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15 Famous Castles In Germany That Are Straight Out Of A Story

Planning a trip to Germany anytime soon? The beer, bread, and football may very well be the highlights of your upcoming vacation, but don't forget to discover some of the most incredible vistas you will be seeing ever, courtesy the famous castles of Germany. Drenched in history and full of valuable artefacts, these castles spread across the country ought to be in your itinerary. 

Lichtenstein Castle

Image Courtesy: Lichtenstein Castle
Image Courtesy: Lichtenstein Castle

Located in the state of Baden-Wurttemberg in southwest Germany, the Lichtenstein Castle is a Gothic-style structure that overlooks a vast expanse of area. In German, ‘Lichtenstein’ refers to the light-coloured stone that makes up this remarkable structure. Originally built in the 1200s, the castle fell into ruins before what we see today came into being in the mid-1800s, built by Wilhelm von Urach. Today, it is one of the most famous privately-held castles in Germany and is owned by the fourth generation of the Urach family. From the edge of the cliff where it is situated, panoramic views include sights of the valley and the hills, and the changing leaves imparting a glow of colours.

When to visit: From April to October, one can visit any day of the week between 9 am to 5 30 pm. In February, March, and November the castle is open to visitors from 10 am to 4 pm on weekends. 

Reichsburg Cochem

Image Courtesy: Reichsburg Cochem
Image Courtesy: Reichsburg Cochem

Situated atop a hill, surrounded by lush greenery and views of the Mosel river, the Reichsburg Castle in Cochem is one of the most incredible medieval castles of Germany. A neo-gothic theme runs common in the architecture, which was renovated in the 19th century by Louis Ravené. Guided tours of the historic structure are available in multiple languages, but what is most interesting is the interactive part where guests may register for feasts and storytelling sessions organised within the castle walls. For the romantics, there is the additional opportunity to arrange for an exchange of vows in this scenic location. 

When to visit: In the first week of August, visitors can enjoy a medieval festival in the estate where a number of vendors gather with goods, food, and mead along with performance groups that make for an interesting and informative experience. Guided tours and the restaurant at the castle function according to the schedule. Find out more about it here. 

Heidelberg Castle

Image Courtesy: Heidelberg Castle
Image Courtesy: Heidelberg Castle

On the hill of Jettenbuhl lies the Heidelberg Castle, also referred to as Schloss Heidelberg or Heidelberger Schloss. A castle said to be frequented by the Emperor, it was one of the most remarkable structures during the Renaissance. However, after being struck by lightning twice and bearing the vagaries of war, all that remains is a part of the castle that lies amidst the ruins. With the silhouette of the ‘lower’ and ‘upper’ castle still visible from almost all parts of the village of Heidelberg, visitors can walk through the courtyards that were once filled with sculptures, and the surrounding gardens that were once considered to be the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’. Another interesting fact is that the castle also contains the world’s biggest wine barrel made out of oak that used to store the wine that Prince Elector Karl Theodor received from taxpayers. 

When to visit: Largely open to visitors during daylight hours, it operates on a slight variation in summer and winter months. See all the details here

Mespelbrunn Castle

Image Courtesy: Mespelbrunn Castle
Image Courtesy: Mespelbrunn Castle

Another famous castle in Germany, it is located in the town that carries the same name. Interestingly, it was originally built as a house in 1412 and later converted to a castle, a moated one, making it a fine example of an incredible water castle in Germany. Owned by the family of the Counts of Ingelheim, this Renaissance-style structure is open for public viewing but still continues to be home to the family that resides in the southern wing. 

When to visit: The castle is open to visitors from March to October from 9 am to 5 pm. 

Neuschwanstein Castle

Image Courtesy:  Reisroutes.be
Image Courtesy: Reisroutes.be

In the Hohenschwangau village near Füssen in southwest Bavaria lies the most photographed building in Europe—the Neuschwanstein Castle. The home of the erstwhile king, Ludwig II, it provided him refuge from public life until his death in 1886. This marvel of architecture was also the inspiration behind Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle, undoubtedly making it one of the most awe-striking castles of Germany. Around 1.4 million people are estimated to visit every year, not surprising for a structure that comes surrounded by groves of trees and promises views of the Bavarian Alps. 

When to visit: Prior online booking is available, tickets for which you can collect later. Read here for more information. 

Wartburg Castle

Image Courtesy: Youtube
Image Courtesy: Youtube

Nestled amongst lush greenery, the Wartburg Castle is one of the first in the country to have been granted the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Throughout history, mentions of it can be found in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s poetry and songs by Walther von der Vogelweide, but the castle is still remembered as the residence of Saint Elisabeth, as well as Martin Luther’s place of exile when he left Rome. The Romanesque architecture of this edifice, constructed in 1067 and then renovated in the 19th century, attracts close to 350,000 visitors from across the world, as does its expansive art collection comprising of artefacts from across eight centuries, curated at the suggestions of Goethe himself. 

When to visit: Guided tours are available from 8 30 am to 5 pm every day, with the grounds available for viewing till 8 pm. Get more information here.

Glücksburg Castle

Image Courtesy: Fineartamerica.com
Image Courtesy: Fineartamerica.com

A water castle with stunning views, Glücksburg, situated in a town with which it shares its name, is a top Renaissance site in North Germany and one of many historic castles of Germany. Once home to Dukes of Schleswig-Holstein and a number of Danish kings, it was erected by Nikolaus Karies on the site of a former monastery and today, receives avid visitors for its architectural details such as stucco ceilings that date back to the Thirty Year War of the 17th century. Objects and tapestries dating back to the time of the royalty’s stay can still be seen, a plus for history enthusiasts, while the surrounding groves and water body make way for great vistas. 

