Nestled in the countryside between Parsberg and Velburg lies Burgruine Adelburg.
Never heard of Burgruine Adelburg? Not surprising. A quick glance of Google Reviews shows 160 reviews of the Velburg castle ruins and only TWO Burgruine Adelburg reviews. This isn’t on anyone’s radar.
Although not currently living in the Lupburg-Parsberg-Velburg Triangle our family did spend six weeks as residents of the Winkler Brau upon our arrival to Deutschland in 2019 so the area still holds a special place in our hearts. As such we enjoy finding reasons to visit friends in the these towns as well as finding reasons to play there.
It was the latter that led us to Seubersdorf on a recent foggy day. With COVID-19 host nation and U.S. Army regulations in place, our current travel is restricted to grocery stores and exercise. Having heard about these castle ruins for the first time after having lived in Deutschland for nearly 18 months, I was eager to see what hidden gem was in the shadow of Velburg and Parsberg and their respective more well-known and visible castle fortresses.
The first written mention of this castle is in 1180 putting it’s age comparable to that of Oxford University in England. Interestingly, the knight Stephan Gewolf used it as his starting point for raids on the road from Neumarkt to Hemau. As you travel between those two towns today, think back to a time when that your journey may have been perilous.
During the 1500s, the castle was purchased by Knight Jorg Wisbeck at which time it appears the castle was abandoned. The final blow to the castle was in the mid 18th century when the Ashlar walls were removed and repurposed for the church in Batzhausen located 5 kilometers to the West. Fast forward 500 years and the ruins before us is all that remains.
As our Google Map directions led myself, my son Hunter (11), and my daughters Eva (9), and Acadia (8) to within one mile of the destination we ran into a hiccup when our turn was blocked by several large 18 wheelers parked and working on the small one lane Deutsche country road that is common all across Bayern. Taking it in stride we embraced the forced detour. My feeling about detours (Umleitungs in Deutsche) is they are God’s way of showing you something you wouldn’t have otherwise explored and perhaps if you are luckier, meeting someone with whom you would not have had the chance to meet.
Although we did not meet someone new, we did drive through the small village of Hollerstetten which is the closest village to the castle ruins. There is a restaurant located in the village. Perhaps in non-COVID times a castle hike and a bite to eat will be possible.
After a few quick turns we were within 0.5 miles of our destination so I found a patch of grass on the side of the road and pulled over. As a rule I try not to get closer than 0.5 miles to the castle ruins. As we are not located in the Alps the hill, no matter how steep, will be manageable and thus I ensure the roundtrip will be a mile distance at a minimum.
When exploring a new castle in Deutschland, parking can be difficult. Things are just different in Deutschland then in America and much of that stems from our car culture in the U.S.A. In America you look for the trailhead and there will be a parking lot. But that’s simply not the case in Deutschland.
Deutsche attractions such as castle ruins have no established trailhead. Burgruine Adelburg like most Burgruines are accessible from every direction on multiple trails coming from each surrounding town. Furthermore there is no terminus to these trails. They simply extend across Deutschland with seemingly no beginning and no end. There is usually no established parking area. Fortunately the Deutsche do not have the genetic material that causes America to be tow happy so you can feel safe about leaving your vehicle parked just about anywhere.
Parallel to our parking spot was a freshly turned farm field. While securing the vehicle, two of the three children made their way into the field and promptly added 10 pounds to each of their tiny frames but virtue of the mud now caked on to the bottoms and sides of their hiking boots. I try to be a parent that says get muddy, get dirty, behave like a child. However I try to reserve that behavior towards the end of the activity so you don’t have a wet/filthy/miserable child to contend with for one or two hours while the activity is still ongoing.
Once the children were out of the mud field Eva began her ever present game of tag. Expect to see her in the sequel to John Hamm’s Tag. Hitting theatres in 2051. Hey, children wanting to run uphill for 40 minutes? Knock yourself out.
One day we will have to return on a clear day. This day was straight out of a Brothers Grimm fairytale. Adding to the mysteriousness was the logger felling trees somewhere in the forest. The crack and crush of these majestically tall pines gave the impression that one of them could crush my children if I let them bushwack too far from the trail. It was funny when we finally located the logger at the very base of the castle ruin itself, very far away from where we first heard the sounds crisply and clearly.
Although you can see the route we took here, as I mentioned there are many ways to attack these castle ruins (pun intended).
Previously I mentioned the two Google reviews for this castle ruin. One of the reviews mentioned the trail itself and it’s beauty. I’m not sure how this hike would be on a clear day however on this day it was straight out of a Brothers Grimm fairytale where the fog brought the surrounding trees alive. Furthermore, I was not aware we were standing at the base of cliffs upon which the fortress ruins were clearly standing until peering through the fog for more than a minute.
Just prior to leaving the main trail up the mountain and turning onto an obscure trail that is easily overlooked, we walked over to a rock grouping overlooking a spot where rock climbers congregate. As Eva stated, ‘mom probably wouldn’t be happy to know we are walking around up here’.
When you see the big log, turn there and you will see the rock steps in the hillside. While the road is not packed that well for a stroller it will be do-able until this point. Once you reach this log to turn and make the final ascent, you will have to leave the stroller behind. Not ideal but not too strenuous if you must carry your child for this period.
Once we summited I lost two of my three children–always a good sign for a castle hike. It means there is more than a pile of rocks and the children can run and play among walls, arches, and/or rooms. We will need to return to this castle when the weather is clear if only to determine if there was anything we missed not located directly on the summit. With the foggy conditions, it’s possible there could have been an adjoining fortress structure and we would not have seen it.
Although I have been writing about ‘castles’ since our arrival here in Deutschland, embarrassingly it was only recently that I took the time to fully understand the difference between a Schloss and a Burgruine. As an American I simply refer to both as ‘castles’ and the castles I speak of can be found in various states of upkeep and decay. Some are fully restored and are used as restaurants and or hotels and even private residences while others are nothing more than a pile of rocks in an overgrown forest. However there is a difference. A Schloss is a palace while a Burgruine is a fortress ruin. One has a focus on comfort and luxury while maintaining security while the other has a focus solely on security.
This hike is rated moderately easy (it’s a continual climb though less than one mile).
The pathway is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Total Walking Time Including Photo Time At Top: 78 minutes
Total Walking Distance: 1.80 miles
Total Incline: 425 feet
Strollers: Not recommended
Drive Time from Hohenfels: 22 minutes
Drive Time from Parsberg: 13 minutes
Drive Time from Velburg: 9 minutes
Drive Time from Berathausen: 23 minutes
Technical climbing wall at base of castle ruins located here.