Hardenburg Castle

Bad Dürkheim, Germany

Hardenburg castle on the eastern edge of the Palatinate Forest near the town of Bad Dürkheim is even as a ruin one of the mightiest castles of Palatinate. Built at the beginning of the 13th century by the Counts of Leiningen as a comparatively modest hilltop castle, the Hardenburg was expanded in the 16th century into a fortified Renaissance residence. Mighty walls and bulwarks, turrets and catacombs still bear witness to its fortress-like character. At the same time gardens, the remains of spacious residential wings and once magnificent hall buildings point to an important civilian use as a residential palace of the Leiningen family.

The castle survived the Thirty Years' War, but was occupied by the French in the Palatinate War of Succession in 1690, partly destroyed, then rebuilt by the Leiningers. The end of the Hardenburg came with the conquest of Bad Dürkheim by French revolutionary troops in 1794: the interior furnishings were destroyed and the Westbollwerk, which towers over the entire complex, was blown up. Afterwards, the occupation administration released the area for the extraction of building materials. But what remained of the former Feste Schloss and has been secured or restored since the late 19th century is still an imposing and interesting historical relic. 

An exciting insight into the history of this monument is provided by an exhibition in the visitor centre with a film as well as a multimedia guide, which takes you back to the age of the Renaissance with detailed computer reconstructions and shows the grounds and rooms and halls as they were in the castle's heyday.

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Details

Founded: 13th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Germany
Historical period: Hohenstaufen Dynasty (Germany)

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jim Jütte (11 months ago)
I visited this cancel about 15 years ago with my children and we had a great time. They have done a lot of upgrades and it's much better because you get a lot of history in the pictures and the items that they show under glass cases. The one problem that we ran into is that unfortunately as upgrades continue you can't see everything and so that's why it's 4 instead of 5 stars.
Jim Weingartner (14 months ago)
Sadly, a big part of this is closed for renovation. Nonetheless, you do get some beautiful views up here. It costs nothing to visit, parking is free, and the climb us easy, so come visit.
꧁Drakyo꧂ Carolüss (14 months ago)
Beautiful visit, thank you so much. Actors in the castle, telling the story dressed up in medieval times. °German and English only° No restaurant.
Danielle Cummings (2 years ago)
This ruin was a wonderful surprise. We came here as a party of two adults and three children ages 5,3,1.5. I wore the baby and the kids walked. The parking lot was easy to find, and signs to the castle were not very obvious but got us there, and once on the main path up, there's no way to get lost. It is uphikl but not grueling and both my older kids were able to do it without assistance,if a little complaining. That path is stroller friendly but the castle, of course, isn't. There is a little lookout right before you enter the castle which has an ok view and some seating. You enter the gate and come into a courtyard and see the ticket office, and from there you can enter the main body of the castle once you buy tickets (we only paid for the two of us adults, as the kids were free). This is when we were astounded - this castle is HUGE, with so much to see and explore, and in pretty amazing shape considering. The tower is a long climb but worth it. There aren't a ton of seats or any picnic tables throughout and I think the only bathroom is near the ticket office. There are frequent signs saying what each room was, and if I remember correctly there is a map giving more detail. The exhibits in and near the ticket office Are all in German. Nevertheless this is one of my favorite ruins so far, especially given the easy access from the parking lot. Bring snacks and water as you might be there a while. Of note, there is an awesome biergarten behind the castle, a 5 minute walk past it after you go through the courtyard and make a left UP the hill (not down). It was closed the day we came but it has ample outdoor seating and a great little play area for the kids; I hope to come back just to eat here.
Tania Dominguez (3 years ago)
There's a parking spot right next to a hotel/restaurant and the trail starts right behind it. A bit of a steep hike up but it's a clear gravel path Very well preserved. Unfortunately, when we went the castle was closed so we could only walk around outside. Still great views and will have to return when it opens back up. Other trails around the area.
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