Located on the Rhine River in the Rheingau wine region is the enchanting Eltville Electoral Castle (known in German as Kurfürstliche Burg). This 14th century castle is surrounded by vineyards, timbered framed houses, rose gardens and slow moving boats going up and down the river. Looking like it’s right out of a fairy tale, Eltville Electoral Castle is truly a delight for all your senses!
Receiving its’ town status in 1332, Eltville is the oldest town in the Rheingau region. The castle was built in 1330 by Balduin von Trier and completed in 1350 by Heinrich von Virneburg. The name of the castle comes from 14th and 15th century when the archbishops and electors of Mainz lived there. During the Holy Roman Empire, the princes who had the right to elect the German kings were called ‘Electors’.
In 1635 the entire castle (except for the tower) was destroyed by Swedish troops. The tower that I walked up has a Gutenberg memorial, which pays tribute to the famous inventor of movable type for the printing press and letterpress printing. The famous inventor was officially honored here in 1465. Still today visitors of this breathtaking castle can learn firsthand about Gutenberg’s accomplishments.
Visiting the Castle
Being that it is one of the most beautiful castles I have visited in Europe, I truly enjoyed my day walking about the castle grounds. You arrive first in the courtyard, in which your eyes will draw to the picturesque well in the center. My daughter asked for a penny and made a wish! The courtyard was inviting, especially the cool temperature even though it was over 100 degrees outside.
Then I walked into the Gift Shop and Tourist-Information, which is at the base of the tower. The room of the gift shop used to be the recreation room for the castle servants. The shop offers a very nice selection of souvenirs, books, prints, gifts, wine samples and more. Here is where you buy your 3 euro ticket to walk up the castle tower. Here you will find a winding stone staircase and the several rooms with displays. I really appreciated these rooms, especially since I could catch my breath.
The 360 lookout room on top was a remarkable experience with a fantastic view. On one side you see the beautiful vineyard hills and the other a view of the Rhein River.
The old lookout posts were where the men would stand and shoot their arrows through thin (still in tact) windows at invaders. I liked to look out and try to feel how they would feel looking at the very same scenery but many many years ago.
Outer Courtyard and Rose Garden
After leaving the tower, I headed to the rose garden on the well-preserved wooden covered bridge, which seemed frozen in time. Then the garden was so gorgeous that pictures hardly could do it justice. The sea of roses with an intoxicating smell made me feel like I stumbled upon an area in ‘The Secret Garden,’ my favorite childhood book.
Would you Like Your Very Own Castle for a Day?
I was so surprised to learn that you can rent the castle for any private events such as weddings and family celebrations. Available to rent are different halls and the rose garden. This sounds like making a fairy tale party come true! Click here for more details.
The castle’s address is the following:
65343 Eltville am Rhein
Telephone:+49 (0) 6123 9098-0
Eltville Electoral Castle hours of operation are the following:
Inner and Outer Courtyard and Rose Garden
April through September: Daily 9:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
October through March: Daily 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Admission is free.
Tourist-Information and Gift Shop (located in the castle tower)
April through October:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Wednesday: 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 2 – 6 p.m.
Saturday, Sunday & Holidays: 10 a.m. 2 – 6 p.m.
November through March:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: Fri 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 2 – 5 p.m.
Wednesday: 2 – 5 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Dine at the Gelbes Haus Restaurant
Right before you enter the castle grounds is the beautiful Gelbes Haus (Yellow House), which is known for its local seasonal dishes and traditional wine bar. The 17th century picturesque building has a covered terrace which is situated right above the vineyard overlooking the Rhein. What a romantic setting to have dinner after exploring the incredible Electoral Castle!
How to Get There
Eltville Electoral Castle is located 20 minutes southwest of Wiesbaden, 1 hour and 10 minutes northeast of Kaiserslautern and 2 hours and 30 minutes north of Stuttgart. Click on DB Bahn for train information.
Author’s Profile: Gemma is a mom, a veteran and an Army civilian living in Wiesbaden, Germany. With New Jersey roots, she is enjoying her extended European vacation.
Featured Image Photo Credit: © Gemma