When I was young, my father was stationed in Germany. On the weekends, we would travel the country looking for old castles to explore. We saw quite a few, but with 20,000 various castles located throughout Germany, it would take years to see them all. Since you probably don't have that long, here are twelve must-see castles that will transport you into another time period.
King Ludwig may have had some mental health issues, but he knew how to build my favorite fairy-tale castle. Named one of the best attractions in Europe, this castle is an inevitable stop if you visit Germany. The breathtaking view features the massive alpine foothills behind the castle. The castle's construction was built in a creative form rather than a functional fortress by King Ludwig, the former king of Bavaria. The 19th-century Romanesque palace inspired the look of Disney castles with the magnificent scenic mountain backdrop. Come visit the fairy tales in real life.
Hohenzollern Castle: (Burg Hohenzollern)
Located on top of Mount Hohenzollern, this is one of the most visited castles in Germany.
The castle aesthetics resemble a real version of Hogwarts from the Harry Potter series.
Enriched with long family history, it has endless ancient royal treasures, including silver and gold pieces, artwork, and royal robes. Even though we'll never get that Hogwarts letter, this is a magical alternative to check out!
Schwerin Castle (Schweriner Schloss)
Schwerin Castle is entirely surrounded by water. The only way to cross the water is through the bridge that connects the castle to Schwerin, the capital of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Northern Germany. The many similarities of the Romantic features of Neuschwanstein gave the castle its nickname "Neuschwanstein of the North." The throne rooms and exquisite porcelain collections are a must-see at this castle.
Heidelberg Castle (Heidelberger Schloss)
We had some friends stationed in Heidelberg so this was a castle we visited often. Dating back to approximately 1300, the red sandstone Heidelberg Castle has been one of the best surviving German Renaissance structures and is the largest castle ruin in Germany. It towers on the hillside 300 feet above the old university town of Heidelberg. Take the time to walk around Old Town. Many concerts and other various performances are held in the courtyard in addition to massive firework displays at least three times each summer. This majestic castle is definitely worth a stop on your vacation.
Wartburg Castle (Schloss Wartburg)
This notable castle is where Martin Luther translated the New Testament of the Bible into German. The castle still preserves many of its original artifacts and recreates the medieval and Renaissance feel. The castle is considered Germany's real-life fairy tale castle and one of the favorites among the Germans.
Marburg Castle (Landgrafenschloss)
The castle is situated in the town of Marburg, originating near AD 1000. Numerous visitors come to Marburg through the German Fairy Tale Route. The infamous Brothers Grimm (Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm) went to university in this town and used this specific castle for their folklore inspiration, including Rapunzel and Snow White. You'll be able to experience the storybook adventure that you've read about your whole childhood.
Nuremberg Castle (Nürnberger Burg)
The castle is one of the most important surviving medieval fortresses in Europe.
Situated in Nuremberg, it was seen as extremely powerful and significant during the Holy Roman Empire. Reaching more than 50 meters into the rock below, the Deep Well is the castle's main appeal. Get transported into the Middle Ages as you tour through this massive imperial castle. If you go at Christmas time, check out the holiday markets in town.
Wernigerode Castle (Schloss Wernigerode)
Built during the Middle Ages, the Wernigerode castle stood as a safe stopping area for emperors on their frequent hunting trips to the Harz Mountains. It expanded in the late Gothic era, transforming into a beautiful Renaissance fortress. This castle offers an exquisite panoramic view of the surrounding hills and the Wernigerode city. Stroll through the Renaissance staircase tower and catch a glimpse of the elegance of that era.
Marksburg Castle (Schloss Marksburg)
We lived in Wiesbaden along the Rhine River and on many Sundays we would take a river cruise. Watching for Marksburg Castle was always one of the highlights of our trip. Among the 40 different hill castles, Marksburg is the only medieval castle in the stretch of the river that has never been destroyed. The Romanesque-style castle was built above the water with a triangular layout where powerful families resided in the past. The castle offers beautiful views of the Rhine River, and you're able to see what the interior of a medieval castle looked like when it was initially built.
Eltz Castle (Burg Eltz)
When you think of romantic, beautiful, and charming castles, the Eltz castle needs to be on top of the list. Despite being situated distant from society, this castle attracts many people for its seclusion. Be sure to visit the Knights Hall as it features countless private collections of historical artworks and displays authentic medieval decor.
Weesenstein Castle (Schloss Weesenstein)
Located in Saxony, the Weesenstein Castle is a must-visit if you're a lover of museums or wine. The cellar of the castle is stocked with thousands of aged wines. The various exhibits show each part of the era from the 19th century to the Middle Ages. The castle also has a serene park nearby with formal rose gardens, foundations, and a tea house along the river Müglitz.
Lichtenstein Castle (Schloss Lichtenstein)
Sometimes referred to as "Cinderella's castle," the Gothic Revival bastion sits on a high rocky top at the edge of the Swabian Alps. This 1800s-version medieval castle is full of storybook charm with its tall round tower. The castle offers a magnificent view of the surrounding landscape, including the Echaz River.
Each castle in Germany is unique and tells a captivating story. If you are ready to start checking them off your bucket list, contact me to begin your castle adventure.