Last year I visited the charming town of Baden – Baden and the Art Nouveau artist colony in Darmstadt in Germany and fell in love. This year we drove to Germany again to explore the Schwarzwald region. There are so many historic German castles to discover that I decided to ask my fellow bloggers to share their favourite castles to visit in Germany.
This summer I visited Burg Hohenzollern myself. My husband and I were driving to our next hotel when we noticed a castle on top of a hilltop in the distance. It looked like such a beautiful castle that we decided to make a detour to take a closer look.
The first historic German castle at this location dates from 1267. The castle that you can visit today was constructed in 1842.
It’s located in the Swabian Alp (between Stuttgard and the Bodensee) and is still private property. You should visit this historic German castle, if only for the spectacular views.
Tip: book the guided tour. It takes only 45 minutes to discover one of the most beautiful castles in Germany. During this tour you can see the luxurious rooms as well as the Prussian King’s Crown.
Your kids will love the tour too. They can dress up like a little king or queen and they are escorted by actors that entertain them during the tour.
You have to park your car at the foot of the hill. A shuttle bus brings you tot he entrance of the castle.
There are lots of great luxury wellness hotels in this area.
Mespelbrunn Castle by Corinne Vail from Reflections Enroute.
Mespelbrunn Castle, located a mere hour from Frankfurt, is evidence that fairytales can come true. This beige beauty with its high tower and gilded roof, sits on a small pond which reflects its eternal loveliness.
The Archbishop of Mainz, rewarded one of his knights with this property back in 1412, and it has stayed in his family ever since welcoming many famous guests.
It is said that the Brothers Grimm stayed here, and were inspired by the feminine and whimsical castle tower enough to write the tale of Rapunzel. One can easily see why, when you are in the tiny courtyard and looking up at the austere tower, which boasts only one door about 20 feet in the air. It's easy to imagine trying to find a way out after being captive long enough to use your hair as a rope.
If you are heading to Germany to discover the most beautiful castles, don't miss the opportunity to go to one of its best kept, quaint castles - Mespelbrunn.
Burg Vischering by Roxanne Keyes from Gypsy with a day job
Burg Vischering, or Vischering Castle, is neither particularly large or ornate, and in fact it is rather simple. Somehow though, in its simplicity and uniqueness, it is one of the most beautiful castles in Germany, and I fell in love.
It was originally built in 1271 as a defensive home for the administrative assistant of the Bishop of Münster, in the small town of Ludinghausen. It had thick sandstone walls, a double moat, and a defensive courtyard with walls, secret gateways, and shooting ranges. The church led the Holy Roman Empire at that time, and attacks were common, but the castle stood strong for 250 years.
The Castle was heavily damaged by fire in the 1500s, but it was rebuilt on the original foundations and stones. It is easy to see where the old sandstone ends, and the new begins, and it adds to the charm of Burg Vischering.
The castle was recently remodeled for its 750th anniversary. Visitors enter through a heavy drawbridge, leading to an inner courtyard. Guided tours are available and there is a museum about medieval life, with a fun knights in armor exhibit. There is a pleasant walkway between the moats, and a bistro on the back patio-like area of this historic German castle.
Hohenschwangau by Lee & Stacey from One Trip at a Time
Reconstructed in the 19th-century, on the site of fortresses dating back to the 12th century, Schloss Hohenschwangau is located in the same village as its more famous neighbour Neuschwanstein. The history of the two castles is intrinsically linked and in fact, the names of them used to be the other way around.
To save the walk up the hill, we recommend you ride up to the castle in a horse-drawn carriage on the narrow road cut through the rock which drops you just outside the main gate. It is then a short walk into the courtyard, through a couple of ornate arches decorated with heraldic symbols.
Once inside the walls, you can explore the beautifully manicured courtyard which offers scenic views of the surrounding countryside, including Neuschwanstein castle, as well as fountains and frescoes. When your tour is called you will be taken on a guided tour of several intricately decorated rooms, filled with stunning antiques. The banquet hall with its walls covered in images from the Wilkina Saga was a particular favourite of ours.
