Eltz Castle, also locally known as Burg Eltz, is a special castle in the Eltzerbos. It is a typical German knight’s castle, which is in a remarkably good condition. Located in Wierschem in a valley in the Moselle in Germany.
The castle is actually divided into three parts. Where three families once lived. Today, a count and countess still live in a part of the castle. As it is private property, you can not visit everything. However, there are guided tours to the main rooms.
Eltz Castle is located on a rock in the middle of a valley. The rock itself is about 70 meters high. It is relatively steep, which made the castle extra difficult to attack. The river Elzbach flows around it. The castle is more than 850 years old. The special feature of the castle is that it survived all wars. As a result of which the architecture has remained the same. Which is very special in Western Europe.
Attractions of Eltz Castle:
Bridge to the castle
The bridge to the castle is a popular photo and video stop. And really, because you can take perfect photos here. When you walk up you can see the bridge from afar. And it is remarkably smooth in this hilly landscape.
The Rübenach House dates from 1472. It is finished in a late Gothic style, which makes it very striking. The entrance is now the Armoury.
The Armoury is remarkably large. Here you will find numerous weapons from different decades. These have been used to protect the castle. Think of stabbing weapons, but also percussion weapons and rifles from the 14th to the 17th century. Some objects were for decoration. The castle claims to have the oldest cannons in the world.
Rübenacher Lower Hall
The Rübenacher Lower Hall served as a living space for the Eltz-Rübenach family. It was built in 1311 and is still in good condition. On the wall, you can see the famous painting of Madonna with child and wine grapes , a masterpiece by Lucas Cranach the Elder.
The Rübenacher bedchamber has a Burgundian appearance. Especially through the murals. Note the Gothic chapel and the colorful stained glass windows. The celestial scenery is beautiful, which is why it was also called the bedroom.
The Knights Hall was like a living room for all the residents. As three different families lived in their part of the castle, it was the Knights Hall where they gathered for festivities and discussions. With a heavy oak ceiling and friezes from the 16th century. Here you also see various suits of knights, hence the name.
The Flag Room is very impressive. It dates from 1480 and has numerous vaults. This is made in late Gothic construction. He also served as a chapel, but also as a living room. And later again as a dining room. The colour green predominates here.
According to experts, the Armoury and Treasury is the crown jewel of Eltz Castle. Here you will find more than 500 museum pieces from the 800-year history of the castle. With a lot of German art of gold, but also of silver. Many pieces come from Augsburg and Nuremberg.
In addition, you will find countless processed jewelry, but also top quality glass and porcelain. Note the so-called show weapons. Which are functional, but anything but handy. You can visit this room independently. You do not need a tour for this. Your admission ticket is sufficient.
Guided tour at Eltz Castle
During a tour of Eltz Castle, you will explore most rooms. These all have a past, which the guide explains to you. The entrance fee includes the tour. As well as a visit to the Treasury. The tour lasts between 30 minutes and 45 minutes. It is often busy at Eltz Castle as well as on the tour. You don’t get too much time.
Walking to Eltz Castle
From the parking lot, you can choose: Walking to the castle or go by taxi by road. I went for a walk through the forest. You can also walk via the road but I wanted to see how the castle is located in its surroundings. The walk by road is shorter; only 800 meters and take about 10 minutes.
But the footpath through the forest is much more interesting. This is 1.3 kilometers long and departs from the parking lot. You walk through the forest until suddenly the castle appears between the trees. Which is perfect for photos.
Hike Eltzer Castle Panorama (12.5 km)
The famous Eltzer Castle Panorama hike is perfect for active people. It takes about four hours. This walk starts at the village house of Wierschem. You will see the famous Moselle plateau and walk slowly uphill. Soon the Elbbachtal and another castle pass by. This is the medieval castle Pyrmont.
Then some rocks and the winding stream Elzbach follow. Until Eltz Castle shows up. You can visit this, after which the path goes back into the woods. The Ringelstein mill is worth a stop. You go up again with various views. Until you get back to the village. If you have the time, this is the best hike to do.
Best time to Visit Eltz Castle
Burg Eltz has become very popular in recent years. Especially as this location has become very Instagrammable and popular on other social media platforms. This means it can get very busy here.
It is best to avoid weekends and school holidays. But even then it can get busy. If you want to be sure of a quiet moment, you have to come before ten in the morning. Then you can still see the morning mist hanging over the field and the trees.
It is also good in the late afternoon. I chose this, even though I had to wait regularly so I could take a clean shot. Or go in the evening, although you can no longer do the tour. But for photos it is optimal.
History of Eltz Castle
According to archaeologists, a donjon, or a fortified residential tower, was built here in the 9th century. This was expanded and strengthened over the centuries. The castle was on a popular trade route between the Moselle and the Eifel.
The castle was owned by the Eltz family. But in 1268, after years of struggle, the castle was divided among the family. Where the Kempenich family got a share, just like the Rodendorf and Rübenbach family. They lived separately, yet communally. And they worked together, especially on threats.
The history of the families is restless, especially in the Middle Ages. The castle was besieged several times and the inhabitants had to surrender. Which left the castle intact. But they could live in it. Although it is not entirely clear how all this went.
The Kempenisch family became the owner of the entire castle in 1815. Various restorations were made afterward. Although these are minimal compared to many other castles in Europe.