Castles in Germany….how can you not fall in love with these gigantic and to-die-for constructions? Some are gorgeous retards, and some are absolutely amazing! Not to mention that visiting castles in Germany is traveling in time and imagining how people lived in medieval times.
By the way, a castle is one of the buildings that fascinates me the most and certainly fascinates other people as well. Perhaps probably not because of the construction itself, but because of the story that each one of them tells. Anyway, when I was setting up the itinerary around the country, it was difficult to choose which cities to visit. So, I used the following strategy: visit as many castles as I could and still enjoy a little of the region.
Well, in this post, I will highlight a list of 10 top-rated castles in Germany that I fell in love with! Read on!
Best Castles in Germany
1. Neuschwanstein Castle
Of course, Neuschwanstein Castle had to be at the top of this list of most beautiful castles in Germany. After all, it is the Fairy Tale Castle in real life! This Castle was the inspiration for Walt Disney to create Sleeping Beauty Castle and Cinderella’s Castle, as well as being on the lists of the most beautiful castles in Germany in magazines and newspapers.
This magnificent Castle once belonged to King Ludwig II of Bavaria. The king was directly involved in the construction of the Castle, so the Castle is often called his creation. The Castle was built from 1869 to 1886 with a height of 65 meters. It is located in a low-lying mountainous area almost on the border with Austria.
The king died before the completion of the Castle, which was opened to the public seven weeks after his death. Due to its remote location in the Bavarian forests, Neuschwanstein Castle was not destroyed during World War II. Despite the appearance of the Castle from the outside, It is equipped with the latest technology, an electrical alarm system, toilets with flushing water, central heating, and telephones.
2. Hohenzollern Castle
It certainly is one of those breathtaking castles, especially if you arrive early (as I did) and choose to walk uphill.
Hohenzollern Castle was first built in the 11th century as a large medieval fortress by the Hohenzollern royal family and was destroyed and rebuilt twice as a result of war attacks. Today the Castle is still owned by descendants of the Hohenzollern family known in Germany as Georg Friedrich Prince of Prussia and Sophie Princess of Prussia. And today, it is recognized as one of the most beautiful castles in Germany!
To this day, the Castle remains in the private property of the descendants of the great dynasty. Many representatives of this family are buried in the castle cemetery, including the Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna Romanova, who married the Prince of Germany and Prussia.
Among the exhibits, I could see on display at the Castle are the crown of William II, an extensive art gallery, personal belongings of Frederick the Great, and a letter from George Washington expressing his gratitude to the Hohenzollerns who took part in the US War of Independence.
3. Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Castle was first mentioned in written documents in the year 1225, being built by the Palatine Counts of the Rhineland. This Castle is currently in ruins and is one of the most important, visited, and famous ruins in Germany! One of the reasons for such importance is that the Castle has the first Renaissance building built in Germanic lands.
Everything I found in this Castle is impressive: the preserved Renaissance building, the ruins, its viewpoints, the wineries in its surroundings, and much more. It is definitely worth a visit. Take the opportunity to taste the Castelo wines in its cellar, which has the largest barrel of wine in the world! I recommend laying at least 4-6 hours for a tour of the Castle and a walk.
4. Linderhof Castle
Linderhof Castle was built from 1869 to 1878 by the most famous King of Bavaria: Louis Ludwig II, better known also as the Mad King of Bavaria. It took only nine years of construction to build a small castle, but very rich in details inside. And beyond the palace, I could spot several gardens, all following the line of French Baroque gardens, very beautiful and well maintained, decorated with statues, a beautiful fountain, a Greek Monopteros temple, and an incredible cave of Venus.
What fascinates me most about this Castle is actually its interior. I believe that as the only Castle that King Ludwig II managed to finish building, it ended up being the best-worked Castle in terms of ornamentation. This is, without doubt, one of the most beautiful castles in Germany.
5. Schwerin Castle
This is another luxurious castle located on an island on the lake. Built in the neo-Renaissance style, this Castle is rightfully considered the pearl of northeastern Germany.
Each of the castle facades is made in different architectural styles: Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance. Outwardly, it resembles the famous French Castle of Chambord on the Loire. Previously, the Castle in Schwerin was the seat of the Dukes of Schwerin, and now it houses the parliament of the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
What I loved at the Castle is the Art Museum, which exhibits canvases by Dutch and German artists. Also noteworthy is the collection of exquisite Meissen porcelain from the 18th century. I found the outside of the Castle looking much more interesting than the inside.
Around the Castle, it is surrounded by lakes and forests, as well as gardens of incredible beauty. The best shots can be taken from a drone, although its use for such subjects in Europe is severely limited.
After the tour, I was happy to grab a bite to eat at the outdoor cafe directly below the main tower.
