Complete Guide to Visiting Stunning Eltz Castle

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Eltz Castle, or Burg Eltz in German, is a stunning medieval castle located in the hills above the Moselle River between Koblenz and Trier in Germany. It is considered one of the most picturesque and well-preserved castles in the country, and I couldn’t agree more! It made the perfect addition to my fairytale-themed, German road trip.

I visited Eltz Castle as part of a 2-week road trip through Germany that took me along the Rhine River, to many fairytale castles and through a ton of quaint villages. With over 25,000 castles and some of the most picturesque villages in the world, Germany is the perfect destination for a fairytale road trip!

What makes Eltz Castle special is easy- its remote location nestled in a forest, its incredible history, and its unique architecture are one of a kind! 

Remarkably, this 11th-century treasure has remained in the possession of the same family for over 850 years. Along with its remote location, and strong defensive features, the family’s strategic partnerships helped protect Eltz Castle from destruction. The castle has never been destroyed or captured, making it one of the few castles in Germany to have survived the wars of succession relatively intact. 

The castle is renowned for its unique architecture, which combines elements of Romanesque, Baroque, and Renaissance styles. It consists of several separate buildings grouped around a central courtyard, each built in a different era giving the castle a distinctive appearance with a variety of architectural features.

It’s truly stunning, with unique details like half-timbered facades, multiple towers and turrets, gabled roofs, and decorative stonework.  

I arrived before opening and had the grounds all to myself, which added to the ambiance I was hoping for. Out of all of the castles I visited on my Germany road trip, Eltz Castle was my favorite-maybe because it is so photogenic!

What to Know Before You Go

The castle is only open for tours from early April to early November. Check the website for updated opening times.

I visited in April, arriving before it opened. As it got closer to opening times, there were a number of tour buses and other hiking groups starting to enter so it gets pretty crowded quickly, especially in summer. I recommend going first thing in the morning to avoid as many crowds as possible, especially if you want photos out front. 

You can still access the grounds outside of opening times but will only be allowed to venture as far as the front gate without a ticket. 

You are not able to walk around the interior grounds or courtyard without a valid ticket. All interior tours are guided.

Entry tickets are 14 euros per adult and include a 40-minute guided tour and access to the Treasury. You can also access the Treasury independently with a valid ticket during opening times.

Tickets are currently only offered on-site. I’ve heard the line gets very long, so it is wise to go early to avoid the crowds. 

The tours are offered in German, with limited tours in English and French. There are pamphlets of tour information in other languages available for free.

There is also a cafe and gift shop on the castle grounds.

There is strictly no drone flying and no photography inside the castle. 

Pets, large bags, and backpacks are not permitted inside the castle while on tours. They do have a holding area for bulky belongings. 

There are stone steps on the left side of the walkway (when facing the front gate) leading down to the valley. I forgot to explore this trail before I left- but I would recommend it as it would give a different perspective of the castle (and then report back in the comments below so I know if I missed out on anything).

Getting to the Castle

You can access the castle in several ways, including hiking, driving, or public transportation. 

There are many hiking trails leading to the castle; one of the most popular is from the Moselkern train station, which is around 3 miles and takes about 1.5 hours. It’s an easy hike through a forest with some castle views along the way. The trails get muddy and slippery with rain so check the weather and make sure to wear appropriate shoes. 

If you choose to drive, you’ll be able to park in one of two parking lots, which costs 4 euros per car. From the parking lots, you can walk along the forest trail or the paved road to the castle’s front entrance. Both routes take about 15 minutes. The paved road is steep, but the trail is easy, with only a gradual incline along the way.

I walked to the castle along the paved road (the same one the shuttle bus follows) and walked back to the car park along the footpath through the forest. This way, I walked downhill on the steepest areas of the road to make the trek easier. 

Alternatively, you can pay 2 euro per person and catch the shuttle bus to the castle’s front entrance. It picks you up just past the parking lot closest to the castle. 

If you are visiting when it is very busy, you may have to park at the furthest car park, which is about a 30-minute walk to the castle or 15 minutes to the shuttle bus. I arrived early, so I was able to park as close as possible. 

There is also a bus route just for castle visitors. The RegioBus line 365 departs daily from Hatzenport to Burg Eltz during castle opening times. You can purchase tickets on the bus. 

Photographing the Castle 

Of course, I can’t visit a stunning castle and not take a few selfies. I planned to arrive just after 8 a.m. (and wish I had gotten there earlier) to make sure I arrived well before the castle opened for tours. I got to the gates around 8:30 a.m and got a few rounds of photos in from one vantage point just before they started opening for the day.

At about 8:50 a van of employees arrived and then shortly after a group of 20 walked up from the foot path. Everyone crowded around the entrance gate, so photos became challenging.

I was surprised to learn there was no photography allowed inside the castle. If you search Eltz Castle images, plenty of photos come up from the inside, so you can take a virtual tour if you don’t make it inside.

The sun rises to the left of the castle but is blocked by trees. When I arrived (around 8:30 a.m. in April), it had just peaked up over the trees and cast shadows on the walkway. I wish I had gotten there earlier so I could get some photos without the shadows and intense sun washing some areas of the castle out. I barely had enough time to set up my tripod and set up the shot before all the opening action started, so getting there 1.5 hours before opening is probably best.

By “opening action”, I mean when employees started to put out neon cones and ticket signs, when other visitors started to arrive and congregate on the pathway leading to the castle, and when supply trucks pulled up to unload for the day.

***

Eltz Castle is not only a fascinating historical landmark but also a symbol of the enduring legacy of medieval architecture and the power of family heritage in Germany. The castle is situated in a remote valley surrounded by dense forests, which adds to its romantic and fairy-tale-like atmosphere.

I loved my stop at Eltz Castle and only wish I had time to go back. I was rushed getting to my next stop (and final stop) of the day and didn’t have time to wait for an English-speaking tour of the castle. I would definitely do a guided tour if you have the time; the online photos of the interior look beautiful!

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