Hiking in Germany with Ruins and Castles

Hiking in Germany with Ruins and Castles

We set off on a 12km hike with the promise of a ruin AND a castle, all in one hike, I was excited, since there’s not exactly a lot (well any) castles in Canada.

Our hike started 44km SE of Stuttgart in the town of Lenningen, but you could easily start in the town of Owen as many people do,  and reach the ruin and the castle in just a few kilometers.  This option seemed especially popular with families.

As is often the case when hiking in Germany, sooner or later at some point in the hike, you come across either sheep or cattle.  Germany has few national parks, so it’s not uncommon for a part of the hike to pass by farms as this one did.  We stopped for the requisite photo opp and then headed off full of anticipation for the ruin which was only a couple of kilometers further.
I loved the wooden bridge almost daring you to cross.  We were fairly confident there were no knights waitng to behead us so off we went, our imaginations running wild as we entered the ruin built between 1200-1300.
Up until this point, we had seen only a few other people.  This changed quickly at the ruin which appeared to be a popular picnic place for families.  We later discovered that coming from the town of Owen, this is a much shorter and enjoyable option for families, that combines history and nature.
Of course it wasn’t all about the ruin!  We were hiking in calf deep leaves in some places and I couldn’t resist taking a break to play in the leaves.  Is there anything that makes you feel more like a kid again than playing in leaves?  Now it was time for the grand finale – the castle!
I have to admit that I was disappointed by Wielandstein Castle, which in German is called “Burg Wielandstein”, which is only a small castle, but  this wasn’t the image I had conjured in my head.  I think I may just be getting spoiled when it comes to castles!  Nonetheless, the castle is still between 700 to 800 years old and it was a welcome rest stop though and there was also a restaurant inside.  We choose to sit outside and have a quick snack.  I later found out that the rest of the castle now serves as a hostel.  How fun would it be to sleep there?
And the view from the castle looking down into the valley was “sehr schon!” (very nice).
In summary, I would highly recommend hiking to Wielandstein Ruin and Castle as a day trip near Stuttgart, especially for families or couples.  It is a popular destination with Germans.  Despite being a busy day, the only language I heard being spoken was German and I like places that are off the tourist path.  Wielandstein Castle isn’t by far the most amazing castle you’ll ever see in Germany and in fact the ruins were much more impressive in my opinion, but it makes a great outing and a fantastic way to combine history with nature.
For more on Wielandstein Castle (the site is in German, but you can use an online translator to change languages if need be)
More on Hiking in Germany:


  1. Norbert says

    I love hiking, and even more when I come across and "discover" ruins and interesting things.
    haha… when you imagine castles you picture something more grandiose (I did too… lol), but it definitely is a step up as a hostel stay. Plus, the view is beautiful. :)

  2. jade says

    What a great day- we love hiking and exploring, too. And It's always fun to be somewhere with history so you can use your imagination and dream up what it would have been like back in the day. Love the sheep photo, too. We always come across them and have to take a photo as well!

  3. inka says

    What a romantic place and rustling knee deep in leaves makes you feel like a child again. Sweet pictures, I can feel your joy.

  4. Expat in Germany says

    @Norbert – I love hiking as well and if it's to castles (even small ones :) so much the better!
    @Amy – I haven't been hiking in Wales yet, but if it's similar, I am so there!
    Thanks everyone for your comments!

  5. Laurel@ExpatGermany says

    Thanks Barry. The new blog is coming, but is still not quite there yet. Oops, good catch, I’ve added A.D. to 1200 – 1300. Thanks.

  6. Barry Taylor says

    Really enjoyed this review and your photos, Laurel. Glad to see many of your links are up and running.

    I do find it difficult to believe the ancient castle you passed was built in less than an hour between noon and 1 PM 😉 Have a great day!

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