The floating fortress of Burg Vischering

Panoramic shot of the Vischering Castle, Germany | Photo by industryandtravel from 123rf
Panoramic shot of the Vischering Castle, Germany | Photo by industryandtravel from 123rf

The floating fortress of Burg Vischering

by Stacy Roman
Stripes Europe

When I imagined medieval castles, I always envisioned tall towers and walls encircled by a deep, murky moat. While not quite as dramatic as Neuschwanstein or Burg Eltz, Burg Vischering in North-Rhine Westphalia makes up for it in charm and history. Celebrating its 750th birthday in 2021, you won’t want to miss this hidden gem.

Sandwiched in between Münster and Dortmund in the small village of Lüdinghausen, this enchanting fortress was commission by the Bishop of Münster Gerhard von der Mark in 1721. When two local brothers built rival fortifications on either side of the castle, the bishop bequeathed it to his most-trusted knight. A moat and drawbridge were constructed as a means of defense against the brothers. After a fire tore through the structure in 1521, the horseshoe-shaped sandstone and tile castle was rebuilt and renovated. Although it sustained damage during the bombing raids of World War II, repairs were made immediately following the conflict.

Today, Vischering is one of the best-preserved moated castles in Germany. At first glance, the fortress appears to be floating on top of the glassy water surrounding it. Visitors can stroll across the narrow drawbridge and into the castle. Full of interactive and hands-on displays, there is plenty to keep kids of all ages busy. During the warmer months, the castle is often home to art exhibits and the renowned music festival, BurgJazz. Take a break at Café Reitstall located within the grounds for “Kaffee und Kuchen,” or just relax and drink in the beautiful scenery.

Castle Vischering is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Guided tours are available in English for either 60 or 90 minutes. Due to COVID-19 guidelines, hours and times may vary and are subject to change. For more information, visit

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