We always get into the same fight about vacations – agreeing to do doing things we both enjoy. Usually, we have very different ideas about what to see and how long to see it. Rarely, do you find the perfect location for couples where ladies get their fix and men can do their own thing. After years of research, we have found the ideal place, and it’s in ….Germany?
Let’s talk romance first. Ladies, what is more romantic than a stroll through the lush woods and ending with a breathtaking view of a fairy tale castle? Berg Eltz Castle is perhaps one of the best kept castles in all of Europe. Its ideal setting in an enchanting valley makes for some great handholding and eye gazing with your prince charming. Once you arrive, park your car and take a short mile hike through the woods. As you walk around the bend you are given a postcard worthy vista.
If you are impressed with the exterior of the castle, wait until you step foot inside. The family owned castle, started in 1100s, was miraculous saved from destruction. Visitors are able to explore many of the over 100 rooms inside with original furnishings and authentic tapestries. Each room speaks to the history and way of life of medieval lords and ladies. The castle is also home to a treasury that features collections of fine porcelain, sparkling jewels, and weapons used to defend the castle.
The next stop on our castle quest is the Marksburg Castle. Perched on a bluff overlooking the Rhine River, Markburg offers romantic river views that will make any Downton Abbey devotee swoon. One part Romanesque and one part Gothic; the castle is one of the best preserved fortresses in Germany. The castle offers regular guided tours of the grounds and rooms. Beginning with a climb up the “riders stairway” the tour includes a visit to the grand banquet hall, the bed chamber, as well a rather macabre reproduction of a torture chamber. Marksburg conveys an understanding of what privileged life during the Middle Ages might have been like.
After a hard day of castle questing, it’s time for a hardy meal and a good night’s rest. And where should a princess rest her crown? How about her own castle? Yes! Many small castles and noble residences have been converted into bed and breakfasts. We stayed at the Hotel Castle Liebenstein (Castle Love Stone), which offers rooms with incredible views of the Rhine for only 125 euros a night. This cozy bed and breakfast offers comfortable beds with Middle Age décor and a generous breakfast. This castle has its own tale of intrigue. Its twin sister is just a few hundred yards away. The two castles were occupied by warring brothers. Today, one is home to the bed and breakfast; the other is a delicious restaurant! We enjoyed both. It’s probably best not to bring up one whilst at the other. The entire area offers a number of castle stay choices limited only by your euro collection and imagination.
For the gents, let’s head a few miles up the road to Nurburg. The Nurburg area is a man-cation all by its self. Nurburg is home of one of the most challenging race tracks in the world, the famed Nordschleife (Nurburg Ring). With its 12 miles of 147 twist and turns, and steeped history the ring is the place to be for any auto lover. What’s wonderful about this course is you can actually drive it! For a few euros and a bucket load of courage away you go! While the ring is amazing, we found something even better. It is a well-kept secret that the same engineers that designed the ring, also made the roads in the Nurburg area! You just need a road Sherpa to help you find them, enter RSR Nurburg.
First, experts at RSR Nurburg set you up in your pick of a performance cars including: Alfa Romero, BMW, Lotus and even Ferrari! We selected the classic Ferrari 308; the perfect car for getting around the corners. You then begin your quest in search of the long forgotten Sudschleife or south track. Along the way we caught views of the main track, with a glimpse of infamous corners featured in Ron Howard’s film Rush. The winding roads through the Eifel region not only help you appreciate the rich racing tradition of the area…but it is flat-out beautiful. As an added bonus, our guide drove us by top-secret research and development facilities of Porsche, BMW, and Range Rover. This tour of the area is a must.
What’s best about cars, castles, and compromise? You can see castles and drive fast cars in a day, as the area is roughly 30 miles apart. Both partners can get what they want.