Castles in Germany: 10 fairytale castles for your summer vacation at home!
Although the COVID-19 pandemic still has a tight grip on the world, there are many countries that have reopened their borders to tourists. Whether in Austria, Malta or a vacation in Kefalonia – each of us could use a little break from everyday life! But to have a good time, we don’t have to get on the plane straight away, because there are so many beautiful corners in Germany that are just waiting to be discovered. There has always been something truly fascinating about castles and palaces, and each of us has dreamed of being a princess or a prince at some point in our lives. You have only experienced the Federal Republic in all its splendor after visiting some of the most beautiful castles in Germany. And because home is always the most beautiful, we’ve put together some of the most magical places in this article. And believe us – from the 20,000 castles in this country, this was no easy task. So read on and start planning your next adventure!
Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in Germany
Who doesn’t know it – the famous Disney Castle? Nestled in the Bavarian Alps and with an excellent view of the Hohenschwangau Valley, you will find the idyllic Neuschwanstein Castle. The gleaming white building sits enthroned on a mountain and the towers soar imposingly into the air. Neuschwanstein Castle is the most photographed building in Germany and, with around 6000 visitors a day, is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe. It was built in the late 19th century as an imaginative retreat for the Bavarian King Ludwig II. The king himself lived there only a few months. Beautiful paintings and shimmering chandeliers adorn every room, but the absolute highlight is the grotto between the study and living room – an artificially created stalactite cave.
Hohenschwangau Castle, Bavaria
Just a 30-minute walk from Neuschwanstein Castle is another pearl that is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful castles in Germany. Hohenschwangau Castle is often underestimated, but completely wrongly. The imposing building was created in the 19th century for the still young King Ludwig II and his father Maximilian II of Bavaria. Embedded in the breathtaking beauty of the Bavarian Alps and surrounded by mountainous forests, Hohenschwangau Castle looks like it has sprung from a fairy tale book. Take the guided tour and be enchanted by the folklore scenes that adorn the walls and ceiling of the castle. An experience that you will surely never forget! And how about combining your visit with a short hike through the Schwanseepark? It is located directly below Hohenschwangau Castle and, with more than 60 kilometers of hiking trails, is a real dream for all adventurers!
Eltz Castle, Rhineland-Palatinate
The beautiful Eltz Castle is located between Koblenz and Trier and is therefore an absolute must for anyone planning a vacation on the Moselle. The dramatic building is located in the midst of densely forested hills and rises on a steep cliff, surrounded by the Elzbach, which surrounds the building on three sides like a moat. The castle was a gift from Emperor Friedrich I Barbarossa to the noble Eltz family and still belongs to a real count today. The unique architecture with the many towers up to 35 meters high is a real feast for the eyes. But what makes the castle so unique is the fact that it was never damaged by war. The armory with all the silver and gold artefacts as well as jewelry and china is actually one of the best in Europe. The knight’s hall with the remarkable fool’s heads and armor symbolizing freedom of speech tell visitors the exciting story of the castle and its inhabitants. And if you want to explore the natural landscape around the castle, you should definitely take a hiking tour on the dream path “Eltzer Burgpanorama”.
Reichsburg Cochem, Rhineland-Palatinate
Would you like to be transported to the Middle Ages? Then you shouldn’t miss the impressive Reichsburg in Cochem during your Moselle holiday. The imposing building rises more than 100 meters above the river and can be seen from afar. The castle was first built around 1100 and then served as a customs castle. However, after it was completely destroyed in the 12th century, it remained like that as a holdover into the 19th century. In the 19th century, Louis Ravene, a successful businessman from Berlin, bought the ruins and rebuilt the palace. When you see the Reichsburg Cochem for the first time, you will be simply enchanted by all the small details. Take a small tour and admire the interior and the Neo-Baroque and Neo-Renaissance parts of the castle. And for a unique experience, you can treat yourself to a real knight’s meal in the restaurant!
Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Wuerttemberg
When talking about the most beautiful castles in Germany, then of course you shouldn’t forget the majestic Hohenzollern Castle. It is located near Hechingen on the edge of the Swabian Alb and towers impressively and lonely on a 855 meter high summit. The magnificent building was built in 1061 on the ruins of two previous castles and was once the seat of the Prussian royal family and the princes of Hohenzollern. When you look at it, you might think you are looking at the Hogwarts School of Magic from the “Harry Potter” films. Over the years, Hohenzollern Castle has been destroyed and rebuilt several times, with only the St. Michel Chapel miraculously surviving everything. The sumptuous halls such as the Margrave’s Room, the Count’s Hall and the Blue Salon are among the absolute highlights. Or marvel at the armory and treasury with its shiny knight equipment and the Prussian royal crown. To make the castle visit even more fun, let your children stroll through the interior in a royal red coat and fancy felt slippers while you pamper yourself with regional delicacies in the castle café.
