A visit to Burg Castle in Solingen
Europe,  Parks & museums,  Travel

Knights and Princesses: a visit to Burg Castle in Solingen

With our visitor from Australia, we took the opportunity to play tourist in our own town. First on our list was a visit to Burg Castle – known in German as Schloss Burg – in Solingen. This was a real opportunity for Miss M to be a princess in a castle.

Although it is local, Burg Castle in Solingen is still one of the biggest and best castles in Germany.

The exhibition also explains some of the history of and Solingen’s connection to blades and swords. Even now, Solingen is reknowned for its high-quality knives and scissors. Numerous manufacturers and outlets are still based in Solingen.

Moat gate at Burg Castle in Solingen

History

Middle Ages

Schloss Burg sits on a hill above the Wupper River in the perfect position for both security and power. Construction started in 1130 and it was the ducal seat of the Dukes of Berg for several centuries.

Once the Dukes of Berg moved their seat of power to Düsseldorf, Burg Castle lost its significance. The fortress was converted and extended to become a hunting lodge and site for festivities.

During the Thirty Years’ War, Swedish, Hessian and Imperial troops captured Burg Castle and used it as a warehouse. When they left, they destroyed the castle defences.

Engelbert II and Burg Castle in Solingen

Early 1800s

In the early 1800s, the Duchy of Berg and the castle fell to French Emporer Napoleon Bonaparte. His administration even tried unsuccessfully to auction off the castle.

A few years later, the castle came under Prussian state ownership. During this period, the castle was used for commercial purpose. The castle roof was even demolished for use in the construction of the local courthouse.

Reconstruction

By the late 1800s, the castle had fallen into disrepair. Donations and funds from the Castle Construction Association helped to rebuild the Castle. Although the keep collapsed shortly before its completion, word on construction was completed by 1919.

After World War II, the castle becomes a tourist attraction with over 300,000 guests per year. More recently, the keep was restored and given a new exhibition. This work finished in 2018.

Castle Gate (and Museum entry) at Burg Castle in Solingen

How to get there

From Tuesday to Sunday, one of the best ways to get to Schloss Burg is the chair lift. It climbs over the Wupper River and up the hill, where you see the castle emerge as you ascend.

Poster for the chairlift to Burg Castle

The chairlift costs EUR 3 for one way and EUR 4.50 return. Unless you have to return to your car, I would recommend just taking the chairlift up to the castle.

Alternatively, you can hike to or from Burg Castle in Solingen to the Muengstener Bridge. On foot, it is 4.2 km and will take just over an hour.

It is a lovely hike, but not one to do if it is warm or you are unfit. If you or someone in your group is a train lover, then this is a must.

Muengstener Bridge Solingen

This is a borrowed photo. When we were last there (March) the sky was overcast and the bridge was covered in two places for repair work.

There is also a bus stop immediately in front of the castle (lines 687 and 266).

Tickets

Whether you rode the chairlift up to the castle or came from the car park, the ticket office is the place to start.

The ticket office is located to the left of the castle gate (Burgtor). The building also houses the information and gift shop, as well as a knife shop. This is well worth checking out if you are looking for some new knives.

All of the museums in Solingen – the German Blade Museum, the Industry Museum in the former Hendrichs Forge and the Counterfeit Museum – have knives for sale from local manufacturers. While the prices are not outlet prices, they are less than you will normally pay in the shops. For some manufacturers, this is one of the few places their knives can be purchased. The museums also have a variety of brands, while the outlets will generally only have their own brands.

Tickets for Burg Castle in Solingen cost EUR 6 for adults, EUR 5 for concession and EUR 3 for children (aged 3-17).

Inside the castle gate

Entry to Burg Castle in Solingen

Once you pass through the castle gate, you enter the interior courtyard of the castle and the entry to the Bergisches Museum (the Museum for the Land of Berg).

Ladies heated apartment, Burg Castle in Solingen

The exhibits are interesting (there are some very cool swords) and explain what life was like in the Middle Ages. However, they are not that too exciting. Still, most people don’t visit the castle for the exhibits. Instead, it is the imposing castle itself, and the views from the ramparts and towers which are the real drawcard.

