All year round, fans of Medieval history can experience for themselves what everyday life was like for knights in centuries gone by: at various feasts, Medieval banquets and special exhibitions in historical settings.

Historical fairs in ancient walls

Every Whitsun weekend, Weesenstein Castle, rising up majestically from a rocky hilltop over the Müglitztal valley south of Dresden, provides the backdrop for a Medieval festival, where knights with horses and hunting birds, Medieval artisans, chefs and musicians invite visitors to experience a thrilling glimpse of days of old. For over 25 years, every autumn, Falkenstein Castle in Germany's Harz region has been inviting visitors to a Medieval show and historical market fair. The highlight is a tournament where bold knights on horseback test their skills in events such as "Rolandreiten" (hitting a wooden figure with their shield), "pig sticking", jousting and riding through fire.

Falkenstein: Aerial view of Falkenstein Castle at dusk in autumn, Harz Falkenstein: Aerial view of Falkenstein Castle at dusk in autumn, Harz ©lookphotos (Derbis Dave)

Feasting Medieval style

Medieval banquets at many German castles are a very special experience, accompanied by all kinds of revelry and entertainment. Against historical backdrops, minstrels in period costume transport visitors back to centuries gone by. Perched on a hilltop high above the Moselle and surrounded by vineyards, the Imperial Castle in Cochem invites visitors to sample Medieval delicacies such as spicy soup and huge joints of meat from the barbecue. On the romantic Mirow Castle Island in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, visitors to the "Ritterkeller" can enjoy hearty fare accompanied by a variety show offering hours of fun insights into the history and legends of the historical Castle Island and its former inhabitants.

Mirow: Mirow Castle Mirow: Mirow Castle ©DZT (Jens Wegener)

How did knights actually live?

Heldburg Fortress, in the south of Thuringia, shows visitors that life in the Middle Ages wasn't all fun and games. Housed within the castle walls, the German Castle Museum aims to dispel such misconceptions. With fascinating multimedia exhibits and authentically decorated rooms featuring rare items of historical furniture, the museum provides a glimpse into the everyday lives of knights and their families and presents the history and culture of Europe's castles from the Middle Ages to the present day.

Bad Colberg-Heldburg: Panoramic view of Veste Heldburg Bad Colberg-Heldburg: Panoramic view of Veste Heldburg ©AdobeStock (David Brown)

An interactive take on a legend: the Song of the Nibelungs

While the German Castle Museum studies the real lives of knights, Prunn Castle focuses on an epic poem: the Song of the Nibelungs. Around 450 years ago, a manuscript of this famous heroic saga was found in one of Germany's best-preserved castles, a striking landmark rising up majestically over the Bavarian Altmühl Valley. The permanent exhibition at the castle recounts the story of the dragon-slayer Siegfried, his wife Kriemhild and the adversary Hagen von Tronje in various rooms with interactive stations inviting visitors to experience different aspects of the Song of the Nibelungs, accompanied by insights into the history of the castle and the everyday lives of its inhabitants.

Riedenburg: Prunn castle on rocks at sunset Riedenburg: Prunn castle on rocks at sunset ©lookphotos / Wohner, Heinz (Wohner, Heinz)