Dahn Travel Guide

  • Things to Do
    by Trekki
  • Burg Berwarstein from a distance
    Burg Berwarstein from a distance
    by Trekki
  • Things to Do
    by Trekki

Dahn Things to Do

  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    by Trekki Updated Aug 5, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Only 16 km to the northeast of Dahn is the village of Hauenstein. It is famous among the locals for the so-called “Shoe mile”: approx. twenty shops which sell shoes. This because Hauenstein was once the centre of German shoe manufacturing. And this shoe manufacturing history is nicely shown in the shoe museum.

    This museum is fascinating! Not only does it give a marvellous insight into the local shoe making history but also this all in context to the historical “events” and the daily life of the past years. The museum has four floors; each is dedicated to a specific time or specific theme.

    The ground floor shows the development of this region as the centre of regional shoe “manufacturing”, starting in approx. 1800. In the beginning discharged soldiers (discharged after the death of landgrave Ludwig IX and the following closure of garrisons), collected old shoes and repaired them or made new ones with the leather. This let the manual shoe making increase in the region. A shoe maker’s shop (main photo) honours these early craftsmen. It was also an important development in the region, where up to that time, people found their income only as farmers and lumberjacks. The first machines were developed and since 1857 nearby Pirmasens became the centre of industrial shoe manufacturing, closely followed by Hauenstein with company Seibel (still operating today!). Hauenstein’s locals worked for these companies also from home, thus it was a kind of cottage industry (thans Don/@Nemorino for suggesting the term :-). The old machineries of Seibel Company are exhibited in the ground floor. At the end of the ground floor, which ends with the post WWI period, a very moving exhibition shows the emigration of locals to US, including postcards sent back home from the emigrants.
    The exhibition sequence then leads to the top floor (third floor), where the said to be biggest collection of shoes from 2000 years is shown. Ernst Tillmann, a collector from Viersen (Germany) has collected the majority of these during his travels around the world. Some fascinating examples are there, including special shoes to walk in swamps (Moor) and also the platform shoes we used to proudly wear in the early seventies (haha, I am still amazed how we could walk in these...). [More photos in my travelogues, see website section]. The path through the museum leads downwards now, and on the second floor is the period of 1918 – 1945. It was here when I stood in amazement in front of the little mom-and-pop store of my childhood. Ok, I was born several years after 1945, but the store looked just like I remember it from my early days: the heavy moulds for making Easter lambs and bunnies were there, the huge scale, the oven with the mica plate as window, and even the cake plate, exactly as we had one at home. In this floor also several machines are exhibited, showing how industrial shoe making developed in this period. It ends with our darkest period of brain sick deadly Nazi regime and Hauenstein proudly shows that less than 5% voted for Germany’s mass murder’s party NSDAP. The first floor then shows the developments from 1945 until today, again machines from this time and daily life. I especially loved the shoe shop of the Fifties of last century, everything looked so familiar. And it was here when I was running around looking for Lurchi, the hero of my childhood. Unfortunately he and his friends weren’t there, so I dare to start a kind of cry for help: if anyone has Lurchi and or his friends somewhere in the old time boxes, please send them to the museum :-)

    All in all this museum is very exciting indeed! It is the combination of information, historical development and daily life of the times shown which makes it so good for me. In addition it is barrier free, with the elevator and easy walkways through the exhibits. Audio guides in German and English are available with excellent side information.

    Opening hours:
    Dec-Feb: Mo-Fri 13:00 – 16:00, Sat&Sun 10:00-16:00,
    Rest of the year: daily 10:00-17:00.

    Entrance fees:
    Adults: 4 Euro, 6 Euro with audio guide,
    Kids, retired, students: 3,50 Euro, 5,50 Euro with audio guide,
    Family card: 8,50 Euro plus 2 Euro for each audio guide.

    On my separate page about the town I have made several travelogues with more photos of the several sections (see website section below).

    Location of German Shoe Museum on Google Maps.

