Take a day trip from Germany to these magical castles

The stunning Burg Eltz | Photo by haveseen
The stunning Burg Eltz | Photo by haveseen

Take a day trip from Germany to these magical castles

by Jessica Zen
Stripes Europe

Germany’s countryside is peppered with castles, ranging from romantic ruins to beautifully preserved masterpieces. Driving in any direction will bring you upon numerous fortifications once ruled by royalty. Travel to bygone days by visiting one of these castles near you!

BURG ELTZ

A truly unique find, this castle is not only untouched by the ravages of war, but is also still owned by the original family. Faust von Stromberg owns the fortification now, over 800 years after development on the castle began. Surrounded by flora and fauna in a natural paradise, this castle is elevated 230 feet on an oval rock in the Eltz Forest and has eight towers and a timber frame.

Original furnishings can be found throughout the castle in this well-kept historical site, giving a first-hand experience with Middle and Early Modern ages. Interior rooms include an armory, treasury, knight’s hall, 15th-century kitchen and many other fascinating pieces of art. This astounding castle wasn’t finished overnight. It took 500 years of construction to complete and once held up to 100 family members and equally as many servants at a single time.

To get a good feel for your surroundings, hike around the Eltz Castle Panorama Trail. On the walk, you’ll find views of the Mosel plateau, vast meadows and the bubbling Elzbach River. The highlight of the trail is, of course, the fairytale-like Burg Eltz, towering just past a stone bridge and transporting its visitors into the past.  

 

 

BURG NANSTEIN

Castle ruins have often been described as brooding, yet romantic areas where you can speculate about historical gatherings, battles and the people who once lived in these dominating stone fortresses. In the Palatinate Forest looming above Landstuhl on a sandstone rock are the ruins of Burg Nanstein. Originally built in 1162, this Imperial castle was once the site of a multi-story gun bastion and a Gothic chapel, in addition to residential and farm buildings surrounding the lower castle.

Today what remains is mostly from the 15th and 16th centuries, though there is a 13th-century shield wall. The eastern side of the castle site has remains of the chapel and residential buildings. Conservation work started in the 19th century, and there is a newly staged death chamber from former lord of the castle, Franz von Sickingen. He is an important person in the castle’s history, as he allegedly expanded the castle to a firearm suitable fortification in 1518. Unfortunately, he was injured during a siege in 1523 and did not survive.

While taking in the castle, don’t forget to check out the view from the rock plateau. If you’re drawn to the area, don’t miss hiking or biking on the trails that surround the castle in the forest. Though the castle is in ruins, there is still an entrance fee and audio guides are available.

GETTING THERE

Burg Eltz is located just under two hours north of Kaiserslautern. It is a little less than an hour and a half northwest of Wiesbaden. Burg Nanstein is located less than 30 minutes west of Kaiserslautern. It is a little over an hour southwest of Wiesbaden.

With so many opportunities to see a castle in Germany, it’s hard to pick just one! Take a day trip to either Burg Eltz or the ruins of Burg Nanstein and immerse yourself in the local history. In under two hours, you could be at either location, soaking up the stunning views of towers, ramparts and castle keeps.

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