Hiking: The Solms Ambition

Deep in the Westerwald sits the great castle of the Solms family. Better described as a palace, it represents the 19th-century ambitions of the Solms family, who received a bounty of territory in the region in the wake of Napoleon. The castle is a 19th-century extension and reconstruction of an existing castle that had served the Solms family for centuries. Today it remains in the family and houses a museum with artifacts collected from around the family’s former territory.

This hike is all about trying to get the best views of the castle. Since it doesn’t quite rise high enough above the tree line, it can be difficult to find the best viewpoints. The hike will also take you to another of the Solms’ great acquisitions, the Monastery of Altenberg. The once rich collection of medieval monastery inventory has been dispersed to museums worldwide, including the MET in New York. In some cases, copies have been displayed in the church itself. The hike ends in the charming town of Wetzlar.

How to Get Here:

  • The starting point is the castle, which can be reached by bus from Wetzlar.
  • Hike Starts at the Market Square in Braunfels

Photography Note: For the best lighting conditions, you will want to start in Wetzlar and hike to the castle. This will keep the sun on your back. With a good pace, the castle will remain in sunlight as you walk around it. Ideally, for the views of the castle from the west, you may need a car to visit in the evening.

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