Burghausen by Rachel from Rachel’s Ruminations
My favorite historic German castle is Burghausen, located between Munich and Salzburg on the Salzach River that forms the border between Germany and Austria. Built and added to by the Dukes of Bavaria-Landshut starting in 1255, it sits picturesquely on top of a hill above the town of Burghausen. With several centuries of alterations, new buildings, and added fortifications, the castle you can visit today is the longest castle in the world, snaking its way for a whole kilometer along the hilltop.
Entering at the lower end, visitors stroll through a series of courtyards. The first few have been partially privatized, so some lucky people live in buildings that were once part of the castle complex. Each courtyard offers some new sight: a small Gothic-style church, for example, a grim armory, gateways, moats and guard towers. In many spots you can admire the view down over Burghausen town and the river, or, on the other side, over the countryside.
At the end of the castle complex, you’ll enter the original castle itself, which has a picture-perfect courtyard: cobbles underfoot, arched gateways, and so on. You can climb up to the roof to have a wonderful view in all directions. Highly recommended! You can read more about it on Rachel’s Ruminations.
Heidelberg Castle by Gabor from Surfing the Planet
Heidelberg is one of the most romantic towns in not only Germany, but in the European continent. There are many monuments to visit during your trip to Heidelberg, but Heidelberg Castle is the main sight without any doubt. This fabulous historic German castle dating back to the 13th century is one of the most beautiful hilltop castles in Germany. Even though the castle has suffered major damage during its history (especially during the war with the French in the 19th century) and had to be rebuilt several times, it is still a spectacular monument looking down on the city. The castle from the city center can most easily be accessed taking the historical funicular.
Apart from being a historical monument, Heidelberg is also a fantastic viewpoint from where you can admire the views of the Old Town and the Neckar River with the famous Old Stone Bridge, the other main highlight in town. In the castle it’s highly recommended to visit the German Apothecary Museum with a large collection of pharmacy objects from different centuries. The castle also has an interesting wine cellar, where you can get to see one of the most gigantic wine barrels with a capacity of over 50,000 gallons.
Burg Altena by Jurgen from Dare 2 go
The historic German castle in Altena is certainly not among the most famous in Germany; places like Neuschwanstein, Heidelberg, or Burg Elz. Nevertheless, the castle of Altena is considered to be one of the prettiest castles to visit in Germany.
To understand why it's one of the most beautiful castles in Germany, you have to know a little about its history. The original castle dates back over 900 years. Yet the resident Knights of Mark soon became very influential and moved their main seat to Hamm. The castle of Altena was kept as an administration and tax collection point, but slowly fell into disrepair.
Finally, from 1906 to 1909, the castle was rebuilt by the townspeople of Altena, financed by the King of Prussia. Although the reconstruction followed the old footings and drawings, many features were designed to idealise “how a proper castle should look”. Thus today, you find a picture perfect historic castle in Altena.
Burg Altena has a second important place in history. Inside its fortified walls, in 1914, the first youth hostel of the world was founded by Richard Schirrmann. Although there's now a more modern hostel in the castle, the original hostel rooms are preserved. There you can experience what it was like to stay in old bunk rooms; it's interesting to compare these with the comfort of light and airy modern hostel rooms.
The town of Altena is around 40 kilometres south of Dortmund. Your best option to reach it by public transport is by train from Dortmund or Hagen.
Leuchtenburg Castle by Lena from Lena on the Move
Located on a hill about 20 km from the German town of Jena, Leuchtenburg Castle is a majestic castle complex dating back to the 12th century. However, this is not just another castle along the Thuringian Castle Road.
In fact, what you get here is a medieval experience package with not only 1000-year-old castle grounds but also the award-winning Porcelain Worlds exhibition that presents you with the fascinating history of porcelain in a fun and very interactive way. Visiting this hilltop castle, you'll get to see both the world's tallest vase and the world's smallest coffee pot along with a uniquely designed Skywalk, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding Saale valley.
Due to its excellent location in the Central German state of Thuringia, Leuchtenburg Castle is close to other cultural attractions, such as the famous Wartburg Castle, and is definitely worth a day trip from towns like Jena, Weimar, Erfurt or Leipzig.
