29. Gudenau Castle
Gudenau Castle was built in the year 1200 and belonged to the Counts’ Estate of Drachenfels from the 15th century onwards. During World War II, the lovely four-wing castle was destroyed. Today the castle has been restored and is under private ownership.
30. Drachenburg Castle
Schloss Drachenburg, a fairy tale castle built in the 1880s, is an architectural mishmash that contains a fake organ, a reproduction of a Louis XIV throne and tacky murals. The financier who had the castle built, Stephan Sarter made his fortune helping to arrange the financing for the Suez Canal. One of the wall paintings features him as a medieval knight on horseback.
31. Nürburg Castle
High towering above the Eifel Region is the Nürburg Castle. The castle, which can be accessed via various walking trails from Quiddelbach offers panoramic views across the region and the adjacent Nürburg Ring Race Course.
32. Cochem Castle
The castle that towers above the scenic town of Cochem on the Moselle River is not the castle that originally stood here in the 12th century. That castle had a long and colorful history until French King Louis XIV had his troops obliterate it in 1689. The castle remained a colorful stone ruin for 180 years until a wealthy Berlin businessman bought the ruins and rebuild the castle in 1868 as a summer residence for his family.
33. Metternich Castle
Metternich Castle, now in ruins, is located near the town of Beilstein on the river Moselle. The history of the castle can be traced back to 1268 when it was first mentioned. In 1637 the castle became the property of the House of Metternich, hence its current name. Fifty year later, during the Nine Years’ War, the castle was devastated by French troops.
34. Burg Eltz
Burg Eltz Castle is situated near the Moselle River between Koblenz and Trier. It has been the ancestral home of the Rübenach, Rodendorf and Kempenich families since it was built in the 12th century. The castle sits on a huge rock in the middle of a forest. Its armory, filled with gold and silver artifacts, as well as porcelain and jewelry, is considered one of the best in Europe.
35. Stolzenfels Castle
Stolzenfels Castle dates back to the 13th century when it served as a toll station for boats and ships traveling on the Rhine River. The castle was not very successful as a defense mechanism as it was occupied by foreign troops several times and destroyed by the French in the late 17th century. Located near Koblenz, it was later restored and used as a summer palace by the King of Prussia. Following more restoration work in the 21st century, the castle opened to the public in 2011.
36. Reichenstein Castle
Schloss Reichenstein is a truly atmospheric castle, with dark stone walls, narrow windows and crenellated battlements that bring its turbulent history vividly to life. It was initially built to protect the city of Aachen from invasion in the early 11th century. Towards the end of the following century, several generations of barons who lived at the castle began to impose illegal tolls on ships and carriages in the Rhine area, and engaged in a reign of terror until they were deposed in 1253 by the Rhine League, and the castle was destroyed. In the next centuries it was destroyed and rebuilt on numerous occasions, in different styles.
37. Rheinstein Castle
Burg Rheinstein was built in the early 10th century on a rocky hilltop above the Rhine River in Germany’s picturesque Lorelei Valley. During the romantic period in the 19th century, Prince Frederick of Prussia bought the castle and had it rebuilt. Today, the castle is privately owned by the Hecher family and open to the public 10 months out of the year.
38. Stahleck Castle
Stahleck Castle was acquired by emperor Barbarossa in 1190, who gave it to his brother Konrad. In 1689 the French blew up the castle. It was not until the 20th century before the castle was restored to its current impressive size. Today the former castle of the Hohenstaufen dynasty is a youth hostel.
Schönburg Castle in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley is more than 1,000 years old or would be if it had survived the centuries intact. The castle, which sits on a hill above the town of Oberwesel, was destroyed by the French in 1689. It lay in ruins for 200 years until a family bought and restored it. Once a place where people paid tolls to travel on this section of the Rhine River, it is today a hotel and restaurant.
40. Lahneck Castle
Overlooking the confluence of the Rhine and its tributary the Lahn stands the thirteenth century. In June 1851, while on holiday with her family, the 17-year-old Idilia Dubb climbed the abandoned castle’s high tower, when suddenly the wooden stairs collapsed behind her. Nobody heard her crying and calling from the tower. When she did not return, the police were contacted and an extensive search was instigated. However, no trace of her could be found and eventually her grieving family returned to Scotland.
Several years later construction workers found a skeleton at the top of one of the towers. Along with the bones, they found pages of a sketchbook owned by Idilia. On the pages, she had recorded the horror of her final days.
Originally named Burg Braubach, The Marksburg rises high above the right bank of the Rhine River, crowning a cone-shaped hill overlooking the town of Braubach. The Marksburg is the only castle on the Middle Rhine to escape destruction or ruin. The castle had some additions in the 17th and 18th century, but maintains its medieval character.
42. Pfalzgrafenstein Castle
Built in 1327 by Ludwig the Bavarian, the Pfalzgrafenstein Castle on the Falkenau island served as a toll station until 1866. Unlike the vast majority of Rhine castles, the castle was never conquered or destroyed, withstanding not only wars, but also the natural forces of ice and floods by the river.