I really enjoyed walking down to the Eltz on my second visit to the castle (the first day we didn’t attempt it due to the heavy rains). The steps go down from near the ticket sales building and lead to a path that takes you over the Eltz via a small bridge. Looking at the markers on the trees, it appears that you could hike through this way, although I haven’t checked out a hiking map to see where the path leads. From the bridge, you can get some wonderful views looking up at Burg Eltz – a bit different from the views from the above viewing area along the road.
The steps are a bit rough, but there are not too many of them. I wouldn’t recommend this for the mobility impaired, but you definitely don’t need to be an experienced hiker to head down to the Eltz for another look at Burg Eltz.
Entrance to the Armory and Treasury is included with your guided tour ticket. Otherwise, the fee is €3 for just this part of the castle. It is an interesting collection of art objects, arms, decorative and functional items, keys, and other assorted objects all owned by the Eltz family. Be sure to get a brochure from the clerk outside the Treasury (available in English) so that you know what you are looking at.
Upon entering, you are first greeted by St. John of Nepomuk (photo above), a large silver and gold statue made in 1752. The inscription on the back says that the image was made under the condition that it shall never leave the Eltz family.
Some of my favorite objects in the treasury were the unique legendary creatures found in Glass Cabinets 30-32, such as Diana riding a stag, Monster, and the allegorical Gluttony being conveyed by Drunkenness (photo above).
There are some wonderfully intricate carvings and beautifully handcrafted clocks, drinking vessels, bowls, chalices, and pendants. The armory section of the Treasury has a vast assortment of flintlock rifles and pistols, crossbows, swords, and war hammers.
The treasury is set up on several levels underneath the Rübenach House, in an area that was part of the wine storage area for the castle.
While photography is not allowed in the castle, photos are allowed in the Treasury.
The inner courtyard is accessible to anyone without cost. You are permitted to enter and walk around without a ticket (a paid ticket is only required for either the castle tour and/or the treasury). To enter the courtyard, walk up the steps from the ticket shop towards the terrace café. Once at the café, you will see a rather old and well worn rock that serves as the entrance way – follow this path through the doorway and into the courtyard (the treasury will be on your right after you go through the doorway). Be careful of this rocky pathway as it is quite slippery on rainy days!
If you are taking a guided tour of the castle, this is where the tours begin. Notice the steps leading up to a flat waiting area – the area isn’t too big and if your tour isn’t about to begin, then take some time to look around.
Notice the door frames – above each of these you can see the names of the three family lines – Rodendorf, Rübenach, and Kempenich. The doorway in the farthest spot will lead you to a terrace that will give you a nice view of the Eltz and the countryside. Incidentally, this part of the castle is the oldest part – known as Platt Eltz – and dates back to the 11th century. Note the coat of arms above the doorway; beneath it are the words "Platt Eltz."
The dragon drain spouts (both in the inner courtyard and on the exterior of the castle) are unique and fun to look at. Made of metal, these green monsters serve a purpose while warding off evil spirits (and birds). I enjoyed the craftsmanship and creativity of these water spouts.
You will notice a pile of heavy stones in one corner of the courtyard. These are from the siege of Burg Eltz in the 1300s, thrown via catapult from the siege tower high above the castle.
As you look around at the windows, you will see one section that stands out from the building. This is a small chapel from one of the bedrooms, which you will see during the guided tour. The idea was that nothing was supposed to be higher than God (i.e. another floor in your castle!), so the chapel sticks out so that it has its own roof with nothing above it.
On my second trip, we discovered a larger chapel off of the inner courtyard that was open and free to look at. As you are standing in the courtyard, turn as if you are leaving through the entranceway. Off to the right will be a narrow set of steps leading to the chapel. Feel free to have a look!
If by chance your tour is beginning shortly after you arrive in the inner courtyard, don’t worry since your tour will end in this same courtyard. Either way, you should have plenty of time to look around.
Although Burg Eltz was never destroyed by enemies, there was one tense situation in the history of the castle. In 1333 the castle came under siege due to their participation in an alliance against the Elector Balduin of Trier. A tower was built on the hill above Burg Eltz by Balduin and a siege was maintained on the castle. From this tower heavy stone balls were catapulted down towards the castle. Some of these stone balls can still be found in a pile in the inner courtyard. Eventually, the Eltz family requested peace and the castle was in the hands of Balduin, who gave it to Johann von Eltz as Burgrave in 1337.