Lichtenstein Castle by Christine from Christine Abroad
Lichtenstein Castle is one of the hidden gems in Germany. A lot of locals know about this castle, but few foreign tourists find their way here. It's a shame, because it's truly a beautiful castle to visit in Germany. It's also quite near another popular castle called Hohenzollern. It was designed by Carl Alexander Heideloff and it has been described as the fairytale of Württemberg.
The name Lichtenstein literally means shining stone, and it's a special place because of the beautiful view and backdrop of the Castle, but also since it's not too well known abroad.
I recommend going here by car, but it's also possible to join a guided tour or go by bus. If you come by car, there's a parking space where you pay a few euro for the full day. There's also a restaurant and cafe where you can eat and get something to drink if you get hungry or thirsty. At the entrance you can buy tickets to go inside the castle, or just visit the main castle area outside. That's where you get the view from, but of course, since you're already here it's totally worth to step inside the castle on a guided tour. That's the only way you can see the inside accompanied with a guide. Also, you will learn some more about the castle during the tour as well. From the viewpoint of the Castle you will also get splendid views over the surrounding landscape."
Pillnitz Castle by Nisha and Vasu from Lemonicks
Pillnitz Castle is a restored Baroque palace at the eastern end of the city of Dresden in Germany. Located on the bank of the River Elbe in the former village of Pillnitz, the Pillnitz Castle was the summer residence of many electors and kings of Saxony. It is also known for the Declaration of Pillnitz in 1791.
The Pillnitz Castle complex consists of three main buildings, the Riverside Palace on the riverfront; the Upper Palace on the hillside and the later Neoclassical New Palace which links them together on the east side. The Riverside Palace and Upper Palace have Baroque with Chinoiserie elements. What I liked most was the Baroque flower garden, whose centerpiece is a pond with a large fountain. This building itself is surrounded by a large public park.
The park also features an 18th-century English garden with an English pavilion, a Chinese pavilion, a conifer garden and Germany’s largest cast-iron greenhouse, called the Palm House.
In the year 1818 the Upper palace, Riverside Palace and the adjacent Venus Temple were burnt down completely. It took several years to build the New Palace in Classicist style which had a kitchen and chapel wing. The royals then used Pillnitz Palace & park as a summer residence.
Neuschwanstein by Alexander from Swedish Nomad
"Neuschwanstein is the castle of all castles and receives more than 1.3 million visitors each year! This historic German castle was built by King Ludwig II and has since inspired the fairytale castles of Disney. Neuschwanstein Castle is very beautiful both on the inside and outside.
The Castle is beautifully located at a hilltop in Schwangau, in Southern Germany. It's the most visited attraction in all of Bavaria, and you can get here easily from nearby cities such as Münich and Innsbruck. I recommend to travel here by car, but you can also go by bus or train, or join a guided tour.
From the bus stop, you walk uphill for about 30 minutes. And if you're feeling lazy, it's possible to go for a shuttle bus ride as well. The viewpoint is a point of interest that shouldn't be missed. It's called Marienbrucke, and it's from there you get the iconic view over the castle.
I also suggest you to buy tickets before you travel there unless you stay overnight. Because the tickets sell out quickly, and you're only allowed to enter the castle on a guided tour. You can buy them online and you need to do it minimum 3 days before your arrival."
Burg Eltz by Soumya from Travel Books Food
"I first came across the Burg Eltz castle when I spotted a photo of the castle on Instagram. Ever since then, I had wanted to visit the castle and when I finally did, it definitely did not disappoint. The Burg Eltz is located in the Moselle valley between the towns of Koblenz and Trier in Germany. The easiest way to get there is to drive there and do it as a day trip from Frankfurt or from Cologne like I did. You can also take a train upto Karden and then take a taxi from there. The castle buses from the train stations are available only on public holidays and weekends.
Burg Eltz is one of the few castles in Germany that haven't been destroyed and is still owned by the same family that owned it in the 12th century. While two of the wings are open to the public between April and October, there is a wing where people still live. The reason I loved it so much was because it was surrounded by so much greenery and was still standing strong after 850 years. The hiking route to the castle from the parking lot is pretty awesome as well"
In case you didn't decide where to go to next, you should consider Germany!
Do you know which country has even more amazing castles? Scotland! Here you can find all about the best castles in Scotland.
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