Eltz Castle – 3 Best Viewpoints – History and Panorama Trail

Eltz Castle – 3 Best Viewpoints – History and Panorama Trail

Germany
Germany

When Is the Best Time

Eltz Castle is exceptional in every way. Instead, situated on a hill, it is nestled at Eltz stream in a remote valley in Rhineland Palatinate in Germany. It was almost not affected by WW2 and is well preserved because of the location on a 70 m/ 230 ft high rock and the wide-ranging connections of the Eltz family.

View from the ground in front of Eltz Castle on a busy day
Sundays are busier

It tells stories of 33 generations and shows the architecture of different centuries. Although Eltz Castle may look like Hogwarts, it is not related to Harry Potter. I'll let you know the 3 best lookouts; the exact locations and the best daytime for fantastic pictures of Eltz Castle. You can find some stories about the castle and details of the panorama trail. My guide contains everything you need to know for an excellent day trip to Eltz Castle and all available parking lots below.

Why Is the Castle So Dramatically “Built Up”?

A zoom photo of Eltz Castle for more architected details

Eltz is a so-called “Ganerbenburg”, a kind of medieval commune managed by related families. Eltz Castle was divided for the first time among three brothers in 1268, along with its possessions, to avoid inheritance disputes. Elias, Wilhelm, and Theoderich built their own part of the castle for their family branch. As a result, each brother created his own castle within the castle. 

Front view from the bridge to Eltz Castle with a couple of day trippers.

The castle was built on a rock and could not be extended in width. Therefore, the lords and ladies of the lines of Eltz-Kempenich, Eltz-Rodendorf and Eltz-Rübenach had turrets, domers, and oriels built. Almost every generation added further floors. For around 500 years, Eltz Castle continued to grow, and this is how the building came to this unique manifold-nested architecture. Do you wish to know more about this fascinating castle? More facts can be found below.

Weather and Crowds by Seasons

View to Eltz Castle from the main walking path
A well-developed path leads to Eltz Castle.

Eltz Castle is located at 130 m/ 425 ft elevation, the reason for slightly lower temperatures than at River Moselle. I divide the months and seasons slightly differently to give you an overview of what kind of temperatures, weather, and crowds to expect. Rain occurs almost the same amount throughout the year ranging from 60-70 mm monthly. 

Spring (April-May)

Me in the shadow of a tree looking to Eltz Castle
I enjoy the magnificent views of Eltz Castle.

This is my favourite season in the Eifel. All trees and plants start blooming with 7-8 sunshine hours daily. It is a lovely time for hiking and is not too busy except for the Easter holidays. Weekends are busier, but the crowds thin out as soon as you start hiking to one of the mentioned viewpoints.

View up to Eltz Castle from the Eltz stream

Day temps range between 14-19°C/ 57-66°F, so a jacket is still needed, especially in the forest shade. Evening and nights are cool in this elevation, and temps drop below 10°C/ 50°F. Weekends and Easter holidays are busier.

Summer (June-August)

A hiker looking to Eltz Castle from a viewpoint
One of the quiet viewpoints.

Usually, the summer is pleasant with temps in the mid 20’s°C/ 70’s°F, but exceptions occur, and temps rise above 30°C/ 86°F. During these days, thunderstorms can arise. Due to the school summer holidays in Germany and neighbouring countries, it is crowded at Castle Eltz, especially around midday.

The Eltz Stream flowing downhill
The Eltz stream along the panorama trail

Either visit the castle in the morning or late afternoon to avoid long queues. July and August are the busiest months in the castle and on the path from the car park to Eltz Castle. Check out the viewpoints, and you escape the crowds.

Autumn (September-October)

View to Eltz Castle from the paved shuttle bus road
It is quiet at Eltz Castle end of the fall.

September is also pleasant, with an average daily temperature of 20°C/ 68°F. Temps drop to 15°C/ 59°F in October, and the colourful fall foliage starts in the forest. Night temps drop below 10°C/ 50°F. If possible, visit the castle mid-week - autumn is a popular time.

Winter (November-March)

Eltz Castle Drone Shot
Eltz stream flows in a loop around the castle - in front is the "Burg Trutzeltz" ruin.

Drone shot from far away outside of the private property - UAS regulation respected!

You can see the last remaining autumn foliage at the beginning of November. The wintertime is the low season when Eltz Castle is closed. Viewer people visit the area, and the castle falls into a deep sleep. It is colder, but average daily temperatures range between 5-9°C/ 41-48°F.

Eltz Castle entrance bridge and gate
Eltz Castle is 40 m/ 131 ft high.

Night temps can drop below freezing. It is frequently overcast, and there are fewer sunshine hours. However, the winter here is milder than in other parts of Germany, and snow occurs but not much and often. At the beginning of March, an illumination of Eltz Castle is held by the artist Peter Bauer.

Opening Hours Eltz Castle

One of the many oriel windows
This is an old photo from my first visit more than ten years ago. Nowadays, it is prohibited to take pics inside.

Eltz Castle is open to the public from April 1st until November 1st, a bank holiday.

