Discover Hohenwerfen Castle: Austria's Medieval Gem

Discover Hohenwerfen Castle: Austria’s Medieval Gem

Welcome to Hohenwerfen Castle! This captivating medieval masterpiece is a must-visit attraction located in Salzburg, Austria. Known for its historical significance and breathtaking views, Hohenwerfen Castle offers visitors a wealth of attractions to explore.

With a history dating back to the 11th century, Hohenwerfen Castle has played a significant role in the region throughout the centuries. From serving as a military fortress to a residence for noble families, the castle has a rich history that is waiting to be discovered.

Visitors can explore the unique architectural features of the castle, which include medieval elements, defensive structures, and other impressive design elements.

From stunning views atop the towers to interactive exhibits and historical displays, Hohenwerfen Castle has something to offer visitors of all ages.

If you’re planning a visit, we’ve got you covered with practical information about tickets, opening hours, and directions. You can also explore the natural beauty that surrounds the castle and enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and more.

Whether you’re a history buff, architecture enthusiast, or just looking for a unique and unforgettable experience, Hohenwerfen Castle is a must-visit destination that should be on your bucket list.

A Brief History of Hohenwerfen Castle

Located in the Austrian state of Salzburg, Hohenwerfen Castle boasts a rich and fascinating history that spans over 900 years. The castle was built in the 11th century by Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg and was originally intended as a strategic fortress to protect the surrounding territories.

Throughout the centuries, Hohenwerfen Castle played a significant role in many historical events, including the Peasants’ War, the Thirty Years’ War, and World War II. The castle was also used as a prison for centuries, with notable prisoners, including the leader of the Austrian peasant uprising, Michael Gaismair.

Over the years, Hohenwerfen Castle underwent many renovations and expansions, each adding to its unique architectural charm. Today, visitors can explore the castle’s extensive collection of historical artifacts and learn about its fascinating past through interactive exhibits and guided tours.

A Brief History of Hohenwerfen Castle.

Year Event
1078 Construction of Hohenwerfen Castle began under Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg.
1525 The Peasants’ War led to significant damage to the castle.
1632 The Thirty Years’ War resulted in the castle being temporarily occupied by Swedish troops.
1931-1938 Renovations were carried out under the Austrian Federal Monuments Office.
1939-1945 The castle was used as a prison during World War II.

Today, Hohenwerfen Castle is a popular tourist destination and a testament to the enduring legacy of Austria’s medieval history.

Exploring Hohenwerfen Castle’s Architecture and Design

As one of Austria’s most notable medieval landmarks, Hohenwerfen Castle’s architecture and design are truly awe-inspiring. The castle was built in the 11th century on a hilltop overlooking the Salzach valley, with its strategic location making it a key player in the region’s political and military history.

The castle’s layout is a testament to its defensive purpose, with thick walls, narrow passages, and steep staircases protecting the inner courtyard from any potential invaders. Visitors exploring Hohenwerfen Castle’s architecture and design will appreciate the breathtaking views on offer from the castle’s towers, where they can gaze out over the surrounding landscape in awe.

One of the castle’s most remarkable features is the fortified medieval rampart that surrounds it. The rampart is composed of two parts: a high, rectangular keep with a flat roof and a lower rectangular tower with a pointed roof, which served as a secure store for food and supplies.

Other notable architectural features include the castle’s many arches and vaulted ceilings, making it a true representation of medieval architecture. One of the most impressive rooms in the castle is the Knight’s Hall, which is a stunning example of Gothic architecture, featuring elaborate wooden ceilings and decorative stone carvings.

Exploring Hohenwerfen Castle’s Defensive Structures

Hohenwerfen Castle was built for defensive purposes, with the layout and design of the castle intended to protect its occupants from attack. Visitors exploring the castle’s defensive structures will notice the thick walls, battlements, and towers designed to repel attackers.

The castle’s position on a hilltop also made it difficult for attackers to approach. In contrast, the narrow, winding paths leading up to the castle’s entrance made it nearly impossible for a large force to attack the castle head-on.

The castle’s entrance is also heavily fortified, with a drawbridge over a deep moat protecting the castle’s main gate. Visitors can explore the castle’s many watchtowers, which were positioned to provide a clear view of the surrounding area, allowing defenders to spot attackers from a distance and prepare for any assault.

To truly appreciate Hohenwerfen Castle’s unique architecture and design, visitors should plan to spend plenty of time exploring the castle’s various buildings and structures.

Must-See Attractions at Hohenwerfen Castle

Visitors to Hohenwerfen Castle will be spoilt for choice when it comes to the various attractions that await them. Here are some must-see highlights:

Attraction Description
The Falconry Museum A fascinating exhibit that showcases the ancient art of falconry, including displays of various birds of prey and their hunting techniques.
The Arsenal An impressive collection of medieval weapons, including swords, crossbows, and armor.
The Chapel A beautifully restored chapel with stunning frescoes and intricate wood carvings. Visitors can also attend concerts in the chapel during the summer months.
The Dungeons A spine-chilling experience that takes visitors through the castle’s dark and ominous dungeons, complete with interactive exhibits that bring the history of the castle to life.
The Tower One of the castle’s tallest towers with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Visitors can climb to the top and take in the stunning panorama.

