The 9 Best Castles in Germany [February 2020]

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If you’ve ever read a classic fairytale by The Brothers Grimm, you’ll probably have an image of what a castle from those stories might look like. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that these vivid images resemble so many real castles in Germany – the Grimms were German, after all.

There are dozens of castles to be found across the country. Many are set on hilltops, looking over villages or lakes and rivers. They are popular with visitors from all around the world, and with good reason. They all tell a story and evoke tales of medieval and gothic lore.

If you’re planning a trip to Germany, the castles are well worth visiting, as they are amazing monuments to history. Here are a few you should consider checking on your tour list.

#1 – Neuschwanstein Castle

Arguably the most famous castle in Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

  • Built in the style of an old knight’s castle
  • Tickets purchased are for particular tour times
  • $14 USD per person – under 18s are free
  • Recommended duration: 30-60 mins

This is one of the most famous castles in Germany, welcoming nearly 1.5 million tourists each year. The castle was commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria. The story goes that Ludwig was driven to create a space in which he felt he could still be a king. His power, in reality, had been drained away by the conflicts with Bavaria.

Today the castle remains a wonder of mystery and majesty, while efforts to maintain its structure are continuous. Due to its idyllic but slightly sensitive location, its hillside foundations have to be constantly monitored for movement.

All of this makes it an exciting place to see, but please note no filming or photos are allowed indoors.

 

#2 – Hohenzollern Castle

Best castle or events and concerts

Hohenzollern Castle

Hohenzollern Castle

  • The Ancestral seat of the Prussian Royal Family
  • You can take a guided tour or do the Royal Stroll by yourself
  • $8-12 USD for adults, $5-6 USD for children 6-17,
  • Recommended duration: 1-2 hours

Another of the most beautiful castles in Germany, this is the third version of the castle built on top of this hill. The first was destroyed in the 1500s.

Later, in the 1700s, the castle was left deserted and fell into disrepair. Then in the 1800s, King Frederick William IV of Prussia had it rebuilt once more, and this is the castle we see today.

The family still owns the castle and occasionally stays there. The castle also hosts several events like open-air theaters and concerts throughout the year.

 

#3 – Dresden Castle

Best castle to explore small historical trinkets of interest

Dresden Castle

Dresden Castle

  • The magnificent royal showrooms of Augustus the Strong
  • The New Green Vault – a collection of Renaissance and baroque artifacts
  • $12-16 USD for adults, under 17s free.
  • Recommended duration: 3 Hours

This amazing palace is a treasure trove of historical objects from the Renaissance, weapons from the reformation, a huge coin collection and much much more. The original palace contained more than 500 rooms!

In the 1980s, the palace started its reconstruction as a museum complex, with several museums like the New Green Vault and Kupferstich-Kabinett occupying some of its many rooms.

Among the other recently opened highlights are the English Stairway and the Turkish Chamber. Many of these exhibits specialize in small items of historic value that may not have been accessible to the public before.

 

#4 – Burg Rheinstein

Best castle for garden strolls

Burg Rheinstein

Burg Rheinstein ( Photo Credit – great-castles.com)

  • Gardens and terraces to stroll
  • Walk on your own with an optional written guide.
  • Adults: $7 USD. Children: $4 USD
  • Recommended duration: 45-60 mins

Situated close to the legendary and romantic Rhine, Rheinstein adds to the mood with enchanting gardens and terraces to stroll around. Dating back to the 13th century, the castle was eventually rebuilt in the 1800s to reflect a more romantic design.

Today, it is owned by the family of opera performer Hermann Hecher and operates as a cultural monument and tourist attraction.

 

#5 – Heidelberg Castle

Best castle for distant views of the countryside

Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg Castle

  • Optional ride up on a mountain railway
  • Among the world’s most famous ruins
  • Adults: $9 USD admission. $7 guided tour – discounts for pensioners and family tickets
  • Recommended duration: 1 hour

Like most castles in Europe, Heidelberg has seen its periods of destruction and reconstruction. But this castle also has the distinction of once being destroyed by lightning.

Today, the castle has a haphazard look about it, with pieces of the building looking like they were constructed through different periods of German history.

One of the amazing views from the castle – set 300 feet atop a hill –  is of the town. But it can be even more breathtaking on extremely clear days, where you might be able to see all the way to Mannheim!

