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If there is one castle in Germany that can rival the iconic Neuschwanstein Castle, it’s Burg Eltz. This ridiculously-stunning castle seems to have been plucked straight out of the Disney-induced fantasies of children everywhere. If you’re planning a trip, take a look at our need-to-know guide.
Burg Eltz is located in Wierschem, a municipality belonging to the district of Mayen-Koblenz in the West German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. What sets Burg Eltz apart from most of the famous fairytale castles in Germany is that it doesn’t crown a hilltop. Instead, it perches on a rock spur by the Elzbach River, wrapped on all sides by the verdant Eltz Forest.
Burg Eltz 1, Wierschem, Germany, +49 2672 95050-0
If you’re coming by car or motorbike, you can park your vehicle at the castle parking lot for a small fee. From there, an approximately 0.8 mi (1.3 km)-long footpath leads you to the castle. Another option is to take a shorter but much steeper walk up a private road. On weekends and holidays, a shuttle bus takes visitors back and forth from the parking lot at €2 (USD$2.30) per person. The great thing about walking this route is that the castle sort of sneaks up on you as you take the final turn along the winding road. And even though you would be expecting it all along, nothing can prepare you for the sheer breathtaking sight that the castle is. Seriously sporty travelers might even consider hiking to the castle.
Burg Eltz welcomes visitors from late March or early April to early November, daily from 9.30am to 5.30pm. Keep an eye on the official website for the exact dates, as they vary from year to year. Be prepared for long queues in peak season, afternoon being the busiest time of the day.
A guided tour of the castle, including a tour of the Treasury, is currently priced at €10 (USD$11.50) per adult. Discounts are available for children, students, disabled visitors, big groups and families. The castle courtyard can be explored without a ticket.
Though pets are allowed in the castle courtyard, they are not allowed inside the castle complex. Photography is strictly prohibited in the castle interior. But don’t be disappointed, as your photos with the mind-blowing castle facade as the backdrop are enough to set your Instagram profile on fire.
The beginning of the construction of Burg Eltz can be traced back to the 9th century. Currently, the castle is owned and maintained by the 33rd generation of the Eltz family. Down the centuries, while the castle has inspired many writers, poets and painters, it has also faced invasion and destruction attempts. When you visit, remember that you are walking the footsteps of kings and queens, knights, dukes and duchesses, princes and emperors. As Burg Eltz was one of the few significant architectures in Germany to escape destruction during World War II, travelers can still see much of the castle in an almost-original condition.
A guided tour of the castle takes around 45 minutes, during which time visitors are walked through various ornamental rooms filled with original artifacts, paintings and furniture.
The armory (housing ancient firearms, weapons and cannons) and Treasury are also fascinating to explore, though no guided tours are offered. Labels and information are in german, but brochures explaining the exhibits are available in various languages.
It’s not everyday that you have a meal in the courtyard of a magnificent castle, so make sure you don’t miss this opportunity. There are two restaurants in the castle premises – Unterschänke (190 seats) and Oberschänke (120 seats). The menus at both restaurants take care of snack cravings and serious hunger pangs, with a variety of soups, sandwiches, rolls, traditional German dishes, salads, beverages and cakes.
The castle shop has an extensive range of souvenirs, from where you can choose one or more unique items to fondly remember your time in this beautiful castle for years. Other than traditional souvenirs like magnets, postcards key-chains and so on, you will also find books, porcelain and glass products, and even armor! Wooden swords and crossbows will no doubt capture the hearts of little knights and dames.