Get some fresh air along the Eltz river
Burg Eltz is a crowning jewel in an awe-inspiring series of picturesque castles along the Rhine. Often, though, attention falls a little too heavily on those glorified forts and homes. Any trip to Germany should take a more intimate look at the charming natural world that has long lent grandeur to those presiding palaces.
Unlike many of the 19th century castles that - in a thrust of German romantic nationalism - decided to transform the brutish set pieces for siege and assault into fairy-tale fortifications, Castle Eltz is a truly medieval castle dating back to the 12th century. It is a truly breathtaking building nestled along the Elzbach river, untouched by war and passed down through the generations of one family. Yet much of its splendor is attributable to the preserved flora and fauna surrounding it, from the Eltz forest and the flood meadows to that life-rich river.
There are seven different hikes to Eltz castle that take travelers through these natural marvels. Some hikes are a mere 10-minute hike from the parking lot, while others, such as the meandering and beautiful "dream hike," can traverse up to eight miles and take up more than half of a day.