Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Wed March 30 2016

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  • Worldwide Scott | March 30, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    Burg Eltz is One of Europe’s Best Castles

    Burg Eltz is One of Europe’s Best Castles

    Photos by Worldwide Scott

    I wouldn’t necessarily classify myself as a castle-head, or a castlephile, or whatever the technical name is for those infatuated with fortified dwellings. But I can’t deny the sway they hold over me.

    Not in a cheesy way of course. It’s not like I stare up at castles longingly, imagining what it would be like if I lived there and was the one who got to unfurl my hair over the balcony or roll up the drawbridge each night, or anything like that. Oh no. I’m in to castles because, well, they are powerful reminders of the feudal framework that used to reign over Europe and the assorted historical implications that come along with it.

    And they’re really pretty, too.

    READ MORE: Happily Ever After: Six Castles for the Fairytale Dreamer

    Not many things are more associated with Europe than castles, and after visiting Burg (“burg” is German for “castle,” FYI) Eltz in Germany, I’ve got to say it’s one of the best I’ve ever seen. Why? Well, allow me to explain.

    The Setting

    Burg Eltz's setting is simply stunning, as it sits perched on a rocky precipice surrounded by thick-wooded hills and a babbling stream on three sides. This is no coincidence, as the location was perfect for exacting tolls on passing traders, which provided much of the early wealth to Burg Eltz’s residents.

    This setting is only enhanced when you approach the castle on foot, which most visitors do. Whether you approach Burg Eltz via the scenic fifteen-minute walk through the woods from the parking lot, or at the end of a longer hike from a nearby town, you are guaranteed a “Bam! There it is!” moment when you round the corner and see Burg Eltz lying before you, and this is an image you won’t soon forget. In theory, you could arrive by a tour bus and park right by the castle and skip the scenic approach, but that’s cheating.

    The History

    Unlike many castles that have been handed back and forth, or created only as fanciful escapes, Burg Eltz has been a real, live, lived-in castle since day one of its medieval construction, and by the same clan, too. Yes, the same family has lived here for thirty generations, and during this time, Burg Eltz has remarkably never been taken over or destroyed. It was attacked once, an effort that was quickly repelled, and in the world of castles, this is a rare feat indeed. This continuous streak has allowed Burg Eltz to remain much like it was in its earliest days, and to be home to a vast collection of authentic family heirlooms and artifacts.

    The Architecture

    While all castles have something special going for them, and I appreciate a sprawling venue like Versailles as much as the next guy, I am partial to castles that look more like something out of the old “Castlevania” video game. Burg Eltz slots hauntingly into the latter category with a narrow walkway entrance and eight towers all crowned by spindly spires on the outside.

    READ MORE: Germany’s Fairytale Castles: Planning a Dream Trip for Your Child

    Once inside the castle's walls, the main courtyard is a mishmash of design styles, reflecting the fact that three different branches of the family once resided in the fortified structure together. Even more gems are present inside the residential quarters, as all tours include a visit to the rustic medieval kitchen and stately Knights Hall, where the families gathered for bountiful feasts and were able to engage in free and open conversation, which is symbolized by the jester masks on wall. 

    Yes, with these physical features combined with the setting and the history, Burg Eltz is quite possibly the best castle in Germany. 

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Worldwide Scott The Adventures of Worldwide Scott

Worldwide Scott Born in the U.S.A like Springsteen but trying to see the world like Pitbull, Worldwide Scott is the voice behind the hard-hitting travel site of the same name. Employing a groundbreaking strategy of visiting destinations, coming home, and then writing things about them on the internet, Worldwide Scott only tackles the tough questions that other writers wouldn't dare touch: Is travelling fun? Are there pretty places in the world? Do people in other countries wear clothes? Does Europe really exist? And if so, what's the beer like there? Stick around, he's going places.
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