Are you a castle enthusiast? Even if the answer to this question is NO, a glance at this castle is enough to make your jaw drop. The enchanting Eltz Castle sits atop a large rock, surrounded by a lush green forest.This iconic medieval castle that dominates social media with pictures of beautiful women dressed in gowns will transport you to a dreamy world of fairytales. The magic is REAL! Here is a complete guide to visiting Eltz Castle; the beautiful fairytale castle in Germany.
The ultimate guide to visiting Eltz castle
Before I give you some tips for your visit to the castle, here is a fun fact- The Eltz family still owns the castle and lives there. Isn’t that amazing?
The castle was built in the 12th century and for its entire existence, it has been privately owned. The castle remained unharmed by wars or natural disasters, thanks to its unique location and probably a bit of luck. It is actually Germany’s best-preserved castle.
How to reach Eltz Castle
Although the beautiful castle is not in the middle of a city, it can be easily reached by car and also by public transport.
You can easily reach the parking place around Eltz castle by car, but you cannot drive up to the Castle. From the parking place (Parkplatz Burg Eltz) you can either reach the castle on foot or take a shuttle bus which leaves every few minutes. Please keep in mind that the shuttle bus does not operate when the Castle is closed during winter.
Parking is paid and you pay for the entire day. For cars, you pay € 4, whereas for trailers and camper vans you pay € 8.
Distance to Eltz castle from nearby cities:
Köln/ Cologne – 107 km – 1 hour 30 mins
Frankfurt – 150 km – 2 hours
Koblenz – 35 km – 32 mins
Heidelberg – 173 km – 2 hours
By Public transport
From April to October
During these months the castle is open to visitors and special buses run between Hatzenport train station and the castle.
Step one: Take the train to Hatzenport.
Step two: Board bus no 365 to Eltz Castle.
From November to March
During these months the castle remains closed. This means that you cannot visit the castle from the inside or take guided tours, but you can enjoy the castle from the outside. During this period neither the shuttle bus nor bus 365 operates, so taking the train to Hatzenport is not required.
Step one: Take the train to Moselkern station.
Step two: Make your way to the castle on foot. The walk is 4.5 km and takes around 60 to 80 minutes depending upon how fast you walk or how many times you stop to enjoy the beautiful route.
Travel tip: With Quer-durchs-Land-Ticket you can travel throughout Germany with local and regional trains.
I visited Eltz castle from Cologne on a day trip using this ticket. As I travelled in a group of two, it cost me less than € 30 to and from the castle and back to Cologne. You can find more information about the ticket here.
Visiting the inside of the Castle
As it is only possible to buy the castle tickets on site, the queues can become very long as the day progresses. To avoid crowds, your best chance is to get there early.
The ticket costs € 12 per individual. If you are a student or person with disabilities, you pay a reduced amount of € 7. The castle is open daily from April 1 to November 1 from 9:30 to 17:30.
It is always advised to check the last admission time at the castle gate as it changes sometimes due to various reasons.
The guided tour of the castle typically lasts up to 40 minutes and is offered at regular intervals.
The Treasury, which is a part of your ticket can be explored on your own between the hours of 09:30 and 18:00 without a guide. The displays in the treasury are labelled in German, but you can get a free flyer with the descriptions in English.
How to visit the castle without the crowd
As mentioned earlier the castle accepts visitors only from April 1 to November 1. So obviously this is the time to expect large crowds.
If you want to click pictures with just you and the castle in the backdrop, then I suggest you either visit it in the off-season or wait till most of the people leave the premises.
Unfortunately, you can only wait for the perfect shot in the evening or visit the castle in the early morning if you are travelling by car. If you are travelling by public transport you cannot wait till everyone leaves because that way you will be unable to catch the last bus or train.
The plus point of visiting the castle in the off-season is that you can have it all to yourself and live your fairytale moments. The downside is that you cannot visit the inside of the castle.
Things to know before your visit
Keep the following things in mind before planning a trip to the medieval Eltz Castle
- The castle is open only from April to November 1.
- Bus 365 operates only from April to November 1.
- You can visit the castle from the outside all year round.
- A ticket is required to enter the castle which includes the guided tour.
- Guided tours are available in German, English and French.
- Flyers with texts are available in languages such as Chinese, Japanese, Italian and Spanish to name a few
- Animals are not allowed inside the castle
- Flying drones around the castle is prohibited.
- Photography is not allowed inside the castle
Recommended travel guides to feed your wanderlust
Germany: Neuschwanstein Castle : Day trip from Munich
Germany: 2 days Hamburg Itinerary – Best things to do in Hamburg, Germany
Austria: Salzburg to Hallstatt day trip – The Ultimate Hallstatt travel guide