When to visit: The opening hours from May to October are 10 am to 6 pm every day, while from November to April, you may visit from 11 am to 4 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Subject to change, you can get more information at the website.

Schwerin Castle

Image Courtesy: Pinterest
Image Courtesy: Pinterest

Located in the capital of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state, which bears the same name, Schwerin Castle features a picture-perfect backdrop of still water, vivid green trees, and blue skies that look like they're straight out of a storybook. Having served as the residence of the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and his successors earlier, it is currently the seat of the parliament at Mecklenburg-Vorpommern whilst also being open to visitors, making it a prominent landmark castle in Germany. Take a walk around the gardens designed by architects Klett and Lenné or delve into the museum, which is home to historical collections with a number of artefacts. 

When to visit: Plan your trip here

Zwinger

Image Courtesy: Wikimedia
Image Courtesy: Wikimedia

Designed by and created by the legendary architect Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann, the neoclassical, baroque-style markings of Zwinger beckon. Located in the city of Dresden, it was used as a gallery exhibit space and arena in times gone by. Today, tourists can discover wonders at the Old Masters Picture Gallery (Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister) that is home to exemplary works dating back to the Renaissance; the Dresden Porcelain Collection (Dresdener Porzellansammlung) from before WWII, and the Royal Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments (Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon), which holds a number of objects of scientific importance. 

When to visit: Any day from 10 am to 5 pm. Know more here.

Schloss Nordkirchen

Image Courtesy: nrw-tourism
Image Courtesy: nrw-tourism

Expansive, unending grounds, spruced gardens and clear blue skies along with the majestic palatial architecture impart a glorious sight, so much so that Schloss Nordkirchen is cited to be the ‘ Versailles of Germany’. The partly moated castle’s construction began in 1703 and went on till 1734. Today, wide roads and old bridges lead their way straight to the grand red-brick edifice, all the outdoor lawns open to tourists on cycles. In fact, the chapel inside is also available to host weddings.

When to visit: Get all the relevant information here.

Hohenzollern Castle

Image Courtesy:  Wikipedia
Image Courtesy: Wikipedia

Situated atop a mountain that would require a steep climb, the Hohenzollern Castle in central Baden-Württemberg in Germany is one that has undergone a number of renovations and yet remains one of the most striking castles of Germany. The first ever mention of its construction is attributed to the 11th century, after which it is said to have been destroyed in 1423 and reconstructed a few years later. The Thirty Years’ War saw it turning into a fortress for protection. Most of the construction and the neo-Gothic style of architecture as seen today dates back to the 1850s but renovations have also been observed since it faced two massive earthquakes in 1970 and 1978. 

When to visit: Read the entire schedule here

Wernigerode Castle

Image Courtesy:  Govisity
Image Courtesy: Govisity

Located in the Harz mountains in Saxony-Anhalt, the 12th-century Romanesque castle was initially used as a hunting lodge by noblemen. Later, it was rebuilt in a Renaissance style followed by hints of Baroque-inspired architecture after some damage that the structure faced in the Thirty Years’ War. Surrounded by three gardens and complete with a chapel inside, it is one of the most famous castles in Germany today. 

When to visit: Know all about the guided tours here

Burg Rheinstein

Image Courtesy: Wikipedia
Image Courtesy: Wikipedia

Built in the 10th century and rebuilt later in the 19th century, the Burg Rheinstein packs in all the remarkable vistas of the Rhineland-Palatinate region. In its initial days, it was home to the Roman Emperor Rudolph von Habsburg, and after its ruin, it was purchased in 1823 by Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig, the Royal Prince of Prussia. A functional drawbridge and portcullis highlight its medieval features, while a Burgundy grapevine, estimated to be more than 500-years-old and still producing the fruit, lends the name ‘Burgunder-Garden’ to the castle’s courtyard. 

When to visit: Get your itinerary here

Burghausen Castle

Image Courtesy:  Travelguide
Image Courtesy: Travelguide

Featuring Gothic-style architecture and six sprawling courtyards—one inner and five outer—the Burghausen Castle finds its earliest mention back in the Bronze Age. Situated in a town that bears its name in Upper Bavaria, it also happens to be the longest castle complex in the world, recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records for its staggering 1,051.02 meters. With its Art Nouveau-style interiors, the intricately work and aura of the ancient cluster of buildings that make up the castle give it a remarkable appeal. What’s more, it is also available on rent for exhibits, receptions, and weddings. 

When to visit: Open all days from 10 am to 4 pm, the schedule is subject to changes. Read about it here.

Moyland Castle

Image Courtesy: Spottinghistory.com
Image Courtesy: Spottinghistory.com

Located in North-West Germany in Bedburg-Hau in the district of Kleve and close to Germany’s border with the Netherlands is this towered, moated castle that dates back to the 14th century. Featuring neo-Gothic architecture, it derives its name from the Dutch word ‘Mooiland’, which translates to ‘beautiful country’. Rebuilt and renovated a number of times since, the Moyland Castle is one of the most famous castles in Germany, also home to the well-known Museum Schloss Moyland which houses the largest collection of art in the world by German artist and theorist Joseph Beuys. 

When to visit: Read about the details here

Featured Image: Reisroutes.be

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