Castles are now iconic symbols of grandeur and mythical tales. Aside from their dazzling appearance and antiquity, they reveal an old, vivid, and true fable.
Castles in Germany date from the 9th to 10th centuries, when the Great Age of Castles originated. Castles embody the need for nations to be protected from invasions by other nations, as well as serve as residences for aging royal families.
These incredible structures are examples of strategic and solid rocky constructions constructed by kings and emperors to guard a nation’s territories during warfare and also to impose rule among populaces during peacetime.
Modern Germany has a magnificent castle heritage, with over 2100 castles spread throughout the country. A very bright and amusing history awaits behind the doors of these impressive castles.
Approximately 100 years ago, not quite long ago, kings and emperors and their families visited, lived, and operated there. Historical resolutions were reached there, and many soldiers died there defending their country from invaders.
These magnificent ancient structures now serve as cultural artifacts, museums, guesthouses, and antiquity references. This includes everything from Neuschwanstein Castle, the model for all castles, to tiny remnants of mediaeval strongholds. Since there are so many of them, this list can only emphasize a small number of them.
Let us take the opportunity to explore the article and see what these amazing architectural structures in Germany have to offer.
1. Neuschwanstein Castle
First on the list of most magnificent castles in Germany is the Neuschwanstein Castle.
This is one of Europe’s and the world’s most beautiful castles, situated in the Bavarian Alps close to the town of Füssen in southeast Bavaria, Germany.
The architect Eduard Riedel built this magnificent castle for the insane King Ludwig II or Louis II of Bavaria between 1869 and 1886. The King of Bavaria commissioned it as a memorial to the famous German Wilhelm Richard Wagner, a prominent German artist best known for his noble opera work.
Ludwig II realized his aspirations in brick and stone by constructing three lavish castles. He wished to build palaces that evoked the courtship of Teutonic Sagas as well as the glory of Versailles. Thanks to Wagner’s operas, Ludwig II was able to enter the romantic world of Medieval legends.
However, this expertise was limited to the stage. He could actively enter the golden brilliance and romantic tales of times gone by in the castles Ludwig II built, Linderhof, Herrenchiemsee, and Neuschwanstein, leaving reality far behind.
An intriguing modern fact related to this ancient architectural giant leads us to California, USA, where Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle was built as a replica after Lillian and Walt Disney had their inspirational European trip. Certainly, the replica falls short of the original state of the castle.
Neuschwanstein Castle allows tours guided by proper tour guides.
Address: 20, Neuschwansteinstraße, Schwangau
2. Burg Hohenzollern (Hohenzollern Castle)
Next on the list of one of the best castles in Germany is the Hohenzollern Castle.
The Hohenzollern Castle, formerly known as the Hohenzollern House, is another exceptional historical heritage of Germany, located on the hillside of Swabia, Bisingen, 50 kilometers south of Stuttgart.
The castle dates back to 1061 and has been referred to as “Castro Zolre” since 1267, with modern literature referring to it as the “Crown of all Castles in Swabia” and “The Utmost Solid House in Germany.” The castle has a sort of mythical shape and is surrounded by beautiful jungle views.
Hohenzollern Castle was demolished in 1423, and the castle was rebuilt in 1454 with a more robust and larger architectural style. It was destroyed in the early 19th century due to a lack of proper preservation. In 1819, Crown Prince Frederick Wilhelm of Prussia transformed the castle for the third time. Later, as King, Frederick William IV rebuilt the castle, transforming it into the most impressive neo-Gothic castle.
The Hohenzollern Castle, which is privately owned, is now a popular tourist destination for people from all over the world.
The owners allow visitors to tour the scenic neo-gothic outside of the castle, as well as the old pictures of the family dynasty, art pieces, and the Prussian King’s Crown; films in the movie theater inside; various concerts and exhibitions; and many other special events. The Christmas market within the Hohenzollern castle facilities is another interesting modern feature.
Address: 72379 Burg Hohenzollern, Germany
3. Lichtenstein Castle (Schloss Lichtenstein)
Amongst the list of the most majestic castles in Germany comes Lichtenstein Castle. Perched on a high rocky ledge on the rim of the Swabian Alps and accessible via a narrow wooden bridge, it is not what it appears to be.
