Imagine green forests stretching as far as the eye can see as a cable car is carrying you up the hill towards a majestic castle. The breeze is caressing the back of your neck, easing the heat of the day as you dangle your legs, watching the grass beneath sail away. After a pleasant trek through the forest, it’s the perfect arrival to the beautiful Schloss Burg Solingen on Wuppertal. Schloss Burg Solingen is definitely one of the area’s highlights, however, aside from the beautiful castle, there are enough Solingen attractions to keep you entertained for a short getaway. In this guide, I’m spilling the beans on the beautiful Schloss Burg Solingen and sharing my 48 hours in Solingen itinerary.
Excellent Reasons To Visit Solingen: Must-See Solingen Attractions
While Solingen on its own is not an extremely popular destination, it’s a great starting point for your explorations of the region. Of course, the reason behind my visit to Solingen was, you guessed it, visiting a magnificent castle. But even without it, the city’s proximity to Dusseldorf and the change of landscape help those interested in the region to get to know North Rhine-Westphalia better. The city of Solingen is situated on rolling hills with the river Wupper running through the center. Its old neighborhood, Gräfrath, is filled with many great examples of traditional German architecture and is the perfect place to stay during your visit. Aside from that, the surrounding area offers great outdoor activities in the Müngstener Brückenpark. The park offers boat rentals, picturesque hikes, and even a minigolf course. Solingen itself is famous for its fine craftsmanship of knives. Actually, Solingen knives are recognized worldwide and cost a pretty penny, so if there’s one souvenir you have to bring back, it’s a Solingen manicure set or a Solingen knives set. Just don’t forget to stick it in your luggage! Another must-see attraction is the ‘Wuppertaler Schwebebahn’ or Wuppertal Suspension Railway, which is an architectural marvel with a strong steampunk feel to it. This suspended monorail runs for 13.3 km! But we shouldn’t forget the stunning Schloss Burg which is well worth a visit! The stunning view from the hill as well as the history behind the castle really makes it special. In this guide I am bringing you along as we explore the castle and the surrounding Solingen area. Before your own trip to Schloss Burg though, make sure to check the visiting hours in the schedule as they change from month to month! Are you ready to discover the region and Schloss Burg castle in Solingen? Let’s get started!
How to get to Solingen from Dusseldorf
The travel time from Dusseldorf Hbf to Solingen is only 25 minutes by regional train. Travel time by car would be slightly longer due to the roads. Solingen is actually quite large but in this guide, we will be staying in Solingen Gräfrath. It’s a beautiful area and has good public transport connections to the train stations and Schloss Burg itself. Take the train from Dusseldorf Hbf to Wuppertal-Vohwinkel which takes roughly 15 minutes. The schedule is available on Deutsche Bahn. From there you want to get the Bus No. 683 in the direction “Burger Bahnhof, Solingen”. It’s a 12-minute ride to the bus stop “Gräfrath, Solingen” or one bus stop further to “Deutsches Klingenmuseum” which brings you to the Museum of Knives. If you’re planning to take a different route, you can use the VRR website to look up the buses that fit your route Although I would recommend renting a car for your German trip. It would make it so much smoother as I have experienced many train delays throughout my 10-day trip!
Where to stay in Solingen Germany
If you like relaxed exploration, then spending 1,5 to 2 days in Solingen is your best choice. That will allow you to calmly explore the surroundings of Schloss Burg Solingen, which could be a day trip on its own. You also want to be close to Solingen’s main sights which include the Museum of Knives and the suspension railway. That’s why I recommend that you stay at Gräfrath.
Gräfrath is a true fairytale corner and I would recommend you stay on the Gräfrather Markt which is a cozy market square with a couple of hotels, cafes, a bakery and artisan shops. You can stay in Hotel Gräfrather Hof which is a luxurious 4-star hotel. It actually has two different hotel buildings which you can see in the picture above, Hotel Gräfrather Hof and Hotel zur Post. Are you looking for something truly extraordinary? Then check out Hotel Trafohaus which is a one-room hotel in a repurposed transformer building. It’s just a stone’s throw away from the Museum of Knives and it’s perfect for a romantic getaway. Should you prefer renting an apartment to staying in hotels, you might just love Altes Pastorat or Townhouse. Either way, you get to wake up to the smell of morning coffee wafting through the historical square.
Things to do in Solingen Germany: Relaxed 2-day Solingen Itinerary
Day 1 in Solingen: Schloss Burg Solingen
It’s a perfect day to spend exploring a medieval castle, don’t you think? Today we’ll combine a bit of outdoor exploration with some culture and wrap up the day with a delicious waffle, and a view!
Visit the Müngsten Brücke
Müngsten Brücke is the highest railway bridge in Germany. This beautiful bridge stretches over the Wupper river and is currently undergoing renovations. A local sight in itself, the bridge opened in 1897. Now the area is surrounded by a well-maintained forest and the Müngsten Brückenpark. There’s a mini-golf course, a restaurant, and parking so it’s easy to reach by car. There are bus connections as well which you can look up on VRR. The bridge is definitely one of the highlights of the region.
