Old, historic castles always provide a very special experience for their visitors. Not only do they offer us a beautiful sight, but they have a colorful past dating back centuries. Tyrol has not only gorges and waterfalls but also castles - and their ruins. From these lesser-known castles, it was not difficult for us to select a few.

If you are also interested in history and want to admire the buildings and their amazing architecture (or their ruins), then Tyrol may be the perfect destination for you.

In our article, we have collected the 6 most beautiful castles and ruins of Tyrol, which are of course great programs with kids as well.

#1 Ehrenberg ruins

Ruine Ehrenberg

Ruine Ehrenberg, located in the northern part of the Lechtal Alps, is undoubtedly one of the most interesting castle ruins you can find in Tyrol. Built in 1296 at 1,100 meters above sea level, the building is one of the most important fortresses of Central Europe.

The castle complex consists of a total of 4 main buildings, each of which can be viewed as part of a few-hour program. You can find our longer article on Ehrenberg Castle here.

Innsbruck Ehrenberg distance

  • Address: Burgenwelt Ehrenberg Klause 1-56600 Reutte / Tyrol
  • By car: 1.5 hours / 92 km

#2 Roadside ruins

Ruinen am Wegesrand

The town of Hintertux is one of the favorite places for ski lovers, with easy access to the 3,250-meter-high Olperer, where you will find the only ski area in Austria that is open all year round.

However, many are unaware that Hintertux not only offers the opportunity to ski but also offers historical attractions. Wandering under the Olperer hut, smaller ruins surprise hikers, the ruins of what was once still a working castle.

Not far from the trail we can see many animals, especially sheep, as well as smaller houses that have already largely collapsed. Visiting the ruins in Hintertux is an essential part of a Tyrolean skier’s program.

Innsbruck - Ruinen am Wegesrand distance

  • Address: Dornauberg 110, 6295, Austria
  • By car: 1.5 hours / 92 km

#3 Rotterburg castle

Ruine Rottenburg

The name of the former castle of Rottenburg comes from the noble family Rottenburg. The well-protected castle, presumably built in the 12th century, served as the residence of the nobles.

Because the castle is located in the woods above the Inn Valley and provides an excellent overview, approaching enemies could be spotted quickly and easily. In addition, Rottenburg is located on top of a cliff that can only be approached from one side, where a sophisticated gate system has made unauthorized access almost impossible.

This way the counts of Rottenburg were able to defend themselves and their property at the same time. The castle was quite large and was a clear sign of the prosperity and wealth of the nobles of that time. Much of the castle is now in ruins, but it is still recommended to visit, as the castle also offers an amazing view.

In addition, the castle complex has a chapel built on the initiative of a local pastor a few decades ago.

Ruine Rottenburg Innsbruck distance

  • By car: 40 minutes / 39 km
  • Address: Rottenburg, 6200, Austria

#4 Rabenstein castle ruins

Burgruine Rabenstein

One of the tallest castle complexes of Austria is located in Eastern Tyrol, near Virgen. The facility was built at an altitude of 1410 meters around the 12th century. Rabenstein Castle is located on a steep, woody hill, to which the structure of the building was perfectly adapted at that time.

Although parts of the castle collapsed over time, thanks to careful security measures, the castle ruins can still be admired to this day. Due to its impressive size, the building is the third largest medieval castle in Tyrol.

From Melitz, there is a well-developed hiking trail and steep roads lead all the way to the ruins. Approaching the castle ruins can be a perfect experience for hikers and of course for anyone looking for a little adventure.

Burgruine Rabenstein - Innsbruck distance

  • Starting point: Melitz city
  • By car: 2.5 hours
  • Address: Kreuzweg 12, 9972 Virgen, Austria

#5 Vilsegg castle ruins

Burgruine Vilsegg

Burgruine Vilsegg is a former fortress located about one kilometer northwest of the town of Vils, near the German-Austrian border. The castle has a long history, dating back to the 12th century.

By the end of the 17th century, however, only the ruins of the once-huge castle remained, and its walls collapsed as a result of a 1939 earthquake. However, its ruins are preserved to this day, as they give a rather strong impression.

Approaching the ruined castle, we are greeted by the sight of the ruins of a really special tower and, above all, a wonderful view of the Vils Valley. Viewing the ruins can be the perfect time travel option for anyone interested in history.

Innsbruck - Burgruine Vilsegg distance

  • Starting point: City of Vils
  • Address: Ritterweg 11-15, 6682 Vils, Austria
  • Distance by car: 1.5 hours / 110 km

#6 Thaurer castle ruins

Thaurer Ruine

The Thaurer Ruine is located in the Tyrolean community of Thaur, close to the town of Rum, from where a varied, comfortable tour leads all the way to the town of Thaur.

On the way to Thaurer Castle, you will be greeted by a small church, a cozy restaurant, and the ruins of Thaurer Castle. The ruins of the castle seem to be hidden, as they are barely visible even from the nearby valley, but Romedius Church, which can easily be noticed from afar makes it easy to navigate.

The designated route to the castle ruins takes about a 45 minutes walk and takes you comfortably along the wide forest road. And with a floor space of 3,000 square feet, the facility is much larger than we might think at first. Not only is the route cozy, leading to the ruins, but the view of the castle itself is well worth the hike.

Innsbruck Thaurer ruine distance

  • Address: Schloßgasse 19, 6065 Thaur, Austria
  • By car: 20 minutes, 8 km

Opening hours

Whether you are skiing or on holiday during the summer in Tyrol, visiting the castle ruins is a good idea as they are open all year. In extreme weather, however, consider not visiting them.

Most ruins are the most fabulous during fall. But of course, that shouldn’t hold you back if you’re in Tyrol in the summer.

In winter, do not approach the ruins without proper boots, as it can be dangerous.

Admission, prices

All of the ruins mentioned above are free, hence it's really ideal for a larger family / as you can save a lot of money.

We hope we were able to pique your interest in the Tyrolean castle ruins, and after reading the article, you got the urge to visit them. It’s almost mandatory with kids, as they love history, fairy tales and maybe you’ll feel like hiding among the castle ruins - as a child.

If, after reading the short descriptions, you have decided to visit the beautiful ruins of Tyrol, we wish you good exploration and pleasant relaxation!