One thing that most tourists to Germany want to see is Schloss Neuschwanstein. While it is pretty, has another castle right next to it as well as stunning scenery, it isn’t the only castle worth a visit. I have travelled quite a lot in my country and want to show you some castles I have come across along the way. These are far from all, there are loads to see if you take your time with a German roadrip.
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Germany is known for its well preserved heritage when it comes to architecture. From old cathedrals to cobblestone market places, many towns have preserved their medieval core but the most striking buildings to be found are still castles. And of those, Germany has quite a lot to offer. Castles in Germany are classified into two basic types, the ‘pretty’ castles mainly built for residence purposes, called Schlösser, and there are castles purely built for defense, referred to as “Burg”.
History was literally written here. It was here that Luther translated the bible despite the devil himself apparently trying to deter the revolutionary monk from it and throwing his ink bottle at the wall. The stain can still be slightly made out. On top of such historic traces, the castle is still very well preserved and its interior takes you back into the middle ages.
Where to find it: Auf der Wartburg 1, 99817 Eisenach, Deutschland
Where to stay: Hotel Kaiserhof Eisenach
If you are looking for a dream castle in full extravagant rococo style with huge parks and beautiful statues, look no further than Sanssouci in Potsdam, near Berlin. The former residency of the ‘potato king’ boasts great style and taste and invites for a day outing. It does not only include elegant garden houses and neat parks but also a fake ruin.
Where to find it: Schloss Bellevedere, Prinz Eugen-Straße 27, 1030 Wien, Österreich
Where to stay: Dorint Sanssouci Berlin/Potsdam
3. Schweriner Schloss
A fairy tale castle with golden roof tops, enchanted garden lake coves, huge park areas and canal systems, the castle of the state capital Schwerin has a lot of sheer beauty to offer. It snugly lies in the middle of a freshwater lake and can be discovered through park walks, guided tours within and over the rooftops as well as from a boat cruise.
Where to find it: Schweriner Schloss, Lennéstraße 1, 19053 Schwerin
Where to stay: Hotel am Schloß
4. Dornburger Schlösser
Another well preserved castle from the rococo baroque era, it can be spotted from afar thanks to its brilliant pastel colours, golden decoration and hundreds of roses surrounding it. In fact, every year a Rose Queen is crowned and represents the small town. Even without the proper timing to meet her during the crowning ceremony, a visit to the castles is well worth it. The gardens are perfectly trimmed and the view down wine slopes and over lush fields and forests is great no matter the season.
Where to find it: Dornburger Schlösser, Max-Krehan-Straße 3, 07778, Deutschland
Where to stay: 3 Seiten Ferienwohnung
5. Schloss Neuschwanstein
The ultimate castle for all visitors to Germany, is the fairy tale castle on which Disney based his famous Cinderella castle. Only a little drive from Munich, it can be easily reached by car and after a short walk through the woods. Visitors should be prepared to buy tickets in advance and wait until their numbers are called. The guided tour throughout the rooms is rather short as the castle was never completed after the mysterious death of the king. The rooms shown, however, reflect his eccentricity and romantic approach to interior design at the time.
Where to find it: Schloss Neuschwanstein, Neuschwansteinstraße 20, 87645 Schwangau
Where to stay: Villa Ludwig Suite Hotel
6. Jagdschloss Granitz
Also lesser known but with its burnt rose colour, hard to overlook. The castle was used for hunting purposes in the woods on the island of Rügen, which shows in the furniture made from antlers and many stag skulls decorating the tapestry. The highlight of the castle is the iron wrought wound staircase that leads into the tower. It is rather shaky, you can see through the gaps and has no railing.
Where to find it: Jagdschloss Granitz, 18609 Binz
Where to stay: Reethäuser auf Rügen
7. Ludwigsburger Schloss
Errected in the 18th century, the castle in the town of Ludwigsburg served the purpose of a Duke’s residence and is one of the biggest baroque castles in all of Germany. It is surrounded by gardens and parks from three angles, which host annual festivals, such as pumpkin exhibitions. What is visible nowadays is a mix between modern and baroque gardening and known as the ‘blooming baroque’ due to its many flower arrangements. In fact, the whole castle reflects different architectural styles across time as well, for instance classicism.