Despite the fact that this crag has been the site of several previous castles, the neo-Gothic one constructed on their foundations is a Victorian-era version of a medieval Lichtenstein Castle. The steep barricades in Lichtenstein Castle and the tall round tower are accentuated by the elevation, and the narrow connectivity bridge over a ravine completes the storybook charm.
The rooms in Lichtenstein Castle are lavishly adorned in the Romantic style, with elaborately painted ceilings and carved wooden details; highlights include vibrantly colored wall paintings; 15th-and 16th-century glass paintings in the chapel; and the Knights’ Hall. Lichtenstein Castle is about an hour’s drive from Stuttgart.
Address: Schloss Lichtenstein 1, Lichtenstein
4. Schwerin Castle
Fourth on the list of most amazing castles in Germany is the Schwerin Castle.
Schwerin Castle has much to reveal and is honestly one of the mouse beautiful castles in Germany. This remarkably beautiful and fascinating architectural masterpiece was a significant Romantic Historicism building in Northern Europe. The view from it is unusually panoramic as it is located in the heart of greenery and lake landscape in the city of Schwerin, Germany.
Nowadays, the Schwerin Castle is a massive structure with 653 rooms that are classically decorated, have patterned groundwork with artifacts and ornamentations, and are surrounded by rich and tall wall surfaces. The castle is also famous for the story of “Petermännchen,” a living ghost in the castle who is depicted as a human-friendly ghost with many keys to open the main gates when someone needs assistance.
Schwerin Castle was destroyed in the twentieth century by a fire that entombed it in 1913. The Grand Duke, who began the restoration of the remaining ruins, left it uncompleted due to the 1918 revolution, which forced his resignation.
From that time until 1948, the castle served as a museum, and from 1948 to 1952, it served as a venue for state legislature assemblies. The castle served as an academic institution from 1952 to 1981.
Since 1990, the Schwerin Castle has served as the site of Mecklenburg-state Vorpommern’s assembly. Sequential restorations attempted to restore the castle’s former pride and fame.
Schwerin Castle now only accepts visitors in a museum area that depicts the Dukes who previously resided there.
Address: Lennéstraße 1, Schwerin, Germany
5. Cochem Castle (Reichsburg Castle)
Reichsburg Castle, Cochem Castle, often referred to as Reichsburg Cochem, is one of the greatest castles in Germany and is located 300 feet above Cochem and the Moselle River.
Louis XIV of France demolished the Reichsburg Castle, which is thought to have been constructed around 1100, in 1689. Before rich Berlin tycoon Louis Ravené decided to purchase the ruins and rebuild the stronghold in 1868, the castle stood as a vivid stone ruin for 180 years.
Rather than restoring the palace to its former Romanesque shape and condition, Ravené had a Neo-Gothic castle constructed for his family to use as a vacation residence.
A number of excursions are available at Reichsburg Castle, one of Germany’s biggest and greatest castles, to accommodate a variety of interests. Visit the landscape garden, go on a ghost hunt, or go on a night watchman tour. Each offers distinct perspectives, compelling tales, and background knowledge about the castle.
In addition to offering tours and other entertaining activities, Reichsburg Castle continues to rank among the most stunning castles in Germany.
The Knights’ Meal, which provides local wine, mediaeval food, and performances by jesters and minstrels, is a fitting way to round off the day. Get ready to be amazed by highly proficient eagles, falcons, and vultures as they leave their mark during the falconry displays.
Address: Schloßstrasse 36, Cochem
6. Heidelberg Castle (Heidelberger Schloss)
Next on the list of most beautiful castles in Germany, comes the Heidelberg Castle.
Heidelberg Castle dominates the skyline and is set against the vivid green forest areas on the north side of the field of Königstuhl hill.
The Heidelberg Castle ruins, which are made of sunset-colored sandstone, stand regally over the Neckar Valley and cast a shadow over the picturesque university town’s cafes and cobblestone streets.
Once a Gothic marvel, the Heidelberg has experienced looting, fire, and two lightning strikes. Heidelberg Castle is currently in ruins after never being brought back to its former splendor. Despite this, it is one of Germany’s top castles, drawing an estimated million tourists each year to these portions of the ruins.
The castle’s first structure was built before 1214, and it was eventually expanded to two components in 1294.
The biggest wine barrel in the world is proudly on display in the cellar of Heidelberg Castle. With a capacity of 220,000 litres of wine and dimensions of 27 feet by 23 feet, the Heidelberg Tun is a wine lover’s dream. Additionally, it is bigger than most flats. Access is open to the public.
