Guided tour: none
Hotel: Burg Stahleck is a youth hostel
Café/Restaurant: only for overnight guests at the hostel
Information: only about the youth hostel
Souvenirs: one or two small things at the reception of the hostel
Location: on the left bank of the Rhine in Bacharach, ca 15 km from Bin- gen
Approach: you can park close to the castle by the road and walk ca 3 minutes downhill to the castle
As Burg Stahleck being a youth hostel, the buildings are not open to public. You can enter the castle yard and walk around the castle on the outside.
(When I was a kid I once went to the hostel with school, but I can´t re- member much except that I mistook "Bacharach" with "Baccara" (some female singers quite popular in my childhood) and kept singing "oh yes sir, I can boogie..." all the time.)
You wish for the screaming teenagers at the table tennis behind the keep to disappear because actually, this castle is cool.
But everything you can see is seen in 15 minutes and then there´s no pos- sibility to sit around and have coffee.
So you won´t get much out of your stay but, all the same, I liked the castle.
The view is marvellous. The castle had been beautifully restored; it is one of the few castles where standards for the restoration were set by its ori- ginal appearance in the middle ages and not by someone´s personal and fanciful taste.
You can climb the ruin of a tower above the castle and be impressed by the view into the valley. But now it´s really time to go.
If you are here anyway, take some time for Bacharach, a lovely town with some nice old buildings with beautiful inner yards.
Best of all I liked the "Postschenke". From there you can see the Werner- kapelle; the ruin of a gothic chapel located at the foot of the hill under- neath the castle.
In 1689, when the French blew up Burg Stahleck the dropping fragments destroyed the chapel completely. It was never rebuilt since.
The bizarre remainders of empty lancet windows arch into the sky, and e- ven if you can´t enter the area of the chapel, the spectacle (especially to- wards the evening when dawn is falling) is quite impressive.
Résumé: If you plan a trip "to visit Burg Stahleck" you´ll have lots of free time left on that day. But it´s nice to spend an afternoon in Bacharach and walk up to the castle sometimes in-between.
History: Burg Stahleck was built in the 12th century by the archbishop of Köln and was thereby the first large castle north of Bingen and Rüdesheim. The Bacharach Rhine tolls made Burg Stahleck quite lucrative.
One of the liege men of Burg Stahleck, Hermann von Stahleck became count palatine in 1142 and thus one of the highest dignitaries of the coun- try.
In 1214 Burg Stahleck came into possession of the family of Wittelsbach, who stayed owner of the area until the French revolution.
In 1689 the castle was blown up by the French during the Palatine War of Succession.
At the beginning of the 20th century the "Rhenish Society for Preservation of Monuments" bought the castle and started to rebuild it as a youth hostel.
The castle played an inglorious role during the "Third Reich", when the Nazis established a re-education-camp at Burg Stahleck, where youths being recruited by force from occupied countries were prepared for their mission at the" Ostfront".
Since the end of the war the castle was turned back into a youth hostel and belongs to the "German Youth Hostel Society" now.