The only fault one could possibly find with German castles is that there are just so many of them.  It’s difficult to decide which ones to visit and which ones to skip.  While last year we celebrated my birthday in Lucerne followed by a visit to The Devil’s Bridge in Switzerland, this year I wanted to celebrate like a queen.  And what could be more fitting then spending the day at a castle?  Since Travis and I didn’t have any fixed plans for the day, I checked our German bucket list in the morning and randomly chose Wartburg Castle.  In just over the single hour that it took us to drive there, we passed no fewer than 8 castles.  I kid you not.  Though we now have more castles on our bucket list, we chose well since Wartburg Castle is a great choice to visit for anyone castle-hopping around Germany.

6 Wartburg Castle, Eisenach, Germany

Stairs crisscross back and forth beneath Wartburg Castle where a small draw-bridge leads through the main entrance.

5 Wartburg Castle, Eisenach, Germany

Built in 1914, the historic Wartburg Hotel clings to the hillside just below the castle.

#TravelTrivia | Wartburg Castle was the first castle in Germany to become a #UNESCO World Heritage site. #TatersTravelsClick To Tweet
3 Wartburg Castle, Eisenach, Germany

An old cannon overlooks the town of Eisenach, Germany in the valley below.

The foundation stone for Wartburg Castle was laid in 1067, dating it over a thousand years old.  Widely recognized as one of Germany’s more famous castles, it’s one of the most well preserved with a rather interesting mixture of architectural elements that reflect its expansion and renovations over the centuries.  While interior refurbishments are quite new, mostly dating from the 19th century, the exterior retains much of its original charm.

1 Wartburg Castle, Eisenach, Germany

Long and narrow, Wartburg runs along a ridge over 400 meters above the rolling forests surrounding Eisenach.

24 Wartburg Castle, Eisenach, Germany

Travis poses on a turret high above the forest.

As soon as we crossed the drawbridge and passed through the heavy double doors, we entered a small stone courtyard: in the center, a Gothic fountain decorated with ornate flowers and a winged dragon beast.  Gazing up at the half-timber building rising above the fountain, the bailiff’s lodge marked the rooms that once harbored Martin Luther after he was excommunicated in 1521.  For months, he found sanctuary in the castle, translating the New Testament from Greek to German in a version that’s still widely used today.

25 Wartburg Castle, Eisenach, Germany

Potable water is available from a fantastic fountain topped with a winged beast.

10 Wartburg Castle, Eisenach, Germany

On a hot summer day, this neatly pruned hedge would provide a welcome spot of shade.

14 Wartburg Castle, Eisenach, Germany

The Gun Powder Tower, which was added in 1318, is accessed by exterior stairs leading to a room mid-height before the stairs continue inside the tower to the roof.

16 Wartburg Castle, Eisenach, Germany

A cafe is now housed in the building where the stables were once located.

15 Wartburg Castle, Eisenach, Germany

Wartburg Castle, Eisenach, Germany

18 Wartburg Castle, Eisenach, Germany

The Palas, or Great Hall, is the oldest building in the castle.

17 Wartburg Castle, Eisenach, Germany

The castle wall frames a small spring green garden beneath the Gun Powder Tower.

19 Wartburg Castle, Eisenach, Germany

In a side room where prisoners were once lodged in the Gun Powder Tower, two chicks huddle for warmth in a window casement.

After waiting for a mob of boisterous elementary school kids to enter near the Gun Powder Towder, we took the trail at the base of Wartburg Castle leading to the less visited back side.

20 Wartburg Castle, Eisenach, Germany

Scarcely visited, the short trail around the base of the castle leads to more interesting exhibits.

Our visit to Wartburg Castle ended as all good mornings start – with coffee.

Considering that we were visiting on a weekend in June, I was rather surprised that the entire castle complex was mostly deserted, likely owing to the dark rain clouds and intermittent showers.  We had actually arrived in town earlier in the day to an absolute deluge, one so thick we could barely see the road.

Grateful the weather had cleared as much as it had, we enjoyed our cappuccinos on the patio of the little cafe on site, content to have the place to ourselves.

I’m pretty excited about opening Trav’s gift at the castle, especially since I wasn’t able to guess what’s in the package.

I finally had a chance to open my birthday gift from Travis.  It was concert tickets to see one of our favorite singers, Chris de Burgh, in August!  Not only will it be at Germany’s Königstein Fortress, an unreal concert venue, but he splurged for front-row seats.

Who is this guy?!

He actually had the nerve to apologize because he hadn’t gotten me something “tangible” that I could have on my birthday.  Obviously he knows better.  I’m not coompletely non-materialistic, but he knows me well enough to know that being queen for the day at Wartburg Castle and getting tickets to an event where we can make more memories is far better than baubles that sparkle.

Know Before You Go
  • Entry to the outer castle grounds is free with the exception of the Gun Powder Tower, which costs €0.50 (and doesn’t give money back, so bring exact change).  A single adult ticket for the interior guided tour costs €9.
  • Guided Tours – From April to October, the only way to tour the majority of the interior it by guided tours, which are available from 0830 to 1700.  The single daily tour in English is at 1330.
  • Parking is available near the castle for a flat rate of €5 for regular passenger vehicles, or “PKW.”
  • From the parking area (which is also where tour buses and public transit buses drop off passengers), it’s about a 5-10 minute walk uphill to the castle.
  • Dogs are allowed on the trail around the castle and throughout the outdoor complex but not inside the castle or surrounding buildings.
  • Official site for Wartburg Castle (EN, DE, FR)

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