In the south west of Germany in a tiny place near the border with France are the prettiest German castle ruins you’ve never heard of: Hohengeroldseck Castle. Germany is certainly not lacking in history and castles. A quick search for ‘Germany castles’ will bring up many of the top hits – the classic palaces that Disney films were based off. For me though, the whole journey up to this spot from the walk to the open air, was just such a unique experience, it trumped my visit to Augustusburg Palace!
When I was in Germany last month, I was invited to spend my last three nights near Lahr. This is a small town on the westernmost edge of the country near France. Some friends had family there, and I’d essentially run out of money so it all worked out well. The first night, they took me on a drive into the countryside. We walked up this beautiful path around 6pm just as the sun was hitting its best moment. I don’t think I’d really absorbed where we were going. When you’re staying with people you don’t actually know, you just kind of go along with them.
As it turned out, we were walking to Hohengeroldseck Castle – or, the ruins of it. They’re in a little town called Seelbach, about 2.5 hours by car from Frankfurt. It was the prettiest German castle I’ve ever seen.
The castle was destroyed in 1688 by the French and hasn’t been worked on since. It’s free to visit, and completely open air – due to the French-wrought destruction.
The path up is ‘knights and castles’ themed and the Germans taking their paths very seriously. You can stick your face in the hole and become a knight (as my new friends made me do). And, you can learn (in German and French) about various aspects of castle life.
The true highlight for me was the blissful view over the Black Forest as we climbed to the castle. Perhaps you don’t really care about castles and ruins – or maybe you’re totally castled-out after three weeks in Europe like I was. Regardless- the walk up is really lovely and the sense of being in the Black Forest is very cool.
Outside, there’s lots of room to run around and pretend you’re a knight or a jester if that’s your thing.
If you have more time in Germany, try these 6 day trips from Cologne.
I also really enjoyed the “Geroldsecker Castle Path”. The trail has signposts with various little characters for different pathways, one of which was a wee ghost!
Have you ever been to these ruins? Let me know!
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