauerland is quite popular with hikers, bike enthusiasts, and anyone who enjoys the great outdoors. You’ll find a few lakes within the Sauerland, the closest to Ense would be the Möhnesee.
After a visit around the Sauerland, here’s your chance to see more of Ense. Each village has something special, but don’t miss the small basilica church of St. Lambertus, which was built in the 12th century. You shouldn’t miss the lovely 14th century Fürstenberg Chapel, either.
There’s also a fabulous manor house, known as Schloss Füchten, in the village of Hünningen. Füchten is considered to be the largest manor house in all of Westphalia and was once a 13th century castle. Sadly, no visitors are allowed to see the inside as it’s private property.
If a castle was what you came to see, then the ruins of the 8th century Castle Oldenberg is in order. Castle Oldenberg stood for some 600 years before it was destroyed in the 14th century.
Ense also had a medieval monastery, too. Kloster Himmelpforten, or Heaven Gates Monastery, was here for a few hundred years before parts of it was destroyed on May 17, 1943.
But, the oldest of sites in Ense seem to be the early hill graves in the village of Lüttringen. It’s also where you’ll find some small farms, too.
While the smallest of the villages is Gerlingen and her 66 residents. Since this village is mostly farms, this is a good place to pick up some local treats, like farm-fresh eggs and honey!
With this many villages, there’s always a party or two going on. But, the biggest is the Christmas Market which is held on the first weekend of Advent. In the Gregorian calendar, that’s about 4 weeks before Christmas and the best chance to bring home some wonderful crafts and gifts back home.
You’ll also bring back wonderful memories of your time here in Ense, that’s for sure.