One of the most popular activities for tourists visiting Germany is visiting some of the country’s remarkable castles. There are over 25,000 castles and palaces throughout the country; some are in ruins, but others are in magnificent condition. Visitors can tour many of them; in some, you can even have dinner or spend the night.
History of Castles in Germany
The erection of castles in what would become Germany began around 900 to 1,000 A.D. At that time, the European countryside was divided up into small feudal territories rather than the distinct countries we are familiar with today.
Castles and palaces were erected for defensive reasons, to protect the leaders of each feudal state, as well as the villagers under their protection, from attacks by competing lords.
After this period was over, the castles and palaces often became seats of government or landed in the hands of wealthy occupants. Others fell into disrepair and ruin. Many of them have restored and preserved so that their beauty can be admired and shared; Germany’s castles are a major source of tourism revenue.
When Americans think of castles, the image of the Disney Cinderella castle comes to mind, but what most people don’t realize is that it was modeled after a real Bavarian castle built by Ludwig II, the King of Bavaria, who was sometimes known as Mad King Ludwig.
Although it is not known whether Ludwig was actually insane, he was certainly eccentric. His two passions were the composer Wagner and the construction of castles that were extreme flights of fancy.
The Most Famous Castle in Germany
The best known of these is the castle known as Neuschwanstein; unlike the ancient German castles, this castle was built for pleasure rather than protection.
Ludwig built it for himself as a summer castle and equipped it with modern conveniences, included toilets that flush. It is characterized by soaring spires, and is built high on a mountaintop.
In 1945 they ordered that the castle be destroyed in order to prevent what they considered to be a German treasure from falling into enemy hands, but the people made responsible for the demolition didn’t carry out their orders.
Today the castle is open to the public and is one of Germany’s most visited sites; it has received over 50,000,000 visitors since it was built.
Map of the Best Castles in Germany
Famous German Castles
Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the foremost well-known and charming of all the royal residences and castles in Europe. It is a captivating castle with a medieval-fashion fort in keeping with a fairytale imaginative and prescient monarchy built at Bavaria, Germany.
Neuschwanstein Castle served as the principal idea for Disneyland and sleeping beauty’s majestic castle.
King Ludwig II, also referred to as the “Mad King Ludwig,” ordered the construction of Neuschwanstein Castle, originally called “New Hohenschwangau Castle,” a sophisticated and much better replica of his former childhood home, Hohenschwangau castle, to withdraw from the public life. The king never saw the final look of the building due to his sudden death.
Today, the impressive castle is opened to the general public, wherein it quickly became one of Germany’s most visited sights. To reach the Neuschwanstein castle, tourists need to cross and travel to the village of Hohenschwangau, wherein the castle’s tourist ticket booth is located.
Heidelberg Palace (Schloss Heidelberg)
Heidelberg Palace is an exceptional place to visit for history buffs and travelers seeking out a place that looked straight out from a fairytale book with romantic surroundings, and it’s far absolutely one of the grandest and oldest palace structures of the German Renaissance, rich with a great history.
The palace is noteworthy not so much for its historical significance but rather for its spectacular romantic appeal and appearance, with its interior loaded with lavish décor and well-preserved sculptures. Heidelberg palace has a unique location where its majestic ruins and silhouette linger over the lovely town of Heidelberg in Germany, where the Heidelberg palace has captured romanticism and attracted millions of visitors since the early nineteenth century.
It has an Ottheinrich Building, one of the outstanding palace structures; the Barrel Building, where nobles hold lively parties and the Friedrich Building, which houses figures and statues.
The romantic palace garden, where its Artillery provides breathtaking views of the palace and town, is only a few of the highlights that visitors will enjoy and appreciate. These are some other top things to do in Heidelberg.
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Hohenzollern castle is a breathtaking hilltop fort within the periphery of the Swabian Alb near the well-known black forest and one of the remarkable castles in Germany.
The vicinity of the castle offers a picturesque view as it within the most beautiful mountain in Swabia. It is formerly a house that was destroyed in 1423 and turned into left out till the nineteenth century.
Crown Prince Frederick William of Prussia decided to restore and reconstruct the Hohenzollern house in 1819. By 1850, the structure had evolved into one of Germany’s most ornate castles. The Hohenzollern Castle is a family dynasty’s ancestral seat rather than a conventional museum. It is a historical and vibrant residence that welcomes visitors, with an elegant luxury interior and architectural features that create a unique atmosphere.
The magnificent view of the Alb from Hohenzollern Castle, its picturesque and majestic beauty attracts thousands of eager tourists from all over the world throughout the year.
