This is part of our 2017 TalesOnRail Artist in Residence series, where we took two writers — one American and one Australian — through Germany and Switzerland by train. Follow along with our web series on Facebook or YouTube — new episodes air every week.
If you visit Germany but don’t stop at a castle, did you even really visit Germany? Out of the 20,000 castles scattered throughout the country, we chose Burg Eltz (“burg” = “castle”). Burg Eltz looks like it came straight out of a fairy tale (or haunted castle tale), and bonus: it’s only about 2 hours by train outside of Frankfurt, where we were based.
How to Get To Burg Eltz By Train
Frankfurt is the closest major city. We used our German Rail Passes & took a high-speed ICE train from the main station in the city center and arrived at Moselkern station, which is at the foot of the hill where the castle stands. From there, you can either hike up the hill (we heard it takes about an hour and it gets pretty steep towards the end), or you can do like we did and take a taxi (about a 10 minute ride, 15 euros each way, worth it). Pro tip: try to visit the castle between 9:30 — 11:30am or 3:30 – 5:30pm to avoid crowds.
What’s So Special About Burg Eltz?
The castle is still officially in possession of the Eltz family and has been for over 900 years! We don’t blame them — we’d hold onto that real estate, too. An admission ticket gives you access to the guided tour of the interior of the castle (you aren’t allowed to enter without a tour guide). Our tour guide was very young, very friendly, and very enthusiastic about the castle’s history. He knew the answer to every question that we threw at him! (A heads-up to anyone with mobility issues: there are some very narrow staircases during this tour)
What to Do At Burg Eltz?
After the tour, we took a break for lunch on the castle grounds. There is a restaurant with outdoor seating (we presume it might be closed during the wintertime — check the castle website) with stunning views of the forest and the hills surrounding the castle. Instead of taking the 2-euro shuttle back to the parking lot to meet our taxi, we walked. There is a slight hill, but the walk is quick, about 10-15 minutes, and as you stroll the winding road you get several different but equally Instagram-perfect views of the castle receding into the distance.
Want to know more about our castle excursion? Check out episode 2 of our #TalesOnRail Artist in Residence web series. New episodes airing each week on our Facebook page.