Altena castle is located on the bank of the Lenne river. It is a big and beautiful construction with many gothic fairy-tale-like towers. There is a park with trees, bicycle roads, paths, benches and picnic clearings. Since its construction in the 12th century the castle often changed owners, though formally it belonged to the counts of Mark. Documents and patents of the dukedom of Altena-Mark were kept in the building. The castle also performed defensive functions.
It has been over a hundred years that a part of Altena castle premises is taken by a youth hostel. Anyone can stay here overnight. It is the oldest hostel in the world! It was established in 1912 by Richard Schirrmann, the local teacher and enthusiast who survived two world wars and founded the German Association of Hotels for Youth and School Students. The hostel has preserved its original image.
The other part of Altena castle is historical premises, halls for past festive events and high level meetings. You should definitely see those halls during a visit to the castle. Here you will also find the County of Mark Museum where you should see archeological findings of prehistoric times, knight armour, house utensils. In good weather wonderful views on the vicinity open from the castle towers.