 

#6- Reichsburg Cochem

Best castle to experience a taste of the medieval lifestyle

Reichsburg Cochem

Reichsburg Cochem ( Photo Credit – www.gettingstamped.com)

  • Weekly medieval-themed banquets!
  • Ghost tours for kids are also available
  • Adults: $8 USD, Children under 17: $4 USD, discounts for groups and students
  • Recommended duration: 40 minutes

Another impeccably beautiful example of a neo-gothic-style castle. This gorgeous monument boasts impressive rooms like the Knight’s Hall, the Trophy Room, and The Bower.

What sets this particular castle apart for visitors is the opportunity to attend an old-style banquet each Friday and Saturday. On these special tour days, visitors attend a tournament, a feast and even get to see some delicious medieval punishments!

#7 – Lichtenstein Castle

Best castle to avoid the crowds

Lichtenstein Castle

Lichtenstein Castle ( Photo Credit – mymodernmet.com)

  • The design was inspired by a book – Lichtenstein by Wilhelm Hauff
  • Known as the Fairytale Castle of Baden-Württemberg
  • Basic guided tour: Adults: $9 USD, Children: $4 USD
  • Recommended duration: 30 mins

Schloss Lichtenstein is right on the edge of the Swabian Alps, and also known as “Württemberg´s fairytale castle”, and for good reason. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful castles in Southern  Germany.

Perched on a hillside overlooking the town of Liechtenstein, it’s a relatively young castle. So it’s not necessarily on the top of many tourists’ lists. But it is incredibly magical, especially in the Autumn, when the browning leaves of the surrounding forest create a mythical atmosphere.

#8 – Wartburg

Best castle to revisit historical religious events

Wartburg

Wartburg ( Photo Credit – www.britannica.com)

  • A UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Greet the iconic Wartburg donkeys while visiting
  • Adults: $14 USD, Children: $6 USD
  • Recommended duration: 60 mins

They say 1000 years of German history can be observed in this amazing castle. It sits 1300 feet above the town of Eisenach in Central Germany and is known for a very special event.

This is the place where Martin Luther translated the Bible into German. This is just one of several religious and historical persons and events that involve the castle and the area.

As a result, it marks not only a wonderful historical castle to visit but a genuine piece of real European History. This is, no doubt, one of the finest castles Germany has to offer.

#9 – Schwerin Castle

Best castle in northern Germany for a romantic lake setting

Schwerin Castle

Schwerin Castle ( Photo Credit – www.flickr.com)

  • Set on a lake island
  • Breathtaking views of the castle itself, and from the castle!
  • Adults: $9.50 USD, Students and pupils: $7.50 USD
  • Recommended duration: 60 minutes

It’s nearly impossible to imagine a more beautiful setting for a castle than on an island in the middle of a pristine and idyllic lake.

The castle has 653 rooms and several towers which provide incredible views across the lake. Of course, it also makes the castle itself amazing to see from the shores.

A stroll through the beautiful gardens or a tour through the castle with an audio guide is highly recommended. This has been the official seat of the state parliament since 1990.

FAQs

Here are some common questions from visitors who are interested in visiting castles in Germany.

How many castles are in Germany?

You’ll never run out of castles to explore here. There are a reported 20 000 castles or Schloss in Germany. Many are now used as museums or hotels, and many have been rebuilt within the past 150-200 years from their original foundations.

How many free castles are in Germany?

When you visit a castle in Germany, you’ll find that many may offer free entrance to the grounds in general. But most will charge an additional admission fee for a tour of the castle itself.

What can I bring in German castles?

Castles are major attractions in Europe, and visitors come from all over the world. Some castles may have restrictions on what you may or may not bring.

Some do not allow photos and cameras inside the castle tours, and animals and pets may also be barred. It is best practice to check your intended visit to your German castle online beforehand.

Final thoughts on Castles in Germany

This very small selection of castles offers a wonderful range of attractions, the various exhibitions, settings, and collection displays.

But with more than 20 000 castles to choose from, you’re likely to find an interesting castle to visit no matter which part of the country you visit.

Many beautiful castles in Germany have benefited from refurbishing in recent years, but there are also a few that remain largely untouched from their original construction.

Be sure to enjoy the wonderful torus through these monuments, and enjoy their gardens and invariably gorgeous surroundings, here in Germany.

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About the Author Aaron Hovanesian

Born in Los Angeles, Aaron Hovanesian is one of the original staff writers for Hotel Jules. Having backpacked the world as a young man, Aaron now prefers to travel the world in luxury, proudly staying in the world's most amazing hotels and properties. When Aaron is not traveling he lives in Western Colorado he can be found brewing his own beer (probably an IPA) or spending time with his two amazing golden retrievers.