  • Eltz Castle opening hours: 9.30 am until 5.30 last admission 
  • Treasure chamber inside the castle last admission at 6.15 pm – Leaflet in English available.
  • Guided castle tours are offered from 9.30 am until 5.30 pm – Depending on the demand, tours start every 10-15 minutes.

Tickets Eltz Castle

View inside the castle grounds
The cashier point right after you enter the castle.
  • Adults 11 Euro
  • Children 7 Euro
  • Families with two children and more 32 Euro
Zoom picture to the castle yeard
The two self-service restaurants with parasols.

There are two self-service restaurants inside the castle offering outdoor and indoor seating. 

Hotels Near Eltz Castle

The closest hotel to Eltz Castle
This is the closest hotel to be in walking distance to Eltz Castle. Link added

I recommend staying either close to the castle or at River Moselle. If you travel by car, I recommend combining Eltz Castle with the Geierlay Suspension Bridge just half an hour's drive.

It is an excellent wine region, and a bus transfer is available. The bus "Burgenbus" from River Mosel Line 330 operates from Mai to October four times a day from these cities and towns along the River Moselle: Treis Karden, Müden, Moselkern, and Hatzenport (links leading to booking.com for the closest accommodations) 

Cochem Castle or Burg Eltz

Cochem Castle with its wineries around
More about Cochem Castle or Reichsburg in my additional article.

I have visited both castles, but comparing them is difficult. Eltz Castle looks simply unique, and the exhibition is more interesting.  About 250.000 visitors have each castle annually. What I like at Cochem Castle is the fact that more is allowed, like taking pictures and the special events throughout the year. However, if I have to choose one of these castles, I go for Eltz.

Best Months to Visit

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Location and Tips

Münstermaifeld, Wierschem
Germany
Germany

The 40 m/ 131 ft high Eltz Castle has already belonged to the same family for 33 generations. The current owner is the paragon of a castle, the reason for its popularity. Most visitors combine Eltz Castle with the River Moselle and Cochem Castle half an hour drive only.

3 Best Views of Eltz Castle

Bridge crossing Eltz stream and Eltz Castle in the background
Creek crossing to reach the panorama trail

The three viewpoints are all located at higher elevations offering a drone-like view of the fairytale castle. 

Viewpoint to Eltz Castle in high elevation

You already see the castle from the trail along the stream on a low level. If you don’t have any fear of heights, you can climb up on the shale. It is a bit tricky and exposed your hands are needed.

Climbing path left and Eltz Castle to the right
The track starts here to the left.

You can’t get safely to the castle ruins on the top; however, shortly before is an excellent spot to take pictures and enjoy the stellar view. The best daytime for fantastic shots is in the late afternoon when the sun lightens the castle. Passus Risk Google Maps viewpoint

2 The Front Angle View

The viewpoint along the shuttle bus route with railing
Awesome view, especially in the winter

This lookout is easy to reach on the paved shuttle bus route to the fairytale castle. It is a 500 m/ 0,3 miles walk from the shuttle bus station at Antonius chapel with a light descent. This spot offers a great bird’s eye view of the entrance bridge, the archway, and the front angle of Eltz Castle.

View down on to Eltz from the Shuttle Bus route
Already the first glimpse of Eltz just a 10 minute walk from the main parking is awesome.

The light is best in the morning and from late afternoon onwards – backlight during midday. Google Maps viewpoint

3 The Sunset View

The sunset lookout of Eltz Castle with huge rock formations
If you plan to watch the sunset bring a torch or headlamp for the way back.

This path is 800 m long, one way from the Eltz Castle bridge to the sunset viewpoint. Take the staircase to the left shortly before the entrance bridge to reach this viewpoint. Walk direction Eltz stream and to the bridge crossing the creek on the panorama trail.

Trail forks getting to another viewpoint for sunsets
Panorama trail to the left and to the right viewpoint path

The footpath forks continue in the right direction "Müdenerberg" and leave the panorama trail. The view from this spot is best to watch the sunset. Locus Pro location and hike

How to Get to Eltz Castle

River and boats in Rhineland-Palatinate
You can get by boat to Moselkern.

Despite the remote location, it is easily reached from the Mosel River by bus, train, and car. In the summer you can take a boat to Moselkern and the train throughout the year. A bus transfer is offered in the summer or hike up along the Eltz stream for 5 km/ 3 miles from the town, which takes one hour. Plenty of parking is available around Eltz Castle, and a bus shuttle is available for those who are not able to walk one steep kilometre down to the castle and back. 

Parking Eltz Castle

Antonius chapel and shuttlöe bus station
Shuttle bus station at Antonius chapel - cars and buses are prohibited behind the gate.

Six car parks are available in the Eltz Castle area. The requested fee for the first five parking lots is 2 Euro throughout the day. 

1 The Closest Parking
A long parking lot along the forest
The closest parking to Eltz Castle

The closest and newly built car and bus park in one kilometre/ 0,6 miles distance is the most convenient to get to Eltz Castle. Google Maps car park

2 Nearby Parking
A bigger parking lot the second closest to Eltz Castle
The second closest parking.

You can't choose where to park; a parking attendant will show you where space is available. 