Where to find it: Ludwigsburger Schloss, Schlossstraße 30, 71634 Ludwigsburg
Where to stay: NH Ludwigsburg
Castle Augustusburg was built for hunting purposes as well in the 16th century on top of a castle ruin. It as well as the town it is located in were named after Prince Elector August and meant to show his new riches after a successful victory. A sleek but big castle, you wouldn’t expect Augutusburg Castle to be the exhibition ground for one of the best motorcycle collections in Europe, historic coaches as well as one of the most valuable Cranach, a famous German painter of the Renaissance, paintings in Saxony.
Where to find it: Schloss Augustusburg, Schloss 1 09573 Augustusburg
Where to stay: Ferienhotel Augustusburg
9+10. Saaleck and Rudelsburg
Near the city of Naumburg you can see these two castles on overlooking the river Saale and facing each other. The ruins can still be visited today and are part of Germany’s Romantic Road, which connects important castles, cloisters, cathedrals and churches throughout the country. The first church was destroyed in the 30 Year War and the other fell into disrepair over time. Nowadays, they are protected and a popular regional attraction for outings.
Where to find it: Saaleckstraße, 97762 Hammelburg; Burg Rudelsburg, 06628 Bad Kösen
Where to stay: Flair Hotel Villa Ilske
11-13. Kronach Fortress
You can spot Kronach fortress from the train station already (which is how I even became aware of it) and if you are lucky, you can attend one of a medieval festival. Then, people from all over Europe join together to recreate the Middle Ages in look and feel. You can see sword fights, iron making over hot fire, live meat roastings and people dressed up in authentic garments. The castle is a High Castle, sitting above the town, surrounded by sturdy baroque structures. It is one of the biggest fortresses in Germany.
Where to find it: Festung Rosenberg Kronach, Festung 1, 96317 Kronach, Germany
Where to stay: Die Kronacher Stadthotels
14. Eltz Castle
In the West of Germany, situated atop. It looks like a true fairy tale castle and its owners have been living there since the 12th century. Its oldest parts date back to the 9th century. Here’s a fun fact: the castle was printed on a money note, 500 Deutsche Mark, fom 1965 to 1992.
Where to find it: Burg Eltz, 56294 Wierschem, Germany
Where to stay: Hotel Ravene
15. Dresdner Zwinger
Right in the middle of Dresden, you can find a grand Baroque Palace. It was once used for lavish feasts and was open to the public to gaze at in admiration. The dozens of high windows were lined by orange trees imported from Italy. Back then, they were worth thousand of dollars! Nowadays, the palace grounds are no longer stunningly white and gold but it still looks excessively grand.
Where to find it: Dresdner Zwinger, Sophienstraße, 01067 Dresden, Germany
Where to stay: Residenz am Zwinger
16. Moritzburg Castle
One of the most popular fairy tales, always aired during Christmas times, has been shot at Moritzburg. But it’s not onlypopular among fairy tale loving Germans as it is a sught to see. Like the Dresdner Zwinger, it was erected during August the Strong’s reign. He loved going all out. Inside, you can find a room decked entirely in feathers!
Where to find it: Moritzburg Castle, Schloßallee, 01468 Moritzburg
Where to stay: Churfuerstliche Waldschaenke
17. Cochem Castle
Built long before, Cochem Castle became an imperial castle in 1151 thanks to King Konrad III. To bad it was pawned off over a hundred years later so king Adolf of Nassau could pay for his coronation. His successors were never able to pay it back. By the end of the 17th century, the French had set it on fire and it was rebuilt to look completely different in its Neo-Gothic architectural style afterwards.
Where to find it: Reichsburg Cochem, Schlossstraße 36, 56812 Cochem
Where to stay: Hotel am Markt
18. Schloss Ahrensburg
Don’t forget to visit German castles in the North. Close to the Baltic harbour city of Lübeck, the pristine white and wonderfully baroque Castle Ahrensburg is a sight to see. In the summer you can watch open air cinema in its grounds!
Where to find it: Schloss Ahrensburg, Lübecker Str. 1, 22926 Ahrensburg
Where to stay: Ringhotel Ahrensburg
If you were to translate Löwenburg, it would mean “lion’s castle” and it’s even more fun that it’s nestled in the Bergpark, “mountain park”. It looks quintessentially fairy tale like as it was rebuild in the 18th century architecture on an old castle ruin. On the inside, it is pure Renaissance style – not medieval. You can visit the armoury and castle chapel.
