Filming Locations in Vienna: The medieval Castle Kreuzenstein

Vienna ist not only the most livable city for almost a decade. It‘s also a beautiful film set for some quite well known films. I‘m planning to photograph and write about a few of those film sets I‘ve discovered.

One of those film sets in (or near) Vienna is Castle Kreuzenstein, a medieval castle dating back to the 12th century.

Caste Kreuzenstein in films

Castle Kreuzenstein ist roughly 30 minutes by car from Vienna. Alternatively, you can visit it taking speed trains S3 or S4 and followed by a 30 minute walk.

The castle originates back to the 12th century. It was almost completely destroyed during the thirty years‘ war. Rebuilt by duke Johann Nepomuk Wilczek in the late 19th and early 20th Century, it became a museum for his huge collection of medieval props.

While you can explore the outside freely, the castle itself is only accessible during guides tours. Check the official Castle Kreuzenstein Website for mor Info about the tours.

Here are some films shot at Castle Kreuzenstein:

  • Three Musketeers (1993) starring Charlie Sheen and Kiefer Sutherland

  • Season of the Witch (2011) starring Nicolas Cage

  • Pillars of the Earth (2010)

  • ABC Reality Show „The Quest“ (2014)

A more extensive list is in the IMDB and Wikipedia.

The castle is even shown briefly in the official trailer that I've embedded here. It's 37 seconds into the trailer.


And here's the castle as photographed.

Castle Kreuzenstein as seen in the film “The last Witch” at minute 14:53

Castle Kreuzenstein as seen in the film “The last Witch” at minute 14:53

There's one more hidden photo spot (that did not appear in the film). If you follow the path that leads around the castle to the right, you'll pass a small (locked) gate from which you get a nice view into the the castle moat

Castle moat at Castle Kreuzenstein

Castle moat at Castle Kreuzenstein

How I shot the photos of Castle Kreuzenstein

The best time for taking pictures there is around noon. At this time the sun is in a 90 degree angle to the castle. During the afternoon the sun moves around the castle lighting it from the front. Here‘s a screenshot from Sun Surveyor App [App Store Link] that I use to determine the position of the sun for my photography.

Determining best light using Sun Surveyor App

Determining best light using Sun Surveyor App

I used the Moment Wide lens (reviewed here) for all those photos. For the photo of the battering ram and the castle moat I mounted the Moment Superfish lens (reviewed here).

Castle Gate at Kreuzenstein shot on Moment

Castle Gate at Kreuzenstein shot on Moment

I ran all photos through SKRWT to fix the coaching lines and to make the lines as upright as possible. In this case, using a tool to fix perspective distortions as an undesirable side effect. Especially the top of the tower now looks skewed.

This can be fixed using a liquify tool in either Pixelmator or Adobe Photoshop Mix.

Know before you go

Castle Kreuzenstein as well as the Bird of Prey demonstration have different hours of operation depending on the season and day of the week, so be sure to plan your visit accordingly and check the web-site.

On weekends, the place can be quite crowded! So I‘d go there during weekdays, if possible.

And finally, there's a scene in the movie where Nicolas Cage walks along the coast of Styria (Steiermark), a county here in Austria. I'd love to photograph that, too. But unfortunately, Styria never had a coast. Not even in the Middle Ages. Ooops.