Not Your Average Castle
If you’ve never heard of Burg Thurant, I won’t be surprised. I’d never heard of it myself, nor had my husband for that matter, until we happened to drive past it on our way to Burg Ehrenburg. In fact, it seems this type of chance encounter is how most people discover the castle. A quick look through TripAdvisor results in comment after comment of “stumbled upon this gem by accident.”
How to Get to Burg Thurant
As you can see on the map, it’s just a short drive south of Koblenz. And it’s situated right on the line between the Mosel and Hunsrück regions.
Regardless of where you’re coming from, I would advise you to drive into the castle from the north, down A61 from A48, as this will take you across the Moseltal Brücke (Mosel Valley Bridge). When we originally drove past Burg Thurant, we did so along the river. This time, however, we came in from the north. Both drives are really pretty, but crossing over the Moseltal Brücke was much more of an experience.
That bridge in the top left corner is the autobahn, and this is your view. I don’t care if it adds half an hour to your drive, it’s worth it! And this picture doesn’t even do it justice. Plus, when you come in from this direction, you get to drive along backroads that squiggle their way through the forest.
When you get to the castle, you basically park right in front of the main entrance. Unlike Burg Eltz or Cochem, there is no walking/hiking involved. I mean, you could park in the village below and hike up if you wanted to. There are certainly enough paths zig zagging up through the vineyards. But the main parking lot is right next to the castle (which is free). Perk number one!
As for perks number two through five:
- The entrance fee is only 3.50€.
- It wasn’t crowded at all, and there were very few tourists.
- You can tour the castle at your own pace.
- It’s got incredibly unique (and some even disturbingly macabre) artifacts.
The Self-Guided Tour
This castle was built sometime around the year 1200. And although it’s privately owned today, it had a fairly tumultuous past with the archbishops of Cologne and Trier during the 13th century. The castle was split among the two, with one tower being named the Kölner Turm (Cologne Tower) and the other the Trierer Turm (Trier Tower). The two were even separated by a wall.
You can pick up a handout at the entrance (in English) that explains everything about the castle as you walk through it. And even though it might not seem like much at first, there are a ton of hidden details everywhere. Like in this garden. As you walk the pathways that cut through the flowers, you’ll find figures of both Frankish and Baroque origin.
What Makes this Castle Unique
Once you pass through the garden, you can enter the chapel. This was probably the most impressive area for me.
Okay, but what about the macabre stuff?
What Makes This Castle Uniquely Macabre
If you work your way to the back of the castle, around the Kölner Turm, you’ll find a small room with a ladder. The fun part is, you get to climb the ladder. And it’s a bit of an adventure as it – and the super narrow staircase that follows – doesn’t look safe in the least. But climbing up takes you into a room with torture equipment.
This lovely tool was used to cut out tongues, mutilate faces, and perform what I can only imagine were outrageously painful castrations. There’s also a cage-like contraption in this room that was used to hold people as their arms and legs were twisted off.
I wish there was more information about which of the castle’s owners had been responsible for this or who exactly they were torturing, or maybe even whose skeletons are laying at the bottom of this pit.
Those are two skeletons you see in the middle of the picture, and they are 100% real. This room has a trap door in the floor that was used to capture people. You can even see that the bones are laying as if the people fell on their stomachs and remained there.
They have been there for over 600 years.
If you keep climbing up – which I’ll admit isn’t for the faint of heart – you’ll eventually get to the top of the tower. That is to say on the roof.
The downside to this castle is that there aren’t any rooms that you can explore. There is a hunting room filled with furniture and trophies that you can look into, but you can’t actually go inside. As this castle is mostly in ruins, it’s more about exploring the grounds and seeing those unique exhibits.
Like this. This is what remains of an artillery shell that was dropped on Burg Thurant by the American forces during WWII. They had false information regarding the castle and bombed it, resulting in extensive damage to the main building.
Planning Your Visit
There were a lot of repairs done during the 1960s. Today, the Wulf and Allmers families (two of the historical owners) live in the restored buildings.
We really enjoyed our visit to Burg Thurant. It’s definitely not a day-long activity, though. The self-guided tour coupled with the lack of tourists means that you can see everything at a leisurely pace in just a couple of hours. So, if you plan on coming out for a visit, I would suggest combining it with something else. As I said before, it’s fairly close to Burg Eltz and Koblenz, but there’s also Münstermaifeld, Burg Ehrenburg, and even Schloss Bürresheim, so you could easily find something to complement it with.
But don’t rush through it. Take some time to sit in the garden, have a glass of wine, and admire the views.
If you’re interested in visiting Burg Thurant or even staying overnight in one of their guest rooms, you can link over to their website here.