Views may be seen from Heidelberg Castle’s courtyard or by exploring the portions of the stone walls that are embellished with beautiful sculptures. Make your way below to the cellar where you may dance and drink wine after witnessing Heidelberg Tun.
Address: Schlosshof 1, Heidelberg
7. Hohenschwangau Castle
Next on the list of most beautiful castles in Germany, comes Hohenschwangau Castle.
When Hohenschwangau Castle was rebuilt in the mid-1500s, an original 12th-century castle had already been in ruins, and it was left in partial wreckage by Austrian troops in 1743. Almost a century later, the Bavarian Crown Prince, later King Maximilian II, father of King Ludwig II, purchased Hohenschwangau Castle and began reconstructing it in accordance with the actual plans.
The halls and chambers inside the neogothic exterior of crenelated towers were covered in nearly 100 frescoes and works of art depicting local historical events and German courageous legends of Parsival and Lohengrin, as well as other romantic sagas.
Queen Marie built an alpine lawn surrounded by a cantilevered wall, which was also filled with romantic story symbols, such as a fountain.
A tour of Hohenschwangau Castle feels like stepping back in time, with majestic hallways and passageways packed with 19th-century Biedermeier architecture and scenes from legends. It’s convenient to see where the king got his fascination with the intimate tales that ideated his vision for Neuschwanstein.
Address: 30, Alpseestraße, burgSchwangau
8. Wartburg Castle(Schloss Wartburg)
Further on the list of most beautiful castles in Germany, comes the Wartburg Castle.
Wartburg Castle towers 400 meters above the semi-rural town of Eisenach in central Germany. Wartburg Castle, outlined as an exceptional hilltop castle of the feudal era in central Europe, boasts an excellent overview of 1,000 years of German history and was thus the first ever German palace that is held as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The majority of Wartburg Castle is a meticulously restored 19th-century rebuild. Wartburg Castle was constructed in the second half of the 12th century and has some original elements from its medieval era still now. During the Middle Ages, when it was at its height, you can see how it looked. Its 400-meter height draws attention to its importance.
The structure and inspiration for various facets of the castle vary, but they all blend together harmoniously. The romantic reconstruction ideas for certain parts of the estate pay homage to the great people who once lived at Wartburg Castle and balance out the stone castle’s initial Norman period architecture.
In the past, St Elizabeth and the then-exiled Martin Luther stayed at Wartburg Castle, where he transcribed the New Testament of the Bible into German. Wartburg Castle, steeped in history, is a must-see for any history buff.
Completely refurbished halls and apartments depict life in the Renaissance and the Middle Ages. Wartburg Castle’s art collections include art by Lucas Cranach the Elder, and there are over 9,000 historical pieces that are employed in period interiors and various exhibitions.
Address: Eisenach, Auf der Wartburg 1.
9. Marburg Castle (Landgrafenschloss)
Number 9 on the list of best castles in Germany comes, the Marburg Castle.
The remarkable castle that towers just above the delightful town of Marburg dates back to 1000 AD, and it is one of Germany’s oldest hillforts. The Marburg Castle is one of the most visited castles in Germany.
The palace provided inspiration for several of the Grimm brothers’ fairy tales while they were students at Marburg University. Due to its location along the German Fairy Tale Route, Marburg is a well-liked tourist attraction. The Museum of Cultural History and Art is presently housed on the majestic castle’s top five floors.
There are antiquated defenses from the tenth and ninth centuries at the foot of the west wing. The castle’s museum is accessible year-round, and from April to October, weekend walking tours of the structure’s casements are offered.
Address: Marburg, Schloss 1, Hess.
10. Burghausen Castle
With a length of 1000 meters, Burghausen Castle is among the world’s largest antique structures. The mythological gloss of the castle, located at the top of a hill, combined with its rich surroundings, makes it a popular destination for visitors from all over the world.
Its antiquated legend is immediately revealed by an image of an ancient architectural style with a vibrantly colored iconic anterior end and blunt facades and fortifications. Its divergent and dissimilar structure, which includes several appealing remnants such as the primary early Gothic palace, the noirish temple, museums, several backyards, and modern apartments, adds to the castle’s allure.
The Burghausen Castle is located close to Munich, Germany, near the Salzach River on the Bavarian side of the Austrian-German border, and serves as a magnificent tourist attraction.
