March 27, 2017
Located just outside of Koblenz, Germany, is the Stolzenfels Castle. We had taken the train from Frankfurt to Koblenz, so we had to take a taxi to get to the grounds of the castle, but it was one of the sights that we wanted to see while we were in Koblenz. The area around the castle is a park with plenty of walking trails and it is a very steep hike to make your way up to the castle itself. Needless to say, there are a lot of castles in Germany, especially along the Rhine River, but we found this one to be different than most of the others that we had seen. First of all, the walls of the castle, which was later turned into a palace, are white instead of the typical gray stones. The other thing that stands out are the spires of the cathedral that is part of the castle complex.
It is clear from the dramatic views of the river valley as to why they would have chosen this location for the castle. The castle was originally built to protect the toll station on the river collecting money from ships transporting goods through the region. Over time it was extended several times and occupied by both the French and the Swiss. It was destroyed during the Nine Years’ War and then eventually rebuilt as a palace in the 1800’s by Crownprince Frederick William IV. The gothic chapel was completed in 1845 and was visited by Queen Victoria.
The castle is open to the public and can be toured, but unfortunately for us, there were no English tours available as it was off-season and a Sunday, so tour times were limited. Even without getting to see the inside of the castle, it was well worth the strenuous hike to see the castle and the views of the Rhine Valley. The Upper Middle Rhine Valley, where Schloss Stolzenfels resides, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002.
Just strolling the grounds of the park is well worth the visit and seemed to be a favorite pastime of locals. One could imagine the impression of guests as the passed through the impressive guardhouse on their way up summit and the grand palace entranceway. Unfortunately we didn’t have our own horse-drawn carriage and locating a taxi to return to Koblenz turned out to be almost impossible. Fortunately, the taxi driver who had dropped us off had given us his business card and we were able to call him and have him come and get us. It took about an hour for him to arrive, but that didn’t diminish how impressed we were with Schloss Stolzenfels.