Where to find it: Löwenburg, Schloßpark 9, 34131 Kassel
Where to stay: Ferienwohnung Wilhelmshöher Allee
20. Hohenzollern Castle
You have probably heard of the Hohenzollern family? Their imperial seat is right here at Hohenzollern Castle. As it so happens with castles built for defense and war, it was attacked and destroyed in 1423 but rebuilt. And if you cannot get enough of German castles, there are two more nearby. Fun fact: you can look at an original letter from US President George Washington thanking Hohenzollern descendant Baron von Steuben for his service in the American Revolutionary War.
Where to find it: Burg Hohenzollern, 72379 Burg Hohenzollern, Germany
Where to stay: Motel One Stuttgart-Hauptbahnhof
21. Schloss Moyland
Surrounded by a moat and looking fresh in bright red, Castle Moyland is quite pretty albeit rather small. As opposed to many other German castles, it doesn’t house a museum dedicated to local history but rather to art and culture. More than that, it serves as an international centre of research into 20 century artist Joseph Beuys.
Where to find it: Schloss Moyland, Am Schloß 4, 47551 Bedburg-Hau
22. Schloss Lichtenstein
Lichtenstein Castle is not the real deal. It was built on an escarpment as a tourist attraction and it worked wonders. It has consequently been labelled the “fairy tale castle of Württemberg” and it does look it.
Where to find it: Schloss Lichtenstein, Schloß Lichtenstein 1, 72805 Lichtenstein,
23. Old Castle, Baden Baden
In the tiny German state of Baden Baden, the Old Castle is a beautiful attraction. It was constructed in 1102 and sits on top a cliff overlooking the Black Forest. Entrance is free.
Where to find it: Altes Schloss, Alter Schlossweg, 1076532 Baden-Baden
24. Residenzschloss Rastatt
This is a classical example of a German castle that served as a summer residence of electoral princes Palatine Charles III Philip and Charles IV Theodore. Throughout the year, there are plenty of hosted events, such as German easter egg hunts or German Christmas celebrations. If you can, visit during the cherry blossom season.
Where to find it: Schloß Mittelbau, 68723 Schwetzingen, Germany
25. Schloss Solitude
If you want effortlessly elegant German castles, put Solitude Castle on your must see list. It is rather small but beautifuly white and surrounded by a long row of buildings originally meant for the castle personell. After all, the upkeet of such an estate, the grounds and the lavish feasts in the white hall required a village.
Where to find it: Schloss Solitude, Solitude 1, 70197 Stuttgart
26. Schloss Favorite
Favorite Castle might not be much to look at but the colours are simply wonderful. It’s a teeny tiny castle, more a mansion, but excessively baroque, almost rococo in style. You can find it a little outside of Stuttgart, in Ludwigsburg, and a stroll through the park is a must. You can spot deers and stags!
Where to find it: Schloss Favorite, Favoritepark 1, 71634 Ludwigsburg
Where to stay: NH Ludwigsburg
27. Leuchtenburg Castle
I am not saying Im biased but I had to include a castle that is close to my hometown of Jena. The rather odd looking Leuchtenburg overlooking the surrounding valleys stands out with its grey walls and round tower. Nowadays, it is mostly a museum about pottery – which is internationally renowned and produced in nearby Kahla.
Where to find it: Leuchtenburg, Dorfstraße 100, 07768 Seitenroda
Where to stay: Lehmhof-Lindig
28. Friedenstein Palace
Friedenstein Palace in Gotha is an impressive castle all in white and with wonderful arched pathways. The museum inside is a wonderful path into the past with each room being perfectly restored. You almost feel as if the past has come alive.
Where to find it: Schloss Friedenstein, Schlossplatz 1, 99867 Gotha
Thuringia has quite a lot of castles to offer and they aren’t necessarily far apart. (Which is why I have visited so many.) The Heidecksburg overlooking small town Rudolstadt is a nice example. It’s easy to reach and hard to overlook (you’ll see it from the Deutsche Bahn train already). Inside, you can find a lavish museum with wonderful collections showcasing the different tastes and interior design styles throughout the castle’s existence. Something that is very unique is its artsy installation of “Rococo en miniature”, created by a GDR artist who wanted to create his own history as a form of criticism of the German Democratic government.
Where to find it: Heidecksburg, Schloßbezirk 1, 07407 Rudolstadt
Where to stay: Ferienwohnung mit Schlossblick
20. Burg Stahleck
The building style might look reminiscent of French fortified castles but is actually believed to have been built for and owned by the Archbishops of Cologne. Its name derives from Middle High German and means “impregnable castle on a crag”. Nowadays, the castle is far from royal as it has been turned into a hostel.