Swords in the Bergische Museum

The tour winds through the main building before proceeding to the ramparts and the keep. The stairs are old and uneven, and there are a lot of them. My Mum always asked this question, especially after visiting Mont Saint Michel.

Stained glass in the chapel at Burg Castle in Solingen

The highlights

Castle entry, view from the battlements, Burg Castle in Solingen

One of the highlights is the battlements. Few castles have ramparts that you can walk around on and feel like a real knight. The views are great too.

The battlements of Burg Castle in Solingen

The newly renovated keep is the real star. When you come from the ramparts and the shield wall you can climb 76 steps to the top of the keep and the viewing platform (which is 35 metres high).

The view is delightful but is not for someone who does not like heights. The stairs are also a challenge for a young child. My brother had fun escorting Miss M to the top of the keep while I looked inside.

The keep, Burg Castle in Solingen

Inside the keep is the newest part of the museum. Each floor looks at something specific that happened in the castle’s history. These include the kidnapping of the Archbishop of Cologne and the “betrothal” of the Duke’s 5-year-old daughter.

In the older part of the museum, English is sometimes lacking or significantly simplified. In contrast, almost all of the information in the keep exhibit is in English (the exception is the videos). The keep also makes use of recent technological developments, with numerous interactive exhibits.

Festivities

Burg Castle in Solingen offers various tours in both English and German. During our visit, Kevin, the coach of the Paladins (the local American football team) was giving a tour to a busload of tourists. We only caught a few minutes but learnt something in that short time. Unfortunately, Miss M did not have the patience to stay for the tour.

If you are in the area and are looking for an English-speaking activity for your little one: Kevin does princess and knight tours of Burg Castle. He specialises in birthday parties for children turning 5 or older. You can contact him via the Castle information.

The castle also plays host to a number of festivals. There are regular concerts, particularly in Summer, and medieval festivals or witch festivals with shows for kids. The Fantasy Festival – with stars from Game of Thrones and the Hobbit – was also held at the castle.

When we were there, the castle was setting up for a medieval festival. This meant that there were some areas that we could not access, but it looked great from above.

Food

Apart from festival days, there is no food available within the castle itself. However, there are a number of places around the castle to eat.

One of the traditional foods meals in the area is a Bergische Kaffeetafel (or Coffee Table from the Berg Land). Our visit was on one of the hottest days of the year so far. Accordingly, we decided to have ice coffees and ice cream instead.

Many of the cafés and restaurants around Burg Castle close on Mondays, so we ended up at Café Voigt. My brother had a waffle and declared that it was “pretty good” and my ice coffee definitely hit the spot.

View towards the restaurants on Schlossplatz, Burg Castle in Solingen

Bergische Kaffeetafel

The exact composition of the Bergische Kaffeetafel is said to have depended on the host’s financial situation. Traditionally it includes:

  • pumpernickel and current loaf
  • butter, honey and a syrupy spread made of sugarbeets, apples or pears
  • sweet milk rice
  • quark with a red berry compote
  • cold meats (wurst) and cheese
  • depending on the region: waffles, sand cake, zwieback (like rusks) or burger brezels (which are like a large hard pretzel).

Originally, coffee was served from a Dröppelmina, a large metal coffee pot like an urn on three legs. Now, coffee is served in a large ceramic coffee pot at the table.

Bergische Kaffeetafel

Shopping

On the weekends there are a number of shopping opportunities as well. In addition to knives and castle-themed goods in the gift shop, there is a wine cellar, a potter, and an antique shop. If you are looking for a souvenir for your knight or princess after a visit to Burg Castle in Solingen, there is also a shop selling wooden swords and helmets, etc.

Our verdict

Our first stop on our week of fun with my brother was a success! While we had all been to Burg Castle in Solingen before, Miss M very much enjoyed being a princess for the afternoon. My brother and I enjoyed seeing the new exhibition in the keep and our iced coffees at Café Voigt.

If you like castles, Burg Castle is definitely one of the best and biggest in Germany and is well worth the visit if you will be near Solingen. We gave it six thumbs up.

Enjoy your Summer sign off
Castle facade, Burg Castle in Solingen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: