Castle Drachenburg – Hidden Gem of Germany
May 22, 2020
Have you ever dreamed about being a part of a fairytale? If your answer is yes, you should visit Castle Drachenburg, the hidden gem of Germany!
Oh, what the heck, you should visit this place even if your answer is no. This true jewel shouldn’t be missed when visiting Germany.
Königswinter is a small German town located in the heart of the Siebengebirge (‘Seven Hills’), German’s oldest nature reserve. Now you may think this is a place for nature fans and hiking enthusiasts and not for fairytales lovers. But this beautiful town is home to one of Germany’s most famous castles, Schloss (German for Castle) Drachenburg.
Even though Castle Dracheburg is not so famous or majestic like the Neuschwanstein Castle, and Königswinter can’t cope with other popular cities in Germany, you won’t be disappointed with this place.
How to get there?
A one day trip to Königswinter is a perfect getaway from urban city life and crowded streets. So, if you are visiting Cologne or Bonn, make sure to visit this place.
Königswinter has its own railway station and can be reached by a regional train from Cologne to Koblenz. Before getting into train, make sure that it stops in Königswinter! Railways are on both sides of River Rhine. So, if you take a train to Koblenz via Bonn Central Station, you’ll end up on the wrong side. You have to look for trains that are passing Deutz, Troisdorf, and Bonn-Beuel.
So, once again, my advice is to ask before getting into the train. Better safe than sorry!
Also, from Bonn you can take the tram 66 to Königswinter Clements-August Strade.
You can reach Königswinter with a car directly from the A3. Take the exit “Siebengebirge/Königswinter.” And if you are coming from Cologne, you can use the A59 to Bonn and Neuwied. But I’m sure with today’s technology there’s no need to write too much about this.
Hidden Gem of Germany - Castle Drachenburg
Because Castle Drachenburg opens its doors at 11 am, or even 12 am in the offseason, I would like to suggest exploring the picturesque Königswinter Old Town first.
Like I’ve said earlier, this is a small town, and it can be explored by foot.
Take a walk along the tree-lined walkways along the Rhine and explore small streets in Old Town. With timbered houses and charming cafes, I’m sure you will find some nice spots to take a few cute pictures.
Before embarking on the adventure of exploring Drachenburg Castle, you may check out the Sibengebirge Museum, or discover the underwater world in Sea Life Königswinter.
I can’t tell you a lot about these two places, because we didn’t have enough time to visit them. We lost our self in the beauty of the Scholss Drachenburg and Burg Drachenfels (castle ruins). And I must say, I don’t regret it.
Choose how do you want to ascend the Drachenfels
Drachenfals Castle Ruines is situated on the top of the hill Drachenfals at an altitude of 321 meters. Halfway to the top, you will find Castle Drachenburg.
It doesn’t seem a lot, but it can be challenging to hike all the way to the top. Believe me, I had a bad muscle ache in my legs the next day.
So, when it comes to ascending the Drachenfals, there are a few ways you can choose from.
The first option is to hike as we did. Muscle pain aside, I find this way to be a real pleasure. It’s well worth the trouble with several amazing views over the Rhine Valley and Castle Drachenburg along the way. Also, a great way to save some money, a one-way ticket for Drachenfelsbahn costs 10 Euros.
Another option is to take a ride on the Drachenfelsbahn (Drachenfels Railway). It runs from Königswinter to the summit of the Drachenfels with one station at the Castle Drachenburg.
The last option is a combination of these two options. You can hike to the top and then take a ride back (in my opinion, the best option, while you can experience both ways) or vice versa.
Opening hours Drachenfelsbahn:
January to February: Mon – Fri 12 am – 5 pm
Sat and Sun – 10 am – 6 pm
March: daily 10 am – 6 pm
April: daily 10 am – 7 pm
May to September: daily 9 am – 7 pm
October: daily 10 am – 6 pm
November 1-15: Mon – Fri 12 am – 5 pm
Sat – Sun 11 am – 6 pm
Trains leave every 30 minutes at half / full hour, and from Drachenfels station 15 minutes later.
