Fortified towns, fortified castles and fortresses in the natural paradise of the Palatinate Forest

Charming fortification architecture full of culture

FORTE CULTURA travel recommendation - Culture trip | Active trip
Germersheim - Landeck Castle - Trifels Castle - Dahner Castles - Hambach Castle - Hardenburg Castle

The Palatinate Forest is Germany's largest contiguous forest area and includes the cross-border Palatinate Forest/ Northern Vosges Nature Park biosphere reserve. In addition to magnificent impressions of nature, there are also a surprising number of fortified castles and palaces with a wide range of experiences on offer in the charming low mountain range landscape.

Our travel recommendation starts on the Rhine in the fortress town of Germersheim. The imposing fortifications are among the best preserved in Germany and beyond. Let yourself be fascinated by the history of a town that almost became a fortress of the German Confederation during themed guided tours.

Landeck Castle was built as one of the protective castles of the nearby former imperial monastery of Klingenmüster. The highest keep in the Palatinate offers spectacular views and the Landeck Castle Museum provides deep insights into the past. The impressive rock castles of Dahn and the Reichsburg Trifels had their heyday in the 12th and 13th centuries. Like many medieval castles and palaces in the region, they were often the scene of wars, sieges and destruction throughout their history. Today, they can be conquered peacefully and offer magnificent views.

The Hambach Castle in Neustadt an der Weinstraße symbolises the civic desire for freedom and the pursuit of democracy in the German-speaking world. In this spirit, the exhibitions and diverse events give visitors of all ages the opportunity to "get a taste" of history.

Finally, we head to the Hardenburg castle and fortress ruins in Bad Dürkheim. It once shone as a residential castle with bastions, casemates and turrets in the region and some of it can still be rediscovered today. You can also visit the Dürkheim giant barrel, reputedly the largest in the world.

FORTE CULTURA takes you to fascinating fortress monuments. Discover the wide range of experiences on offer and enjoy the culture, people, history and present in the spectacular landscape of the Palatinate Forest in the heart of Europe.

Our FORTE CULTURA travel recommendation

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Fortress town of Germersheim

Weissenburg Gate, fortified town of Germersheim (DE) ©B.Hoff
Fortress town of Germersheim (DE)

Germersheim, once a fortified stronghold in the Southern Palatinate, together with Landau, was intended to prevent a renewed French advance on the Upper Rhine in the 19th century.

The exceptionally good state of preservation of the polygonal fortress town enables visitors to travel back in time with a wide range of exciting experiences. The former military buildings are now home to numerous museums and cultural institutions. Guided tours and walks through the fortified town bring history back to life.

Fortified Landeck Castle

Landeck castle ruins, Klingenmünster (DE)

To the south-west of Landau, near Klingenmünster, lie the ruins of Landeck Castle on the foothills of the Teufelsberg. Even the approach via the restored bridge is impressive and offers a beautiful view. The former residential castle was constantly reinforced over the centuries and eventually developed into a fortified castle. At the end of the 17th century, it was destroyed by the French, like almost all fortified monuments in the region. Today, the castle tavern offers hearty feasts all year round. Numerous concerts, medieval festivals, church services and castle plays also attract visitors to Landeck Castle.

Fortified Trifels Castle

Trifels Castle, Annweiler (DE)

Trifels Castle, once the most secure castle in the empire, rises above the Palatinate Forest, visible from afar. It was fortified to protect the imperial regalia deposited here (crown, sceptre and orb). Its most famous prisoner was King Richard I of England, alias "Richard the Lionheart", who was held here under Hohenstaufen Emperor Henry VI.

The multilingual audio guide for children and adults takes you back to these bygone times. In ruins since the 16th century and rebuilt in the first half of the 20th century, the Trifels is now home to the permanent exhibition "Power and Myth" and is the backdrop for spectacular theatre tours. Sport climbers also get their money's worth on the Trifels when they set out to conquer the castle along this route.

Dahn castles

Dahn castle ruins, Palatinate Forest near Dahn (DE)

The Dahn castles of Altdahn, Grafendahn, Tanstein and Neudahn are located in the centre of the Palatinate Forest Biosphere Reserve. Underground rock passages, mysterious chambers and dungeons carved into the red sandstone rock and the magnificent view from the keep make these former knights' castles a real experience.

During the Reformation, two bastion towers were added to Altdahn, while Neudahn was given three-storey battery towers, which have been preserved to this day. The castle pub and the Altdahn Castle Museum, as well as a multilingual audio guide for children and adults, take you back to bygone times at the castles. The Dahner Felsenland and its castles are also known as the "Climbing Garden of the Palatinate".

Hambach Castle

Trifels Castle, Annweiler (DE)

The fortified castle, which originally served the Electors of Speyer, had long since lost its function and defence when it became the stage for the German democracy movement in 1832. The Hambach Festival and its time-honoured setting under the European Heritage Label can be experienced in guided tours for guests of all ages and offers a varied programme of events from the worlds of art, culture and politics.

A visit to the exhibition on the beginnings of democracy is also worthwhile.

Hardenburg castle and fortress ruins

Hardenburg castle and fortress ruins (DE)

In Bad Dürkheim, above the Isenach valley, you will find the ruins of Hardenburg Castle, once one of the most powerful castles in the Palatinate. The fortification architecture of the 16th century is clearly recognisable here. A permanent exhibition provides information on the history of the Hardenburg and its rulers.

Immerse yourself in the heyday of Hardenburg Castle - an exciting multimedia tour makes it possible. Stroll through the castle garden and the renovated gate roundabout like former lords of the castle.

FORTE CULTURA travel recommendations are non-binding and without guarantee for the contents.


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