A couple months back I was in Frankfurt, Germany for work. I was able to stay the weekend which meant before my trip, I was looking for day trips that were reachable from Frankfurt. As you’ce probably gathered from previous posts, I like castles. Through my searches I came across Eltz Castle, the quintessential castle when you think of medieval structures.
Getting To Moselkern
To get to Eltz Castle you first have to get to a tiny town called Moselkern. Talking with my German colleagues, this town is not well known as none of them had heard of it before and I received the typical look I receive from Europeans when I told them I was going all the way out there to see a castle. But my mind was set. I woke up early Saturday morning, grabbed a coffee and headed to Frankfurt Hbf (the main station in Frankfurt). There is a train that runs from Frankfurt to Koblenz to Moselkern. It costs roughly €38 round trip and the scenery makes it well worth it. Especially the train from Koblenz to Moselkern as it follows the river the entire way. You’ll see the prototypical German villages and castles or churches perched on the hills above them.
When You Arrive In Moselkern
When I arrived in Moselkern I wasn’t sure I was in the right place. There were zero people at the train station when I disembarked. But after exiting the small station and walking a couple hundred yards through town I saw a sign for Burg Eltz (German for Eltz Castle). Following the many signs that are pointing you in the correct direction, you’ll finally get to a river and trail.
Hiking To Eltz Castle
The hike to Eltz Castle is roughly 3 miles (5km) and takes about an hour. It’s an incredibly fun hike, with a well marked trail that follows the river through the woods. As you come around a bend, Eltz Castle emerges and it will definitely be larger than you expected. Perched a top an outcrop and surrounded by the river on three sides, Eltz Castle will invoke memories of ‘Beauty and the Beast’. The area is remote and quite hilly and you wonder why this particular location was chosen if not for it’s isolation. When you arrive at Eltz Castle, there is a place to hike up and get a great panorama like the one you see in the featured image. Since I visited in early February, the sun was relatively low on the horizon and made for a perfect backdrop.
Eltz Castle, A History
I was surprised to find out that Eltz Castle is what they call a Ganerbenburg. Basically it is a castle that is jointly owned and occupied by multiple heirs and/or multiple families. This was the first I had ever heard of such a thing but apparently it was rather common as Lords very rarely had the funds or resources to build castles by themselves. Eltz Castle can trace it roots to the 12th century and maybe even a little before that. The fortifications were added later as the Castle sat on an important trade route. Also a surprise to me given the remoteness of the area. Today, the Castle is open to the public and is still occupied by descendants of the Eltz family.
Eltz Castle makes for a great day trip from Frankfurt or the surrounding area. Getting to and from Moselkern is easy and affordable enough and the hike out there is a treat in and of itself. If you like castles, history or just fancy a day out and about then Eltz Castle is just what you are looking for.