Burg Eltz: Medieval Beauty that has Stayed in One Family for 33 Generations

| October 8, 2014

Surrounded by woods in a hidden valley, with a foundation carved directly into a large oval rock, sits Burg Eltz, a castle still owned by a branch of the same family that lived there 33 generations ago.  It has never been destroyed.

We walked the 1.3 km footpath to the castle.  Not knowing where the castle sat, we looked up, down, and all around as we walked–there was no sign of it.

Where is it?

Where is it?

Then suddenly, toward the end of the path, you turn the corner and Bam!–there’s this amazing fairy-tale castle.  Burg Eltz is what you think of when you imagine a castle: stone, fortification, turrets, and all perched high on the rock, deep in the trees.  There was not a single person around us who did not turn the corner and gasp.  I’m so glad we walked, because the Wow Factor would not have been so great if we’d arrived by shuttle.  (But it began raining later, so we did take the shuttle back up.)

Breathtaking

Breathtaking

Purchasing the ticket for a tour was fast, but they only allow so many small tour groups to enter the castle at a time.  On the summer day when we visited, the wait line to enter was pretty long, and sometimes you needed to fortify your position in line if you didn’t want someone to cut in front of you.  Fortunately, we were able to hop some of the line when they called for anyone seeking an English-speaking tour.  From what I understand, you cannot rely on an English- (or any foreign) language tour occurring daily.  I obtained a printed translation of the tour from the ticket area.

Built directly into the stone

Built directly into the stone

One room houses an impressive collection of weapons.  A very large portion of the castle could be heated, unlike most castles of the time, which heated only one or two rooms.  You learn a bit about the inner workings of a castle.  The antique furnishings are exquisite.

Looking out a window

Looking out a window

In an armory and treasury below the castle you’ll find glass cases of jewelry, artworks by German gold and silver smiths, weapons, porcelain, and other exhibits.  With a ticket to the castle, you can pop into the armory at any time during your visit; it is not part of the guided tour.

Burg Eltz is such a beautiful sight that an engraving of the castle appeared on the 500 Deutsche Mark bill for almost 30 years.  Rounding the bend and catching your first glimpse of the castle?  That view alone is worth the trip.

Excited upon seeing the castle

Excited upon seeing the castle

In addition to the easy footpath, several hikes lead to the castle.  You can plan your trip to Burg Eltz by visiting their information page.  Not too far down the same side of the river is Burg Rheinfels, totally worth a visit for its own reasons.

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Category: Castles & Palaces, FAMILY, Family Travel, Germany, Hiking in the Rheingau, Travel, Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Kari Martindale is a writer and ESL instructor. She’s visited all 50 states and 37 countries, including many of the big cities of Europe and a ton of Christmas Markets. She spends her days straddling the fence between a sense of adventure and a sense of dread. She is married to what is clearly a patient man and has a daughter who, frustratingly, is just like her. Her academic and professional backgrounds are in linguistics and foreign languages. When she's not teaching ESL, she's writing. When she's not writing, she's thinking about her next trip.

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