As well as the environmental asset of its wooded areas, Northern Alsace also offers a wonderful array of medieval castles. Surrounded by greenery, the hilltop ruins of Fleckenstein Castle in Lembach tower over the Northern Vosges and Palatinate forests. This model of medieval architecture is among Alsace's most visited castles.
Grand-Arnsbourg Castle, in Bærenthal, is built on a sandstone bar measuring around a hundred metres in length and made up of two rocks separated by a fault. Its particularity is its remarkable Romanesque keep. Another must-see is Hohenbourg Castle in Wingen, built in the mid-13th century and associated with the legend of the White Lady. Its Renaissance entrance gate and staircase turret bear the Sickingen coat of arms.
In Windstein, the castles of Old Windstein and New Windstein are two buildings standing 800 metres apart, built in the heights of the town, at the top of a sandstone plateau. At an altitude of 376 metres are the well-preserved remains of the newer building - which nonetheless date back to the 13th and 14th centuries! They adjoin the ruins of the old castle which was semi-troglodytic (partially built into the rock) and was destroyed by troops from Strasbourg in 1332.
Many other buildings are worth a visit: in Obersteinbach, the unusual semi-troglodytic Petit-Arnsbourg Castle, carved into the rock; in Philippsbourg, the 12th-century Falkenstein Castle, whose orientation table at the top of the ruins offers a superb panoramic view; in Dambach, Schoeneck Castle with the remains of its living quarters and its pentagonal keep, as well as its neighbour, Wineck Castle, which was erected on a rocky ridge and abandoned in the 17th century on the orders of the King. The castles of Froensbourg in Lembach, Loewenstein in Wingen, Lutzelhardt in Obersteinbach and Ramstein in Bærenthal, as well as those in the municipalities of La Petite-Pierre and Lichtenberg, are also worth a mention.