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Lichtenstein Castle is a striking 12th-century-style romantic castle built on the edge of a cliff overlooking the charming village of Honau and one of the majestic castles to visit in the southwest state of Baden Wurttemberg, in Germany.
Beforehand the Lichtenstein Castle is a hunting lodge built out of a ruin of a former castle, Count Wilhelm of Württemberg based the manor into a pseudo-medieval style on the novel written by Wilhelm Hauff building a fictional castle in reality.
The unique location of the castle perched on an exposed 800 meters-high cliff just on the edge of the Swabian Alps with the outer wall built right on the cliff’s edge makes Lichtenstein Castle uncommon, offering a magnificent scenic view of the surrounding landscapes.
The sceneries from the tower are filled with green and lush sights during summer and orange and yellow surrounding landscape in autumn. The small stream of the Neckar river and the majestic valley of the Echaz river are some of the backdrops that can be seen from the castle.
Eltz Castle (Burg Eltz)
Eltz Castle is a magnificent Medieval castle built for more than 850 years in the center of the lush natural scenery of the Eltz forest and one of the stunning castles in Wierschem, Germany. The Eltz Castle stands about 70 meters high, a manifestation of a knight’s castle, and is painted in bright red timber that makes it exceptional.
It is a great place to experience the Middle Ages, fairytale setting, medieval culture, and nature in all forms, for it is one of the only three medieval castles still whole and preserved on the left bank of the Rhine River.
Eltz Castle is one of the castles in Germany that looks like it comes out straight from fairytale stories.
The castle has various highlights that visitors can see and look up-close such as Eltz Castle Armoury, Rübenach Upper and Lower Hall, Knight’s Hall, and more. And for over 850 years, the castle is still owned by the same family for over 33 generations.
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Wernigerode Castle is a former medieval hilltop fortress turned into a historical castle and regal castle in Wernigerode, Germany.
It was first built over Wernigerode in the 12th century as a fortress, a place stronghold, and a secured site for German emperors throughout their hunting trips to the Harz.
Wernigerode Castle has experienced various structural changes to a late Gothic period style.
The castle is known to represent North-German historicism from its grand architectural structures and abundance of historical significance. Wernigerode Castle has three garden and park areas called Lustgarten, Tiergarten, and Terrassengärten that have been acknowledged since 1999 as a national precious cultural monument.
Wernigerode Castle was opened to the public in the 1930s. The stronghold offers a breathtaking view of landscapes from the castles, 50 opulent rooms for visitors to view, and a collection of arts as it became the first German center, and the history of art from the paintings, sculptures, and other means of art from the 19th century it housed.
Cochem Castle, known as Reichsburg Castle, is an imperial and neo-gothic style castle decorated with luxurious interiors and towering about 330 ft above the river Moselle located on an outstanding hill of the historic town of Cochem in Germany. The Cochem Castle is one of the most popular castles and well-known tourist attractions in Germany.
The over 1000 years old regal castle location gives a wonderful view of the Moselle River, the village, and the lush green landscapes. The castle originally has a Romanesque style but was destroyed until 1868, and the castle ruins were rebuilt into a neo-Gothic castle.
Fragments of the Romanesque style can still be found on the castle, but most of it is in a neo-Gothic castle; nevertheless, the beauty of the Cochem Castle remains.
Cochem Castle is often overlooked by travelers or chooses to admire the castle from afar, but the journey to reach the castle, adventure within the palaces and trips from the castles make the visit worth it and one of a kind.
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Imperial Castle of Nuremberg
Imperial Castle of Nuremberg is one of the influential and majestic imperial palaces in Germany.
It is located in the delightful town of Nuremberg, a town that rich in ancient and modern architecture, where all emperors of the Holy Roman Empire have stayed and have been served in the fascinating castle.
Today, the Imperial Castle of Nuremberg is now open to the public. Visitors can see the Imperial hall, various historic rooms, and adventure into the heart of the castle hill where the fascinating deep well, which the castle’s most important water source is in times of siege, is located.
The Sinwell Tower is one of the great features of the castle that offers a lovely panoramic view of Nuremberg’s old town’s beauty. Imperial Castle of Nuremberg is where visitors looking for a place that feels like walking back in the past and experiencing what it is like to be royalty is offered in the castle.
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Burghausen Castle is a majestic castle and the most extended castle complex in the world located in Burghausen, Germany.
It is a magnificent castle and museum dating back to the 8th to 9th century that has gone through multiple of restoration and now has five-meter thick walls, fortified towers, and drawbridges.
Burghausen Castle is having a regal hall, Castle Chapel of St Maria known as Hedwig Chapel, knight’s Hall, and more that adds up to the castle’s beauty. The interior of Burghausen Castle is an incredible sight to behold aside from its majestic outside appearance.