The ruins of the siege tower can still be seen today high on the hill above the castle. The best location to get a close view is from the viewing area on the walk down from the parking lot. There is no way to actually get to the ruins; you must enjoy them from a distance. The stones in the inner courtyard are much more accessible.
You can look at the outside of the castle and the inner courtyard for free while you are there. However, in order to see the interior, you will need to join a guided tour. These tours are available in German and English and form up in the courtyard.
Purchase your tickets in the ticket shop located at the entrance of the castle – on the right after the arch leading to the castle. The shop also sells postcards and other souvenirs. If you want an English tour, please ask the clerk when the next one will begin.
Current ticket prices (2012) are €8/adults and €5,50/children. This also includes a ticket to the Treasury.
Tours begin every 15-20 minutes and last about 40 minutes long. During the tour you will see the furnished rooms from two of the homes in the castle, the Rübenach and the Rodendorf sections. The third section is not part of the tour. You will see bedrooms, grand halls, a kitchen, a former chapel, dressing rooms, dining room, armory and hunting displays, and period furnishings and artwork.
The castle is open every day from April 1 to November 1 during the hours of 0930 to 1730.
All proceeds from the tours go back into the maintenance of Burg Eltz.
The Castle Eltz is situated in the green hills of the Eifel Region a paradise for hikers and nature lovers. Besides finding historical treasures one can spend days hiking or cycling through many marked hiking and biking trails. The Eifel Society offers a number of suggestions on their web page.
This tiny chapel lays en-route right behind the parking area. The Antoniuskapelle is a typical small chapel found in many areas in rural Germany. This is also the starting point for the shuttle service.
Your entrance ticket includes a guided tour through the castle chambers. Tours start on Good Friday in March and end on November 1. Guided tours are generally in German and start every 10 to 15 minutes, conducted by professional guides. At times the castle also offer tours in English, French or Dutch.
The 500-year building history harmoniously combines all styles from the Romanesque to the Early Baroque. The castle that is consisting of eight towers with living quarters are grouped around the inner coutryard, up to onne hundred members of the family used to live in almost as many rooms around the courtyard.
This saint was known as saint of bridges and stands at the front of the Treasury. It was made by Franz Christoph Maederl in Augsburg in 1752. It is a repousse in silver and cast, fully worked and partly guilded. The statue is 1,10 meters tall and stands on a black painted and richly ornamented wooden base.
Some magnificent master pieces are the ivory carvings that are on display in the Treasure Chambers. Two of the pieces that caught my eye are the tiny statue of St. George of Flemish origin created around 1420 where a false Duerer monogram was added around 1600 and and Ivory Cup decorated with gold plated silver from around 1640.
The extensive collection of art which is on display in the present treasure chamber was opened to the public in 1981. The five rooms on the lowest floors of the Rueberach House, where the collection is exhibited were originally storerooms. During the restauration work from 1975 to 1981, the rooms were preserved and made into a museum. The Late Medieval Rooms which all differ architecturally from one another convey an impression of the organic form of the buidling which was determined by the rock on which the castle was built.
Burg Eltz is a place and not a town. It is one of the few listings that has gotten through theVT watchdogs. Only the kastellanei lives here. Its address is elsewhere (Munstermaifield). It is, however, a major sight along the Mosel, although it is 20 km to the north in the deep forest and hills. The Eltz clans have artfully maintained and improved their patrimonies and fortunes since the 12C to the present day through such trivial events as the Thirty Years War, the castle destroying invasions of Louis XIV and Napoleon plus Hitler and 2 World Wars. A fire in 1920 was overcome and through it all they have been faithful to its original form and have amassed appropriate contents . The fortress is actually a compound of housing units for three family lines living together. There is an admission fee which includes a mandatory guided tour (in German only) with a good English handout to use. No photography or video.That is why there are no VT interior pictures except in the first room (the armory) where picture taking is warned off! (This is not a VT first notice of this).The tour and Treasury consume an hour plus some waiting. Lunch (eg wurst) is availble outside in the grounds.Take some time to wander about the outside as well. There are other buildings, the gate, find a dragon rainspout, study the timber framed oriels and tower tops
After you buy your ticket, you ascend a passge into the inner court of the Burg(1) where you await your guide. Note the catapault cannon-like stone seige balls on the right, See the inner aspects of the buildings that form the compound. A Romanesque window has recently been found and installed in one wall. Nearby the oriel of the Chapel is visible(2). On a ledge a gargoyle like rainspout protrudes(3).On the left, the guide will emerge from a door under a portico-entrance to the Kempernich House(1) where there is a modillion(4) and a bossed groin vaulting(5).