Burg Eltz – 1000 Years of History

img_5823Germany has no shortage of castles. In fact, there are about 20,00 of them throughout the country. One of my favorites is Burg (castle) Eltz, located in Wierschem in western Germany.

At 850 years old, the castle has been a staple in Germany for some time. Located not far from the Moselle River, Burg Eltz has been standing in Germany since before the Middle (Medieval) Ages. Since then, the country has seen many battles. With much luck and an isolated position, it is one of the only castles not to be destroyed or harmed during any wars or battles.

The castle hosts incredible architecture, with the current design dating back to the 1600s. It looks like a real-life gingerbread castle. The details of the interior and exterior are prime examples of the craftsmanship we do not see much in today’s world. The exterior features copper dragon gutter covers, red and white painted turrets, as well as other intricate details. The interior has a few rooms staged as they were in the 16th and 17th centuries. The rooms included bedrooms, a kitchen, a hunting room, and others.

The castle owners offer tours of the facility. I highly recommend taking the tour, which will allow you inside access to the castle and highly informative tour guides. Tours are available from April to November, from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm every day. The guided tours are available in multiple languages (English, German, French, and Dutch). Tours cost 10€ per adult and 6.50€ per child.

In addition to an inside tour, a ticket includes access to the Treasury room, which houses treasures from all over Europe – including many gold pieces, ivory, and old weapons. I was seriously amazed to see so many treasures in one place. Unfortunately, we ran out of time to see all of the items in the Treasury, but we did get to walk through each of the multiple floors. It was absolutely a sight to see.

Some further info for visiting is:

  • Parking costs 2€ per car
  • Can use a footpath or a shuttle to get to the castle from the parking lot
  • The footpath takes you through the woods; the shuttle will take you on a road. You can walk on the road and get beautiful views
  • Two restaurants in the castle; both looked nice, with many food options and ample seating
  • Extensive gift shop with many souvenirs for purchase

The area in and around Burg Eltz is very picturesque. The castle is beautiful in all seasons, whether you can see the entire castle or only the exterior. If you get the chance, make sure you take a tour if they’re available. The guides are incredible and provide much more information than you can gather from online research. And honestly, having the opportunity to visit the rooms and Treasury are so worth it!

If you’re itching for a second quick dose of castles, visit Burg Thurant, only a short drive from Burg Eltz. For a quick and delicious bite to eat, stop at Turmgasthaus Burg Thurant, a hotel and restaurant located on the Moselle River. Less than 15 minutes from Burg Eltz, the restaurant offered a limited but scrumptious menu. I went with a Zander fish filet with Reisling sauce, with cabbage and potatoes. Jake, my husband, had deer steak for his dinner. The employees of the restaurant were great, as well. They could tell that we were struggling with translating the menu and were quick to offer help. We would definitely eat there again.

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Tasty dinner

Fun Fact: A bed in the castle is from the Middle Ages and has several steps leading to the mattress. The guide told us that the saying “climbing into bed” came from this period.

Extra Fun Fact: The same family, the Eltz family, has owned the castle since its construction.

Until my next adventure,

Robyn ♥

Castle Nanstein

Nestled above Landstuhl, Germany, are castle ruins that have a history dating back nearly a millennium. Today, only a few pieces of the once immense Castle remain. Castle Nanstein, or Burg Nanstein if you want to say it with its native name, was first mentioned in 1253. The castle originates from around some time in the 12th century AD. During the 13th to 15th centuries, it was an Imperial castle. The castle’s primary purpose was to protect the Palatinate, a region of Germany.

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One of the surviving windows

Castle Nanstein is the former home of Franz von Sickingen. von Sickingen was a German knight and leading force of the Reformation. After the Castle was passed down to him from his father, von Sickingen refortified the castle to protect himself from potential enemies (i.e. catapults, knights with swords, cannonballs), around 1518 AD.

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In 1523, von Sickingen lead the Knight’s Revolt, a revolution created by the Protestant Reformation against the Roman Catholic Church. Part of the Revolt lead fighting to Nanstein, creating a bloody battle at the site. It was during this battle that von Sickingen was shot and later died on May 7, 1523.

After the battle that killed von Sickingen, the castle needed to be repaired. It would take nearly twenty years for the reconstruction to begin. After 1543, von Sickingen’s sons began rebuilding the Castle in a Renaissance style. Unfortunately, the Castle was not safe from further destruction. Between 1668 and 1869, parts of the Castle were destroyed by the Germans and later the French. Today, only one part of the Castle remains.

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Jake standing with one of the surviving walls

Since 1869, the Castle ruins have been restored and preserved for visitors from near and far to experience the once great Burg Nanstein.

In early September 2018, my husband and I visited the Castle. It was just a short drive for us. Beware, the road leading to the Castle is narrow and windy. When you arrive at the Castle, there is a restaurant where you can enjoy a beer or traditional German meal overlooking Landstuhl.

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View of Landstuhl

The restaurant only accepted cash, like most places in Germany, and we only had enough cash for the Castle tour. Next time we visit we will be sure to bring enough. The tour of the Castle was cost-effective, being around 4-5€ per person. If you are U.S. military personnel, you receive a discounted ticket price. There are audio and self-guided tour options. I wish we had chosen to do the audio tour because there are not many signs throughout the Castle to provide additional information about what you are looking at. Inside one part, however, there is a video detailing the history of the Castle, a bust of von Sickingen, and more information about the man who gave his life protecting his Castle.

The grounds offer insights into how life in the Middle Ages was. Ruins from bedrooms, kitchens, even a stage, are visible. If you’re lucky you might spot some stones with writing dating back to 1347 or earlier!

I recommend visiting Castle Nanstein if you are in the area. Germany, like much of Europe, is filled with castle ruins. Thankfully, these are located right in my backyard! The grounds are more extensive than you might think and there are plenty of great spots for photographs. If you are not interested in the history of the location, it is also a local hiking, biking, and eating spot. There’s something for everyone at Burg Nanstein.

*Information gathered from Wikipedia and Castle Nanstein’s informational brochure.

Until my next adventure,

Robyn ♥