The second stage of the long distance hiking trail Rheinsteig leads from Oberdollendorf through the Mühlental valley up to Heisterbach Monastery. Of course, you can also drive up, Heisterbach Abbey has a parking lot and a nicely designed bus stop of the RSVG line 520.
Here we are on the track of the medieval and early modern Cistercian monks of Heisterbach Abbey. For centuries, Heisterbach has been the religious center of our region, and the largest landowner. The Cistercians combined piety, manifold skills and excellent business sense. They cultivated their land, farmed it, breeded cattle and fish, and engaged in forestry and viticulture. Soon they earned more than they needed for themselves, sold their products, earned good money and used it to finance their buildings and the purchase of even more land.
On the way from Oberdollendorf to Heisterbacherrott you can see the baroque portal of Heisterbach Abbey from afar, and shortly afterwards the medieval choir ruins. It is all that has remained of the abbey church, built in the early 13th century.
The Cistercians also made up the image of Oberdollendorf. In the Mühlental valley between Oberdollendorf and Heisterbach they ran numerous mills, and their estate Gut Sülz was the center of their wine-trade.
Today Gut Sülz is still a well-known wine restaurant. In Oberdollendorf we have the most northern vineyards of Germany, the Oberdollendorfer Weinwanderweg, a local wine hiking trail, and the local museum Brückenhofmuseum (Bachstraße 93). With its crooked streets, the beautiful half-timbered houses and of course the wine restaurants, it is a town for connoisseurs.
Heisterbach Abbey and surroundings
The abbey grounds are open throughout the whole year. Heisterbach Abbey was the focus of the project “Klosterlandschaft Heisterbach” (Heisterbach Abbey environment) of the “Regionale 2010”, the structural program of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The buildings have been restored, the gardens are thriving and there are numerous information boards about historical events as well as on rare plants.
In the Zehntscheune (tithe barn) there is an exhibition on the Cistercians in Germany and Europe and the cultural landscape of Heisterbach Valley, and concerts take place here too. To see the opening hours and the program, kindly check the Heisterbach Abbey website at www.abtei-heisterbach.de.
From Heisterbach Abbey hiking trails lead up to Mount Petersberg and to Einkehrhäuschen, a restaurant in the middle of the woods, and Mount Nonnenstromberg and Mount Stenzelberg, an abandoned quarry where the Cistercian broke the stones for their abbey church.
Another hiking trail on the other side of Heisterbacher Straße / country road L268 leads to Mount Weilberg with the natural monument, an open quarry where you can see the rock material of the Siebengebirge. You can walk along the hiking trail or ride on the bus line 521 until the next stop called “Verschönerungsweg”. The nearest parking lot is “Im Mantel”.
Then there is the “Herrenweg” down to Königswinter-city. The abbots of Heisterbach took this path when they had business to do down in Königswinter. There they lived in their own accommodation, the Heisterbacher Hof (the later Düsseldorfer Hof) in today’s Rheinallee. After all, the abbots were important men in the region and successful businessmen.
In Oberdollendorf there is a stop of the tram line 66 Bad Honnef-Siegburg. Niederdollendorf has a train station, and regional trains stop here.