Eltz Castle is one of the most beautiful and most famous palaces in Germany. Hidden in a dense forest near Koblenz, it attracts crowds of curious tourists for almost a thousand years. I think it’s time to join them!
Burg Elz Castle is located on a large rocky hill, surrounded on three sides by the waters of the Elzbach River. For more than 800 years, it belongs to the Elts aristocrats and to this day is a private property. For a long time of its existence, the fortress was never plundered or destroyed, so its medieval interiors are perfectly preserved to this day. Moreover, this citadel managed to survive several world wars and the bloody French Revolution, which left its mark on many architectural monuments in Germany, but for some reason did not affect Eltz.
And the point here is not in banal luck or the influence of miraculous forces, but in the fact that the fortress is perfectly protected from an external enemy. Firstly, it is surrounded by a powerful stone wall, and secondly, you can enter the territory in only two ways. One of them runs through the main gate, to which a long and incredibly narrow bridge leads, and the second through additional ones located on the southeast side.
Today the 33rd generation of the famous German dynasty owns the palace. However, unlike his predecessors, his current owner, Count Karl von Eltz-Kempenik, chose to leave for the city, opening his own house for tourists. Today, they regularly conduct sightseeing tours and make historical films.
The medieval castle of Burg Eltz in Germany has a long and very interesting history. The first mention of this place dates back to 1157, which makes Eltz one of the country’s oldest citadels. The construction of this historical object, which lasted more than one hundred years, began with a powerful defensive fortress that guarded the trade route between the two cities – Eifel and Mosel. However, by the middle of Article 13 she became the property of 3 brothers, who divided the premises among themselves and began to live each in their own half. So the main branches of the Elt dynasty were laid, each of which had not only separate chambers, but also its own coat of arms.
Over the next few years, the palace was actively completed and took on new forms. This interested local archbishops who decided to use it for church needs. The confrontation between the priests and the inhabitants of the castle lasted as long as 2 years and ended with the signing of a peace treaty that takes into account the interests of both parties.
The building acquired its present look in 1540. Then a large-scale restoration of its interiors began, requiring truly huge investments (today this amount would have amounted to about 8 million euros). Since then, noble persons began to stop regularly in Bur Elz, including the last king of Germany, William II.
Today this fortress is one of the most important and most visited sights of the country.
Looking at the photos of Eltz Castle inside and out, you will probably notice a somewhat fragmented look of this ancient structure. In appearance, it resembles many houses and towers located around a small courtyard. In total, there are 10 domes with different heights (from 30 to 40 m) and style. Such diversity is explained by incredibly long construction – for almost as many as 5 centuries, residential and utility rooms were regularly attached to the main building, which changed the original appearance of Burg Elz beyond recognition.
The most popular tourist destinations are the Rodendorf houses located on the south side of the castle. Built between 1490 and 1540 and decorated in a traditional Romanesque style, they delight the eye with bright balconies and snow-white columns made of Ufalean marble.
The Kempenich buildings, which are the youngest part of the palace, deserve no less attention. They stand on two basalt pillars, made in the form of an octagon and interconnected by beautiful arches. On them you can find the historical inscription “Borgtorn Eltz 1604”, indicating that earlier Burg Eltz belonged to completely different people. Unfortunately, most of the Kempenichskie buildings are closed to the public, as they contain office and administrative premises.
Well, the third and perhaps the most ancient part of Eltz is the Plattelts house, which consists of the ruins of a once magnificent palace and a 6-story tower built in the 13th century. At the time of construction of this building, the Romanesque style had not yet lost its popularity, although it had to compete with actively spreading Gothic art, therefore, in its design, elements of both stylistic directions can be seen.
All three parts of Eltz Castle in Germany have a complete set of household and residential premises, which until a certain point were practically not communicated. The lower floors of the building were reserved for kitchens, pantries and rooms for servants, while on the upper there were personal chambers of the owners and a huge hall for celebrations. They say that in those days in Burg Elz could simultaneously live more than a hundred inhabitants. As for the corridors and exits from the main part of the rooms, they appeared only after all three houses passed into the possession of one person.
What can be seen inside?
Thanks to the famous pedantry of the German people inside, the castle of Eltz in Germany remains almost the same as hundreds of years ago. Firstly, the modern interior of the castle most accurately conveys the interior of a medieval dwelling. And secondly, contrary to widespread practice, the furniture present here, paintings and decor elements have not been replaced with cheap copies. Wall murals, carved ceiling, wood panels, elegant tea tables and furniture sets made in the 15th century – all of them are genuine.
The famous Armory room, filled with original armor, chain mail, helmets and other types of ancient military uniforms, deserves no less attention. There is also a huge collection of medieval weapons, presented by pistols, hatchets for dropping riders, halberds of bronze and iron, as well as other interesting exhibits.
