Set upon a high rock in a valley above the Mosel River between Trier and Koblenz lies Burg Eltz. Located in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, it is one of only three castles that survived untouched by wars on the left bank of the Rhine River. The castle sits on top of the ancient remains of Celtic and Roman fortifications. In the 9th century, this castle was just a simple manor home rather than the impressive fortress it is today. Platteltz, the original Romanesque keep, still stands. The Eltz family then built up the castle into a defensive fortress in 1157 to secure the Mosel-Mifeld-Eifel trade route.
With eight towers soaring up to heights between 98 and 131 feet and half-timbered frame structures, Burg Eltz looks just like a storybook castle from the Middle to Early Modern Ages. The inner courtyard of the castle was built over a span of 500 years. Three branches of the Eltz family called the castle home. The castle was divided into three sections, one for each of the houses Rodendorf, Rübenach, and Kempenich.
Beginning in the year 1470, the 10-story Greater Rodendorf House was constructed with vaulted ceilings in the late Gothic style. Construction finished in 1520. Eventually, in 1815, Count Hugo Philipp of the House Kempenich purchased the other two family branches’ shares of the castle and became the sole owner. From 1845 to 1886, he spent 184,000 marks to preserve the existing architecture of the castle.
The castle underwent large scale renovations between 2009 and 2012. The Count and Countess Eltz had the vault of the halls secured, the slate roofs replaced, ceiling and wood damage repaired, and the half-timbered facades and spiral staircase renovated.
About the Castle
BurgEltz is one of the few castles in Germany to never have changed ownership throughout its history. Count Eltz, who owns the castle today, is descended from the Kempenich branch of the family. Today, the Kempenich House remains a private residence for Count and Countess Eltz, but the Rübenach and Rodendorf buildings are open to the public.
The castle offers tours in German starting every 10-15 minutes. Tours last about 35-40 minutes. You can request a tour in English, French, and Dutch by prior arrangement. Alternatively, free translation brochures are available in English, Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Portuguese, Russian, or Spanish. The Count and Countess recommend visiting before 11:00 am or after 3:00 pm to mitigate crowds.
During the tour, visitors will see the Armory, the Rübenach Upper and Lower Halls, the Dressing Room, the Study, the Elector’s Room, the Knight’s Hall, the Angel Room, and the Banner Hall. You will also see the Countess Room (or the children’s room) which contains one of the oldest surviving painted Renaissance beds in Germany. The bed dates to approximately 1520.
One of the more interesting points of the tour is Rodendorf Kitchen. This is an authentic kitchen from the 15th century. Not much has been changed of the original kitchen and visitors get an authentic look into the Middle Ages.
The final stop on the tour is the Treasury, containing artwork and weapons spanning eight centuries. The Treasury can be visited without a guide anytime between 9:30 am and 6:00 pm. All exhibits are labeled in German, but a free English translation guide is provided.
For groups of 20 people or more, the castle requests reservations
You can request a tour in English, French, and Dutch by reservation
About the Tour
You may not take photos inside the castle
Strollers are not feasible on the tour due to ancient castle stairs
The castle does not allow dogs on the tour, but they do allow them in the castle grounds and outside areas of the restaurant
Unfortunately, due to the nature of medieval castles and winding staircases, wheelchairs are not allowed on the tour
April 1 to November 1 – 9:30am to 5:00pm
€11 for adults
€10 per adult in a group of 20+
€7 for students with valid ID and disabled persons
€30 for a Family Ticket (2 adults, 2 children)
There is parking available on-site, however, there is still a little bit of a walk or shuttle ride to the castle. You may choose one of two paths to get to the castle. There is a footpath which takes about 15 minutes. This is not well suited to strollers and wheelchairs as it is a dirt path. Alternatively, you can walk on the shuttle bus paved road. The shuttle bus is available for transport for €2.
This castle is set in the middle of Eltz Forest and is surrounded by plenty of hiking trails offering scenic views of the valley and castle. You couldn’t ask for a more scenic or picturesque location for a castle. Burg Eltz is definitely worth moving towards the top of your fairytale castle bucket list.