These are just a few of the many attractions that Hohenwerfen Castle has to offer. Visitors can easily spend an entire day exploring this impressive medieval fortress and all its wonders.

Taking a Guided Tour of Hohenwerfen Castle

Exploring Hohenwerfen Castle on your own can be a lot of fun, but taking a guided tour can provide a deeper understanding of the castle’s rich history and the significance of its various structures and attractions. Here are some of the tour options available:

Standard Guided Tour

The standard guided tour is the perfect choice for first-time visitors and those who want to learn about the castle’s history and architecture. Led by experienced guides, the tour takes visitors through the castle’s various rooms and structures, including the chapel, living quarters, and armory. Visitors will also have the chance to climb the castle’s towers and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.

Specialty Tours

For visitors with specific interests, Hohenwerfen Castle offers a range of specialty tours. These tours focus on particular aspects of the castle’s history, architecture, or culture. Some of the specialty tours available include:

  • The “Witches and Inquisition” tour, which explores the castle’s role in witch hunts and inquisitions during the Middle Ages
  • The “Medieval Life” tour, which offers a glimpse into the everyday lives of people living in the castle during medieval times
  • The “Architecture and Engineering” tour, which focuses on the castle’s unique structural design and defensive features

Duration and Pricing

The standard guided tour lasts approximately 50 minutes and costs EUR 12 per adult. Specialty tours may have different durations and pricing, so be sure to check the official website for more information.

No matter which tour you choose, taking a guided tour of Hohenwerfen Castle is a great way to discover the castle’s hidden secrets and learn more about its fascinating history.

Practical Information for Visiting Hohenwerfen Castle

If you’re planning a trip to Hohenwerfen Castle, there are a few practical details to keep in mind to ensure you have a smooth visit. Here’s everything you need to know:

Location and Getting There

Hohenwerfen Castle is located in the Salzburg region of Austria, about 40 kilometers south of the city of Salzburg. If you’re driving, you can take the A10 Tauernautobahn motorway southbound and exit at Werfen. From there, follow the signs to the castle.

If you’re traveling by public transportation, you can take a train to Werfen and then take a bus or taxi to the castle. Alternatively, many tour companies offer day trips to Hohenwerfen Castle, which can be a convenient option.

Opening Hours and Tickets

Hohenwerfen Castle is open to visitors from mid-March to late November, with varying opening hours depending on the season. During peak season (July-August), the castle is open daily from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., while during off-peak season, it’s open on select days and at reduced hours.

You can purchase tickets at the entrance gate to the castle, or you can buy them online in advance to skip the line. Prices for tickets vary depending on the type of tour you choose but generally range from €11-€17 for adults and €6-€9 for children.

What to Expect During Your Visit

When you arrive at Hohenwerfen Castle, you’ll be greeted by stunning views of the surrounding Alps and the castle’s impressive medieval architecture. You’ll have the opportunity to explore the castle’s many attractions, including its exhibits on medieval history, its extensive armory collection, and its interactive displays.

Guided tours are available for those who want a more in-depth look at the castle’s history and architecture. The duration and content of the tours vary depending on the type of tour you choose.

Tips for Your Visit

  • Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, as there is a fair amount of walking involved in exploring the castle.
  • Bring a jacket or sweater, as the castle can be quite chilly, especially in the higher elevations.
  • If you’re visiting during peak season, be prepared for larger crowds and longer wait times.
  • Consider bringing a picnic lunch to enjoy on the castle grounds, as there are few dining options available on site.

With these tips in mind, you’re sure to have an enjoyable and memorable visit to Hohenwerfen Castle!

The Surrounding Natural Beauty of Hohenwerfen Castle

Surrounded by the stunning Austrian Alps, Hohenwerfen Castle is not only a marvel of medieval architecture but also boasts breathtaking views of the natural beauty that surrounds it. The castle perches atop a rocky outcrop, providing visitors with a panoramic view of the Salzach Valley below.

For nature enthusiasts, the castle’s location offers numerous outdoor activities to enjoy. The area is perfect for hiking, with trails that run through the surrounding mountains. Visitors can explore the lush forests and see some of Austria’s native wildlife, such as red deer or golden eagles.

Another option for nature lovers is a visit to the Hohenwerfen fortress, located just a short distance away. The fortress is nestled high in the mountains and features a bird of prey center, offering visitors the chance to see eagles, hawks, and falcons in flight.

Overall, the natural beauty that surrounds Hohenwerfen Castle provides a tranquil and picturesque escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Whether hiking the mountain trails, enjoying the bird of prey center, or simply taking in the panoramic views, visitors are sure to feel refreshed and rejuvenated by the castle’s natural surroundings.

