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It glitters and sparkles in and around Idar-Oberstein. In the beautiful town of 28,000 inhabitants in Rhineland-Palatinate, a lot revolves around gemstones and high-quality jewelry, and the local jewelry stores present the finest goods. If you want, you can even search for precious stones yourself - and experience a lot more.

First things first: Idar-Oberstein has even more to offer than its stone-rich past as the capital of the gemstone industry. The picturesque Felsenkirche, for example, built around 1480 into a rock face above the town and visible from afar - to get inside, visitors first have to walk through a tunnel. Or the famous Rhineland-Palatinate gastronomy; in cozy restaurants, specialties such as traditional spit-roast from an open beech wood fire are served with good Nahe-Riesling wines. Nature lovers will enjoy numerous premium tours through the magnificent surroundings, such as the Traumschleife Nahe-Felsen-Weg or sections of the Hildegard von Bingen pilgrimage route.

Idar-Oberstein's most important attraction, however, is and remains the over 500-year-old gemstone and jewelry industry, which still employs 1,500 people locally and is present everywhere in the city. In the German Mineral Museum, for example, or in the Gemstone Museum with its more than 10,000 exhibits. On the 1.8-kilometer-long Gemstone Trail with many information panels on the subject. In the Bengel Industrial Monument, which provides insights into the production of Art Deco jewelry at the turn of the century, or in the Historic Weiherschleife, an agate grinding mill from the 17th century. The highlight, however, is the visitor tunnel of the Steinkaulenberg, the only gemstone mine in Europe open to the public. The tour takes you through a glittering fairy tale world, with amethysts, agates, rock crystals & co. sparkling in the rock. If you like, you can dig for precious stones yourself at the gemstone camp - pickaxes and picks are provided, and of course you get to keep the loot later.

So you can get to Idar-Oberstein comfortably and without traffic jams by train: click here.

Cover photo: The magnificent gemstones can be seen everywhere in and around Idar-Oberstein © Adobestock/wim

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