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Best Rhine Castle to explore

Which is the best Rhine Castle to explore: the Marksburg or Burg Eltz?

Posted by
6798 posts

Eltz is not on the Rhine. Both offer good castle experiences. Eltz has more interesting furnishings. Marksburg is more rustic. Marksburg is somewhat easier to reach. You don't really explore these places - you take the tour that's offered. It shouldn't be "or" - do both if at all possible.

Posted by
19170 posts

Burg Eltz is on the Mosel, not the Rhein.

Neither castle was ever destroyed. All other castles in the area have been rebuilt, many not as castles, per se.

The Marksburg has been preserved as an example of castle life hundreds of years ago by the German Castle Association. Burg Eltz is lived in; I cannot imagine that doesn't change it.

The Marksburg is pretty easy to get to. If you take the footpath from town, it's a fairly steep but short walk. It looks imposing from the bottom, but it's not that bad. The paved road is a longer walk, but not as steep. Or, if you have a car, you can drive up. There is a trolley that meets the K-D boats at the river and takes you up the road to the castle.

Burg Eltz is a 4 km (2½ mi) hike, half of it through the woods. If you have a car, you can drive to Burg Eltz the long way around through Münstermaifeld. On weekend there are regular buses from Treis-Karden to Wierschem, just above the castle.

I've never been to Burg Eltz. It was raining the day I wanted to go, so I went to the Marksburg instead. It's easy to get to, and I was impressed with the authenticity. I had no trouble getting an English tour. Funny, of the four of us on the tour, only three understood English. The fourth person, a Czech woman, was only on the tour because she was accompanying her nephew, who was living in Canada and understood English, but not German.

I might still go to Burg Eltz someday, but if given the choice, I'd prefer the Marksburg.

Posted by
982 posts

If you have a car to drive to Burg Eltz, from the parking lot the herd starts walking down the steep paved road to the castle. Don't. Near the ticket taker's hutte on the right, near a smaller parking area, there is an unmarked path, graded and smooth, that slopes gently through the woods down to the castle, an easy 20-25 minute walk. The view is magical when you round the bend and the see the castle below you in the valley. You might have to wait a bit in the castle courtyard, but when they reach a quorum of English speakers, they will form a tour.

Posted by
12040 posts

I'm neutral about which offers a better castle experience, but here's one factor to consider. If you don't understand German, Burg Eltz offers more frequent English tours.

Posted by
2934 posts


We went to both a few years ago. Burg Eltz. Nothing compares in my opinion. The castle, the setting, etc.

Posted by
295 posts

Burg Eltz is the one to visit and tour. Its also Rick's favorite castle. I know you learned from other posters that its on the Mosel. If you would like a recommendation for the Rhine- I would suggest Rheinfels in St. Goar. They offer excellent tours and you can truly explore. I would also bring a flashlight.

Posted by
2297 posts

Rheinfels is definitely spectacular. However, be aware that it is mostly in ruins. That provides for a very different experience than a preserved castle like Marksburg or Burg Eltz

Posted by
9042 posts

Burg Rheinfels is a ruin, but what a ruin! When you walk into the great hall, it takes your breath away. Nothing at Marksburg took my breath away or even made me say wow. Marksburg is a great castle, certainly worth a visit, but I would pick Burg Rheinfels over the Marksburg any day, hands down. This is a massive fortress, the largest on the Rhein and simply exciting to visit and to explore. Flashlights for the tunnels has already been suggested by Laura, or use the flashlight ap on your phone. It also has some interesting WC. Both men and womens. Make sure you take a look if you go there.

Posted by
485 posts

We've been to both. When the kids were elementary age they loved Marksburg, a true fortress. The tour included the dungeon and the cannons peering out of the high walls... stuff boys in particular would love. We toured Burg Eltz when the kids were in college. Nice too but different.

Posted by
2531 posts

For the Rhine River area, I prefer Rheinfels Castle. Eltz Castle is my favorite if you wish to also include the Mosel River. Marksburg Castle rounds out the list and is very worthwhile.

Posted by
12172 posts

Marksburg and Rheinfels are the top two choices to tour. Marksburg for something intact, Rheinfels for a ruin. Rheinfels is great exploration because you can pretty much go wherever you want, including the mine (as in land-mine) tunnels underground.

I think Marksburg is a better castle experience than Burg Eltz (on the Mosel) - but I love the hike to the castle from Moselkern through the forest, that was at least half the fun of touring Burg Eltz for me.

Posted by
1503 posts

I totally agree with all Brad said. Have been to all 3 castles mentioned and I agree the walk was half the fun of seeing Burg Eltz. I also was more impressed with Marksburg as a Castle. As for Rheinfels - one thing I will NEVER forget is finding a (I think) separate building all by ourselves which was quite dark. We had to use our flashlights and there were hallways and spiral staircases to explore. It was fantastic!