Scrolling Instagram a few months ago, I saw one of my favourite fitness influencers was traveling through Europe. When I saw her post at Burg Eltz castle, my jaw nearly dropped- it was beautiful.
Having visited Neuschwanstein, I knew Germany was home to some pretty epic castles, but I hadn’t heard of Burg Eltz before.
Looking up Burg Eltz, I realised I could visit it in a weekend if I flew into Frankfurt or Cologne. Having heard good things about how cool of a city Cologne is becoming, I booked a Saturday am flight and a late Sunday return, and planned to visit Burg Eltz and the Mosel Valley on Sunday.
From Cologne, you can easily drive to Burg Eltz, but if you’re like me, and prefer taking transit, it’s also possible to get to the castle- just takes a tad longer.
I took a train from Cologne to Hatzenport, one of the first towns along the Mosel River
In Hatzenport, I waited ~40 minutes for the bus transfer to the castle by wandering the town and walking along the river.
The Burgenbus runs in summer months, and connects the parking lot of the castle to a few towns along the Mosel River. We took the bus to the parking lot, then hiked 15 minutes to the castle entrance.
Eltz castle is unlike any other castle in Germany, it’s deeply hidden in the woods. You don’t even see it driving on roads near the castle- you have to either hike down to it, or hop on the shuttle service to the entrance.
If you choose to walk, there are two paths to take- a quicker, steeper one down a paved road (there’s a nice overlook on this route), or a less step, slightly longer, scenic walk through the woods.
Walking up to the castle took my breath away. It felt as if I’d stepped into a fairy tale. If you take the scenic route, you turn a corner, and suddenly, admits the trees, the castle comes into view.
Burg Eltz is an insanely well preserved castle. The center area was build in 1290, almost 200 years before Christopher Columbus set out for America.
It’s never been destroyed, and has remained in possession of the original family since it was built.
The castle is only open for tours from April-November. You can visit the castle during the off months, but won’t be able to go inside. I visited at the end of July and decided to do the guided tour (10 euros) to see more of the castles rooms (there are over 100 of them).
I arrived to the castle at 10:30 am, which was perfect timing- only a few other people were around. But, when I left closer to noon, dozens of visitors had descended upon the castle.
Post castle visit, I hiked down to Moselkern (another town along the Mosel River), and wandering the darling streets before hopping on a train to Cochem.
Cochem is one of the biggest towns along the Mosel, you’ll find plenty of restaurants, bars and hotels here. And, another castle!
I had to catch a train back to Cologne, so I didn’t have time to visit the castle but looking at it from the bridge spanning the river was magic enough.
As far as enchanting castles go, Burg Eltz is a strong contender.
It’s tough to pinpoint just one thing that makes Burg Eltz so wonderful- it may be that it’s hidden from view, or that it sits atop a giant rock in the middle of a lush forest, or that it’s so well preserved and easy to imagine what it’d be like to live there.
Whether you’re visiting Cologne, Frankfurt or driving through Germany, I can’t recommend stopping at Burg Eltz and a few of the towns along the Mosel River enough.
A day full of magic.