Nestled in a wooded valley in the action-packed Sauerland area of the Ruhr Valley is the delightful town of Menden. Centered around its 9th century medieval core and bustling with churches and tiny pedestrian streets, this growing area is home to some great architecture.
Street after street is lined with white-washed half-timbered houses and shops of all shapes and sizes. They almost look like a picture from a fairy tale with their amazing crookedness, and pretty little windows and doors. You will certainly need your camera here!
The towering spire of Vincenz-Kirche can be seen all across town, and the Altes Rathaus (the old town hall) is certainly worth a look. This huge property fronts onto the square outside — and it is very imposing. With its multi-arched entrance and 4 floors, this building is truly massive in such a quaint 1,000 year old market town.
Just south of town is the area known as Hönnetal — a narrow valley carved into the natural limestone of the area between Balve and Menden. The river Hönne has carved out great cliffs in the soft stone over the centuries here, making for some amazing views. An added bonus are the deep and numerous caves along this route — with some of the largest in Europe found here.
If you are brave enough; Reckenhöhle is one of the largest, and the nearby Balver Höhle is accessible to visitors, as are many smaller ones. One cave in this stretch contains traces of ancient Germanic peoples practicing cannibalism! Enter at your own risk! :-)
If you want something above ground to entertain your family around Menden, then head in any direction! This whole area is well known for its Nordic walking and hiking. With 1400 kms of bicycle tracks and numerous reservoirs and lakes for watersports and swimming you won’t be short of inspiration.
And if you are here in winter, there’s a chance the slopes will be open for skiing too.