The castle was built in 1025 and was inhabited by Lower Bavarian Wittelsbach dukes between 1255 and 1503. Duke Otto, expanded the castle in 1180, and Duke Henry XII gave it its current appearance in 1255. The building was strong because wealthy Dukes wanted to keep their valuable silver and gold there securely.
Further restorations to the castle were carried out under Napoleon I’s order in 1809. After the effort to destroy the castle failed, some novel renovations were carried out in 1896.
A disturbing historical fact about the castle is that it was also used for torturing and killing people, including prisoners and notable figures imprisoned during the war.
Address: Burg 48, 84489 Burghausen, Germany
11. Eltz Castle (Burg Eltz)
Lastly, on the list of some of the best castles in Germany comes Eltz Castle.
Burg Eltz—taking your children to Hohenzollern Castle in Southern Germany will satisfy their dream of seeing a true fairy tale castle.
The site, atop a 70-meter-high rock outcrop surrounded by dense woodland, is ideal. In addition to having a tower and a bridge directly linking, it also has all the necessary components. With its towering stone walls, pointy artillery cannons, sharply pitched rooftops, and crimson half-timbered windows, Burg Eltz stands out from the wooded slope.
Burg Eltz has been owned by the Kempenich family since it was founded in the 12th century. It has been well preserved and renovated with stunning design and the majority of the actual embellishments. This is one of Germany’s best descriptions of a fortification from the Middle Ages.
The Knights’ Hall, which has armor suits, a genuine kitchen from the 15th century, an armory, and a treasury, is one of the tour’s highlights. Among the most important archives of historical artworks in Germany, this collection has over 500 objects including gold and silver glass, jewelry, porcelain, ivory, and curios.
Address: Burg-Eltz-Strasse 1, Eltz Castle, Wierschem
The Rhine river and its castles
The Rhine river area is both the most romantic and one of the busiest in Germany. The main draw is undoubtedly the castles all along the Rhine. Over 40 castles in Germany are along the Rhine and have been converted into luxurious hotels, restaurants, and museums.
Travelers enjoy cruising the river only to gaze at the castles. This region of Germany is also well-known for its excellent wine, which has been popular since ancient Roman times. This is the way to try an ideal glass of white wine created from Riesling, the finest white wine grape.
Castles on the Rhine river were primarily constructed as defense strongholds and toll houses between the 12th and 14th centuries, and over 40 can be found along a 65-kilometer stretch of the Middle Rhine Valley. However, many 19th-century makeovers were influenced by the later Romanticism period. Some castles are fine examples of restoration today, while others are impressive ruins.
Here are a few of them:
- Marksburg Castle—The only castle on the Rhine River that has never been severely damaged. This castle is a classic medieval masterpiece, complete with a wine cellar, a Noirish hall, a chapel, a horse stable, and bed chambers. It’s just above the tiny town of Braubach. Public visitation is allowed.
- Rheinfels Castle—The most humungous and intricate castle ruins people should take a trip to. Tourists are awestruck by the maze of trenches and tunnels that can be explored. It is essential to visit the castle’s museum, which is housed in the former chapel. You can also enjoy a delicious meal at the restaurant near the castle.
- Rheinstein Castle—It’s about 300 meters above the Rhine River, with one of the most spectacular landscapes behind it. When trying to enter the castle, don’t miss the Knight’s Hall, which is the most gorgeous part of the structure. This room features a large stained glass window as well as three-dimensional paintings. There is also a café and a gift shop from which you can purchase handcrafted wooden souvenirs.
- Katz Castle—Cat Castle, as it is affectionately known, stands on a ledge overlooking the river. The castle’s architecture is magnificent, and you can see it while sailing on the Rhine.
- Stolzenfels Palaces—Visitors from all around the world are drawn to the castle, which has been transformed into a magnificent palace. It is situated on the Rhine’s left bank. The view of the Rhine River from the palace’s terrace is even more lavish than the palace’s luxurious furniture.
You haven’t truly experienced Europe if you haven’t seen a few castles in Germany, including Hohenzollern Castle or Lichtenstein Castle. There are surely many beautiful, well-known castles in Germany. Choose a castle from our list of the top ones in Germany and begin enjoying the regal life. Your castle from a fairytale is ready, with styles ranging from neoclassical to Renaissance to Baroque.