A Collection of Castles in Germany

 Written aboard the Longship Odin on her river voyage with stops in Paris, Luxembourg, Trier, Cochem, Heidelberg, Wurzburg, Rothenburg, Nuremberg, and Prague. Thanks to Viking River Cruises for inviting us along and providing this adventure! As always, all opinions are our own.

Read about our entire Viking river adventure here. 

Cruising along the Moselle and Rhine Rivers unveils an unbelievable concentration of castles.

It seemed as though we never traveled more than a mile or so before spotting the next fortress. In fact, much of the time we were never out of sight of at least one castle.

Beginning in the Moselle valley, where some of the best Rieslings in the world grow, we would spend the next few days casting our eyes from riverbank to riverbank seeking the next fortification.

Landshut Castle

In the charming medieval village of Bernkastel we docked for a night time visit directly under Landshut Castle. This classic was constructed in 1277 but burned, along with all of its treasures, in 1692.

Imperial castle Reichsburg

The city of Cochem is overseen by the imposing Imperial castle Reichsburg on the hill high above. Actually, saying castle Reichsburg is redundant, like saying castle Reichs castle, because burg means castle.

But by any name it is a fantastic sight looming over the town.

Thurant Castle

Beginning in the mid-13th century, Thurant Castle was the bastion of the archbishops from Cologne and Trier, which is why it looks like two castles stuck together.

Since the 16th century the double castle has gradually fallen into disrepair, until the last hundred years or so when it has been partially restored.

Marksburg Castle

Marksburg Castle is one of the few castles in Germany, that has never been destroyed.

When we looked down from its perch high above the river it was easy to see how no invaders ever managed to ransack this stronghold.

Inside we found eight-hundred years of well-preserved history, and even though most of the artifacts were brought in from other places, they provide an excellent look into life in the middle ages.

Among them, eye-opening displays of torture, no wait, let’s call them criminal punishment devices, that harken back to the days when Marksburg served as a prison. Certainly looked as though harsh sentences were the order of the day back then.

Schönburg Castle

Schönburg Castle stands guard above the medieval town of Oberwesel in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley and dates back as far as the year 911.  As with many of these strongholds, the idea was to levy customs upon the traffic on the river.

Rheinstein Castle

Rheinstein Castle goes back to the late 13th century, when the archbishop of Mainz decided to collect some tariffs from the commerce on the river.

Of course it also provided protection from the other castles down the river.

Its heyday ran until the 16th century, before falling into ruin.

Pfalzgrafenstein Castle

Pfalzgrafenstein Castle has one mouthful of a name, so it is usually known simply as the Pfalz. This was another toll castle erected by King Ludwig the Bavarian in 1326.

To extract the fee, a chain was pulled across the river to block the boats. Traders who refused to pay would be thrown in the dungeon until they coughed up… or maybe croaked.

Heidelberger Schloss

While Heidelberg is on a different river, the Neckar, we included it because the Heidelberger Schloss found itself in the middle of much of European history. This palace / fortress has been occupied by kings and emperors of Germany, Bavaria, and the Holy Roman Empire.

See more about charming Heidelberg here.

Read about our entire Viking river adventure here. 

Find the rest of our escapades across Germany here.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

 Written aboard the Longship Odin on her river voyage with stops in Paris, Luxembourg, Trier, Cochem, Heidelberg, Wurzburg, Rothenburg, Nuremberg, and Prague. Thanks to Viking River Cruises for inviting us along and providing this adventure! As always, all opinions are our own.


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