At least in the Cologne area where I live, Castle Arcen in the Netherlands, close to the German border, is not too well known. When I visited the place in mid June 2020, I felt that this is a sad fact – as I had a really nice visit there. Here is my review.
Arcen is a small, historic town in the Limburg province of the Netherlands. It is located a couple of kilometers North of Venlo. The castle (including the parking lot) is located Southeast of the town center. Please be aware that there are limited bridges across the River Maas in that area – so that you either have to plan your tour well if you come from Westerly direction or take one of the ferry boats. The Dutch name of the place is also referred to Kasteeltuinen (which means Castle Gardens)
The adult admission day ticket was 16.50 Euro during our visit. Due to Covid-19 regulations, it included a time slot during which you had to enter the grounds. There was no limitation how long you stay in there. The area is huge, so that social distancing is no issue majorly. You also have to pay a parking fee of 5 Euro in case you arrive by car.
Arcen Castle & Garden – The Castle
Though the original castle on the Arcen grounds has already been built during the 17th century, the castle as you can visit it nowadays has been restored, also due to some fires. The current castle building just features parts of the original. We visited the castle first, as it is right next to the entrance area. It is a lovely area, which is reflecting historic life on the castle. A round walk allows you to visit quite a number of rooms on the lower level. You are even able to marry in the castle.
Arcen Castle & Garden – The Gardens
The key reason to visit Arcen Castle and its grounds, though, are definitely the gardens. The total area of the grounds (including the castle space itself) is 32 hectares (i.e. 320,000 square metres or 380,000 square yards). I roughly visited the grounds in anti-clockwise direction, so that I started with the Rosarium and adjacent gardens and finished with the area, which is during event days even used for medieval tournament shows. We by far stayed the most time in the Rosarium / roses area, which is really impressive. Apart from birds and other animals living along the water, there are peacocks and other animals around in the grounds.
The huge greenhouse Casa Verde is one of the key displays in the park, which also features some orchids. Next to it, there are Asian gardens – some of them offer a lovely view over the large lake. In that area, we could even meet a breeding swan and the garden’s colony of flamingos. Finally, there are a couple of regional inspired gardens like an Italian one or several Asian-alike places. Overall, our visit took us about three hours – you can easily also spent more time there, especially if you allow for more time for a sunbath.
Arcen Castle & Garden – Flower Close-Ups
The plants and flowers, especially roses, are the hidden stars of Arcen Castle. I decided to dedicate them a separate section of this review posting.
Arcen Castle & Garden – Services
There are multiple snack points and cafes, where you can enjoy the bite. We had some cake close to the entrance and felt it was really nice – but there are also other options, including warm snack dishes.
Of course, you may not only spent additional money in nutrition, but also in souvenirs. The typical takeaway from Arcen are of course plants, which are a major part of the store close to the entrance / exit. They do also have other stuff there as well, though.
The place is of course also great to enjoy with kids. There is a lot to explore. There is a major playground area and you may also go for a round of mini golf / adventure golf. Other services like sanitary places are sufficiently frequent and clean. Here and there, there are hidden speakers which combine the floral experience with some music.
If there is a sunny day and you happen to be in the Dutch province of Limburg or somewhere around it, just go for Arcen Castle – you will definitely have a great day there. The castle is interesting and well made, but the gardens are just amazing. On top, there are so many nice places where you can go for a refreshing drink or snack or just enjoy the sun. The area is really large, so that there is no issue with social distancing as well. I feel this is really a nice place to go! Top Pick!, of course.