I spend a lot of time in Germany. It’s one of the places I call home. Since moving to Frankfurt, I really wanted to make a point of seeing more of Germany, especially the former East. The former East is home to some notable cities like Dresden and Leipzig & some spectacular natural sites like ancient Beech forests and the gypsum cave of Barbarossa. It’s also is where my sister-in-law grew up. A couple of weekends ago, we found out that all my in-laws were going to be in Eisenach for an extended weekend. In an effort to see more of Germany and be good family members, we decided to take a last-minute trip to Eisenach. Aside from seeing family, the highlight of our less-than-24-hour trip was visiting the Wartburg Castle. This castle is quite a site and the walk up to the castle is just as noteworthy. This post will give you a quick background about the Wartburg Castle, tips for visiting, and some amazing fall foliage.
Wartburg Castle is located in Eisenach, which is a city in the state of Thuringia (Germany). Its initial foundations were constructed in the Middle Ages by Ludwig der Springer; however, various additions and renovations over hundreds of years have given the castle an interesting mix of architectural styles including Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Historicism. Wartburg’s Castle’s most famous guest was Martin Luther, who was secretly kept in the castle as a result of his excommunication by Pope Leo X and further outlaw status given by Emperor Charles V. Luther resided at the castle for almost one year, where he translated the New Testament into German. In 1999, Wartburg Castle was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it was ‘an outstanding monument to the feudal era in Central Europe’.
5 Tips for Visiting the Wartburg Castle
1. Walk Up to the Castle
While you could drive or take a bus, the walk is absolutely stunning. There are a couple of paths you can take to access the castle and most around anywhere between a 35-45 minute walk. On the prettiest paths is via Schloßberg.
2. Stop for a Thüringer Rostbratwurst
If you’re walking up to the castle via Schloßberg you will naturally encounter a truck selling the famous Thüringer Rostbratwurst. If you’re coming up a different way, you can find the truck at the intersection of Wartburgalle and Geheimrat-Helferich Weg. It’s near the donkey station (yes, you can ride a donkey to castle).
These bratwursts are long and thing and known for their special spice mix and relatively low fat content (under 25%) in comparison to other sausages. They’re delicious and worth trying. I had one on the way up and down from the castle.
3. Take in the Views of Thüringia
From Wartburg Castle, you can get pretty amazing views of the Thüringian landscape. While the Castle is a great site, don’t forget to check out the surrounding landscape.
4. Roam the Castle Grounds for Free
Roaming the castle grounds is free. Within the castle, you get additional views of the landscape and you can view the architecture up close. Definitely do this!
5. Consider Paying to See More
There are three things that could be worth shelling out for depending on your time and budget. First, there are guided tours of the Great Hall and there is even a daily English tour at 1:30pm. This costs about 9 euros for adults. Second, If you just want to see the museum it costs 5 euros. There are reduced rates for students, families, children, and the disabled. For information about pricing and hours, check out the Wartburg Castle website here. Third, you can walk up the South Tower for further views; however, you need to have a 50 euro cent coin to gain access.
The Wartburg Castle is worth seeing if you’re around Eisenach. It frequently makes various lists like ‘top castles in Germany’ and ‘must-see fairytale castles’. It’s pretty easy to see why.