Photos courtesy of Ritterburg-Lockenhaus








No fairy tale castle here, the legend that surrounds Ritterburg Lockenhaus makes the wicked witch of Snow White seem like an angel of mercy.

Elizabeth Báthory-Násady was born in 1560 to a powerful Hungarian family that intermarried just a few times too many. Suffering from all sorts of genetic deformities, she found herself a widow at 40, living with her maids in a great big old empty castle, Ritterburg Lockenhaus.

Her looks fading, panic set in. By accident one day while her maid was attending to her hair, Elizabeth discovered that young human blood, especially the blood of virgins, made her skin smooth. A miracle drug for eternal beauty at last!

Unmarried girls throughout the region didn’t stand a chance. Lured by promises of employment, they were tortured and their blood drained. Baths of blood (hmmm, is this where the expression “blood bath” comes from?) were drawn up for Elizabeth’s vanity.

No one knows how many virginal victims were killed. Estimates vary from 37 to 570. Because of Elizabeth’s noble status, she was never put to death for her crimes but sentenced to life in a dungeon.

Pamela’s Perspective

Ritterburg Lockenhaus is a superb example of a magnificent castle that had fallen into ruins but was saved by the dedication of a married couple who realized its historical value and worked hard to save it. After acquiring the castle in 1968, Professor Paul Anton and his wife Margaret Keller sold their possessions and began to slowly restore the structure.

Today the castle stands as testimony to the new uses a wonderful piece of architecture can be put to: a hotel, conference center, exhibition hall, and museum. By all means, stop by for a visit.



A 13th-century castle


Günserstrasse 5
A-7442 Lockenhaus
Tel: ++43 (0) 2616 2394
Hotel website

Fast facts

9 rooms within the castle; 56 additional rooms from apartments with small kitchenettes to lofts are available down the hill from the castle in an annex. Be sure to specify a room inside the castle

Castle rooms:
Single rooms: 99 euros
Double rooms: from 137 euros
Castle Suites: 161 euros
Single rooms: 62 euros
Double rooms: 83 euros
Attic room:
Single room: 44 euros
Double room: 67 euros
Rates include breakfast; heating cost per room during winter: 10–15 euros

Open: year round but closes during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays; inquire for exact dates

Getting there

Lockenhaus is 120 km south of Vienna, right next to the Hungarian border. The town is served by bus; however, you really need a car to get around.

What to do

On site: explore the castle museum; enjoy a cold beer in the tavern
Nearby: cycling, hiking


Yes. Contact the hotel for details.


Set deep in a densely forested nature park with commanding views of the Burgenland countryside, Lockenhaus is considered one of the last authentic knights’ castle in Austria.

For the last 25 years considerable expenditures have been made to turn the castle from near ruins into a museum—literally. No problem if you’re not a hotel guest. For a small fee you can explore the old castle kitchen, weapon chamber, knights’ hall, and prince’s room to your heart’s content

The hotel also offers apartments with kitchens outside the castle walls and down the hill in an annex, so be sure to specify that you want one of the rooms inside the castle.

The medieval tavern dining room serves hearty regional fare.

Something special

curlicueSite of an annual international chamber music festival directed by renowned violinist and Deutsche Grammophon recording artist, Gidon Kremer.

curlicueTheatre performances and art exhibitions