Castle Frankenstein, or Burg Frankenstein, is currently in ruins on a craggy hilltop surrounded by an appropriately gloomy forest. The castle is bordered by the large cities of Frankfurt, Darmstadt, and Mainz and is easily accessible from any of those centres.
The name of the castle seems to derive from a successful tenth century knight called Arbogast von Frankenstein. However, the major connection of the castle with the novel bearing its name is the eighteenth century resident Johann Konrad Dippel (von Frankenstein), who was known for his alchemical experimentation and snatching of recently buried bodies. His experiments with electricity, human dissections, and eccentric personality quickly assumed legendary status, which reached the Grimm brothers many years later, who then passed the story to Mary Shelley's stepmother during her visit to the area.
Castle towers and the outer perimeter still remain intact, including a balcony that provides a panoramic view of the Rhine valley. All parking is free and admission is free. There is a box that requests a donation of one Euro to support maintenance of the site.
Castle wall and view of Darmstadt. Photo by Erin Connelly