Riegersburg and Kapfenstein, Guest Written by Astrid
One of the many day trip options in Austria is going to see it’s castles, we were staying in Styria and decided to visit the more well known castle Riegersburg.
The fortress is built on volcanic rock and parts date back to the 1200s. It’s about a 20 minute hike up to the castle and as you get higher the view gets more beautiful, on clear days you can see as far as Hungary. The scenery alone is worth a visit! Once you’ve trekked up through the many entrance ways and moats you are rewarded with a beer garden (thankfully almost every tourist destination in Austria will reward you with beer and wine) where you can enjoy a cold Gosser or wine spritzer!
Riegersburg has a great witch “Hexen” exhibit where you can learn about the witch hunts of the 1600’s and check out some awesomely designed exhibits. The most interesting witch who’s story is on display is the Rose witch, who was burned and decapitated bc she was able to grow roses year round and during a particularly harsh winter.
After the witch exhibit you enter Riegersburg proper where there are some predictable but still breathtakingly opulent living quarters and banquet halls. My favorite display was a Knights feast of nobles stuffing themselves with food and wine, only to vomit after on the “vomiting bridge”.
If after this display of gluttony you start to feel hungry you can take a 15 minute drive to have lunch at castle Kapfenstein.
Kapfenstein is an old castle again with beautiful views, an amazing restaurant and vineyards that surround it. The family that runs the restaurant also owns the vineyard so the wines are not only affordable but really delicious. We had great weather so got to sit on the terrace and enjoy a lovely rose and lunch of new-austrian fare with a focus on seasonal and organic (yep everyone’s doing it). The chef is also a believer in making vegetarian dishes as relevant on the menu as the hearty meat fare (Marcus had Ox)!
Plus we saw a salamander scurry by during our meal, a memorable day…