The sovereigns of past centuries could not have indicated their importance more impressively than with mighty castles or palaces. These historic buildings stand proudly and majestically in prominent places to this day. We present five magnificent examples in Rhineland-Palatinate.

1

Eltz Castle - a fairytale knight's castle

Eltz castle
Eltz Castle is a hilltop castle dating from the 12th century in the valley of the Elz © Rheinland-Pfalz Tourismus GmbH/Dominik Ketz

Some people give away watches, others entire castles - at least this was the case with Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, who in 1150 gave his loyal knight Rudolf the Eltz castle handed over. Rudolf became Rudolf von Eltz from then on. Since then, the family succession has been in the 34th generation. The magnificent building enthroned on a slate rock is peppered with playful half-timbered residential towers and survived both the Thirty Years' War and the Palatinate War of Succession through diplomacy and its hidden location. For over 850 years, people lived and loved, argued and, above all, always got along well at this fairytale knight's castle in the Elzbach valley. For Eltz Castle is known above all for its centuries-long castle peace. On the hiking trails around Eltz castle you will be offered exciting perspectives of the castle again and again. In addition, you will also discover the romantic river landscape of the Elz, which flows around the castle, have wide views over the valleys of the nearby Moselle and over the surrounding dense forests of the Eifel and Hunsrück. And for those who like to get a little spooky, there is the Story of the beautiful Agneswhose ghost is said to hover over the castle courtyard at night to this day. 

What to see in the castleA visit gives an insight into the armory, the knight's hall, the writing room with beautiful tendril painting, the flag room under the late Gothic star-ribbed vault and, of course, the treasury.

2

Sayn Castle - an idyllic synthesis of the arts

Sayn Castle
From medieval castle house to neo-Gothic masterpiece: Sayn Castle changed its appearance several times © Rheinland-Pfalz Tourismus GmbH/Dominik Ketz

Between banana trees and hibiscus flutter in the butterfly garden of Sayn Castle exotic, colorful butterflies from all over the world from flower to flower. One or the other sits down in between but also briefly on the shoulder of a visitor. The castle is located in the district of Mayen-Koblenz and was built in the 14th century as a medieval castle house and only later became a baroque manor house. In 1848, Prince Ludwig zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn finally had the building remodeled into a castle in the neo-Gothic style. The splendor lasted a good 100 years before the building was almost completely destroyed during World War II. To the delight of visitors, the fairy-tale castle shines again in new splendor after its reconstruction and reopening in 2000. You can take a nice walk in the park. And just opposite the park begins the Dream path Saynsteig. About 15 kilometers long, the circular trail leads over forest paths, open fields and through a stream meadow landscape to outstanding views over the Rhine Valley and the Eifel.

This is what you can experience: Whether red, green or blue - the walls of the princely state rooms radiate with color. The palace museum, in turn, tells the long history of the princely family, and you can get married at the golden altar of the magnificent palace chapel.

3

Stolzenfels Castle - classic Rhine romanticism in Koblenz

Stolzenfels Castle
Stolzenfels Castle in Koblenz is one of the most precious works of neo-Gothic architecture © Rheinland-Pfalz Tourismus GmbH/Dominik Ketz

Since 2002 counts Stolzenfels Castle together with its park and gardens, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley. Built in the 13th century as a hillside castle, the castle was destroyed in the Prussian War of Succession and passed to the city of Koblenz in 1802. What a wise decision by the people of Koblenz to donate the castle to the crown prince and later Prussian king Frederick William IV. In 1836, he had the old castle ruins converted into his crenellated summer residence: Stolzenfels Castle, as we know it today. Not content with beauty, the famous landscape architect Peter Joseph Lenné, who also shaped the Potsdam palace gardens, transformed the palace surroundings into a magnificent hillside garden. Along the winding paths, view axes framed by greenery offer interesting vistas time and again. Particularly fascinating remains the centerpiece, the ring-shaped walled pergola garden with its fountain, surrounded by vines and flowers. Who knows: perhaps this romantic oasis was also a building block of what is said to have been a rather happy marriage between the Prussian king and his wife Elisabeth Ludovika of Bavaria. From Stolzenfels Castle, for example, you can take the Rhine Castle Trail along gentle forest paths, past the former Celtic rampart, to the confluence of the Moselle and Rhine in Koblenz. You will have a wide view over the Rhine and other castles from the Rittersturz vantage point.

What to see in the castle: Tours include the castle kitchen and old knights' halls, bedchambers and historical paintings in the old chapel can be admired. You can also reach the pergola garden from the castle.

4

Knight's banquet at Reichsburg Cochem

Situated high on a mighty rock, with thick walls, towers, oriels and battlements - this is what a real knight's castle must look like. The Reichsburg is a fortress in the Rhineland-Palatinate town of Cochem on the Moselle, and what a one. The medieval building was damaged in the Palatinate War of Succession and carefully rebuilt in the 19th century in neo-Gothic style. Today, the magnificent rooms of the castle, such as the knight's hall, dining room, hunting room, bower, etc., can be visited again. And there are many extras for the visitors.

The castle festival is celebrated here every summer, with rustic stalls, contemporary crafts, jugglers and a market scenario that offers guests "Kurzweyl and gar deftig Speyss und Tranck". The knights' banquets held on Fridays and Saturdays, the so-called "Gasterey nach Art der alten Rittersleut", are also particularly popular. After a tour of the castle grounds, guests enjoy a rustic meal in the castle cellar, where medieval customs are presented, culminating in the knighting ceremony. By the way, if you meet the love of your life, you can even get married here - the former castle chapel provides a fairytale backdrop.

5

Hambach Castle - Symbol of Democracy

Hambach Castle
Hambach Castle towers high above the vineyards and the vineyards and the southern Palatinate town of Neustadt an der Wine Route © Rheinland-Pfalz Tourismus GmbH/Dominik Ketz

The striking building near Neustadt an der Weinstraße is considered the cradle of German democracy: because in 1832, almost 200 years ago, around 30,000 demonstrators marched up the Kastanienberg hill to the castle to protest against the repressive measures of the Bavarian administration. At the climax of this so-called Hambach Festival, the freedom fighters raised their black-red-gold flag for the very first time and demanded more democracy and more liberal laws. The Hambach Castle was already built in the 11th century as a knight's and protective castle and was rebuilt into a palace in the 19th century - but only partially. The reason for this was the revolutionary years of 1848/49, which brought the rebuilding plans of Bavarian Crown Prince Maximilian II to a standstill. Today, around 200,000 visitors a year visit this place steeped in history - and enjoy the magnificent view from the castle grounds. The long-distance hiking trail Pfälzer Weinsteig also passes Hambach Castle and continues from here to St. Martin in the Kropsbach Valley. On the way, you will pass the Hohe-Loog-Haus, for example, from which you have a magnificent view all the way to the Black Forest.

What to see in the castle: Guided tours of the castle are scheduled several times a day. The centerpiece remains the exciting permanent exhibition "Up, up to the castle!". The outstanding exhibit is, of course, the original flag of the freedom fighters from 1832.

Cover photo: Hambach Castle towers high above the vineyards in Neustadt an der Weinstraße © Leonid Andronov - shutterstock.com

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