Imagine a magical forest, of oaks and beech trees towering over a lush carpet of moss and shimmering ivy. Here, hidden away like lost treasures are mighty medieval castles, romantic ruins and natural stone wonders shaped by wind and weather. The modern world has not found this place yet, it remains timeless and still rich with the footprints of knights, birdsong and sorcery. The pristine beauty the Palatinate Rocklands is waiting to be discovered…
Our adventure in the Palatinate Rocklands begins at a location that is sure to bring to mind the incredible sandstone structures found at Arches National Park. The Hinterweidenthal Devil's Table is a bizarre natural rock formation where a massive boulder is perched precariously on top of a tall narrow stone, similar in shape to a mushroom. Standing almost 50 feet tall, this monolith is the dominating feature of the surrounding countryside. A short hiking path will lead us to the foot of the rock where it’s size and surrounding views can be appreciated.
Next, we’re off to Castle Tanstein, an expansive well preserved ruin that lays hidden, like a sleeping dragon, in the surrounded meadows and forests at the end of a valley. As we ascend the castle hill, rising above the trees, the beautiful fortress will begin to fully reveal her sandstone walls, mighty towers and massive gates. Once we arrive there will be free time to walk around the ruins, into the castle, through the deep recessed corridors and up to the highest points that overlook the grounds.
From here we journey on to the well preserved Castle Berwartstein which provides an authentic window into what life was like during the middle ages at a knight’s castle. Amid this beautiful setting we will enjoy a delicious lunch of Flammkuchen (thin crust pastry topped with sour creme and finely sliced bacon and onions) and salad paired with Weinschorle, served alfresco in the castle’s courtyard. After lunch we will discover the castle on a private tour and see the medieval kitchen, the hall of the deep well, the torture chamber, catapult platform and the casements below the castle.
Our final destination is Trifels Castle, one of the most important strongholds of the entire empire. The castles fortitude made it an ideal location to store the Emperors crown jewels and also serve as a prison for VIP inmates. The great British King Richard the Lionhearted was held captive here until a colossal ransom of 150,000 Marks was payed (with inflation today the ransom demand would exceed 3 billion, hence the term coined here “a kings ransom”). The impressive King’s hall showcases replicas of the Emperor’s crown jewels, the beauty of which is only surpassed by the panoramic views found on the tower platform. Full of memories and impressions we can rest and relax during our return trip to Ramstein.
Important Note: This tour involves walking on trails and up hills to reach some of the listed sites. Participants with physical limitations may find it difficult to participate in all portions of this tour. Please wear/bring appropriate shoes and outerwear depending on weather conditions of the day.