Burg Eltz, a Disney castle … Just one look at it and you’ll see why it’s called like that! Germany is a country full of beautiful castles, around 20000 of them. But what makes Burg Eltz so magical is its position: tucked deep into the forest, hidden from your sight.
I was never a fan of history, but it is always nice to know what’s behind a location before your visit. What is so special about this castle is that it was never destroyed or overtaken. The Eltz family still owns it today, as it has for over 800 years. The prime construction period was between the 11th-13th century, with various additions made throughout the years. Restoration of the castle began taking place in the 19th century and also in 2009-2012, and the castle stands tall and pretty today for all of us to gawk at.
Burg Eltz was a perfect day trip from Frankfurt. After visiting the Christmas market in the evening, we woke up around 5am to pick up our rental car and off we went! In less than 2 hours we were there. The castle is open for tours from April 1st – November 1st. Since we visited it off season, we got to see only the castle site. It’s true, once you’re there you are a little limited as to what you can see. But since is hidden in the forest, it also means is surrounded by lush greenery and lots of trails. To explore a bit, take the stairs just off of the castle’s main path and you’ll find loads of cool viewpoints. When we visited the castle it was freezing cold, -3.5 degrees Celsius. So we didn’t venture that far from the castle, but had an amazing time!
When it’s open for the season, Burg Eltz Castle hosts guided tours that last approximately 45 min and cost 10€. Be sure to clarify the tour times/languages when you arrive! Many tours are in German, but they do English, French and Dutch tours as well at specified times. If you don’t want to wait and feel like tagging along on a German tour, they also have translation leaflets for a variety of languages. Make sure to check the official website for the latest news and schedules. Also, if you wish to beat the crowds make sure to arrive there early. After asking around, the majority of the people told me the buses arrive around 10:30am.
Since we were alone there, we spent there 2h and then went online to see what else we can see around it. We found this cute small german village, Monreal. This tiny village is surrounding the Elz river in a narrow valley. Several of Monreal’s historic half-timbered houses date back to the mid 1400s. And as you’d expect, there are castle ruins (Löwenburg and Philippsburg) that handsomely overlook the village. Walking around this village was so relaxing and a sight for the eye!
From there we headed back towards Frankfurt. But since it was still early, we decided to follow some signs and make a detour. Like this we reached Hängeseilbrücke Geierlay, also known as the Geierlay swing bridge. Measuring 360 meters, this is the longest swing bridge in Germany and it’s a true adventure to cross it on foot (I would know, since I could’s pass it). The visitors center in Mörsdorf opens at 10:00 am and here you can receive additional information such as a hiking map. The lady who works here, tells me it’s about a 1.8 kilometer walk up to the bridge. Since we were short on time we agree to “skip the line” and rented 2 electronic bikes to get there faster. Once there we were awestruck, looking around at the beautiful scenery.
Germany is an amazing country, with sooo many beautiful spots to visit! Burg Eltz is a must-see if you are in the Mosel River Valley and a recommended day trip from the Rhine River Valley if you enjoy castle tours. It’s hard to beat a medieval castle set in a pretty forest! Have you visited Burg Eltz or any other German castles? Tell us your favorite German castle in the comments below.