6. Wartburg Castle
I expanded the geography of my travels to the castles of Germany by going to another German land: Thuringia. In the local impenetrable forests, the Wartburg Castle is hidden, the refuge of the reformer Martin Luther, in which he translated the New Testament into German.
During the tour to the Castle, I was given the opportunity to examine it. The Castle was built in the middle Ages and belonged to a noble family. It is located on a cliff 410 meters high. The cliff offers interesting views of the nearby town of Eisenach. Rumor has it that this Castle became one of the sources of inspiration for King Ludwig II during the construction of Neuschwanstein Castle. Most of the Castle’s interior objects date back to the 19th century.
Since 1999, the Wartburg Castle has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and is the most visited attraction in the federal state of Thuringia. For centuries, Wartburg Castle has been a place of pilgrimage for tourists from Germany and other countries due to its origins in the spread of Christianity. Interestingly, some cities in the United States (founded by Lutherans), as well as a local German car brand produced in East Germany, were named after the Wartburg.
7. Eltz Castle
Eltz Castle can often be seen in all sorts of ratings of the most beautiful castles in Germany. It is also one of my favorites among German castles.
This Castle is located near the Moselle River between the cities of Koblenz and Trier on a hill 70 meters high. The unique location of the Castle on an oval hill surrounded by dense forests gives it a special charm. What surprised me in the entire history of its existence is that this Castle has never been destroyed.
The Castle has been home to 33 generations of the Eltz family. It was built to protect the trade route and combines different styles, from romance to baroque. Different generations of the family made their own buildings in the Castle. Since the Castle, due to its location, could not be set horizontally, it was built upward.
In the Eltz castle, I saw about 100 chambers with an original interior, dishes, and tapestries. There is a treasury, an armory, a knight’s hall, and a chapel. The fact that the Castle is considered a German heritage is evidenced by the image of the Eltz castle applied to the banknote of 500 German marks, issued in the period from 1965 to 1992. In addition, the Castle served as the prototype of the settlement of Himmelsdorf in the computer game World of Tanks.
8. Wernigerode Castle
Originally, on the site of the Wernigerode castle, there was a fortress founded in the 12th century. At the end of the 17th century, the fortress was rebuilt into a baroque castle. Until 1929, the count’s family lived in the Castle, and in 1949 a museum was opened for the general public.
It is also in this Castle that I realized the film “The very same Munchausen” was filmed. Many scenes of the film were filmed in the courtyard of the Castle.
To get to the Castle, I had to climb the mountain, but there was also the option of going by train. On the territory of the Castle, I found two cafes where you can relax after visiting the exposition. The Castle also has an observation deck with excellent views of the city.
The Castle is the dominant feature of the city of the same name. The Castle, together with three gardens and parks, has been a national cultural monument since 1999. There are guided tours around Wernigerode, during which you can visit almost 50 chambers of the Castle.
9. Mespelbrunn Castle
Mespelbrunn Castle is located on the territory of the city of the same name between Frankfurt and Wurzburg. The Castle stands on the water, surrounded by picturesque forests, which attracts thousands of tourists to it. The construction of the Castle began in the 15th century. Since the old days, only a round tower has remained from the Mespelbrunn Castle.
During its existence, the Castle has changed, and from a fortification has become a castle in the Renaissance style. It is interesting that to the present day, its owners, the Ingelheim family live in the southern wing of the Castle, who even conduct excursions around it.
The Castle is popular with newlyweds in Germany, as weddings are organized here. In summer and spring, it is especially beautiful here, as the castle park smells of flowers and fresh greenery. More than one beautiful photo can be taken with a view of the Castle and the lake. The Castle definitely deserves to be included in your trip to the most beautiful castles in Germany.
10. Marienburg Castle
Marienburg Castle is a neo-Gothic castle located in northern Germany near Hanover. The Castle was built from 1858 to 1869 by order of King George V as a birthday present for his wife Maria (by the way, it was in her honor that the Castle was named). The Castle was used as the summer residence of the kings of the dynasty. The Castle has 160 rooms, observation towers 30 meters high, a church, and stables.
It is currently owned by the crown prince of the dynasty, Ernst August. The castle hosts weddings, receptions, and banquets. The Castle has very interesting interiors with objects that convey the spirit of the era, including the crown of the Hanoverian dynasty. On a clear day, I recommend climbing the castle tower, where you will be rewarded with excellent views of the surroundings. The Knights’ Hall of Marienburg Castle hosts concerts ranging from jazz and classical music to concerts and theater for children.
I have reached the end of my list of the most beautiful castles in Germany. I want to say that the most convenient way to visit the castles is by rented car or as part of an organized excursion group or individual. Thanks to good train connections in Germany, almost all castles remote from cities can be reached by train. Also, note that most of the castles are open in both winter and summer. The exception is Eltz Castle, which starts work at the end of March and is closed in winter.