Bilstein Castle was first mentioned in 1217 when Provost Mathieu, brother of the Duke of Lorraine and assassin of the Bishop of Toul, found refuge there. Owned by the Lords of Horbourg, they sold it in 1324 to Württemberg. Over the centuries, it was a farm, prison, Protestant bastion and a refuge for the inhabitants fleeing the armies during the Thirty Years’ War. It was at this time that the Swedes seized it and burned it. It was unable to recover from this.
In its last years of existence (1650-1670), the castle must have looked like a large farm. In fact, ancient texts mention that the cowman would receive salt and bells for his animals as well as a work coat, trousers and shoes!
Its 12th-century square keep accessed through a tall, Gothic-style gate, its double enclosure, its deep ditch where abundant vegetation has taken hold, the clear view of the neighbouring ridges.
- Follow the forest road towards Saint-Alexis, from Riquewihr. From the col (691 m) where you can park your vehicle, walk along the path marked with a blue cross, towards the Seelaceker-Bilstein. At the next crossroads, follow the red rectangle to a second crossroads. Then follow the blue dot markings leading to the site. From the car park, it is also possible to follow the red signs for the Alsace Fortified Castles’ Trail.
- Walk time from car park
- 60 min
- Nearest tourism office
- Office de tourisme du Pays de Ribeauvillé et Riquewihr
2 rue de la 1ère Armée
03 89 73 23 23
- Conservation association
- Mathieu DANNER et Arthur URBAN sont les deux veilleurs, bénévoles en charge du château du Bilstein. Pour toute information : 06 43 73 94 81 - page Facebook @LeBilstein
- GPS coordinates
- Lat.: 48.19545075 - Long.: 7.26960865