As the building is a museum itself, it houses state collections of luxurious furniture, silverwares, weaponry, and rich in various art collections boasting over 300 exhibits for every visitor to enjoy.
The castle has a viewing platform on its roof where it provides a spectacular panoramic view of the entire castle grounds surrounding lush green sceneries and the stunning surrounding landscape of the Burghausen town.
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Schwerin Castle is a majestic 700-year-old castle and one of the regal castles in Germany dated back to 942. The official founding date of Schwerin was in 1160, when the famous medieval lord and duke of Bavaria and Saxony Heinrich der Löwe commanded his army to conquer the area.
The Castle of Schwerin hast been built and was restored in the 19th century where the older parts of the castle dating from the Renaissance is turned into a new building. The recent addition of the castle was added, such as its famous big tower, golden term, and the spectacular front portal.
Older parts of the castle remain, but new styles are added, creating a Neo renaissance and Historism style that adds to the uniqueness of the place.
Schwerin Castle is often referred to as “Neuschwanstein of Northern Germany” because both share the same custom of Historism, built to imitate ancient and medieval castles.
Hohenschwangau Castle is a majestic royal castle and well-known tourist spot in Schwangau, Germany, dated in the 12th century. The manor has gone to various rebuilding due to the damage it gets from the different wars.
It became the summer and hunting residence of King Maximilian II, father of the famous King Ludwig II and his family after the king acquired the ruin in 1832 with a regal neo-gothic style of architecture. Its external appearance was inspired by the spectacular medieval castle presenting a classic look on the outside.
The Hohenschwangau castle is where King Ludwig II spent most of his childhood, and it is the castle based on Neuschwanstein Castle.
It has a luxury of outstanding interior and items inside the castle where its largest room is the banquet hall, also called the “the hall of the heroes,” spacious and elegant bed chambers used by the royal family, and other sophisticated rooms to see inside the manor.
Rheinstein Castle is a sophisticated Romanticism, and the Medieval flair-filled castle in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, dated back to the 13th century. It was used as a toll castle before and fell apart in the 17th century tuning it into a ruin.
Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia acquired the ruin in 1823. The prince had it rebuilt to have a 19th century Romanticism style of architecture and interior designs, turning Rheinstein Castle into one of the iconic and romantic castles in the town of Rhine.
The Rheinstein Castle has a great feature that visitors can see and discover up close. Some of these unique and pleasing features have been the wall and ceiling that have an impressive fresco with artistic illusionary paintings, antique furniture, knights’ armor and weaponry, a neo-Gothic castle chapel, and more.
Another highlight of the castle was its great illustration of medieval construction and defense structures, such as its working drawbridge and portcullis. The courtyard is another highlight to expect in Rheinstein Castle, where Burgundy grapevine is growing and still produces grapes for over 500 years.
Wartburg Castle is an elegant castle that blends splendidly into its lavish forest surroundings and has a height about 400 meters above the splendid town of Eisenach in Thuringia, Germany making it the more majestic from afar and even up close. The castle stands as a monument and cultural site of international standing and the cultural history of Germany and Europe.
Wartburg Castle holds a great historical significance for witnessing historical events such as being a refuge for the exiled Martin Luther. While in his stay in the castle, he translated the New Testament into German. It also has a large number of art and memorabilia collections that are preserved excellently.
The castle has been through several reconstructions, but the main castle’s great hall is one of the surviving parts of the castle’s main building designed based on Romanesque architecture is a sight to behold. It is the main reason why all of the fine arts were honored in Wartburg Castle and became the heart of artistic inspiration.
Schloss Drachenburg is one of the majestic and prominent castles in Germany. It is located near Germany’s frequently visited mountain of Königswinter.
The castle is also acknowledged to be one of the Rhine Romanticism castles.
Baron Stephan von Sarter built the castle in 1822, but it was severely destroyed due to World War II. Schloss Drachenburg has gone through several restoration and rebuilding.
The complex now has an elegant facade combination of a castle, palace, and villa structure with a significant design element from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance architectures.
Most of the luxuries and interior beauty within the castle were various classic late 19th-century furniture; picturesque history paintings hang on the walls, spacious halls, sophisticated stairwells, and charming symbols in the castle’s dining room. Schloss Drachenburg is Surrounded by the oldest nature reserve in Germany, giving a vast scenic landscape view to witness, providing a pleasing cultural and nature adventure experience.
Marksburg is a refined castle rich in the history of the medieval stronghold and has the impression of a majestic Middle Age castle. It is initially named Burg Braubach but later on called Marksburg. The manor is settled high above the right bank of the Rhine River with a cone-shaped hill overlooking the wonderful town of Braubach in Germany.
