The Neandertal is probably one of the most well-known places in the world and therefore a destination that attracts a lot of visitors. Apart from the Neanderthal man who was found 160 years ago the valley is a place of excursions for nature-lovers and hikers alike. The Neanderthal Museum, the place of discovery and the ice-age game reserve near the river Düssel are suitable for a full-day excursion.


Masterplan Neandertal © Kreis MettmannPlease note: The local recreation area of the Neandertal was given a facelift at the middle of 2020. The central valley area surrounding the Neanderthal Museum was upgraded with two pedestrian bridges and one stone age playground among other things. For better orientation a new neanderland logo was designed: a white "n" on blue ground. You can find further information at




Place of Discovery of the Neanderthal man (Erkrath), © © Stiftung Neanderthal Museum
Place of Discovery of the Neanderthal man (Erkrath), © Stiftung Neanderthal Museum

Where Neanderthal man was at home

The Neandertal, named after the theologian and composer of hymns Joachim Neander, has been a tourist attraction for centuries. The ‘Gesteins’, as the valley of the little stream Düssel between Mettmann and Erkrath was also called, was in Neander’s times a narrow, deep gorge. In the 17th century he held church services and composed hymns in front of this impressive natural setting.

The excavation of limestone that began in the 19th century with the onset of industrialisation changed the aspect of the valley for good, but also led to its becoming world-famous. In the process of excavation works in the caves in 1856, parts of a human skeleton were found which were later on identified as early hominid remains. Ever since then the term ‘Neanderthal man’ is known worldwide. Today the Neandertal with its numerous attractions and its excellent infrastructure is a popular destination for visitors from near and far.

Moreover, the Neandertal is Germany’s oldest nature reserve. Back then there were waterfalls, caves, cliffs and ample forests. After the excavation of limestone the valley has developed in harmony with nature. Beech groves and hornbeams grow at the valleys’ slopes and in the stone pits.


Neandertaler Nase an Nase mit Mädchen beim Neanderthal Museum
© Neanderthal Museum

Neanderthal Museum, Mettmann, and Place of Discovery, Erkrath

One of Europe’s most modern museums is today located not far from the place where Neanderthal man was found 160 years ago. It tells visitors from all over the world the story of mankind from its beginning in the African savannah more than four million years ago to present age. Regularly changing special exhibitions address the most diversified topics.

The stone-age atelier offers join-in activities and workshops for children, young persons and adults, and once a year there is a grand museum festival. From the museum, a trail leads to the world-famous place of discovery of Neanderthal man. Audio systems at stations along the trail provide background information on the natural, cultural and industrial history of the valley. All information is also available in a smartphone app. Access by public transport is recommended - e.g. with the combination ticket of the DB.


Talstraße 300 | 40822 Mettmann | Tel. 02104-97970
open Tuesday to Sunday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Ice-age Game Reserve Neandertal, © Kreis Mettmann/M. Chardin
Ice-age Game Reserve Neandertal, © Kreis Mettmann/M. Chardin

Eiszeitliches Wildgehege (Ice-age Game Reserve) in Neandertal

On a short hike around the  game reserve you can observe primeval wisents, tarpan wild horses and aurochs. On an area of 23 hectares, the animals live on wooded slopes as well as high and valley meadows. For a good overview of the area, visit the small viewing platform in Erkrath. The reserve is accessible free of charge round the clock. Dogs are allowed on the leash.


Thekhauser Quall 2 | 40699 Erkrath

Der neue Steinzeitspielplatz im Neandertal © Neanderthal Museum


Nach mehrjähriger Planungs- und Umbauzeit wurde der neue Steinzeitspielplatz im Neandertal im Sommer 2020 eröffnet und erfreut seitdem nicht nur die kleinen Besucher.

