As part of a last minute short road trip to Germany, my boyfriend and I visited Eltz castle. Although knowing it would be closed during this time of year, we were still eager to see this castle and it turned out to be worth it!
1. The castle (of course)
It’s such a beautiful burg (German for Castle)! You don’t even have to go inside the castle to admire it. The surrounding area gives an additional atmosphere to the castle. There isn’t much imagination needed to feel as if landed in a fairy tale. The castle and its surroundings form a harmonious unity: surrounded on three sides by the Eltzbach, the castle towers on an oval rock ( the castle’s foundation) which in itself is up to 70m high. The architecture follows the shape of the rock, which results in the unusual shapes of the different rooms. From the end of March ( 25th March 2018) until the end of October, the castle is open for visitors and you are able to explore inside the castle grounds. You might want to leave your four footed friend behind, since he is not allowed indoor.
2. Astounding History
It’s always nice to know a bit of history when visiting a castle or historical landmark. And the fact that this castle is still standing there is an astonishment itself! During the Palatine wars (1688 – 1697) a high officer in the French army managed to delete the castle from the official list of buildings to be destroyed. Later on the people of Müden were able to lure the marauders into the ripe cornfield and set fire to the field and their unwanted visitors, saving the castle from being overtaken. From 1845 to 1888 the castle was restored by Count Karl zu Eltz for the sum of 184 000 Mark, an equivalent of about 15 Million Euros today. To top it off; Eltz Castle has been in possession of the Eltz family for more than 800 years! Germany considers the castle as a unique heritage and therefor engraved it on the German 500 Deutsche Mark from 1965 to 1992. This is quite unique considering that there are over 20.000 castles and castle ruins in Germany!
3. Hiking & Biking
There are plenty of hike and bike trails in the area. The fact that the castle is located in the forest makes it a perfect starting, in between or end location. You can hike from the town towards the castle (and back). There are lots of options, but do check the experience level, since some hikes can be a bit steep and difficult.
4. More Castles
In the area there are two other castles to visit! Maybe not everyone gets as excited as me for castles (read Castles of Kent), but there are two other castles in the area. One is Pyrmont castle (or Pyrmont Burg in German) and you can hike or bike to it from Eltz Castle. Castle number 3 is located in Cochem, a lovely little town that is worth a visit! Think medieval buildings, small cozy streets and lots of cake shops.
The castle is only 2h30 to 3h away from Belgium (Brussels)! Perfect for a short weekend trip. It’s not just closeby Belgium, but also perfect for a day trip from Cologne, Aachen, Düsseldorf, … Another option is to combine it with one of these cities and expand your roadtrip 🙂 the possibilities are endless!
Last but not least; the castle is located in the Mosel wine region. It’s considered to be the leading wine region in Germany in terms of international prestige. Our trip was in winter, so not a great time for wine. Although I can imagine myself going in back in summer and biking along the Mosel river visiting the different wineries!
You are always able to go and see the castle, but you won’t be able to pass the gate during off season (November – March).
The castle grounds reopen the 25th of March 2018.
Treasury: 9:30am to 6pm
Entry for Guided tour & Treasury:
Adult: € 10
Student: € 6,50
Family ticket: € 28 (includes; 2 adults + 2 children)
Address: Burg-Eltz-Straße 1, 56294 Münstermaifeld, Germany
The best way is to go by car, this will give you a lot more freedom to explore the area.
Brussel: 290km- 3h10 / Antwerp: 286km – 3h12 / Hasselt: 216km – 2h30 / Gent: 351km – 3h49
It is possible to reach the Castle by public transport. But from Belgium there isn’t a good connection. The train stations “Hatzenport” and “ Treis-Karden” offer a shuttle bus named “Burgenbus (Castle Bus)” to Eltz Castle Car Park. This is only running from the 1st of May until the end of October on weekends and holidays only!
From Koblenz there is an hourly train to Moselkern or Cochem/Trier. Find you best train connection on DB Bahn. This option is valid daily. From these train stations you can hike towards the castle along the Elz River. This is a 5km walk (90min). Plan B could be a taxi ;-).
The Castle shuttle bus (Burgenbus 330) takes you (and your bike) from the Moselle to Eltz Castle and back! The bus only runs 4 times a day from May to October, only on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
Treis – Karden – Pyrmont Castle – Eltz Castle – Hatzenport
More info on the bus here
Parking lot to the Castle
When arriving at the parking lot of Eltz Castle, you still have a few options to actually reach the castle:
Footpath from lower car park (1,3km – 15min walk) – recommended!
Road for the shuttle bus (800m – 10min)
By Shuttle Bus
The bus stop is at the barrier next to the Antonius Chapel.
Price: € 2 per person, per trip
More info on Eltz Castle here
Interested to visit some more Castles in Europe?
Read our Castles of Kent blog post!