Directly above it, in the upper hall, is a toilet unique at that time. Initially, it was not separated by a wooden panel – it was installed only in the 18th century. Drainage was provided by rainwater, which was collected in a tank installed under the roof.
The walls of the chambers are hung with antique carpets depicting ostriches, leopards, cobras, camels and other exotic animals. Other artifacts include the fireplace, installed even at the first owners of Burg Eltz, watches bought in 1500, and a lamp in the form of a mermaid, which appeared here around the same period. However, the central element of living rooms is considered to be a tall medieval bed, covered with a Gothic canopy.
But the windows in most rooms were replaced during the reconstruction, although most visitors are not even aware of this. The masters who worked on the restoration of the castle did everything to preserve their original appearance. To do this, they even had to master the medieval technologies for the production of stained glass, glass blowing and product assembly.
But perhaps the main highlight of this place, which is present in all the photos and descriptions of Eltz Castle in Germany, is the so-called Treasury. This room contains more than 500 unique masterpieces of world art and precious relics made from 12 to 19 centuries. Many of them are decorated with silver inlay and intricate patterns made of pure gold.
Burg Elz Castle, located at Burg-Eltz-Straße 1, 56294 Münstermaifeld.
It is open daily from 9:30 to 17:30. However, you can get inside only from April 1 to November 1. The rest of the time, sightseeing is possible only outside.
The cost of excursions and entrance tickets to the treasury:
- Adult – 10 €;
- Family (2 adults + 2 children) – 28 €;
- Students and visitors with disabilities (subject to student ID and card) – 6.50 €;
- Adult group (more than 20 people) – 9 € each.
Details can be found on the official website – https://www.burg-eltz.de/en/ ..
How to get from Prague?
If you don’t know how to get to Eltz Castle in Germany, use one of the following methods.
- On Art. Autobusová St. Wilsonova, which is part of the Praha hl.n. main train station, take the Czech Railways (ČD) train and continue to the Nürnberg ZOB stop. Travel time – 3 hours 52 minutes. The fare is from 35 to 55 €.
- Walk to the station. Nürnberg Hbf (a little less than 300 m).
- Take the Deutsche Bahn Ice Train. Darling takes 3 hours 40 minutes. Ticket price – from 60 to 90 €.
- Go to Art. Koblenz Hbf.
- Take a taxi to Burg Eltz Castle and after about 40 min. find yourself in place. Taxi services will cost 100-120 €.
- On Art. Autobusová St. Wilsonova take the Czech Railways (ČD) night train and go to st. Frankfurt (M) Hbf Stuttgarter Str. The journey takes 7 hours 35 minutes. Tickets cost between 80 and 120 €.
- Walk to the station. Frankfurt (Main) Hbf (about 500 m).
- Hop on the Deutsche Bahn Ice train and continue to st. Mainz Hbf. Travel time is 30 minutes. Ticket price – from 13 to 20 €.
- Take the Rb26 Trans Regio train and go to st. Boppard Hauptbahnhof. It will take 1 h 10 min on the road. The fare is from 13 to 25 €.
- Take a taxi to the castle. The services of a taxi driver will cost 65-85 €. The distance is 33 km.
- On Art. Prague ÚAN Florenc take the 23 bus owned by FlixBus and you will reach Art. Leipzig central. It will take 3 hours 35 minutes. Ticket price is about 20 €.
- Take the bus 780 and go to the station. Polch. Travel time – 6 hours 20 minutes. The fare is about 40 €.
- Catch a taxi to Burg Eltz Castle. The distance between these points is only 18 km. The fare will cost 35-50 €.
The distance between Prague and Eltz Castle is 660 km. It will take at least 6 hours to reach your destination.
Before heading to Eltz Castle in Germany, check out the recommendations of tourists who have already visited there:
- The road to one of the most famous sights of the country passes through hilly terrain, so the shoes should be appropriate;
- They enter the interior only with a guide – if you do not want to stand in line, come early;
- On the way to Elz, you should look at the observation platforms, from which a beautiful view of the surroundings opens, and go down to the river, connected to the castle by a large stone staircase;
- Shooting inside the fortress is prohibited – photos of Eltz Castle can only be done on the street;
- The best time to visit this place is early autumn (September, October) – during this period there are much fewer tourists than in the summer months. However, keep in mind that if you arrive at the fortress in the early autumn morning, the fog descending on the mountain will not allow you to enjoy the local beauties;
- Guided tours of the castle are conducted only in English and German, so either get an audio guide or visit the sights of Burg Elz on your own;
Those who doubt their physical fitness should use a paid tourist shuttle;
- On the territory of Elts there is a good restaurant where you can relax after long walks.
Eltz Castle in Germany is a place worth visiting if only to enjoy the inherent spirit of the Middle Ages and a genuine, truly fabulous atmosphere.
Video about a trip to Burg Elz Castle.