Where to find it: Burg Stahleck, 55422 Bacharach
Book your stay at Altkölnischer Hof.
21. Schloss Mespelbrunn
Mespelurg Castle is entirely surrounded by a moat, situated a short drive away from Frankfurt and Würzburg. Originally, it was a simple house but over time was built into what it is today. It is still privately owned but can be visited. Especially th knight’s hall is worth a visit. Fun fact: The famous German movie “Wirtshaus im Spessart” was shot here.
Where to find it: Schloß Mespelbrunn, 63875 Mespelbrunn
The fortress is an officially recognised Rhine Gorge UNESCO World Heritage Site. In total, the hills between Bingen am Rhein and Koblenz once housed 40 castles but the Marksburg is the only German castle that survived. In 1806 it was seized by Napoleon and was sadly hit badly in 1945.
Where to find it: Marksburg, 56338 Braubach, Germany
23. Schloss Bad Muskau
Right on the border to Poland, Bad Muskau Castle is sadly underrated. Its most popular resident was Count (later Prince) Hermann von Pückler-Muskau, who was a nobleman well-travelled in Europe, excelling in landscaping and architecture and an infamous playboy. Inside the museum you will learn a lot about his utterly fascinating life.
Where to find it: Tourismuszentrum Muskauer Park, Neues Schloss 02953, Bad Muskau
24. Dresden Palace
Smack in the middle of the Saxonian capital, you can find the former palace of the electors and kings of Saxony of the Albertine line of the House of Wettin. It features a range of architectural styles and has been turned into a museum, which you can visit.
Where to find it: Residenzschloss, Taschenberg 2, 01067 Dresden
Where to stay: art’otel dresden by park plaza
This wonderfully eclectic castle has seen quite a few refurbishments. In the 12th century it was still created and three hundred years later it was added to in a Neogothic style. Nowadays, it functions as a local museum, telling you the story of the small town Glauchau.
Where to find it: Schloss Glauchau, Hr. DahlbergSchlossplatz 5a, 08371 Glauchau
In Saxony – the state of dozens of castles – Hohnstein will delight you on your visit to Germany. It is right next to the National Park Saxonian Switzerland and has never been conquered. It sits snug on a giant rock and its cellars and pisons have been carved straight out of them. Take a tour to learn all about it or visit the Christmas market in December.
Where to find it: Schloss Hohnstein, Markt 1, 01848 Hohnstein
27. Burg Castle
Here’s a fun fact: the German word “Burg” means fortress and “Castle” means castle. So the name of this castle is literally Palace Castle. Near Solingen in North Rhine-Westphalia overlooking the river Wupper you can visit this charming German castle. It dates back to the 12th century.
Where to find it: Schloss Burg, Schloßpl. 2, 42659 Solingen
28. Water Castle Lembeck
We have water castles in Germany as well. In the midst of lush forests and quaint meadows, you can find Castle Lembeck. The castle grounds can be visited throughout the entire year, with flowers on display, such as daffodils, azeleas and roses. The castle’s name actually derives from Low German “beke”, which means stream.
Where to find it: Schloss Lembeck, Schloss 2,46286 Dorsten (Lembeck)
29. Blankenstein Castle
Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a grand intact fortress. It dates back to 1228 and has fallen into quite the disrepair so that it was demolished in 1662, but the remaining tower is striking nonetheless. You can even climb the tower. Nearby, you can find well preserved half-timbered houses, which make for great photographs.
Where to find it: Burg Blankenstein, Burgstraße, 45527 Hattingen-Blankenstein (Welper)
30. Ringenberg Castle
In the Ruhr Valley, you can find the old fortress Ringenberg. It was built in a simple baroque style and completed in 1223. Nowadays, the rooms are used for art installations and also serve as living quarters for local artists.
Where to find it: Schloss Ringenberg, Schlossstraße 84649, Hamminkeln
31. Fortress Querfurt
Both town and fotress carry the same name and are quite inseparable. As opposed to many other fortresses, this one sits pretty much within the city walls. Plenty of German movies have been shot at Querfurt, earning it the nickname “movie castle” of Central Germany.
