Germany is a top destination for many tourists because of the food (the lye pretzel of Southern Germany is to die for), the beer ( German’s really know how to make this foamy). The shopping districts ( Schildergasse for the nose and Munich Old Town for the best cheap merch) and the people ( German tour guides never get late).
So if you’re one of those who think that they’ve seen all that Germany has to offer, let me ask you a question; Have you seen the castles of Germany? The country has lots of these. Not yet? Take your time reading this article.
Most say that the number of castles in Germany amounts to a whopping 20,000. However, this figure might be inaccurate considering that a comprehensive count of existing castles of German didn’t commence not until recently. According to others, the castles in Germany actually count to 25,000.
Overseeing the fastidious preservation of German castles is the Deutsche Burgenvereinigung (DVB), an organization that started in 1899. Working under it is the smaller European Castles Institute. The core purpose of the DVB is the preservation of old German castles and other buildings as well. For the promotion of Germany’s historical and artistic heritage.
Go to Bavaria to see a lot of castles. Castles in Bavaria are highly concentrated, so you won’t have to travel far to see one castle and the next. Moreover, Bavaria’s castles date back to the middle ages. You’ll find inside them old documents, clothing, and other personal belongings of the owners.
Many think that the Neuschwanstein Castle at Schwangau is the biggest German castle since a lot of people come to visit it. However, this isn’t the case. Neuschwanstein only holds the title of the most beautiful and well-preserved German castle. If we’re talking about the biggest, then nothing beats the Burghausen Castle of Burghausen, Upper Bavaria.
Burghausen isn’t just a castle but a castle complex, meaning that it’s divided into different parts that stretch for several kilometers. At present, Burghausen divides into 12 sections heading west. The first part that tourists see upon arriving is the Palas, a state castle museum but the main building in the past.
Next to it and comprising of 3 large gothic buildings is the Bower, which is now a museum too. On the north, near to the portion section of the Bower closest to the Palas, are the Treasury and the Church of St. Elizabeth. As you continue going west, you’ll see the Lower Ward, Knight’s Hall, Upper Ward, Castle Keep, Protective Wall, The Garden, Gateway Building, and The Ditch.
You can’t avail any guided tours for exploring Burghausen Castle. However, you’re free to traverse the passages that lead to picturesque parts of the castle, such as the Knight’s Hall and The Garden. Since big, a full exploration of Burghausen Castle takes 2-3 hours at most.
Why Are There So Many Castles in Germany?
A quick look at Germany’s past will tell you why. During the medieval era, and even the times before it, Germany was never a unified land. A lot of people exercised political power, such as lords, knights, and other noblemen. During their escapades, nobles would acquire a parcel of land and rule over the people living on them.
Raiding other territories is a common way of acquiring new resources – land and people, so to speak. German nobles are aware of this fact. That being said, they need a way to protect their territories. Nothing could be better than having a castle that safeguards what’s inside the protective walls and keeps invaders out.
In connection, out of all German states, Bavaria has the highest concentration of castles. This is because Bavaria has been a major trading center during the medieval era.
Oldest Castles in Germany, Which Are They?
The oldest castles in Germany are those that have been existing since the middle ages. Since there are a lot, tracing the age of the castles and sorting them according to it isn’t easy. Nevertheless, these are some of the castles in Germany that have existed long before the renaissance.
Though the interior of Wartburg castle dates back to the 19th century and might be due to renovation or restoration work, the original structures show that the castle existed since the 14th and 15th centuries. In fact, Wartburg Castle existed long before the majestic Neuschwanstein Castle stood. And for building the Neuschwanstein Castle, Ludwig II took inspiration from Wartburg Castle’s Construction.
Documents found in the Satszvey Castle indicate that the relatives of the Counts of the Beissel Von Gymnich had lived within the walls since the 1300s. However, this is only what the written accounts suggest. Inspection of the walls shows that Satsvey Castle might have existed later than the 13th century.
Satzvey Castle is wonderfully preserved, and it’s still a privately owned castle. Just like it always did, Satzvey Castle continues to be the dwelling place of counts in Rhineland. Nevertheless, the owners don’t mind sharing the castle with others. Satzvey Castle hosts lavish parties and weddings sometimes.
Meersburg Castle is so old that many are still unsure about its origins. Two theories try to explain how this castle came into existence. The first theory is that Dagobert I built Meersburg Castle upon living in Lake Constance. As for the second theory, it states that Meersburg Castle existed during the 12th century since this is the time when a lot of castles started to rise in the vicinity of the lake.
But what’s baffling is that inspection of the stones that comprise Meersburg castle indicate that it has stood since the 7th century. This goes against evidence that historians found. To reconcile their findings and this baffling fact, historians claim that the present Meersburg Castle might have been built over a much older castle that existed before.
The Eltz Castle, nestled atop the hills overlooking the Moselle River, has been under the Eltz family’s care for 800 years. Though consisting of numerous sections at present, Eltz Castle started as a Romanesque Keep during the 9th century. In the past, Eltz Castle served as an important location for the Holy Roman Empire during Emperor Frederick Barbarossa’s reign.