    © Ingrid D., September 2012 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    by Trekki Updated Aug 5, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Among the countless castles carved into the pink sandstone rocks in Palatinate Forest and northern part of French Vosges, Ruine Altdahn (Altdahn Castles) stand out because it is not only one but three castles. It is a paradise for kids of all ages who always dreamt of being a knight or a damsel in a castle. The majority of the castle buildings are long gone; they were destroyed and rebuilt in the past, but after the last destruction during the war of succession in 1689 they were left in ruins. Nevertheless it is possible to visit the ruins and at least some of the towers are still there. And of course the whole rock “interior” like the stairs, rooms and platforms are open for visitors. The biggest and oldest of the three castles is Altdahn, with the watchtower. From the big round tower we walked up through the rock, on the old carved stairs. It was indeed a magic feeling because it is still almost like it was in the days when the Counts of Dahn lived up here. From the platforms on the top we had wonderful views across this part of Palatinate Forest and I remembered again that it is almost like a wilderness here. However, be careful when you want to go up to the highest platform on the tower: two steep iron ladders lead up there. From the top we also had a view to the other two castles, although it is really different to distinguish them all. They look like one, but are three separate ones. Near the big round tower is a small descriptive exhibition about castle building in medieval times. It is fascinating to read how the builders managed to erect castles in these times. I have a very high respect for them, especially since they didn’t have any of the “modern” instruments and machines our architects have today. Moreover, I doubt that architects nowadays could build anything the masters of the past achieved. Not meant as an insult, just my personal feeling.

    At the bottom part of Altdahn Castle is a small museum, but we simply forgot to go inside, since it started to rain at a point in time and we wanted to visit another castle, Berwartstein to be precise. It is open upon request, so I don’t even know anything about regular opening hours. I have read that the history of the three castles is being described inside and some findings are exhibited.

    I can only highly recommend Altdahn Castle for kids of all ages, especially during the weekend of the Medieval Market early July.

    More information and links to flyers and videos, please see my separate page “Altdahn Ruins” (linked below).

    Location of Altdahn Castles on Google Maps.

    © Ingrid D., September 2012 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    by Trekki Updated Aug 5, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Berwartstein Castle or Fortress is located only 10 km southeast of Dahn, so it is an easy 15 minute drive to visit the only rock castle in the region which is not a ruin today. When I have visitors and show them the beauty of Palatinate, I often combine the region’s wine land with a visit to the forest part, and especially to red rock country. And this includes a visit to Berwartstein Castle because it is open for visitors and the tours are very exciting, although in German only. But by now I know the stories and can translate easily :-) And up to now the guides were nice enough to give me translation time in between, except last time. But that was a tough tour anyhow. Three tour busses were there, split into two groups with approx. 30 people per tour.

    The castle’s history date back to 12th century, maybe even earlier. It is built on top of a rock formation, on a hill near the town of Erlenbach. During 15th century it was extended by its most prominent owner, Hans von Trotha, better known as Hans Trapp in the region. Although the whole premise was destroyed several times since then, the recent owner (owner since mid last century) has very caringly looked after the castle and has rebuilt it with the help of others. The tour is leading through the hallways and former restored common rooms like kitchen with the deep well, torture chamber, former hole-in-the-rock entrance and casemates. The rooms as such are now rented to long-term tenants. But that does not take the fun of a visit away because the tour guides are excellent and paint a really vivid picture of the fortress’ former inhabitants and the whole history.

    I was here three times by now, apart from many times during my childhood. And I will come back, because two of the rooms are actually rented for weekends. And I just love the idea to stay there over night and have this “damsel looks out of the window of her castle” feeling, haha.

    When you go, make sure you stop in the cafe after your visit. They make excellent homemade cakes!

    Guided tours are given daily, usually several times per day, but only start at a minimum of 15 people. Prices: 4 Euro per adult, less for kids (I know that this is very vague, but I will check for better information next time!).

    Several videos on youtube give good impressions:
    Burg Berwartstein video, from the air (2 min)
    Burg Berwartstein during a guided tour, a video originally made for kids, in German, but the guide we had is demonstrating the fortress well in the beginning of the video and also his talk about Hans Trapp, the robber knight, is in this video.

    For a nice introduction the excellent video portal about Palatinate, “Pfalz bewegt”, has a short video in English about the fortress and its most famous owner and inhabitant, Hans Trapp. Since specific URLs of this website have square brackets, they will mess with VTML code, so to watch it, please look on the “Wald-Pfalz” part, go to page 2 below the four thumbnails on the right hand side and select “Felsenburg Berwartstein”.

