The Altdahn, Grafendahn and Tanstein castles were built in the 12th and 13th centuries on what was then a sandstone cliff. The typical clifftop castles are among the largest castle complexes in the Palatinate. The mighty turrets and gate tower of Altdahn and the remains of the shield wall of Grafendahn are evidence of the turbulence of the times. Rocky paths link the castle buildings to the castle keep. From there, there are breathtaking views over the castle complex and as far as the Vosges mountains.
Just two kilometres away are the no less impressive ruins of Neudahn Castle.
There is a car park below the castle. It is about a 10-minute uphill walk.
There is a lovely castle pub to stop at on the plateau. The wonderful views from the ruins are a must. Neudahn Castle around 3 km to the north of Dahn is also worth the trip. Various open-air events that are part of the Dahn cultural programme are held at Altdahn Castle. Further information is available at www.dahner-felsenland.net.
The three Dahn castles were built in succession on a sandstone outcrop made up of five cliffs. They are impressive examples of the typical clifftop castles of the Wasgau hills. Over the centuries, as the castles fell into disrepair, the weathered walls have become one with the chiselled cliffs, merging nature and architecture into a single unit. It is not known when the first castle was built on the Schlossberg, but it was probably around the late 12th or early 13th century. The knights of Dahn lived in the Dahn Castles from the very beginning. As imperial ministeriales, they initially owed allegiance directly to the king, but as of the middle of the 13th century, they were lieges of the Bishop of Speyer. Members of the family lived in the castles until the Dahn line died out with Ludwig II in 1603. The Dahn castles are particularly impressive examples of the clifftop castles typical of the southern Palatinate Forest. The jagged, weathered sandstone cliffs are not only the foundations for the castles, they also form part of them. Chambers, passageways and steps are carved out of the steps and the cliffs form part of the defence system. The two imposing defensive towers that remain of Altdahn and the numerous wells and cisterns in the three complexes are particularly impressive.