While Neuschwanstein hogs all the limelight when it comes to romantic castles of Germany, the regions along the Rhine has some real hidden gems. And when I say hidden I mean quite literally as a few among these were not discovered until recently due to being nestled within the heavily forested hill tops.
One such gem is the Burg Eltz or the Eltz Castle, situated in the Rhineland region of Germany, between Trier and Koblenz. The intriguing thing about the castle is that it actually sits in a valley between the hills which is quite uncharacteristic of a castle and is has also, surprisingly, never been attacked by anyone. Due to the later, it actually has been in the possession of a single family for over 800 years, since it was built and houses most of the originals that the family possessed over the centuries.
It can be easily managed as a day trip from some of the prettiest towns around the Moselle – Cochem and Koblenz or bigger cities such as Frankfurt and Cologne. We traveled from Luxembourg. While I can go on and on about the breathtaking beauty of this castle and its surroundings including the pretty towns along the Moselle, I would leave it for your own eyes to behold for when you take the trip yourself. Because if you are traveling in Germany, you simply cannot miss this castle. What I will instead do is share a few tips which will help you enjoy this beauty and your trip to the fullest. Feel free to add on to the tips through the comments.
Traveler tips for Burg Eltz
Tip 1: Try to reach the Burg early in the morning, by 9am as it will help you beat the crowds. But more importantly, since it sits in a sort of valley, you can actually see the castle emerge out of the morning mist. Its a sight you cannot easily forget.
Tip 2: While I have found the German railway system DB to be very economical, there is a very economical rail pass the ‘Rheinland-Pfalz ticket‘ which allows one to travel throughout the Rhineland region on multiple networks at extremely lucrative prices. Know more here. We traveled from Luxembourg on the CFL network and it was valid on it too.
Tip 3: There are 3 ways to reach the Burg: a) a hike from Moselkern b) a bus from Hatzenport to parking lot of the Burg and c) finally a private car. Unless you are hiking or taking your car, the Burgenbus 330 will be your friend for the trip. The Rheinland-Pfalz ticket is valid on the Burg Bus as it is run by the same network (VRM). This bus runs only on a weekend and on holidays and only at specific times during the day. The route followed is Treis-Karden via Pyrmont Castle, Eltz Castle to Hatzenport. It also has limited capacity to carry your bikes.
Tip 4: Unless you are hiking, you will reach the parking lot of the Burg Eltz either via your car or courtesy the Burgenbus 330. The castle is a further 2km walk from there through a beautifully forested trail with views of the valley around and sounds of a gurgling stream below. The hike is not steep either way and should be doable unless you have walking disabilities. I would suggest walking that trail both ways.
Tip 5: If for some reason you prefer not to walk to or from the castle, there is a castle bus which helps you make that trip. This will cost you an additional EUR 2 each way but will drop you at the entrance to the castle.
Tip 6: There is a cafe and a restaurant at the castle premises with a decently priced menu. So feel free to indulge a little even if you are on budget. The views will more than compensate for any perceived monetary loss.
Tip 7: There are guided tours of the castle in German and English and cost EUR 10 each. Please please please take this tour (and thank me later).
Tip 8: And finally, the castle remains closed between 1st November to 31st March. So plan your trip accordingly.
And before I sign-off, I leave you will some of the shots from our day trip to this enchanting medieval castle in Germany. As always, Happy Travels!!