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Mystical, fairytale-like, majestic. The Ehrenberg Castle ensemble in Tyrol is a real top tip for a winter hike and one of the most important fortress ensembles in Central Europe. This is what awaits you.
As we drive into the car park in front of the museum and the Klause, it is snowing in thick flakes. The many parking spaces are almost empty. Almost artistically, a wooden bear, snowed in up to the waist, stretches out its paw for the snowflakes on a small playground. Nothing prepares us for the fact that this excursion today to Ehrenberg Castle ensemble in Tyrol will be the most beautiful winter hike of the year.
The fortress ensemble of Ehrenberg Castle ensemble was once one of the most important in Central Europe. It was considered impregnable and was an important customs post. The centre of the ensemble is the Ehrenberg castle ruins. It is only overlooked by the Baroque fortress Schlosskopf, fortified by Fort Claudia and closed off to the valley by the Ehrenberger Klause.
Tip for an excursion with children: There is a lot on offer for children here! There is a beautiful adventure playground at the Schlossanger, a castle playground in the Ehrenberg hermitage and for the hike to Ehrenberg Castle and the castle head, every child should equip themselves with a treasure map booklet in the museum. Off we go on the excitingtreasure hunt for the magical Ehrenberg sword(duration: 1.5 hours) and to the treasure hunt for the legendary Schlossberg treasure (duration: 2.5 hours)! After returning, there is then the treasure in the visitor centre for each fully taped treasure booklet. 🙂
You don’t need clear blue skies for a breathtaking winter outing, and if you wrap up warm enough, even heavy snowfall won’t bother you. Quite the opposite! The driving snow creates a very special atmosphere, envelops hiking trails, nature and castle ruins in a mystical snow mist and takes your breath away with its beauty. That’s how we felt on our ascent to Ehrenberg Castle and Schlosskopf Fortress.
In total, the Ehrenberg Castle ensemble in Tyrol consists of an ensemble with 4 fortifications:
All 4 fortresses can be visited. For a day trip, two were just right for us.
The Ehrenberg Castle ensemble offers visitors even more in addition to the beautiful nature: from a suspension bridge that leads over the Lech Valley to the free offer to go on a journey into the Middle Ages. Families and children can set off on a real treasure hunt. Find out what is offered free of charge and what costs are involved, as well as whether the cultural offer is worthwhile, in my experience report.
Upon entering through the gate of the Ehrenberger Klause onto the spacious area with several parking spaces, there are several buildings. Besides the toilet and possibilities to stop for refreshments, there is also an interactive museum with authentic props (we did not visit it, however, and I cannot report more about it).
The Ehrenberger Klause, built from 1480 onwards, is the central starting point for all attractions and served as a military defence facility and customs station but also for storing trade goods.
Right next to the visit centre, the well-paved hiking trail winds its way up the mountain. After about 15 minutes on foot, it forks into two paths to Ehrenberg Castle and Schlosskopf Fortress and is well signposted.
As a barrier-free alternative to the hike, you can also board an inclined lift there and climb the 100 metres in altitude to the portal of the Hornwerk at Schlossanger. The ride costs €7 for adults aged 15 and over, and you can reach the highline179 suspension bridge and enjoy the view over the valley from the viewing platform.
The hiking trail is easy to follow and takes about 30 minutes to Ehrenberg Castle. Along the way there are regular boards with legends and stories, which are actually needed for the treasure hunt but are also quite entertaining.
In the hornworks at Schlossanger (an artillery gate), which you walk through, it is worth visiting the free exhibition “Attack and Defence”. It is really well done and everyone can read and see the appropriate dose of history in information. In the former gun emplacements (casemates), displays, a film and replicas of important firearms and throwing weapons from the 13th to 18th centuries await you. There are many display panels with well-prepared information – it is, so to speak, the entrance gate to a journey back in time to the Middle Ages.
Behind the Schlossanger, the Castle of Ehrenberg now towers majestically on a hill. When we visited it, it was half swallowed by the snowy mist and looked mystical, mysterious and somehow exactly how one imagines a medieval castle to look. In my mind, castles are always draughty, somehow spooky, abandoned and exude an atmosphere of the long gone. It is the oldest castle complex in the Ehrenberg castle ensemble.
After the Schlossanger, there is a nice adventure playground and a pillory (medieval block where criminals were put on display for the people) for photographic souvenirs. After another 10 minutes of walking, you pass the first castle wall of Ehrenburg Castle. Now you can explore the castle at your leisure and gain as much knowledge as you like. Information boards tell you everything you need to know about the function of the various parts of the medieval castle, which Count Meinhard II of Tyrol built from 1290 onwards.
Abandoned and freshly snowed in, only our footprints in the thick blanket of snow. Apart from the cultural discovery tour, we spent a lot of time here discovering incredibly romantic corners of the castle, had a little photo session and it was so beautiful that we decided to hike straight to the fortress Schlosskopf on the higher mountain top next door.
When we visited, there was no visibility and the highline 179, a Tibet-style pedestrian suspension bridge 114 m above the ground, literally disappeared into nothingness. It did look mystical and mysterious when visitors were swallowed up by the snow flurry, but of course there was no visibility. When visibility is good, you can cross the eponymous federal road 179 on the highline 179 at 406 m and are rewarded with a breathtaking panoramic view of the mountains and the Reutte valley basin.
After crossing the suspension bridge, you reach the Fort Claudia on the Falkenberg after about 10 minutes. The 16th and 17th centuries were a time full of warlike events. They prompted Princess Claudia de Medici to build the baroque barracks from 1639. Cannonballs once flew back and forth between the sides of the valley there; today the suspension bridge connects the two complexes.
Behind the meadow at Schlossanger, a narrow hiking trail leads steeply up the mountain to the fortress Schlosskopf on the Hornberg. In heavy snowfall, the path and signposts were snowed in and we only discovered them by a lucky coincidence! If you take your time and hike leisurely, you need about 45 minutes for the steep ascent. The path is narrower, in places it is criss-crossed by thick root branches. The branches in the forest bend under the weight of the snow and are repeatedly broken by clear spots that offer a great view of the Ehrenberg. This steep path is fabulously beautiful.
The Hornberg is about 150 m higher than the Ehrenberg and from there the view from the viewing plateaus over the valley and the mountains is worthwhile. At about 200 m long and 40-70 wide, the fortress complex is impressively large, considering that it was abandoned in 1782 some 40 years after its completion. The castle head was never used for military purposes!
Like Ehrenberg Castle, Schlosskopf Fortress is generously equipped with information boards and you can take in as much history and ruin flair as you like. We spent a lot of time doing this, as the freshly snowed-in castles with their many photo motifs were simply gorgeous.
What brings a Berliner to Tyrol? Nature, good food and culture! On our leisure ideas blog you can find experience tips for Berlin, but there are also my tips for particularly beautiful places to see in the Allgäu and many non-local tips and ideas for leisure activities for two, with family and friends.