Adults: 12 Euros (return ticket) or 10 Euros (one-way ticket)
Children (4 to 13 years old): 6 Euros (return ticket) or 5 Euros (one-way ticket)
Family Ticket (2 adults and 2 children): 30 Euros (return ticket) or 25 Euros (one-way ticket)
Castle Drachenburg - a hidden gem of Germany
Castle Drachenburg dates back to the end of the 19th century. This villa was built for Stephan von Sarter, the son of a Bonn innkeeper. Unfortunately, he never lived there. Such a shame!
All rooms in Castle Drachenburg are carefully restored, allowing you to experience the feeling of living in the age when the castle was built.
After buying a ticket, I would suggest checking the castle’s inside interior first. A lot of people stop right in front of the castle to take photos, so if you want the castle, all for yourself go straight inside. We ended up entirely alone inside, and later we managed to take some outstanding photos of the castle from outside without a horde of people in the background.
Note that taking pictures inside the castle is permitted for private purposes only!
Inside the castle, you will find a marked round tour, and if you follow it, you will see all the rooms that are allowed for visitors. I’m not really sure, how it is arranged without Covid restrictions, but I’m pretty sure you won’t get lost. I’ve read that sometimes, castle stuff opens some other rooms for visitors too, so make sure you don’t miss some amazing places in the castle, which many people haven’t seen. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, we weren’t allowed to enter any additional rooms. But never mind, it was amazing anyway.
Now is time to stroll around the castle’s gardens. The landscape in front of the castle was perfectly maintained and breathtaking. Green grass, groomed topiaries, pathways between tree lines, beautiful flowers, and golden statues. Just magical!
On the other side of the castle, the picture of the landscape is not so romantic. But it’s worth taking a walk through this part of the gardens too. There are some spots where you can take really nice pictures of the castle.
Opening hours Castle Drachenburg:
January to February: daily 12 am – 5 pm
*Castle Lights: from 17th of January to 23rd of February Fri, Sat and Sun 6 pm to 10 pm
March to June: daily 11 am – 6 pm
July to August: daily 11 am – 7 pm
September to 22nd of November: daily 11 am – 6 pm
*Christmas Market (All advent weekends): Sat 12 am – 9 pm / Sun 12 am – 8 pm
Adults: 7 Euros
Children (6-17 years old): 5 Euros
*children under 6 years old – free entrance
Family Ticket (2 adults and 2 children): 17 Euros
If you choose to hike to Burg Drachenfels, prepare yourself for not so easy walk. But like I’ve said before, on your way, you can catch some incredible views over the Castle Drachenburg and the Rhine Valley.
These castle ruins are somewhat older and date from the 12th century. All that’s left from this castle today is a broken tower. The tower is located on the top of the never erupted volcano Drachenfels (Dragon’s Rock). There are several legends connected to this place. Still, my favorite is the one about Siegfried (the hero of The Song of the Nibelungs). He killed the dragon, who lived in a cave on the hill, and bathed in its blood to become invulnerable. Hence the name ‘Dragon’s Rock.’
On your way to the top of the Drachenfels, you will come to overlook space. Great place to take a break before climbing those remaining few meters to the top. When the weather is clear from here, you can see the two spires of Cologne Cathedral, which rise above the horizon. Here you will find a glass-walled restaurant where you can eat while enjoying the view. If you plan to bring your own food, there is enough place here where you can eat.
After taking a break, you are ready to reach the top. Take a steep, winding path behind the restaurant, and you will be there in less than 5 minutes. Trust me, view from above is well worth the trouble!
I haven’t realized until now that I don’t have any pictures of Burg Drachenfals. Just this one above (which I am not proud of). I must have been so amazed by the view that I’ve completely forgotten to take a few pictures. Does that ever happen to you too?
Where to eat
There are a few options along your way where you can grab a bite or a refreshing drink.
From the foothill to the top here are your options:
- Am Drachenbrunnen Bier & Gartenwirtschaft
- Vorburg Bistro
While the restaurant at the hill summit Drachenfels was closed during our visit, we decided to eat at Winzerhäuschen, a small restaurant with a terrace that overlooks the Rhine Valley.
Hopefully, I’ve helped you by planning your visit to this beautiful hidden gem of Germany. Let me know if you had a great time there as we did.