One of the most impressive castles in the Salzburg region in Austria is without a doubt Hohenwerfen Castle. This castle located high upon a rock, surrounded by mountains, and with a stunning view of the surrounding region is a highlight that cannot be missed.
Built in the 11th century to defend the region, it still stands as proud as it used to be but with a different function. Today, you can take a guided tour of the castle to get to know everything about the history, visit one of the current exhibitions and enjoy a falconry show. Movie fanatics might also know it from Where Eagles Dare which was filmed at Hohenwerfen.
Yet, not much travel information is available about it and when crossing the German-Austrian border I accidentally came across this castle. As it looked so impressive, I decided to stop the car and visit it which afterward has proved to be an excellent decision!
Therefore, in this travel guide, I will provide you with all the information you need to make your trip to Hohenwerfen Castle a success, and of course with my honest review about my visit to the castle!
Let’s dive into it!
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What you can expect
Now, why would you visit Castle Hohenwerfen? Well, there are several good reasons for this!
First of all, if you love to get to know a bit more about the history of the region and the castle, you’re in the right place. A guided tour with audioguide in different languages takes you through the castle room by room and tells you about what the castle life looked like at that time, a bit of history, and the functions of the different rooms.
This way you get to visit the castle’s chapel, living rooms, the torture room, and many more places. As for the “cherry on the cake”, you get to climb up the bell tower and hear the bell ringing while overlooking the entire region! This is definitely the highlight of your visit!
Besides the guided tour, you can visit one of the exhibitions that run in the castle, one of them is about the movie Where Eagles Dare that has been filmed here. Other exhibitions are temporary and a nice extra to your visit.
But the second major highlight of your visit and certainly that of the children is the falconry shows they give several times a day. Make sure to find your spot ahead of time and admire the different kinds of raptors that will be unleashed during the show!
During the year, several other events are getting organized which might be interesting as well! For this, you’ll want to consult the official website of the castle.
How to get to Hohenwerfen Castle
The easiest way to get to Hohenwerfen castle is by car and a large car park is available at the entrance. To park your car, you still have to pay an additional fee which is just a few euros for a day. From there you can either walk your way up to the castle or make use of the funicular.
Alternatively, you can get to the Werfen station by train from Salzburg where you can take a shuttle bus to the castle. This shuttle bus needs to be booked beforehand, therefore, going by car is definitely the easiest option!
Important! Be aware that to make use of the Austrian highways you need to buy a vignette that functions as the local toll system.
The entrance fee depends on whether you take the castle tour and use the funicular to go up. I highly recommend including both of these in your visit. Because without a castle tour I do not see the point of visiting the castle at all since you won’t be able to go further than the courtyard. Plus, it is a very steep climb to get up there, definitely not for the faint of heart!
- Tour & funicular included: €16,30
- Tour excluded, funicular included: €14
- Tour included, funicular excluded: €12,30
- Tour & funicular excluded: €10
Know that discounts are available for children and families!
Tip! Booking your tickets online beforehand saves you a little bit of money. Plus, you’ll want to avoid that the castle and the tour are fully booked!
The castle is open from the beginning of April until the beginning of November. So don’t be surprised to see that it’s closed when you arrive in winter!
In the low season (spring & autumn), the castle opens its doors from 9:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. In the high season (summer) opening hours run from 9:00 a.m. until 6 p.m.
A bit of history about the castle
Hohenwerfen Castle has been founded in 1077 as one of the three main fortresses that should protect the region of Salzburg and its governor Archbishop Gebhard. In the beginning, Hohenwerfen castle was just a wooden fortification but over the years (or rather centuries), it became the impressive building it is today.
Over the years, it has been invaded and destroyed several times, used as a prison and hunting base until it was used by the Nazis as a training base. However, since 1987 the fortress has been developed as a tourist attraction together with the other two original fortresses, namely Hohensalzburg and Petersberg in Friesach.
Is Hohenwerfen Castle worth a visit?
In my opinion, yes, if you decide to take the castle tour and watch the falconry show it is definitely worth a visit and a nice day trip with the family!
However, if you have already visited many castles in the region such as the Hohensalzburg castle in the city of Salzburg, it might not be worth it to visit this castle as well. As you might know, Austria and Germany are full of castles, and after having visited a few already, you might not necessarily need to visit another one.
That being said, if you want to visit a castle in the region, this should definitely be one of your top picks!
Related: how to spend one day in Salzburg