Ringelstein Railway Retreat

Reviewed by Emily McDonnell

A romantic hideaway surrounded by forest, with modern, cosy interiors and industrial decor that hint at the building’s former life as a railway signal box

Self-catering house
From €99
2 (plus a small child)
Büren, 5 hours from central Berlin


Built in 1941, this signal box stood empty for over 60 years - becoming a denkmal in this time - after the railway was decommissioned. Many in the area knew and admired its striking architecture, strolling past it on their walks in the Ringelstein forest. David was one such person, having grown up to 2km away. He knew he wanted to create a space that he could transform into a modern, unique hideaway from those looking to switch off and enjoy nature, so when he found the signal box listed for sale on a railway foundation’s website, the decision to buy and preserve it was a no brainer. After over three years of renovation, supported by family, friends and local craftsmen, Ringelstein Railway Retreat was ready for guests.

The results are stunning: a truly romantic retreat with modern interiors, a cosy fireplace and a sprawling terrace surrounded by dense forest. Throughout the split-level apartment, you find nods to the signal box’s former life, such as old signs, lots of iron and bits of machinery, and these are carefully balanced with soft furnishing in blues and greens that help to bring the outside in. Spend your days exploring the natural beauty of the region, which is the gateway to Sauerland, before curling up to watch the stars or wood crackle in the fire. Bliss.


I fell in love because...
  • This former signal box is a wonderfully restful and oh-so-romantic retreat in the middle of the forest
  • The decor is modern and tasteful, plus there’s a wood-burning fire
You must...
  • Hikes in the Ringelstein Forest: go at dawn or dusk, when you have the best chance of seeing animals such as red deer, foxes and woodpeckers 
  • End the day with a good book and a glass of red wine in front of the fireplace
You might dislike...
  • You have to drive to get to restaurants or supermarkets
  • People occasionally walk past the doorstep, but you have a lot of privacy
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Stellwerk Ringelstein


“My parents' house is about 2 km from this former signal box, so I knew it from my childhood. So it was incredibly exciting that - when I was looking for a new project - I found the signal box on sale via a railway foundation.”

He loves…

“The quarry-stone exterior and wooden boarding make the building so unique.” 

David’s insider tips 

  • Visit the Wewelsburg Castle - a Renaissance-style palace within a 20-minute drive. There’s an interesting museum here, too.
  • The Almeradweg, which runs directly by the signal box, is highly recommended, and there are many adjacent cycle paths for cyclists.
  • Have a picnic at the "Happy Place", a vantage point with a beautiful view of the Sauerland.
  • Spend time on the terrace soaking up the forest’s goodness.

What people
are saying.

“What a gem of a place, we absolutely loved it! Beautiful and extremely comfortable, plus it is set in the most gorgeous surroundings.”


“A great place to stay in a beautiful region. Ideal for those looking for peace and quiet who are looking for relaxation on beautiful tours in the nearby forests.”


The essentials.

  • Sleeping arrangements: The bedroom has a double bed.
  • Bathroom set up: The bathroom has a shower, and shampoo is provided.
  • Food: There’s a fully-equipped kitchen (with basic ingredients like oil, salt and pepper), but you’ll have to drive to get to restaurants or supermarkets.
  • For families: Small children are very welcome to stay, and a baby cot and high chair can be provided on request.
  • On-site equipment: There’s wood available for the fire.
  • Help: David is available via phone should you need anything.
  • Remember to pack: Your hiking boots! The forest starts on your doorstep.
  • Pets: Not allowed.
  • Sustainability: The Railway Retreat is a listed building, and David renovated using as much reclaimed material as possible.
  • Need to know: There's a 3-night minimum stay in low season, and a 5-night minimum stay in high season.


Ringelstein Railway Retreat is located in Büren, at the entrance to Sauerland. 

You can easily drive and park in front of the house. 

Arriving with public transport is possible, but you will have to change a few times and get some buses. The closest bus stop is Bür-Ringelstein, Eichenweg, which is a 1-minute walk from Ringelstein Railway Retreat.


The Railway Retreat is a premium partner, meaning if you quote The Staycation Collection when booking, you’ll get a free gift on arrival (a solid shower gel produced in the neighbouring village).
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