Visiting Eltz Castle in Germany.
Last month, we spent a week traveling through Germany and trying our best to see some of the castles we've been wanting to see for years. We made Cologne our starting point, because we've heard great things about the cute little town, and we were honestly blown away! We really loved all the cute streets and watching the sunset over the city was amazing. The Cologne Cathedral was absolutely incredible, and you know how I feel about colorful houses. Basically, Germany won us over real quick.
Cologne is the cutest little town. It’s honestly pretty small, but every alley is so cute and colorful, and it really feels like a true German town. The Cathedral is so stunning and the inside is so ornate with the most beautiful stained glass windows from the 1500s. And you have to go into Old Town for the iconic colorful houses for a photo op. Then get some frites and a pastry, because oh my the pastries in Germany are next level.
Tip: We quickly found that using a credit card in Germany is harder than you would think. We almost exclusively use our credit cards while traveling, because it earns us miles and cash back and helps us keep track of our expenses. But more than any other western European country we have been to, we found that very few food places accepted our credit cards, so be sure to keep some cash on hand! Think about opening up a Schwab checking account, because they reimburse you for all your ATM fees, which can add up while traveling.
Eltz Castle is the perfect day trip from Cologne! We rented a car and drove to Eltz Castle. It's about an hour and a half drive from Cologne, so it’s really pretty quick. Not only is driving yourself the easiest way to get there, but if you go in May like we did, you’ll get to see the endless fields of yellow rapeseed blooms, which makes the drive so beautiful. They’re so pretty, but be careful if you decide to pull over and walk through them, because they totally get all over your clothes. You'll also pass by towns like Bonn, which has a famous cherry blossom festival (that we just missed!). It's a really beautiful drive, and we loved getting to see Germany by car, so basically Eltz Castle was just the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Once you get to Eltz Castle, parking costs about two euros. There are two huge lots, and if you get there early, it’s not a problem at all.
You can either walk into the castle or take a shuttle bus down. But the shuttle does cost money, so be sure to have some euros on you if you plan on taking it. We got there early and the shuttle wasn't running yet, so we walked down and it took about 10 minutes. It’s downhill the whole way in (meaning it’s uphill on the way out), and you walk through this beautiful forest, which really helps get you in the fairytale setting. It seriously feels like you're in some sort of enchanted forest. The best part is, the path is completely surrounded by trees, so once you get to the castle, you turn a corner to the most beautiful reveal of the castle hidden in the middle of this lush green valley. It’s honestly breathtaking.
Get there early so it’s not as crowded and you can get all the photos you want. We got there before it opened, so we could explore the grounds a bit before the castle itself opened. There are a few different trails around the castle, so you can spend some time walking around the castle and then go inside. The inside is beautiful, but honestly, the outside is really just breathtaking.
Eltz Castle seriously felt like a fairytale land, and our time there and in Cologne made us fall in love with Germany so quickly. We honestly can’t wait to go back.