    Location of Burg Berwartstein on Google Maps.

    © Ingrid D., September 2012 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

    Burg Berwarstein from a distance Entrance to the chapel Burg Berwartstein Burg Berwartstein's chapel Exciting former entrance :-)
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

Dahn Hotels

See all 2 Hotels in Dahn
  • Hotel Pfalzblick

    Goethestrasse 1, Dahn 66994

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Families

    Hotel Class 4 out of 5 stars

  • Hotel Und Vitalresort Pfalzblick

    Goethestrasse 1, Dahn, 66994, de

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Families

    Hotel Class 4 out of 5 stars

Dahn Restaurants

  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    by Trekki Updated Aug 5, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    After we visited Berwartstein Castle in September 2012, it was already past 1 p.m. and we had to hurry to get a decent full lunch. Remember that in most rural regions restaurants close their kitchen (and availability of warm meals) often latest 2 p.m. The castle guide recommended this one and we were not disappointed. The restaurant “Altes Bahnhöfl” (“old train station”) is indeed located in the former train station, part of the Bavarian train track network of 1912, when Palatinate belonged to the Bavarian Kingdom. But with the increasing car traffic mid of 20th century, this train track was abandoned. 1983 a local businessman bought the house, renovated it and opened the restaurant. His son is now chef and cooks very delicious meals. I especially liked the fact that they have kept the individual rooms of the former train station, which makes the whole restaurant despite the size quite intimate. They have kept this concept also for the exterior, where plants and wooden shields separate groups of tables.

    Oh and the meals! We were all very satisfied with our choices. My venison goulash came with homemade Spätzle and a very delicious salad which also had dandelion, my favourite type of salad (menu price: 14,90 Euro). The menu is rather extensive, with pork, beef, chicken and fish plus typical Palatinate dishes. We couldn’t try their deserts because it was already too late – they were closing the restaurant. But... we had nice cake later the day in the cute wine village of Rhodt.

    Directions:
    Altes Bahnhöfl is located in at road B427 in Reichenbach, which belongs to village of Dahn, the centre of Red Rock Country (or Dahner Felsenland) in Palatinate Forest. For better viewing, see the map link below:

    Location of restaurant “Altes Bahnhöfl” on Google Maps.

    © Ingrid D., September 2012 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Food and Dining

    Was this review helpful?

Dahn Favorites

  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    by Trekki Updated Aug 5, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Dahn village is located in the middle of the southern Palatinate Forest, called Wasgau. Its French counterpart is Les Vosges. The whole region is characterised by red rocks peeking through the trees from time to time. This because the region was once one huge ocean and sediments did what they are supposed to do: settle on the ocean ground. Now, millions of years later, we see the pink sandstone rocks these sediments have formed during the course of time and erosion. Many of the rocks have weird and funny shapes which have influenced the fantasies of the people. There is “Devil’s Table” (Teufelstisch) for example, “Bride and Groom” (Braut & Bräutigam) and Dragon’s Rock” (Drachenfelsen), just to name a few. Some of the more massive rocks were transformed into castles or fortresses. The pink sandstone is rather soft, so carving was easy; however just imagine how much effort after all carving living quarters, wells and stairs into this material was in the medieval ages.
    It is easy to spend a week minimum in this region and visit several castles and ruins each day.

    A list of the many castles and fortresses nearby, albeit both websites in German:
    Castles and fortresses in Palatinate
    Castles and fortresses in Alsace

    Of these, I have visited three up to now:
    ruins of Alt-Dahn,
    Berwartstein Castle,
    Chateau Fleckenstein.

    Location of Ruins of Alt-Dahn on Google Maps,
    Location of Drachenfels Castle on Google Maps,
    Location of Chateau Fleckenstein on Google Maps,
    Location of Wegelnburg on Google Maps,
    Location of Löwenstein on Google Maps.

    © Ingrid D., October 2012 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Budget Travel
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Dahn

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

89 travelers online now

Comments

Dahn Travel Guide
Map of Dahn

View all Dahn hotels