St Matthew's Lake (Mattheiser Weiher)
Trier for All

St Matthew's Lake (Mattheiser Weiher)

As early as the Middle Ages, the people of Trier were naturally proud of the city’s many churches and monasteries, its saints and, in particular, the fact that St Peter, one of the highest-ranking heavenly figures, was its patron saint. But something that is perhaps even more sacred to Trierers than all the saints put together is their Viez, a bitter apple wine drunk in proper style from a 0.4-litre porcelain jug known as a ‘Porz’. But what does this have to do with the Mattheiser Weiher? The sorb tree that thrives there, and which was regarded highly as a fruit tree even by the Romans, was particularly grown there before the mid-19th century because, when added in small quantities, its tannin-rich fruits gave the Viez a longer shelf life.

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The rest of the 150 to 180-year-old trees involve much less scheming. Amateur botanists will find black alders, bald cypresses, willows and cane, water lilies and irises, as well as white water lilies which were first planted there in the 1950s. Those who prefer animals can observe various species of bird as they swim around, practices flying, build nests and, in late summer, take their grown-up family on day excursions. But you can get your own exercise in too. Comfortable walking tracks head around the Mühlenweiher and Herrenweiher lakes; you can even take a detour to the slightly higher Südbad swimming pool, with diving platforms, fountains and a children’s play area. The Südbad opens as soon as the weather becomes suitable for outdoor swimming. Those who prefer to stay on land or who visit on cooler days should visit the mini-golf course (closed Tuesdays).

A must for: Animal-watchers. Tree-taxonomists. Families and jogging groups. Minigolfers, playground visitors and outdoor-pool enthusiasts.

Physical activity: 70%
Duck-counting: 40%
Fun for kids: 70%

The Südbahnhof bus station marks the start of a great cycling circuit through the Altbach and Olewig Valley (with a brief detour to the Amphitheatre) and past the elevated Kernscheid district to the heart of the Mattheiser Wald nature reserve. Following the ponds and lakes here, you’ll head through the old district of Heiligkreuz, with its 11th-century chapel, before returning to the Südbahnhof. The circuit takes about 90 minutes and is 17 kilometres in length. You’ll need a bit of puff – but your efforts will be rewarded with wonderful views and a healthy mix of cultural attractions and pure nature.

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