For as much as we use Germany as a jumping board into all of our other travels, we also love exploring our current adopted home country for all of the adventures it holds (like all of these (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) castles!). In some casual searching of day-trip activities, I came across the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in Germany – Geierlay – just over an hour away. I am unsure where it ranks amongst the worlds suspension bridges – I know Austria and Switzerland both hold longer ones – but longest in the country isn’t too shabby.
Since January/February in Germany tends to be a wet, gray time of year, we didn’t feel the need to get to the bridge too early to beat the crowds. Even with the overcast day (we were lucky it didn’t rain), there was still a steady flow of people throughout the visit, but I am sure nothing compared to spring or summer traffic.
Geierlay is about a 2km walk from the nearest village (Morsdorf) in the most unassuming set-up. The “visitors center” wasn’t open and looked more like someone’s house than any visitor center we had ever seen so we got scared and kept driving to find other parking. The village by Geierlay is mostly homes and small farms and you really feel like you’re intruding in a neighborhood instead of parking for a hike. We ended up stopping at a small restaurant (Gasthaus Wendling) to get a coffee and use the bathroom and the couple who owned the restaurant were nice enough to let us park there when we asked where we needed to go to park for the bridge.
If you want to take a longer hike, there are actually several longer trails starting much farther out that you can try and find your way to but we weren’t in the mood to be quite so active (like I said, gross, gray weather). So we walked along the path, first past homes, then past farmland and windmills until we reached the bridge itself.
Geierlay is 100 meters (328 feet) high, 360 meters (1,181 feet) long, wide enough for people to pass each other comfortably and honestly, for someone who has a professed fear of falling (which I consider different than a fear of heights), I never really felt overwhelmed by any sort of fear or nervousness. The bridge is incredibly secure and stable and even when our smart-ass friends tried to make it swing a little, there were no excessive movements. It was still foggy when we walked across it the first time but by the time we headed back it was starting to clear up. I think it would be a gorgeous sight at sunrise (if I ever find the need to wake up before the sun on a weekend). The Germans definitely had us out-planned though because when we crossed the bridge we found several small groups had brought their own wine and snacks to enjoy before heading back. Brilliant.
While Morsdorf didn’t seem to have a ton of post-bridge options, within an hour radius you can find yourself at several options for wineries and castle ruins. We headed to Weckbecker Weingut on the way to Burg Eltz to round out our day. Weckbecker is a family run winery that has been operating since the 1700s. The tasting room is small and decidedly German (they don’t really monopolize on wine-tasting the way they do in America) but the wine was delicious & reasonably priced (most bottles were under $10) and the proprietor was friendly and more than happy to open whatever we asked to taste. From there it was a short drive and another short hike to Burg Eltz, a restored castle that has been around for over 800 years. The castle is actually closed during the winter (they open in March) but since we were so close we thought it was worth it just to head over for a photo with the castle without any crowds. We didn’t have much sunlight (or any) but it was still an easy way to check off another castle on the list!