Der Name des Spielplatzes ist Programm: das Thema „Steinzeit und Neandertaler“ lässt sich hier an vielen Ecken spielerisch entdecken. Archäologische Funde, wie z.B. Stoßlanzen und Wurfspeere, wurden bei der Gestaltung der Spielelandschaft aufgegriffen und interpretiert: Für jüngere Kinder wurde ein kleiner Wasserlauf mit Matschbereich, eine aus „Treibholz“ anmutende Klettergelegenheit sowie eine Steinrutsche geschaffen. Ein „Stoßlanzenturm“, der mit einer Höhe von bis zu acht Metern das Highlight des Steinzeitspielplatzes darstellt, ist schon von weitem sichtbar.
Im Zentrum der überdimensionalen Lanzen spannen sich Netze auf insgesamt vier Ebenen. Der Aufstieg ist für jüngere Kinder eine Herausforderung, doch der Mut wird anschließend mit der Abfahrt durch eine Röhrenrutsche belohnt. Darüber hinaus ergänzen ein „Wurfspeerwald“ als Hangelkonstruktion, ein Kletterfels sowie eine Doppelschaukel und Tauschaukel in urzeitlicher Optik das Spielangebot.

All das liegt am neu geschaffenem und renaturiertem Zusammenfluss von Düssel und Mettmanner Bach in Wurfweite zum Eiszeitlichen Wildgehege und Neanderthal Museum.


Neandertal 1, 40699 Erkrath (gegenüber vom Neanderthal Museum)

Wichtiger Hinweis zur Parksituation vor Ort:

Besonders an den Wochenenden ist der Parkraum im Neandertal sehr begrenzt! Daher empfehlen wir die Nutzung folgender Ausweichparkplätze:

  • P&R Parkplatz S-Bahn Neanderthal (direkt oberhalb des Neanderthal Museums)
  • Altenheim Neandertal, Talstraße 189 (25 Minuten Fußweg zum Museum)
  • Parkplatz auf dem Gelände der Firma Erwepa, Mettmanner Str. 51, Erkrath (Fußweg ca. 25 Minuten).

TIPP: An Sonn- und Feiertagen verkehrt von 11 und 18 Uhr ein kostenloser Shuttle-Service zwischen Erwepa-Parkplatz und Museum.

Die Urtour – Alternative Reiseführung durch das Neandertal, © Ute Stöcker
Die Urtour durch das Neandertal, © Ute Stöcker

The Urtour – An Alternative Tour through the Neandertal

This interesting walkabout starts at the country house “Gut Bachelsberg” and does not only give you insight into the valley’s nature but as well in its history. The Urtour through the Neandertal is guided by Ute Stöcker and is available in German and English for groups of five to fifteen people. Meals are optional and should be booked ahead.

Moreover, groups can engage in berry tasting from June through September.  Request for groups of children and teenagers should be addressed separately.


Ute Stöcker | Gut Bachelsberg, Diepensiepen | 40822 Mettmann
Tel. 02104-5083195 | | Prior booking necessary

Besucher an einem Kunstwerk am Kunstweg MenschenSpuren in Mettmann
Art Trail Human Traces , © Neanderthal Museum

Art Trail ‘Human Traces’, Mettmann

Works by ten artists of international repute give a better understanding of the competing interests of man and nature. Children can have a good romp on the large playground by the banks of the stream Düssel. An audio guide to the art trail is available at the Neanderthal Museum‘s ticket counter. Please note that as part of the preparations for the Masterplan Neandertal, three sculptures must be temporarily dismantled as they can not remain at their previous locations.


Talstraße 300 | 40822 Mettmann | Tel. 02104-97970

Ansicht des Neanderthal Museums von außen im Frühling
Neanderthal Museum, © Kreis Mettmann

Evolution Trail, Mettmann

The walking trail from Mettmann town centre to the Neanderthal Museum, almost four kilometers long, features installations, sculptures and industrial monuments demonstrating human evolution, such as the ‘rings of remembrance’, possibly the only growing monument worldwide.


Lavalplatz (town centre) / Talstraße 300 (Neandertal) | 40822 Mettmann | Tel. 02104-980123

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