Castles in Germany: Schwerin Castle, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
With its picturesque location, Schwerin Castle has also earned a place among the most beautiful castles in Germany. In contrast to most castles, which are enthroned on steep hills or rocky cliffs, this piece of jewelery is almost completely surrounded by water. It is located on an island in the Inner Lake of Schwerin and the picturesque landscape offers a true escape from reality. With its pointed towers, the tower and the domes, the Schwerin Castle is one of the most important creations of romantic historicism in Europe. Its history goes back to the 10th century and for centuries it was the home of the Mecklenburg Grand Dukes. Politics is still being made there today, because Schwerin Castle has been used as the seat of the state parliament of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania since 1990. Most of the lovingly decorated interior is a museum and is open to visitors almost every day. There you can see the magnificent throne room as well as numerous precious sculptures, paintings and handicrafts from the 19th century. To get some fresh air, take a short walk through the castle gardens and enjoy the romantic atmosphere while you feast on traditional delicacies in the orangery café.
Lichtenstein Castle, Baden-Wuerttemberg
Built directly on a steep rock against the abyss and surrounded by wooded nature – we can hardly imagine a more dramatic and beautiful location for a castle. Lichtenstein Castle is a real gem and could have come straight out of a fairy tale book. A small wooden bridge leads to the spectacular complex and the view is simply indescribable. There was a castle on this site as early as the 12th century, but it has lost its status as a ducal seat and was torn down to the ground. And now comes the surprise. A few years later, Wilhelm Graf von Württemberg was inspired by the novel “Lichtenstein” and then built the beautiful Lichtenstein Castle as we know it today in 1840-1842 based on his ideas. Yes, you read it right – it wasn’t the book that was inspired by the castle, but the castle copied from the book.
Heidelberg Castle, Baden-Wuerttemberg
Although it has been partially destroyed, the Heidelberg Castle is a majestic building and is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful castles in Germany. The walls rise steeply above Heidelberg’s old town and offer a breathtaking, picturesque backdrop. Heidelberg Castle is made of sandstone and the warm color contrasts magically with the green forest that surrounds it. It looks almost mystical, especially at sunset. The castle ruins are one of the most important Renaissance buildings north of the Alps and have a long and fascinating history that goes back to the 13th century. The castle was almost completely destroyed by the French in the 17th century and a few years later it was struck by lightning. Its stones were then used to build the houses in Heidelberg, which makes the atmosphere even more unique.
Drachenburg Castle, North Rhine-Westphalia
In the midst of the idyllic and densely wooded “Siebengebirge” nature park, the next jewel awaits you, which is one of the most beautiful castles in Germany: Drachenburg Castle. It lies below the ruin of the same name and the legendary Drachenfels and was built in record time from 1882 to 1884 as a residence for the financial entrepreneur Stephan von Sarter. With its dreamy towers, pinnacles and the square clock tower, Drachenburg Castle looks like a unique, eccentric mixture of a medieval castle, Gothic cathedral and Big Ben. Legend has it that the dragon slayer Siegfried killed a dangerous dragon there that once spread terror and fear in the region. Today the castle is almost in its original condition and houses the Wilhelminian style museum and the museum for the history of nature conservation. You can reach the magnificent building either on foot via the beautiful Eselsweg or via the nearby middle station of the Drachenfelsbahn. Incidentally, the Drachenbahn is the oldest still operated cog railway in Germany.
Wartburg bei Eisenach is not a typical fairytale castle, but it is still a place full of importance for Germany. History was made there in the truest sense of the word, because Martin Luther actually translated the New Testament of the Bible into German at the Wartburg. The imposing structure lies on a 410 meter high abyss and was built between the 12th and 15th centuries. Wartburg was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999 and is not only one of the most beautiful, but also one of the oldest castles in Germany. Based on the different structures you can see that the Wartburg was built on and renewed several times, but with over 1000 years of history, you can’t expect anything else. Inside the castle you will find a unique art collection and museum that will take your breath away.