Germany’s Best Castles
One of my favorite things about living in Germany was visiting the numerous castles spread throughout the country.
Apparently, there are roughly 20,000 castles in the country, while the count may be off a little because of how castles are defined in different districts. From personal experience, I can attest there are a lot!
I can’t remember a road trip through Germany where I didn’t see at least one small castle on a hill somewhere. In fact, there are even castle hotels in Germany that allow you to stay at the castle!
So even if these castles aren’t what you’re looking for, I guarantee you’ll stumble on plenty of others!
Let’s get to it! These are (in my opinion) the best castles to see while you’re in Germany!
This one shouldn’t come as a surprise and will be on every list of “castles in Germany”.
This fairy-tale castle is one of the most visited in Europe, averaging roughly 6,000 visitors a day! A lot of the rooms are open to view and walk through, so you get to experience much more than the outside.
When we first went to Neuschwanstein, it had been on my bucket list for years. Finally seeing it in person made was well worth the wait.
Once you get to the castle, there’s a short hike from a small town below up to the front gate. At first it looks like a normal castle (albeit very well maintained). Once you get inside, the history starts to fill your lungs and the castle only gets better the longer you’re there.
If you have the time, there’s an adjacent mountain to the hill the castle sits on. It can be easily reached with a cross of a bridge and short hike. This hillside gives some of the best views of the Neuschwanstein castle and is where many of the famous pictures come from.
Hohenzollern was the first castle I ever went to in Germany and it set some pretty high expectations for the rest.
After numerous constructions and rebuilds, the Hohenzollern castle takes up a fair amount of space on top of Hohenzollern Mountain. It can easily be seen from the road leading up to it and almost looks small from a distance. But don’t be fooled, there’s a lot of castle to explore!
Like many castles in Germany, Hohenzollern also has an onsite restaurant that I recommend. There’s nothing better than indulging in German history and food!
The earliest structures of this castle were built in the early 1200s, so it’s been a part of German history for a very long time. Its age is not the only interesting part of Schloss Heidelberg. The castle has been under numerous different rulers and once burned after being struck twice by lightning.
The castle has been reconstructed multiple times because of its unlucky history. But today it still stands strong atop overlooking the city of Heidelberg.
I recommend getting a tour of the grounds as there’s a lot to learn about the castle and the town below. Additionally, there’s a lot more to do in the city of Heidelberg and I loved every minute I spent exploring the city.
Located on the edge of the Swabian Alps, The Lichtenstein Castle is precariously positioned on the side of a small cliff. Similar to Schloss Heidelberg, this castle has gone through being destroyed and rebuilt multiple times.
Despite its rough history, it still stands strong and is a must-see destination for lovers of history.
Also, make sure you don’t go during December or January when the castle is closed. The first time we went, I made the mistake of assuming they were open during the winter. Surprise, they weren’t.
Remember all of those stories and movies growing up of moated castles with angry alligators in them? This is one of those castles! Ok, maybe there aren’t alligators swimming in the moat, but this castle still has a really cool moat.
Mespelbrunn isn’t the largest castle on the list, so don’t expect this to be an all-day touring event. That being said, there is still plenty to see and enjoy here!
Another fairy-tale castle that will leave you awestruck; the Schwerin Castle is one of the best maintained castles in Germany.
The castle grounds are incredibly well kept, and gardens remind me of the scenery in Alice in Wonderland. Expect to be overwhelmed with the beauty and if you’re a real history buff, make sure you sign up for their guided tour through the castle!
The longer I go into this list, the more nostalgic I get for the home I had in Germany. This castle brings back even more memories of movie castles overlooking rivers and drawbridges to let in friends. Yes, the drawbridge for this castle is fully functional!
The castle overlooks the Rhine and is known as the Romantic Burg Rheinstein due to it’s amazing views and calming vibe. So, if you’re looking for a place to spend a romantic getaway during your time in Germany, this castle should be at the top of your list!
A castle pulled directly from the Middle Ages, Burg Eltz holds a historic fantasy of a 1300s Germany.
Burg Eltz has the unique aspect of not being ravaged/damaged by war or disaster. It seemed many of Germany’s castles met unfortunate times, but Burg Eltz remains unscathed. In fact, many of the original furnishings are still in the castle today.
We’re also avid hikers and the Eltz area is full of amazing hiking opportunities, making this castle the perfect destination for outdoors enthusiasts.
The Sigmaringen Castle dominates the hillside overlooking the town below. While the castle has a lot of similar features to most German castles, the architecture has a strangely different feel, despite being so familiar.
Similar to Heidelberg, this castle sits above a city with a lot of attractions of its own, making it a great weekend destination! If you’re looking for a full German experience, castle, food, and experiencing the local economy, Sigmaringen is a great place to do it!
Visiting Lowenberg Castle will have you on your toes, as you’ll be expecting a dragon to appear and storm in at any moment. This castle is exactly what I picture in my mind when I think of a medieval castle.
Unlike most of the other castles on the list, Lowenburg isn’t that old. Being built in the late 1700’s (construction finished in early 1800’s), this fairy tale palace is actually younger than the United States of America.
Despite its young age, it still has a lot to see and history to offer. The inside itself is astonishing and I highly recommend the tour!
Enjoy the Castles!
My fondest memories of Germany were exploring castles. If you’re a person who loves to learn about history and walk around fairy-tale structures, then Germany is one of the best destinations to have on your list.
I can’t thank the German university friends I met during my stay as they introduced me to the “art of castle exploration”. If you’re an expat and looking for adventure, it’s one the best things you can do while you’re here.
Don’t forget to take a break from the sights and enjoy some genuine German cuisine as well!
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