Schönstein Castle Close to Knowledge: An impressive privately owned castle

Message from 06/15/2022

Written by Catherine Kugelmire

After a brief acquaintance, the magnificent Schönstein castle rises at the confluence of Elbbach and Sieg. The typical Medieval Randhausburg is privately owned and thus can only be seen from the outside. But even this is worth it!

Schönstein Castle near Knowledge. (Photo: Nilius via Wisserland)

knowledge. Most of the castles in Westerwald are still inhabited today and therefore can only be viewed partially or from the outside. Schönstein Castle near Knowledge, which is owned by the House of Hatzfeldt-Wildenburg, is one of them. Directly down the road, yet somewhat hidden behind overgrown castle walls, you’ll find the beautiful castle district, which is today the administrative headquarters of the Hatzfeldt-Wildenburg administration and the residence of the Graf Hatzfeldt family. As a visitor, you can only look at the castle on occasions or special occasions, otherwise you can only see it from the outside.

Schönstein Castle, which was still a castle, was first mentioned in 1255. From 1281 onwards, ‘Schönenstein Castle’ was a pledge of the Diocese of Cologne until it finally became the property of Hatzfeldt in 1589. At that time, Hermann von Hatzfeldt took over -Werther property in recognition of its own merits. Unfortunately, the castle was already severely damaged at this point, which is why Hermann von Hatzfeldt-Werther invested about 16,000 guilders in the castle in the first few years. However, this investment was short-lived, because only a few years later the castle was occupied, looted and set on fire by Swedish forces during the Thirty Years’ War. However, Hatzfeldts’ love of Schönstein Castle was not broken and so it was rebuilt at the instigation of Wilhelm von Hatzfeldt.

(Photo: Bernard Theis via Westerland)

The architecture of Schönstein Palace is typical Randhausberg with an almost triangular main building with buildings grouped around an inner courtyard. From the Middle Ages to the present day, the castle has been repeatedly changed, expanded, rebuilt and supplemented, which is why there are “style breaks” in some places. A good example is the older north wing, which was built of rubble stone and contrasts distinctly with the brick facades of the 16th century. The staircase in the south wing is in the Baroque style from the first half of the eighteenth century and is also very distinctive. There is also a special feature in the east wing. The first floor of the wooden portico was built in 1598, and the second floor only 25 years later in 1623. The architecture of the castle is also a journey through time.

If you are traveling in the area around the knowledge, you should definitely make a short detour to Schönstein Castle. Even if you can only visit it from the outside, a look at the castle is definitely worth it. If you want to combine everything with a picnic, you can take the Auenlandweg, for example, which leads near the castle. As part of the “The Chapel Trail” guided hiking trip, you can visit the castle church of Schönstein Castle. Information on this is available from Wisserland Touristik via the link below.


Address: Schönstein Castle, Fürst-Hatzfeld-Straße, 57537 Knowledge
Viewing: Castle courtyard only (The castle church can be visited as part of the “Der Kapellenweg” guided tour via Wisserland Touristik.)
Hours of Operation: From Easter to the end of October on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 12 noon to 5 pm
Family friendly: Yes

More information

By the way, there are always lovely new corners in the area to discover in our “Hiking in the Westerwald” Facebook picnic group.

Do you have any tips for hiking or picnicking? Then please email us at Thank you so much!

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