Itinerary Ideas for the Ultimate German Castle Hostel Road Trip
Imagine a road trip where your destination each day is a beacon on the landscape, seen from miles around. Imagine winding up a hill at the end of each day to spend a night at a castle that’s been welcoming people in, not for years but for hundreds of years. Imagine sleeping in rooms that may once have been slept in by counts, knights, soldiers, princes or princesses. Imagine doing all this on the budget of a peasant, without spending your fortune, by staying in hostels. That’s what we did for our German Castle Hostel Road Trip. And from this page you can link out to our series of posts offering five action packed itineraries for 48 hour stays at top Castle Hostels in Germany. So you can plan your own ultimate German Castle Hostel Road Trip….
Make your own fairy tale with a castle themed hostel road trip
A Castle Mission
This summer we set out on a road trip of German hostels. Not just any old hostels, but historic castle hostels. Our aim was to tap into the magic of these medieval spaces, to discover the landscape around them, and gather ideas for family fun and adventure for anyone with an interest in castle themed travel.
We made a ten day road trip, which in retrospect would have been better spread over a couple of weeks or more. Because a hostel that’s been around that long, fighting off defenders, acting as a landmark in times of war and peace, and opening its doors to curious tourists, is worth taking time to explore.
With the help of the DJH Jugendherberge (the German Youth Hostel Association), who sponsored our trip, we planned a route around these five classic German castle hostels, looking to explore the area around each one.
Castle Hostels Road Trip Route Map
48 hours in…
You can read about our stays in these hostels in a series of feature length blog posts, each one giving an itinerary for 48 hours at a castle hostel. Each post includes highlights of the location, practical information, tips on what to see and do and some videos of attractions we visited. And of course our impression of what lies beneath the towers and turrets of each hostel, captured in a series of specially made videos, one for each hostel. So, do you want to know if we kissed a frog in a fairy tale castle? And if it turned into a prince? Would you like to know where you are most likely to run into a convention of Harry Potters? Well, browe this menu of castle hotels and find out.
Bilstein – The Character Castle
The 13th century Bilstein Hostel in Lennestadt is a journey of the imagination. You can’t go far without a fairytale character or a medieval knight jumping out at you from the décor. But it’s not all imaginary fun- there are walks from the door as well as great biking, boating and blobbing in a sparkling blue reservoir. Further afield you can blasting down the mountain on a toboggan, bike or… well read on to find out how we flew around a destination that’s full of magic. Check out our post on 48 hours at Burg Bilstein – Sauerland: Activities, Adventures and Castle Magic
Burg Bilstein seen from Bilstein town in evening light
Blankenheim – An Old World Escape
Burg Blankenheim is situated in the Eifel region. Don’t come here if you are looking for nightlife – it’s more about birdlife, country life and a quiet life. This baroque castle that was built as a display of wealth is thought to date back as far as Roman times. (You can also visit an excavated Roman villa in the town.) It offers simple pleasures including a walk into the charming medieval town at the bottom of the hill. You can hire a bike (or ebike) and pedal for miles around the Eiffel parkland without meeting a soul. If it’s all too slow for you then head to the famous F1 Nurburgring for some fast car thrills. Check out our post on Peaceful Cycling and Motorsports Madness in 48 hours in Burg Blankenheim.
Burg Blankenheim at night seen from the town below
Bacarach – The Fairytale Castle on the River
This hostel (also called Stahleck) is all about location, location, location. Set on a bend on the Rhine, there’s nothing as pleasurable as enjoying an evening drink on the terrace as the sun goes down. But this is more than a pretty location; the hostel is buzzy, fun and filled with families enjoying board games, pinball machines and visits to the towers. Yes there are towers galore, and a real moat, and if you are one of the lucky ones, a castle themed bedroom with turrets on your bunk. Read on to see how we got on in ours. There are dozens of castles packed into a small section of river here including a floating one! Check it out on the way to the Loreley rock with stunning views and a fun summer toboggan run. Further afield, Koblenz provides a fortress tour and tea on the palace lawn. Check out our post on 48 hours around the Middle Rhine: Burg Stahleck, Koblenz and the Romantic Rhine
Burg Stahleck in Bacharach
Nuremberg – a Modern Castle Hostel City Break
This modern city hostel isn’t a castle itself but is situated in the old stables of Imperial Castle of Nuremberg. One of the joys is being so close to the action. Any tour surely starts on the doorstep where you can view the gardens and palace, gaze down into the darkness of the well or climb the circular Sinwell tower and see for miles. But there’s lots to do in Nuremberg that doesn’t involve royalty. Turn the bronze ring in the famous fountain, visit the delightful toy museum, sample the famous wurst sausages and see how they make the local gingerbread that goes down a storm at the Christmas markets. Check out our post on 48 hours in Nuremberg: A Classic, Beautiful, Dark and Playful City
Nuremberg Gingerbread from Wicklein Lebkuchen on Nürnberg Hauptmarkt
Colditz – the Prison Hostel
In one sense it doesn’t matter what’s inside the hostel as people come for the stories, the history and the TV show and film locations. But through the (original) gates, you will find a comfortable and modern hostel that provides all your needs. The real treat though is the tour. There are two – long and even longer – but the tour guide is so full of interesting information that she kept us captivated throughout. After that, it’s a case of relaxing in the town, heading off to the local aquapark or novel indoor tree top walk, or gentling canoeing the river in the nearby city of Leipzig. Check out our post on 48 hours in Schloss Colditz & Leipzig – A Great Escape in Saxony.
The walk up to Colditz Castle Youth Hostel
Disclosure Note: This post is part of a paid campaign for DJH, the German Youth Hostels Association (Jugendherberge) to promote stays at their Castle Hostels and inform you of activities in the vicinity. The stories, opinions, photography and videography are entirely our own work.
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