Hike to Schloss Burg from Müngsten Brückenpark
If you come by public transport, this option might be really appealing. It’s only an hour’s leisurely walk from the bridge to the chairlift that will bring you to Schloss Burg hill. If you come by car, you will inevitably have to get back to it after you’ve explored the castle, which might be a bit too much activity but depends entirely on your tastes. The trek in itself is very pleasant but there’s a little challenge for you first to cross the Wupper. Don’t miss the crossing which is an attraction in itself! Schwebefähre der Lebenshilfe Solingen is a curious cable-based ferry that costs only 1.5 EUR but is the most amusing experience. To pull it from one side to the other two people have to literally pull levers with quite a bit of force. The other passengers can relax in the meantime and take pictures from the unusual perspective. Don’t worry as there is always a ferryman on board!
Spot traditional German architecture in Unterburg
Once the forest gives way to roads and timber-framed houses, you’ll get your first eyeful of Schloss Burg. Follow the signs to get to the Seilbahn Burg which I wholeheartedly recommend that you take. You can also get to the castle on foot going up the hill which will probably take you at least 30 minutes and you will miss out on the gorgeous views. If you’re coming by car, you have the following options:
You can go directly to the top of the hill to the castle. There is a parking area right in front of the gates. Use the following address for your navigation system (it doesn’t match with the official address because it will lead you to the parking): Wermelskirchener Str. 2, 42659 Solingen.
I recommend that you actually park under the hill at the free parking lot that is next to the chairlift. The parking is called Parking area chair lift (Seilbahn Burg). Use this address: Hasencleverstraße 2, 42659 Solingen.
Take the Seilbahn Burg cable lift up to Schloss Burg Solingen
The chairlift that brings you up the hill to the castle is definitely worth taking! The scenery that unfolds beneath you is magnificent and the ride isn’t scary at all, despite the simplicity of the lift. A one-way ticket will cost you 2,80 EUR but a two-way ride would only be 4 EUR. The feeling of sailing away while watching the smooth grass move beneath you is amazing. As you cross the river, turn your head and look at the valley that you’re leaving behind. The forest is spreading all around and it’s a breathtaking view that you’ll want to last longer… Before you know it, the lift has brought you to the top and as you disembark, the castle unfolds before you. Before you go further, check out the viewing platform that offers the view over the chairlift and the beautiful scenery.
Schloss Burg in Solingen is a real medieval castle, not a reconstruction or a fantasy such as Schloss Drachenburg, for example. The construction of this magnificent castle began in the 12th century and the castle maintained its relevance throughout several centuries before the main seat of power of the Counts of Berg moved to Dusseldorf. The grounds and buildings fell into disrepair and would have remained so, had the locals not pitched in to lovingly restore the castle to its proper magnificence in the early 20th century. Now, it’s a must-visit destination for tourists but also it’s a great setting for many events. For example, the German Medieval Fantasy Convention is a big two-day event that takes place in the palace courtyard. Days like these fit perfectly with the spirit of the castle as guests can come in costume and act out their favorite characters and live in a fantasy world, if only for a little while. As a Harry Potter fan and a LOTR admirer, that kind of stuff really floats my boat. But not every single event is themed and there are often musical concerts and special holiday events during Halloween and Christmas time. Even without special events, the castle is a well-loved tourist destination with more than 300,000 yearly visitors.
Touring the beautiful Schloss Burg
Once you pay the 5 EUR entry price, head into the courtyard. If you feel frivolous enough, you can have a fun moment as you pose in an embarrassing pose suspended by the wooden shackle post next to the tower. Once you’ve had your fun, ascend the stone stairway into the castle. Here you can find out how it felt to live in a medieval castle thanks to the thoughtful exposition of the Bergisch Museum.
The first room that I saw was the Gallery of Ancestral Portraits filled with Gobelins depicting the noble lineage of the Bergs. I especially liked how true the costumes were to the era of each Berg ancestor. The museum also offers guided tours which are especially nice for history lovers who appreciate a good story, when told well. The Knights Hall was everything a medieval ballroom should be: full of character, breathing history, and desperately in need of a feast! As we left it, the staircases brought us further into the castle to show different aspects of life. There was an armory, a reconstruction of a kitchen filled with cutlery and pots, and even a hunting section at the very top which offers a delightful window view. I was very impressed with the way the exhibition is arranged within the castle walls. The route is built very smartly in a way that ensures you never backtrack. And yet you make a circle through all the rooms, the castle walls, and viewing points, before returning into the courtyard. Unfortunately, the tallest tower was under repairs so I had to content myself with great views from the wall.
