The adorable town of Parkstein is built on top of an inactive volcano. Inside of the town is a large basalt formation with a church and castle ruins built on top of it. When I found out that there were castle ruins on top of a Volcano in Germany I knew we had to go! The ruins aren’t too hard to find. We just put Parkstein into our GPS and followed the route. Once we got into Parkstein we could see the basalt formation with the church on top. We just drove around the town until we got to a parking area with a trail leading to the top.
The basalt formations were amazing. It was unlike anything we had ever seen before. We stood at the bottom and looked at them for a good while before heading up the trail of stairs to the top.
There are a lot of stairs that you must climb to get to the top. They are stone steps of all different heights and widths. It was quite the little climb but worth it in the end. When you get to the top of the stairs you will see the castle ruins of Fortress Parkstein. Although the signs were all in German I was able to gather that the ruins are from a castle built sometime during the 11th century. On a nice day you could have a picnic next to the ruins and enjoy the views of the city below.
Once you are done exploring the ruins you can walk up the path to St. Mary’s Mountain Church. The church is a small, but beautiful church. The door was open so we were able to peek inside.
Outside of the church is a throne carved out of a tree trunk. We had no idea why it was there but we sat in it and took some pictures. At least it made for a good photo op!
The views from the top were incredible. You could see for miles. We stood up there for a while (despite the cold) and just looked at all the little German villages that dotted the land below. Overall we probably filled about an hour of our time. If the weather was better we probably would have hung out at the top longer.
If you’re ever in the area of Parkstein definitely check out Vulkan Parkstein. The site is free, open during daylight hours and is a great way to get in a nice workout while doing some sightseeing.