Visiting and photographing the Eltz Castle, Germany

Visiting and photographing the Eltz Castle, Germany

Why the Eltz Castle?

Right, the Eltz Castle (Burg Eltz in German). If you’re all about social media, you’ve probably seen it recently since the hype is seriously on the rise. And frankly, quite rightfully.

This castle is for sure one of the most picturesque medieval apartments, I’ve ever seen.

Eltz is planted quite peacefully and unusually in a valley (not on top of the highest hill which makes it a dream for photographers). It is surrounded by lush forests and by a small river carving almost a full circle around it.

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There is basically no distraction in terms of modern buildings, power lines, roads, etc. Even the parking area is not located directly at the site (you must walk for about 10 min downhill or take a shuttle for 2 EUR). All this together will transport you 500 years back in time.

Arriving in the Rhein-Mosel area (the real name is Rheinland-Pfalz) might make you think, whether you’ve chosen the right castle. Reason? There is simply so many!

Seriously, if you’re into medieval buildings, going by train along Rhine and Mosel will most likely be the ride of your life. What I’m trying to say is that there is a couple of other castles that would definitely deserve at least as much attention as the Eltz castle. Just saying. 🙂


How to get to Burg Eltz?

Getting to the area by car or train

Well, obviously, first you’ll need to get to Germany. Since Germany is big, somewhere in the mid-west will do best (sounds almost poetic). If you have a car, just smash “Burg Eltz” into your GPS.

If not – no problem, you can easily go by train to one of the nearby villages! I personally recommend the village called Moselkern as your base camp. Another option would be Müden (a bit further) or Wierschem.

The last one is not reachable by train, which I found too complicated. Nevertheless, Wierschem is known as the “Eltz town”, so you might want to check it out.

You can easily book (and even save for booking in advance) your tickets online on bahn.de. Print them out or download the bahn.de app.

Going by train from Frankfurt: I briefly describe this option since it’s a very likely one. Take an IC train from Frankfurt Hbf (the main station) to Koblenz. You can even departure directly from Frankfurt International Airport if you wish to skip visiting Frankfurt. The train ride to Koblenz will take about 1.5 hours and is really enjoyable – I promise you passing at least one castle every 5 km. When you arrive to Koblenz, you’ll need to change for a small regional train (most likely it will be called “RB” + a number, e.g. RB81) in direction Trier. If you’d like to follow my tips, you’ll get off in Moselkern.

Hiking to the Eltz castle from Moselkern

The reason I chose Moselkern was not only the simple train connection but also the short distance to the Eltz Castle. The hike to the site takes about 1 hour 15 minutes from the Church in Moselkern.

Or 55 minutes if you decide to see the sunrise and walk with a headlamp through the dark foggy forest. Alone. In the middle of the night. At least I wasn’t scared.

But back to the hike – it is fairly easy. You’ll sweat a bit, yeah. But no hardcore hiking. Also, the route is well maintained, mostly 1-2 person wide. It gets a bit slippery when wet.

Directions: Start at the church. When you’re standing in front of it and looking at it, start walking to your left. The road will lead you into a right-turn and through a rail underpass. Now you’re on the right track! You’ll walk on the asphalt road until you get to a bridge with a sign for hikers sending you off the road to the right. From now on, just follow these signs. Always look for “Burg Eltz”.

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Photographing the Eltz castle

I counted at least 5 cool photo spots at the location (please comment if you find more!) which I marked on the map below. As mentioned in the beginning, this place is very touristy. In general, you won’t mind tourists at the upper spots. They could be quite distracting at the lower spots.

Sooo, why not coming for the sunrise? I tried it out myself. The night hike was a bit adventurous but because I hiked to the castle the previous afternoon and because I had a headlamp (necessary!), all went well.

The Eltz castle is such a treat for photographers! So often in the morning, there is a thick cloud of fog rolling through the valley and around the castle.

I was lucky as well and as a bonus, I had the entire place for myself. Bring enough time as it can take a while before the fog dissolves enough to see the castle. By the way, the castle’s opening time is 9:30 – 17:30 (only relevant for the building, not the area), so plan your shooting accordingly.

Map of the Eltz Castle area with marked photo spots
Map of the Eltz Castle area with marked photo spots

Photography Spot A

Morning location due to better light and fewer people; the first spot when arriving at the castle from Moselkern – I found it interesting as it is not photographed so often :); you can use the staircase as a leading line to the castle; wide lens recommended!

Also, since you’re shooting against the sky, keep checking your histogram!

Below the staircase of Castle Eltz
Spot A – below the staircase

Photography Spot B

Morning location due to better light and fewer people. Unless you go for very long exposures and maybe some exposure blending, it is almost impossible to shoot there during the day. THIS is the most famous spot.

Try experimenting with the low walls as leading lines and with different perspectives; great when foggy!

Castle Eltz - misty morning
Spot B – misty morning at Castle Eltz

Photography Spot C

I didn’t try this one as on this side there was a large scaffolding (mid-May 2018) but it looks like a good sunset spot!

Photography Spot D

All-day location; walking up to the parking, you’ll get to this curve which offers great views slightly from the side and is far enough so other people are not distracting; not the best point in the early morning though – they park the shuttle bus (big red van) right at the main gate from the inside

Burg Eltz - view from the road curve
Spot D – view from the road curve

Photography Spot E

All-day location; keep walking up towards the parking area until you get to a viewpoint on your left; this spot offers phenomenal, almost drone-like views of Burg Eltz; the best place to watch the fog rolling in the morning! Speaking of drones – flying a drone is not allowed in the entire area (incl. all the forests around).

