Popular Rhine River Castles in Germany

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Rhine River Castles in Germany
Rhine River Castles in Germany

[ source: Wikipedia]

Knights in full armor. Political intrigue. King making. Desperate battles and, sure, probably a few damsels in distress and fire-breathing dragons. Nothing transports you back to the medieval world more than a trip down Germany's Rhine River among dozens of imposing castles and fortresses. With more than 20 Rhine River Castles in Germany, it's tough to decide which castles are worth viewing up close. Here are five of our favorites.

Drachenfels Castle

Claim to fame: Dragon slaying happened here

With its impressive architecture, Drachenfels Castle is one of the most well-known Rhine castles. Mythologically, it is the site where Siegfried extinguished an infamous dragon. The castle, now in ruins, was built in the middle of the 12th century by Archbishop Arnold I of Cologne (Cologne vacation rentals | Cologne travel guide). The castle ruins are high atop a mountain immortalized in poem, story and song. A smaller castle, Drachenburg, was built just below Drachenfels in the 1880s.

Fortress Ehrenbreitstein

Claim to fame: Sprawling guardian of the Rhine

Technically now a fortress, Ehrenbreitstein was originally built as a castle in the 11th century. Construction resumed in the 17th century, reforming it into an important fortress at the head of the Rhine River Valley. Because of its enormous size, location and important function, it's often referred to as The Guard at The Rhine.

Stolzenfels Castle

Claim to fame: Romantically preserved, unmatched views

The Roman German architecture of Stolzenfels Palace is often considered some of the most beautiful castle architecture along the Rhine River. The views of the river gorge from Stolzenfels' terraces is unrivaled. The castle was originally built in the 13th century as a fortress, later became a toll station and then was rebuilt in the early 1800s as a summer residence for Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm IV. The interior decor and furnishings are well preserved and a delightful feature of the castle.

Marksburg Castle

Claim to fame: Iconically medieval and unmarred

While many of the Rhine River Castles in Germany have been destroyed and rebuilt, Marksburg Castle is completely intact and has been since its construction. Most of the castle was built in the 14th century and features all the medieval elements you expect a castle to include: towers, turrets, passages, bower, knights hall and castle kitchen.

Rheinstein Castle

Claim to fame: Renaissance chic, medieval games, romantic evening tours

Built in 1316 from the design by Johann Claudius of Lassaulx, Castle Rheinstein fell into disrepair by the late 14th century. Rebuilt by Prince Fredrick of Prussia in the 19th century, the castle boasts more turrets, towers, iron stairs, stained glass windows and murals.

Keep in mind that most of these and the other Rhine River castles in Germany are open to tourists only from spring to the end of October. Because of the vast number of fortresses and castles along the Rhine River, you'll definitely want to plan out your itinerary or take a guided cruise along the river.

About this Article

Bettina Kraft

This travel guide has been written by
  Bettina Kraft.

Bettina Kraft likes to write Germany related travel articles on Live Like a German - a site for exploring Germany, to learn more about its culture / language, and to find a great Germany vacation rental or holiday apartment when going on a Germany vacation. Bettina likes to help visitors from all over the world to experience Germany in a different, more personal way, and make it easy for them to do so by providing detailed travel tips and advise.

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