One of the best things about living in Germany has got to be waking up on a Saturday morning and thinking, "We have nothing to do today... let's go see a castle." So yesterday that is what we did. I had been wanting to visit Burg Eltz for a while, but it is closed to visitors for half the year, and we had just never made it there. It is about an hour and a half drive from our house, and Rick Steve's has named it his favorite castle interior in Europe, so I knew we had to go there eventually.
The 20 minute walk from the car park to the castle is part of the fun. (There is also a shuttle option.) You walk all downhill through the forest until you come into sight of the castle. It is very Hansel and Gretel feeling. The kids picked flowers, caught bugs, and we were even treated to a view of a snake on our (all uphill) way back to the car.
First view of the castle.
This image used to be on the back of the 500 Deutsche Mark bill.
Burg Eltz is one of only a few castles in Germany that has never been destroyed. Even more amazingly, it has remained in the ownership of the Eltz family since the 12th century (over 33 generations!)
We bought our tickets and waited for the next English tour to begin in this courtyard. It is so pretty. I love the stonework, half-timbered portions, lanterns, turrets. Seriously adorable.
Sadly, no photos are allowed inside. I stole the two above from the official Burg Eltz website. The tour takes you through a bedroom, children's room (with crazy old fashioned toys,) kitchen (with crazy cookware,) bathroom (with a toilet flushable with rainwater collected on the roof,) ladies room, dining room, chapel, hunting room (somebody really liked to hunt bears and elk,) and a few others that I am not remembering names for.
Our tickets also included a visit to the treasury, which holds antiques, dishes, and the armory. And notice the fresh flowers on the table? Apparently, the "Lady of the house" makes sure that there are always fresh arrangements throughout the castle for her visitors (aka all of us tourists.) Isn't that just lovely?
"Have fun storming the castle!"
After our tour we enjoyed some bratwurst, soft pretzels, and pommes frites. The food was tasty and surprisingly affordable for a tourist destination.
Burg Eltz is definitely going on my top ten castles list.
(I have never actually written a top 10 castles list, but maybe I will!) Come visit us, and I'll take you to see it. (Also, when did Charlotte and Toby get so tall?)