Medieval Wonders by Rail and Fairytale Castles

If you love fairytale castles or a romantic ruins, this road trip is for you. It features some of Europe’s most famous castles, all within a few hours of travel from Munich.

The colourful castle surrounded by quaint village in Cochem is worth a visit for the views alone. The inside is equally impressive.

Eltz Castle

A stunning castle that evokes feelings of romance and wonder, Burg Eltz is the quintessential German knight’s castle. It has stood enthroned on a rock in a side valley of the Moselle for more than 800 years, enchanting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. The medieval castle is a masterpiece of well-preserved architecture, and it is a must-see for any history or culture buff.

The castle is a museum that is open to the public, and you can take a tour led by one of the knowledgeable guides who know the castle inside out. It is full of historical treasures and art pieces. The armory exhibits historic and oriental weapons, the hunting room showcases numerous trophies, and the kitchen is filled with various cooking utensils that look as if someone is going to pop in and put the kettle on.

It’s also worth checking out the large Knight Hall, which was used for meetings and festivity for the members of the three different branches of the family that owned the castle. The ceiling of the room is adorned with different symbolic signs that represent peace and harmony amongst the family branches. It’s also home to the only surviving Renaissance-painted bed.

For the best experience at Burg Eltz, you can visit the castle on foot through a variety of hiking trails. The hikes are well marked, and you can see the distance in kilometers on each marker. A popular hike is the 12.5-kilometer Eltz Castle Panorama Trail, which starts in Wiesen at Wierschem and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and forests.

If you’re planning to go on the castle tour, try to get there early to beat the crowds. Then you can spend the rest of the day exploring the castle grounds on your own or visiting nearby castles. Koblenz is the closest city to the castle, and it’s an easy drive from Trier, Mainz, Cologne, or Frankfurt. You can find some great deals on hotels in Koblenz, and you can even rent a cute German house on Vrbo for much less than a hotel would cost.

Mespelbrunn Castle

This stunning moated castle is a mashup of late medieval and early Renaissance architectural styles. Tucked away in a forest, it was untouched by war and has retained its Medieval charm to this day. The castle is open to the public for a small fee and serves as a venue for weddings and tours. It is also a popular spot to take photographs of the picturesque scenery surrounding it.

The castle’s history dates back to the early 15th century, when it was built by the Lords of Hagen-Mespelbrunn. The castle got its modern look in the late 16th century under the rule of Peter Echter von Mespelbrunn and his wife, Gertrude von Adelsheim. Since then, the castle has been passed down through the generations. In the 1950s, the castle was opened to the public.

Today, the castle is owned by the Counts of Ingelheim. The family lives in the south wing of the castle and opens the north wing to the public for tours. It is a must-visit destination for those looking to experience Germany’s rich culture and stunning architecture.

Aside from exploring the castle’s beautiful grounds, there are plenty of other things to do in the area. For instance, you can take a stroll through the nearby town of Klingenberg am Main. Here, you’ll find a medieval town center, vineyards, and other exciting attractions. Alternatively, you can head to the Freizeit-Land Geiselwind amusement park for rides and other fun activities.

If you’re interested in taking a tour of Mespelbrunn Castle, be sure to book your tickets ahead of time. It’s a popular attraction, so the tickets can sell out quickly. If you’re traveling with a group, consider booking a private tour. This way, you can enjoy a more personalized experience and avoid the crowds. Besides, the guides can customize the itinerary to suit your interests. Plus, they’ll be able to give you insider tips on the best places to visit in the region. Lastly, be sure to bring your camera and wear comfortable shoes. The tours can be quite long and you’ll need to walk on uneven surfaces.

Neuschwanstein Castle

The cliff-top Neuschwanstein castle is the quintessential fairytale palace. With its towering turrets and conical roofs, this Romanesque Revival structure is a fantasy image that has enchanted millions over the centuries — including Walt Disney himself, who visited it before building Disneyland and used it as the model for Sleepy Beauty’s castle.

The story behind the castle is equally magical, as it was built by a mad Bavarian king who was declared insane at the end of his life. The building was intended to be a private refuge from public life, but its construction was so costly that the shy King Ludwig II spent money he didn’t have and racked up massive debts that threatened not only himself but also his state of Bavaria.

It was only seven weeks after the King’s death in 1886 that his private castle opened to the public, and it is now one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions, attracting 1.4 million visitors annually. The massive crowds swarm through rooms that were originally designed for a single inhabitant, which puts considerable stress on the valuable furniture and textiles that are stored there.

Like many of Germany’s castles, Neuschwanstein is a hodgepodge of different styles and eras, so it may take some time for you to fully grasp the significance of each room. But most rooms are devoted to the themes of German legends, and many are decorated with scenes from Richard Wagner’s operas. Some of the most popular are depictions of the minnesinger Tannhauser, the swan knight Lohengrin, and the Grail King Parsifal.

The best way to experience Neuschwanstein is on a guided tour of the inside. You can buy tickets in advance through the castle’s website, or you can purchase them on the day of your visit from the ticket booth at the castle. It is recommended to do this as early as possible in the morning, as the tours fill up quickly and can take up to 20 minutes to complete. Also, be sure to bring a jacket or sweater because the inside of the castle can get cold and windy.

Cologne Cathedral

The Koln Dom (or Cologne Cathedral) is a towering, imposing Gothic masterpiece that took more than 600 years to complete. But this mighty church’s impressive history of construction and renovation doesn’t just make it a fascinating tourist attraction; it also bears testament to the strength and perseverance of European Christianity.

In 1248 work began on the church that would become one of Germany’s most visited attractions, but it wasn’t until 1880 that the cathedral was completed, despite more than seven centuries of fits and starts. The cathedral’s successive builders remained faithful to the original medieval plans. This strict adherence to the High Gothic form has given the cathedral its distinctive shape that is so uniform and eminently recognizable in every detail.

Almost immediately after the foundation stone was laid, the church became a center for pilgrimage. This is partly because a relic, believed to be the bones of the Three Wise Men, had been brought from Milan in 1164 and was displayed in the new church. The relic was so popular that a large number of pilgrims arrived daily and a bigger church had to be built in order to accommodate them.

When you enter the cathedral, you will be struck by its vast size and the amazing amount of light that is reflected off its walls, ceilings and many sculptures. The mighty building is surrounded by 10,000 square meters of windows, making the cathedral appear like a glowing glass house. The Cathedral is also home to a number of important works of art, such as the Shrine of the Three Kings, which contains the relics of Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar, the Wise Men that were supposed to have come from the East.

It is also worth paying a visit to the Domschatzkammer (Treasury) where you can see other precious items, such as the Gero Cross made from gold oak and the sarcophus of Archbishop Gero. The Domschatzkammer also houses an extensive collection of illuminated manuscripts. To truly appreciate the grandeur of the cathedral, take some time to stand in front of the cathedral and look up. The dizzying height may make you feel a little lightheaded, but it is well worth it.

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