Last but not least – if you have a tall tripod, it’s a good idea to bring it. It will help you to eliminate the fence and bushes at the upper spots.

Burg Eltz - the eagle perspective spot
Spot E – almost bird perspective!

Staying in Moselkern

If I’m honest, the village is with its 600 inhabitants quite a sleepy place (Are maybe weekends different? Let me know!). I had the feeling most people just pass by. The only café was closed. There was only one other person in my hotel (Hotel Moselkern).

I kind of liked it anyway – it has a small church, a unique stone with a depiction of Jesus’ crucifixion, a beautiful town hall. It feels somewhat authentic. If you require more human contact, check out the local guesthouses.


What else to do?

There is really enough to see in the area! You can pretty much stop in any village on the way along Mosel (and along Rhine, as I wrote previously) and you’ll have a great time. There are tons of hiking trails everywhere around.

I chose Cochem as my next stop (15 min train ride from Moselkern direction Trier). It is one of the largest towns around (ca. 5.000 inhabitants) and very touristy. You can go for a boat trip from there if that’s your sort of thing. The historical centre is beautiful!

My first shot requires some effort – it is from a place that overlooks the entire town of Cochem with focus on the Cochem castle.

To get there you’ll need to walk up first, almost to the castle. At the last junction before the castle (there is a big tree and some banks) you’ll turn right and follow the sign “Drei Kreuzen” (“Three crosses”).

This will lead you up to a small chapel. Right at the chapel, you’ll see a narrow trail going further up through the woods. It will lead you to the road. Be extremely careful as it’s quite busy. You’ll walk around 50 meters to the right which will get you to the viewpoint.

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The impressive Castle of Cochem from the hill
The impressive Castle of Cochem from the hill


 
My second shot was less difficult – cross the bridge in Cochem and enjoy a beer. That’s it!

Cochem City Castle
The city of Cochem

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This Post Has 35 Comments

  1. Very beautiful castle!! We really love it. We are looking forward to visit Germany! Probably will be next year.

    1. Great! I’m sure you’ll love it! 🙂

  2. Some fantastic photography. I visited this castle when I was young, and you have brought it back to life for me, thank you!

    1. It really is a stunning place! 🙂

  3. What a great place to visit. Your photographs are fantastic as well! I would love to visit the Eltz Castle sometime!

    1. Thank you Nicola!

  4. So cool, we’ve seen this place over and over on Instagram. Love your post which describes everything very clear. This will be more than helpful for our visit!

    1. Exactly, there is a big IG hype right now 🙂 But totally worth visiting!

  5. I looooove castles after Copenhagen and want to visit more in Europe! Definitely takes you back to medieval fables one read as children. Pinning!

    1. Thank you! And yeah, Europe is so wonderful, I’m so lucky to be on the old continent 🙂

  6. What absolutely amazing pictures. It looks like you found five great spots to take pictures. I cannot believe that the castle is in such a pristine surrounding without all of the tangle of wires of the modern world. It does seem to transport us back in time.

    1. Thank you for stopping by! Exactly, I think that’s one of the reasons it has become so popular recently 🙂

  7. Amazing castle pics! We did a short trip through the Mosul valley a few years ago and the scenery is just spectacular. This area is well worth a visit!

    1. Moselle is truly amazing, just castles and historical buildings in a beautiful valley. It’s like going through a Disney movie 🙂

  8. This place looks like something straight out of a fairy tale. The foggy picture is just spectacular! We’re visiting some German castles next month but don’t think we’ll make it far north enough for this one. We’ll have to go next time for sure!

    1. Thank you! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it! That’s the thing – there is simply so many beautiful castles around that are not even very well known 🙂

  9. What an incredible castle! I’ve never heard of this castle before reading this post, and now want to see it for myself when I return to Germany. Lovely post and photos!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by! 🙂

  10. Eltz Castle looks straight out of a dream! The photographs with fog are my favourites. The fog lends such an atmosphere of mystery, doesn’t it?

    1. Thanks for your comment, yes it does! I hoped to get some fog as it really is quite famous for it and I was lucky! 🙂

  11. Looks incredible man. I didn’t know places like that really existed. Looks like a fairy tale| story kind of castle. Good job with the photos

    1. Thank you! Yeah, it’s really beautiful!

  12. I bet this place looks even more magical in person. I love your photos! They give the castle an air of mystery and it’s like I am being transported to another time when there were knights and princesses in need of rescuing.

    1. Thank you so much!!!

  13. Wow! Cochem looks stunning. Gotta love castles and towns in Germany. I really loved the misty photo of the castle!

    1. Thank you so much! 🙂 Yes, this area is really stunning!

  14. Amazing. We saw Neuschwanstein and it’s sister castle in Bavaria but we really missed out on seeing other castles like Eltz Castle. I love your pics especially the Eltz Castle on a misty morning. Would love to spend time hiking around that area.

    1. Thank you for your comment! If you ever come to Germany and you enjoy castles, come to the Rhine and Moselle area!!! You’ll be in heaven 😀

  15. The castle looks wonderful. Thanks for giving us such a detailed directions to get there.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! Absolutely welcome 🙂

  16. I like the photo in the fog. It makes castles look more mysterious. Would love to get there with my camera.

    1. Yeah, it was a magical morning! 🙂

  17. Wow! This is one of the trips I have in my bucket list my friend. I will save for sure this post in my trip folder. Amazing!!! Need to go soon!

    1. I’m sure you’ll love it! 🙂

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