The town of Colditz near Leipzig has been the location of an important castle of some sort for about a thousand years. The current Colditz Castle, made famous by the Allied prisoners of war held there during WW2, dates from 1504. It was built after a devastating fire destroyed the previous fortification dating from the middle ages. Colditz town, the castle, and its museum make for a great day trip from Leipzig. If you fancy an overnight visit there’s a very good hostel at the castle.
You’ll need a car to do a day trip. Colditz is about 45 minutes drive from Leipzig via the scenic S38 or B176 routes. Think iconic German farming countryside. If you come via the S38 (or the faster A14 autobahn) you’ll pass through a cool town called Grimma which has a lovely old village centre with a river and a lake. This is a good place to stop for some lunch.
Colditz is both the town and the name of the castle. The pleasant town has a square with some coffee shops and small restaurants and also a pharmacy and tourist information. It’s possible to park for up to 2 hours in the town square for a couple of euros. If you need longer to explore the castle then you can park in the Lidl car park a 5 minute walk away from the old town. Colditz castle is a short walk up the hill via some steps starting from the old town square. There are fantastic views from the castle looking over the town.
You can either explore the castle by yourself or go on a guided tour. We can recommend the guided tour but you must make an appointment (see the Schloss Colditz website). There is also a museum shop with refreshments and souvenirs.
Most of the castle exhibits are focused on the use of the castle as a prisoner of war camp for Allied officers during WW2, although the castle has quite a long history aside from this. The exhibits mostly focus on the escape attempts of the various inmates.
[page content last updated August 2013]