Additional sections such as the Rodendorf House and the Keminpich House rose during the 14th century, 15th century, and 16th century. In the 18th century, much of the Eltz Castle was in utter disrepair. And because of this, massive restoration work took place in the 19th century.
Though privately owned, tourists can freely visit Eltz Castle. The main attraction is the medieval weapons stored in the armory. On the walls of the Keminpichi and Rondendorf Houses are paintings and family portraits of the owners. Other more important sections aren’t open for exploration to protect the privacy of the owners.
What Is The Most Visited Castle In Germany?
Neuschwanstein is the most visited castle in Germany. One million four hundred thousand tourists come to Germany just to see this castle that Ludwig II once owned. Aside from being the most visited, Neuschwanstein is also the most beautiful castle in Germany. Supporting this is its picturesque whitewashed exterior, building location that faces the alps, and halls and rooms decorated with chandeliers, vases, glass panels, carpets, and paintings.
This castle is so famous that it didn’t escape the attention of pop culture. Sleeping Beauty’s Castle takes after the Neuschwanstein. Evidence is the layout of the towers of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. The queer depiction of her castle on top of a verdant hill is another.
Neuschwanstein is a symbol of Ludwig II’s integrity as a political leader in Bavaria. For building this castle, Ludwig II didn’t use Bavaria’s treasury to pay for construction costs. Instead, the building of Neuschwanstein started and ended only through the personal funding of Ludwig II. This, however, placed him in a lot of debt.
Both the inside and outside of Neuschwanstein Castle is very scenic. That’s why you should never forget to bring your camera. Ideal equipment for taking the best shots is a DSLR camera fitted with a beginner’s lens. Zooming is important for taking photos of the towers of the castle, its ceiling, and landscape.
Can You Stay In A Castle In Germany?
Some castles in Germany that’s near major German cities and tourist attractions offer accommodation to tourists. So with that being said, you can stay in Castle in Germany if you know where to go. Regulars call these castle hotels. As an ending part of this article, this section shows you the best castle hotels for you to stay the night.
Note that none of the oldest and largest castles offer accommodation. Most of these are either privately owned or regulated by German organizations. Before you get your hopes up, most of the castles in Germany where you can stay are small. They’re not necessarily simple, however.
What you’ll experience is a very straightforward stay. Unlike the common luxurious, trendy German hotels, castles in Germany that offer accommodation only has basic amenities such as an on-site restaurant, a park, or a bathe. As for sauna bars, private pools. Casinos, etc. – don’t expect any of these.
This hotel dated back to the 17th century and went with the name Althornitz Castle in the past. The first owners were the Von Hartig Family, who took possession until 1771. Ownership for Althornitz Castle switched from the 1800s to the 1900s. In February 1966, Althornitz opened as a hotel.
At present, Schlosshotel Althornitz acts as an affordable hotel that offers accommodation to tourists in Bertsdorf. For as low as 79 euros, guests may enjoy the traditional dining room, the country-designed rooms, and the quiet environment. You can even stay with a dog or a cat.
Harburg Castle is a 1,000-year-old castle-hotel in Bavaria that features medieval elements. Existing records show that Harburg Castle might have emerged in 1150. The castle’s architecture is simple – brown brick walls for the walls of its buildings and red roofing to keep the rain out.
The traditional medieval-style bedrooms make Schlosshotel Harburg unique. Moreover, the view from the castle tower is spectacular. Though far away from local restaurants, you don’t have to worry about where to eat because there’s an onsite restaurant serving authentic European dishes.
Charlemagne once owned this castle as a manor before possession went to Messrs Von Nesselrode. Hugenpoet castle then burned to the ground in 1478, and a newer castle had to be built close to its ruins in 1509. In 1955, the new Hugenpoet castle operated as a restaurant hotel under the management of Kurt Neuman.
At present, Schlosshotel Hugenpoet operates as a 5-star hotel in Essen, Germany. The current management didn’t touch the original construction. Decorating the rooms are furniture such as chairs, vases, and paintings. The only modern addition to the castle is the outside tennis court.
At Germany’s Thuringian Forest is Schlosshotel Eyba. This is a simple-looking hotel with a whitewashed and robust-looking facade. Out of all castle hotels in Germany, this one has the most unique look due to its rounded architectural features. Schlosshotel Eyba boasts in serving Mediterranean dishes to guests.
Schlosshotel Furstlich Drehna
The Furstlich Drehna is a castle hotel in Germany that dates back to the 13th century. The first owner was Bernhard Auschwitz. And before turning into a castle hotel, the Watjen family took possession of this castle. In the past, Furstlich Drehna is actually a castle complex comprising a village, a church, and a castle park.
At present, the area of Schlosshotel Furstlich Drehna is limited to the garden, where you’ll find a pavilion. Adorning the rooms is antique wooden furniture. Also inside this castle hotel are stone bathhouses. Finally, there’s an on-site restaurant that only serves German dishes.