3 The Overflow Parking
Overflow Parking on a field
Overflow parking on a field.

There is an overflow parking at 2 km/ 1,2 mi distance which closes at 6 pm. It is prohibited to stay overnight with the camper. Google Maps

4 Parking Trailhead Wierschem
Hiking Trail Map Eltz Panorama Trail
Hiking Map in higher resolution

This parking is the trailhead of the panorama trail in Wierschem. This parking lot is not closed at night but also, here, it is prohibited to stay at night. Google Maps parking and trailhead

5 Parking Müdener Berg
The only parking close to Eltz where campervans can stay overnight
Müdener Berg - Parking and overnight stay

"Müdener Berg" parking is a 1.7 km/1-mile walk to the castle. This is the only parking where campervans can stay overnight for a small amount of 4 Euros. No facilities available, just parking. Google Maps parking and campervan overnight stay.

6 Parking Ringelsteiner Mühle
Ringelsteiner Mühle along the Eltz Stream
Ringelsteiner Mühle and Hotel - Link added

"Ringelsteiner Mühle" is a restaurant and hotel along the panorama trail. It is less than one hour walk to Eltz Castle, and guests can park here for free. It is a perfect and quiet location to stay for one night. Breakfast is included, and the staff was super attentive. Google Maps

Shuttle Bus 

The shuttle bus in front of Eltz Castle
Transfer by shuttle 2€ one was

A shuttle bus operates every ten minutes from "Antoniuskapelle", a chapel during the castle's opening hours. If you prefer to walk, the trail is roughly 1.5 km/ 1 mi long, leading through the forest and along the stream to Eltz Castle.

Panorama Trail

Panorama Trail path and sign
All tracks are well marked with the orange panorama trail sign.

The region Eifel is famous for its panorama trails “Traumpfade”, leading through beautiful nature and to scenic highlights. Plenty of picnic areas and benches are along the trails to enjoy the beautiful landscape and your snacks. These tracks are always very well marked, and no map or hiking app is needed. This panorama trail starts in Wierschem and is 12.6 km long, gaining an elevation of 400 m. However, if you wish to visit the three lookouts, add another 300 m of elevation gain.

Eltz Stream are flowing through the forest
This is my favourite part; the hiking trail along Eltz stream.

This is a nice panorama trail, but honestly, there are many more in the Eifel, which I think are more beautiful. IMO the Eltz Castle is the highlight, and I would concentrate on the area around this unique castle and the Eltz stream. 

How Much Time is Needed for Visiting Eltz Castle?

Eltz Castle at sunset
Fascinating from the three accessible lookouts.

I recommend an entire day around and in the castle. The Eltz Castle is open to the public, offering a glimpse of the interior, the treasure chamber, the kitchen from former times, and a closer look into one of the towers. You easily spend two hours on the castle property, and you can take a meal, coffee, and cake in one of the two self-service restaurants. Walking around and to several viewpoints takes at least three hours rather four.

Is it Worth Visiting Eltz Castle?

Closer view to Eltz from the shuttle bus route

I have been to many castles in Germany; Eltz Castle and Neuschwanstein are exceptional, Eltz is one the most picturesque ones you should not miss. Eltz Castle is beautifully located in the lush green valley at Eltz stream, where the name originates from and is easy to reach.

9 History Facts of Eltz Castle

People in mediäval clothes in front of the archway
By chance, I met this wonderful group Grifenstain 1270
  1. Eltz has been owned by the same family for 33 generations for 865 years already.
  2. The castle construction started in 1157 built by the Eltz family.
  3. However, already in 1268, the castle was split between three Eltz families. Each family extended their part of the castle and added overall eight castle towers, a symbol of their wealth. Eltz Castle has more than 100 rooms, and only a small part is accessible to the public. The Eltz family still lives in all the other rooms. 
  4. The Eltz families and archbishop Balduin had a long-lasting feud in the 1330s. This caused the construction of a second castle, “Burg Trutzeltz”, on the opposite hill by the archbishop to siege Eltz Castle. The siege wasn’t successful, and the ruins of the second castle belong to the Eltz family nowadays. The meaning of “Trutz” is to defy; the Defy Eltz Castle.
  5. The Eltz family always had considerable influence and connections. In 1762 Philipp Karl von Eltz-Kempenich became the archbishop and prince-elector of the city Mainz. 
  6. Since 1815 Eltz Castle has belonged to one of the families, the Eltz-Kempenich only.
  7. A big fire on the south side damaged the castle in 1920. The reconstruction of Eltz took ten years.
  8. The castle's maintenance is costly; from 2009-2012, more than four million Euros were invested. 
  9. The current owner and resident is Karl Graf and Edler Herr von und zu Eltz-Kempenich which is quite a long count.

Nearby Tips

View from below to Geierlay with a blue sky

Do you like to get an adrenaline kick? It is just half an hour's drive from Moselkern to the Geierlay Suspension Bridge.

Please contact me if you wish to use any of my pictures, but I will take action against picture theft.

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