Perched high in the Vosges Mountains, overlooking the Alsatian plains, the striking pink sandstone towers of High Koenigsbourg Castle (Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg) are an unmissable sight. Built in the 12th century and extensively renovated in the 19th century, the fairy-tale fortress is a popular attraction along the Alsace Wine Route.
Aside from admiring the romantic spires and richly decorated façade firsthand, the highlight of a visit to High Koenigsbourg Castle is the impressive view from the hilltop. You'll spy the surrounding Vosges Mountains, Germany’s Black Forest region, and even the Swiss Alps on a clear day. Tours of the castle interiors are also available, where visitors can explore the windmill, wine cellars, living quarters, and medieval gardens, while learning about the castle’s long history of war, siege, and fire.
Tours run from nearby Strasbourg and Colmar, as well as from Basel in Switzerland, often combined with regional highlights, such as the medieval villages of Riquewihr, Colmar, and Eguisheim, or wine tasting in the Alsace wine region.
Things to Know Before You Go
- It’s possible to visit independently, but guided tours and audio guides are also available.
- The castle has a gift shop, restaurant, and plenty of free parking.
- Plan at least two hours to visit the castle, especially if you want to explore the interiors.
- The exterior areas of the castle are wheelchair accessible, but most of the interior areas are accessed by steps.
How to Get There
High Koenigsbourg Castle is located around 34 miles (55 kilometers) southwest of Strasbourg in France’s Alsace region. From March to December, shuttle buses run to the castle from Sélestat train station, which can be reached by direct train from Strasbourg (about a 20-minute journey).
When to Get There
The castle is open year-round, but it can get extremely busy in July and August. To avoid the crowds, get there before opening at 8am or after 3pm, when most of the day-trippers have already left.
Architectural Highlights of High Koenigsbourg Castle
Although originally built in the 12th century for the German Hohenzollern family, the majority of the current castle dates back to the 19th century, when it was extensively restored and renovated by Kaiser Wilhelm II. The masterwork of architect Bodo Ebhardt, it’s a feast of medieval architecture, with a dramatic drawbridge and keep, the grand bastion artillery platform, and wooden galleries filled with collections of armory, weaponry, antique furnishings, and stunning frescoes.