In Aachen the countryside is on your doorstep whether you are heading north or south. The nearest woods are right in the centre of Aachen. Bordering the ring road on the north, the Lousberg, which was designed as an English park in Napoleonic times, dominates the whole of the town. From several vantage points you have outstanding views of the city and beyond that to the Eifel and the frontiers with Belgium and Holland. Even today some of the trees lining the avenues which cross the Lousberg go back to the time when the park was laid out at the beginning of the 19th century. Aachen's local attraction, the Three Countries Corner (Dreiländereck), is also within easy reach. At the place where Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands meet there is a viewing tower and a maze and you can also go for long walks in all directions.
To the northeast, the valley of the Wurm leads to the town of Würselen. Here a three kilometre long section of the River Wurm forms the frontier between the Netherlands and Northrhine-Westphalia. The river, which in some places is as much as eight metres wide, meanders through a rich landscape of woods and meadows.
The whole of the southwest of Aachen is surrounded by the largest wooded area of the region. The municipal woods (Stadtwald) stretch from the Dreiländereck in the west almost up to the town’s eastern rim. Passing picturesque, old border stones the visitor can walk, jog or ride into Belgium or the Netherlands without realising that he has crossed a frontier. 300 year-old trees can be found here together with barrows and springs such as the Pioneers’ Spring (Pioniersquelle), well known from the CHIO horse and carriage events.
Just a few kilometres to the south and you are already entering the joint German Belgian nature reserve Hohes Venn-Eifel. The Hohe Venn is a 4500 hectare area of peat bogs, heathland, bushes and swamps. In the Perlenbachtal alone there are more than 80 different flora and fauna including fields of wild daffodils which attract large numbers of visitors every year. More detailed information can be found on the homepage of the Naturparks Hohes Venn-Eifel and on the pages of the NRW Academy for the Protection of Nature and the Environment www.nationalpark-eifel.nrw.de.
Bordering the Venn there are numerous reservoirs worth a visit, among them the picturesque long and narrow Weser lake in Eupen. You can go for a fourteen kilometre walk around the lake. The Rur Lake, where you can go swimming (in summer) or go for a boat-trip or a long walk, also attracts visitors throughout the year.