Complete Guide to Visiting Germany’s Sooneck Castle

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Sooneck Castle, also known as Burg Sooneck in German, is a captivating hilltop castle initially built in 1271. It stands proudly along the Rhine River, once serving as a fortress for protecting trade routes during the Medieval era and housing many different noble families.

As with many castles in the area, Sooneck was captured, seized, and destroyed many times during conflicts of succession, and by the 1700s, it fell into ruins. In 1834, the castle ruins were purchased by members of the Prussian royal family, who restored it to its current grander.

I noticed this stunning castle while driving along Route 9 during a 2-week German road trip. Its medieval charm, commanding presence, and panoramic views of the surrounding vineyard-clad hills make it an excellent road trip pit stop!

What To Know Before You Go

Sooneck is a bit of a hidden gem. It’s often overlooked for other more well-known castles in the area, like Cochem Castle, Eltz Castle, or its neighbor, Rheinstein Castle.

Sooneck is known for its beautiful and well-manicured rose bushes growing along many of its interior walkways. I visited in April, and the roses were not blooming yet, but there were plenty of blooming lilac trees that gave off a lovely fragrance, along with some other seasonal florals. 

I spent about an hour walking around the castle taking photos. It’s very photogenic, with a lot of great backdrops. It’s not as popular as other castles in the area, so there are fewer crowds, which makes taking photos easier. I only saw 4 other people at the castle during my entire visit (during shoulder season).

For photography, I definitely recommend a wide-angle lens. I used a 14 to 24 mm lens to take photos of the castle’s exterior while inside the courtyard, and it worked beautifully. All of the photos in this post are taken with the 14 to 24 lens.

The castle no longer offers guided tours. You are able to freely walk around the courtyard and terraces and through the small curated museum on your own. With an entry ticket (6-8 euros), they provide a booklet (in multiple languages) explaining the history and a bit about the museum rooms.

They do ask you to wear special slippers inside the museum to protect the parquet floors (you can easily slip them on over your existing shoes).

The castle offers a lot of lovely views of the valley. The terrace is a beautiful spot to relax and unwind with a glass of wine, beer, tea or coffee that they offer for sale in the castle shop.

Overall, the space is charming and very well-kept. It was worth a stop for me, but if you are in a bit of a hurry or don’t care about taking photos of castles, you can skip this one. The museum rooms are a bit underwhelming, but I still enjoyed my visit.

You can combine a visit to Sooneck Castle with a visit to Rheinstein Castle, located 10 mins away by car along B9. Rheinstein Castle is more extensive and offers a lovely cafe with delicious food. There is a special 20% discount on ticket price for visiting both castles on the same day.

Getting To Sooneck Castle

A car is the most convenient way to get to Sooneck Castle. There is a road leading from B9 to the castle’s parking lot.

The hilltop parking lot is big enough for about 15 cars. You’ll get great views of the Rhine River and the towns below from the parking lot. 

Once at the parking lot, it is another five-minute gradual, uphill walk on a packed dirt footpath to the castle’s main entrance.

If you don’t have a car, you can walk up the path from B9, it’s just under 1 mile but is on an incline.

If you are coming by public transportation, the closest train stop is Niederheimbach but it is about 45-60 mins walk from there.

While I enjoyed my visit, I don’t think it’s a destination castle that is worth the effort to get to without a car. There are other larger castles, like Cochem Castle, that are easier to get to by public transportation that I would recommend over Sooneck. But if you have time to visit two castles, Sooneck, in combination with Rheinstein Castle, is an excellent option since they are so close together.

More Photos of the Castle

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Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a lover of scenic landscapes, or simply seeking a relaxing spot to enjoy a coffee break, Sooneck Castle promises a unique experience steeped in culture, heritage, and awe-inspiring beauty. It definitely makes for a great road trip pit stop if you are in the area!

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Sam wearing backpack and hat walking through town.

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