Where to find it: Burg Querfurt, 06268 Querfurt
32. Ettersburg Castle
Weimar used to be the epicentre of culture, art and literature in the 19th century and as such plenty of palaces and Baroque builings sprung up all around. One of these is Ettersburg with its generous parks and gardens. You can walk its grounds freely, take a seat in the cafe or book a stay for an upcoming conference.
Where to find it: Schloss Ettersburg, Am Schloss 199439 Ettersburg
33. Castle Burgk
No, this isn’t a copy and paste mistake, there is another castle which is called “castle fortress” but with a slightly different spelling. This one has a very special location, following the curves of a mountain crest and leading to a picture perfect Baroque pleasure garden. Down below, you can see the glistening lakes and dams. Castle Burgk makes for a brilliant day out.
Where to find it: Schloss Burgk, Ortsstraße 16, 07907 Burgk
34. Fortress Heldrungen
You can visit the castle if you want to check into the youth hostel. It has become quite the hotspot for school outings and weekend trips and I visited it for that purpose as well. The water castle with its two moats Heldrungen is completely surrounded by a moat and was in use until 1712.
Where to find it: Jugendherberg Heldrungen, Schloßstraße 13, 06577 Heldrungen
35. Kochberg Castle
This is a castle I visited every summer as a kid because it is so pretty, it’s gardens and surrounding forests are excessively charming and there is a nice cafe/restaurant and theatre on site. It is not absolutely outstanding but I love it. If you know anything about Thuringian history, then you know the name Charlotte von Stein. She was quite a vanguard during the late 18th and 19th century and turned the castle into a sought after cultural hub.
Where to find it: Schloss Kochberg, Im Schlosshof 3, 07407
35. Kapellendorf Castle
This is one of the biggest and most well preserved water fortresses in Germany. Kapellendorf (which is also what the town below is called) will give you plenty to explore. Walk within the fortress walls, explore the old restored rooms and learn more about medieval history.
Where to find it: Wasserburg Kapellendorf, Am Burgpl. 1, 99510 Kapellendorf
35. Kromsdorf Castle
I feel like we Germans weren’t particularly inventive when it came to naming castles. They were just another landmark for the towns they protected, I guess. Castle Kromsdorf in Central Germany, near Weimar, is such an example. It feels more like a huge mansion as it was originally used as a knightly home.
Where to find it: Schloss Kromsdorf, Platz der Demokratie 47, 99441 Kromsdorf
36. Schleißheim Palace
If you are looking for day trips from Munich other than to Neuschwanstein, consider Schleißheim Palace. It is Baroque and Rococo in its purest form and you can walk forever along the well manicured flower beds. It used to be the summer residence of the Bavarian rulers of the House of Wittelsbach.
Where to find it: Schloss Schleißheim, 85764 Oberschleißheim, German
36. Nuremberg Castle
Nuremberg is a must see city in Bavaria, if you ask me. You can easily cover it in a day (or an afternoon if you are fast and don’t get stuck in museums). You cannot miss the castle and walk around in it freely and free of charge. From here, you can enjoy an excellent view of the medieval city.
Where to find it: Burg Nürnberg, Burg 13, 90403 Nürnberg
37. Creuzbug Fortress
Creuzburg lies near Eisenhach in Thuringia and is known as the sister fortress to the Wartburg. As such, you have stunning views over the forests and small town of the same name below. The fortress was actually built on an old cloister but you wouldn’t be able to tell anymore.
Where to find it: Burg Creuzbug, 99831 Creuzburg
Where to stay: Pension Heinemann.
38. Coburg Fortress
Coburg Fortress is one of largest castles in Germany and as such well worth a visit. The castle has seen quite some history, as it was affected during the Partition of Leipzig, the 30 Year War and also the famous painter Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked here.
Where to find it: Veste Coburg 1, 96450 Coburg
Where to stay: Vienna House Easy Coburg
39. Ingolstadt New Castle
Ingolstadt is a town North of Munich and its castle is striking in pure white. The New Castle was one of the most important secular buildings in the 15th century and you can learn all about weapons of war, such as cannons, inside the Bavarian Army Museum.
Where to find it: Neues Schloss, Paradepl. 4, 85049 Ingolstadt
40. Altenburg Castle
If you want to get a feel for how dukes lived way back in the 19th century, visit Altenburg Castle. It has been restored and boasts new exhibits and restored rooms. There is also a cathedral on site.
Where to find it: Residenzschloss Altenburg, Schloß 2-4, 04600 Altenburg
Which of these German castles would you love to visit the most?
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