Take a lunch break in a cafe with views of the valley
After all that exploring you will no doubt be very hungry! Luckily the area around the castle offers several cafes that fit the bill. We chose to eat at the cafe right next to the chairlift called Cafe Zum Rittersturz and even snagged a table from which we were able to see the visitors sail past. So much fun! As for the menu, it was definitely a local spot which is why Google Translate would be your best friend. I translated every waffle in the menu 2 or 3 times because I kept getting mixed up and forgetting what I just looked up. Ah, the realities of struggling with foreign language… In the end, I ordered a waffle with a generous helping of whipped cream and walnut ice cream as well as a side of plums in syrup. It required two people to cope with the giant plum dish so consider yourself warned!
If you’re in search of a savory combo, consider getting some potato salad with sausage. I honestly gave up on telling apart the different kinds of sausage so I usually went by the different kinds of combo plates that were on the menu. And it turned out great in the end!
Descend the Schloss Burg hill on foot
If you’re feeling like stretching your limbs after a good meal, consider taking the walking path down the hill. It weaves in between the trees and doesn’t offer a view but it’s a great opportunity to exercise and take another look at the surrounding area. The path surroundings change as you go, from trees to local houses with quirky interiors. You will notice unique decor, like this wooden porch filled with animal sculptures.
Once you descend, you’ve certainly deserved some rest! If you’ve come by car, put in ‘Gräfrath’ and make your way to the hotel. If you’ve come by public transport, catch the 683 bus going to Schleife Krahenhöhe. Once it reaches its final destination, switch to the same bus 683 going to Wuppertal-Vohwinkel Bf. It will take you the rest of the way to the stop Gräfrath, Solingen. From there the Gräfrath hotels are a short walk away!
Day 2 in Solingen: exploring Gräfrath and city
Have breakfast at Gräfrather Markt
There are several cafes in the historical square, all of them lovely. If you’d like to experience a touch of the local life, skip the hotel breakfast or at least check out the Kaffeehaus Solingen. The coffee house is worth a peek even if you’re not staying: the historical interiors are filled with artwork and if you visit the dining hall on the second floor you will find a beautiful wall painting. If you’re wondering what the interior is like, take a look.
Walk around the old houses of Gräfrath
If you’re aching to put Germany on your travel to-do list thanks to its gorgeous architecture, you shouldn’t miss Gräfrath. I found the region of North Rhein-Westfalia quite modern overall (Dusseldorf especially so), which is why each time I encountered typical architecture, I sighed in delight. Ivy-covered facades, timber-frame houses, coal-black walls… this little corner of Solingen really delivers.
Go up the staircase away from the market and slowly circle the neighborhood. You will pass a transformer building, now turned Hotel Trafohaus, will get to see how locals live and experience the tranquility of the area. Don’t forget to bring your camera along to bring back some postcard-perfect pictures. What a lovely way to spend a morning!
Visit Deutsches Klingenmuseum Solingen
Prepare to discover the wonderful world of knives for just 4,50 EUR. The museum’s collection ranges from silverware and cutlery to knives, swords and other weapons. The museum is very rooted in the history of the region and is hosting Knife Days from 10th to 13th of May where knife makers can present their works, even if they’re hobby knife makers. You can participate in knife-making workshops and enjoy official award ceremonies. There is also a show and a market where it’s possible to buy the amazing knives that are displayed. Regular visitors won’t be disappointed either! Many beautiful pieces of cutlery survived to these days, thanks to their owner’s desire to preserve them for special occasions. The collections are organized chronologically to make sure you don’t get tired from viewing the same stuff. Funny enough, there’s even a separate museum for children where they can safely interact with objects and explore real weapons and blades. When planning your visit, please note that the museum is closed on Monday.
Shop for souvenirs at a family-run knife-production business
Solingen has many family-owned businesses that still produce high-quality knives. There is also a gift shop in the Deutsches Klingenmuseum itself. But I think it’s nice to take advantage of the situation and visit one such business that is local-based. There are several places where you can buy Solingen knives. Many of them are quite high-end, with prices ranging from 100 EUR per knife and up. If you’d rather buy a small souvenir to remember your trip instead of rearranging your entire kitchen utensils, check out this lovely family business RSG Rost Frei Solingen. The address: Löhdorfer Str. 169, 42699 Solingen. My mom and I ended up stopping by as we drove past and were impressed by how friendly the staff was, even though they spoke little English, which was hardly surprising. We ended up buying a beautiful knife and tiny ornate scissors for sewing for only 15 EUR per item.
Ride the suspended railway of Wuppertal
How about spending the second half of the day exploring Wuppertal? Wuppertaler Schwebebahn is a true feat of engineering. Its railway stretches for 13.3 kilometers and can take you from Solingen to Wuppertal and back. The tickets can be purchased at each station’s entrance. I propose to get started from Wuppertal Vohwinkel station. Settle in next to a window and stare down into the streets and people’s apartments as you cruise past. Is it any surprise though that many of them have curtains? This is the perfect opportunity to explore the area around Wuppertal Hauptbahnhof, which is the central station. If you have any strength left, how about some shopping and a walk around the city center? Sounds to me like the perfect ending to a perfect day!
I hope you liked this guide to Schloss Burg Solingen and the surrounding area! Check out my other German adventures and stay tuned as I introduce you to the beautiful Bonn!