Hohenwerfen Castle in Popular Culture

Hohenwerfen Castle has made appearances in several popular culture references, particularly in the film industry. One of its most notable appearances was in the 1965 classic film “The Sound of Music.” Hohenwerfen Castle was used as the exterior filming location for the iconic scene where the Von Trapp family escapes from the Nazis by climbing over the mountains.

In addition to “The Sound of Music,” Hohenwerfen Castle has also been featured in the Austrian film “The Dark Valley.” This 2014 film is a Western thriller set in the Austrian Alps and features stunning shots of Hohenwerfen Castle that showcase its medieval beauty.

Aside from film, Hohenwerfen Castle has also served as the inspiration for many fictional works. The castle’s rich history and stunning architecture have inspired writers to use it as a setting for their novels. Authors such as Dan Brown and Umberto Eco have used Hohenwerfen Castle as a backdrop for their mystery novels, adding to its already intriguing reputation.

Whether it’s on the big screen or in the pages of a book, Hohenwerfen Castle’s medieval charm has made it a favorite among artists and audiences alike.

Events and Festivals at Hohenwerfen Castle

Hohenwerfen Castle is not only a fascinating historical monument but also hosts numerous events and festivals throughout the year. Visitors can experience the castle coming to life through reenactments, music concerts, and more. Below are some of the exciting events to look out for:

Event Description Date
Castle Tavern An opportunity to indulge in medieval delicacies while being entertained by music and dance performances. May to October
Medieval Festival A celebration of medieval culture with jousting tournaments, craftsmen, and merchants showcasing their goods. July and August
Knight Games Experience the thrill of medieval-style combat performed by skilled warriors. August and September

Be sure to check the Hohenwerfen Castle website for the latest event updates and ticket information.

Dining and Souvenir Shopping at Hohenwerfen Castle

After exploring the stunning sights at Hohenwerfen Castle, visitors can indulge in delightful dining options and find unique keepsakes to take home. The castle offers a variety of dining options, including a traditional Austrian restaurant and a cozy café, both serving delicious meals and refreshments.

For those looking to purchase souvenirs, the castle gift shop has a wide range of options, from medieval-themed items to local crafts and artwork. Visitors can browse through the collections and find the perfect memento to remember their visit to Hohenwerfen Castle.

There are plenty of seating areas and facilities available for visitors to relax and enjoy the postcard-perfect views of the Salzach Valley while enjoying their favorite meal or drink.

Accessibility and Facilities at Hohenwerfen Castle

Hohenwerfen Castle strives to provide a comfortable and accessible experience for all visitors, including those with disabilities or special needs. The castle is equipped with various facilities and accommodations to ensure that everyone can enjoy its historical beauty and attractions.


The castle is wheelchair accessible, with ramps and elevators available for visitors with mobility disabilities. Some areas of the castle may require assistance due to uneven surfaces or stairs, but staff members are always on hand to provide assistance if needed.

Visitors with visual impairments can request braille guides or audio guides, available in multiple languages, to help enhance their experience. Service animals are also welcome at the castle, but it is recommended to inform staff of their presence beforehand to ensure a smooth visit.


The castle offers a variety of facilities to enhance visitors’ experience, including clean and well-maintained restrooms, a gift shop for souvenir shopping, and multiple dining options. Visitors can enjoy a meal at the castle’s restaurant, which features traditional Austrian cuisine, or grab a quick snack at the café.

The castle also features a designated picnic area where visitors can enjoy a packed lunch while taking in the stunning scenery. Additionally, lockers are available for visitors to store any personal belongings during their visit.

Overall, Hohenwerfen Castle is committed to providing a welcoming and accommodating experience for all. Whether you have special needs or not, you can expect a memorable and enjoyable visit to this medieval gem.


There’s no denying that Hohenwerfen Castle is one of Austria’s most captivating medieval gems. Its rich history, unique architecture, and wealth of attractions make it a must-visit destination for any traveler.

Visitors can explore the castle’s history through its exhibits, take in stunning views from atop the towers, and immerse themselves in interactive experiences. Guided tours provide an in-depth look at the castle’s fascinating past, and outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds Hohenwerfen Castle.

Those planning a visit should keep in mind practical information such as ticket prices, opening hours, and directions to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Accessibility and facilities for visitors with disabilities or special needs are also available to ensure everyone can enjoy the castle’s beauty.

If you’re looking for unique souvenirs, the castle’s gift shops offer an array of options, and dining options are available for visitors looking to grab a bite to eat. Throughout the year, Hohenwerfen Castle hosts a variety of events and festivals, adding even more excitement to a visit.

In conclusion, Hohenwerfen Castle’s historical significance and architectural beauty make it a destination not to be missed. Whether you are a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or simply looking for a unique experience, Hohenwerfen Castle will not disappoint.