When our squadron was new, a co-worker who sat near me was in a one-person deep position. He had several statues of medieval knights. I believe he had three of them. That was his staff for his staff meetings! He really loved military history and was always finding interesting places and facts about the local area. One fantastic recommendation he had was to visit Burg Eltz.
What is Burg Eltz?
Burg Eltz is a castle near the Mosel River that’s about a two-hour drive North of Ramstein Air Base. The castle is still owned by the same family branch that owned it in the 12th century. 33 generations have passed this castle on to the next generation. 1/3rd of the castle is still being used.
The castle was originally intended as a fortified residence, not as a fortress. It has been attacked once, but never taken. I remember the tour guide telling us that, years ago, French soldiers went up and down the Mosel River burning castles. Since Burg Eltz can’t be seen from the river, it was overlooked.
How do you find Burg Eltz?
Use a GPS or print the directions from Google Maps. You’ll end up in Münstermaifeld. Follow K 37 towards Wierschem, and then follow the signs to Eltz Castle forest car park.
The castle parking is about 1 kilometer away from the castle. You have to walk to get to the castle. It’s a beautiful, forested walk, but don’t try it in bad weather. The walk is downhill from the parking lot. This goes against my general rule for walks of always going up first. After the 40-minute tour, you are tired and then have to walk uphill to your car. The castle is only open from April to November 1st and only from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm so plan ahead.
Is Burg Eltz worth the effort to get there?
I think it is. We enjoy a good walk. You do have to pay for parking and the ticket prices are about €8, but this is not a replica castle that’s been reconstructed. It is an authentic medieval castle that is completely furnished. The admission rates are a bit higher than other castles, but this castle is completely private. Your fees go directly to the family to help them keep the castle maintained.
What’s the castle like?
I was surprised how narrow the inner courtyard was. I suppose it makes sense as the castle is built on a hill so they only had so much room. The tour tries to give you a feeling of the 800 years of history in the castle. There are 15th century wooden ceilings, a bedroom with frescos from 1470, the Knight Hall with a suit of armor from the 1520’s. The Countesses’ Room has a pottery collection from the 16th to 19th centuries. There are many more rooms and interesting things to see on the tour.
Burg Eltz is harder to get to and more expensive than other castles. It’s not a good castle to visit on a rainy day. Despite these limitations, this is one castle you should not miss. There just aren’t many authentic medieval castles you can visit that are still owned and used by the original family. Make it a point to visit Burg Eltz and you won’t be disappointed.
Tel: +49 2672 950 500