The castles have great sceneries and highlights that make Marksburg a unique place and a place that brought visitors back in time. It has various giant gates like the Notches Gate, Drawbridge Gate, and the Fox Gate, leading to different parts of the castle.
A sight to behold in the manor is the heart of the castle, where 39 meters high Tower Keep offers a great landscape view of the castle’s lower ground and the lavish green nature surrounding the castle. The courtyard has antique cannons intended to protect the castle and the town of Braubach before.
Marienburg Castle is a romantic medieval castle in Pattensen, Germany. The castle was built to become King George V’s wife’s summer house, a love token gift from the last king of Hanover to Queen Mary. It was constructed with a neo-Gothic style of architecture, reminiscent of a regal medieval hilltop castle creating a fairytale-like look.
The castle is 135 meters above sea level between the town of Hanover and Hildesheim in Germany. Its location has a serene, untouched, and idealistic monument to a great romance. It was designed by one of Hanover’s most influential and great architects Conrad Wilhelm Hase and his former apprentice Edwin Opple. Today, Marienburg is one of the most impressive, romantic, and attractive historical buildings in Germany.
Marienburg Castle is an enchanting estate with a magical and romantic appearance, housing a well-preserved classic interior, paintings, towering turrets, weaponry, and other highlights that add to the castle’s beauty.
Landgrafen Palace is a timeless castle built in the 11th century as a fortress at the top of the hill of Marburg, Germany. The palace became the first residence of Landgraviate of Hesse and became a museum and event venue since 1981.
It is one of the center attractions of the town, and as it is settled above the town, it gives a great view of its majestic appearance from a low angle shot view of the palace. The Landgrafen Palace houses a wonderful museum and collections that display the local culture within its five spacious floors and greatly impact its region.
It has a Gothic Prince’s Hall, Castle Chapel, Exhibits, Waldecker, Small Knights Hall, and outstanding interior designs to behold and admire.
The Landgrave’s Palace other highlights are the remarkable Museum of Cultural History it houses, the castle park blessed with impressive and diverse design, and its wonderful rose garden.
Sigmaringen Castle is a grand castle and museum also known as Hohenzollern Palace in Sigmaringen, Germany. It is a medieval castle turned into a modern residence and was first mention way back in 1077 from the Petershausen monastery chronicles. The manor is built and settled in a strategically advantageous position standing out on the skyline of the town of Sigmaringen.
The Sigmaringen Castle is created grounded with historicism and eclecticism architectural elements, and It is the style grounds on building a spectacular exterior and interior appearance after it underwent a renovation after the great fire of 1893.
The castle has various features, from its museum of art and armory collections to delightful palace tours, and welcomes events such as weddings and conferences. Its magnificence, charming and regal appearance makes it more special.
It is a Swabian manor of dukes, princes, and nobles of Germany that gives at the ambiance of the first-hand experience of the historic castle’s colorful and distinctive past.
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Stolzenfels Castle is a regal castle that rises high above the left bank of the Rhine in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. The castle was built from the ruins of the 13th century forth in the 19th century.
It is one of the principal accomplishments of Prussian Rhine Romanticism historically, culturally, and artistically is the garden and park of Stolzenfels Castle.
In 1250 it was originally constructed as a toll castle; the fort was destroyed by the French in 1689 and underwent restoration when Prussian Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm owned the ruins in 1823 and commissioned Karl Friedrich Schinkel, a famous architect, to reconstruct the castle.
Stolzenfels Castle’s opening was celebrated in 1836 and has been open to the public until now. Its apparently regal and enchanting beauty provides a romantic, serene, and 19th-century ambiance for every corner of the castle—a perfect place to experience the epitome of Rhine Romanticism in its lovely town.
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Schloss Johannisburg, also known as Johannisburg Palace, is an impressive medieval castle located by the River Main of the center of Aschaffenburg, Germany. The Schloss Johannisburg is an astonishing four-winged complex, formerly a residence of archbishop-electors of Mainz until 1803.
The palace is built from German Renaissance-era architecture under the request and supervision of Archbishop-Elector Johann Schweikard von Kronberg from 1605 to 1614. It was redesigned to a Neoclassical style manor but witnessed World War II and took severe damage.
After World War II, the palace went into another restoration and preserved its beauty.
Aside from its spectacular and beautiful exterior appearance Schloss Johannisburg houses an interesting art gallery with Lucas Lucas Cranach’s works, Municipal Museum, Church with the Renaissance altar, various sculptures, Vestment Chamber, and Neoclassical furnishings.
Some of the interesting and classic features make the palace special and contribute an immense historical significance to the town of Aschaffenburg.