Germany is one of the highly scenic countries in Europe, blessed with a rich medieval history, stunning architecture, culturally rich cities, towns and plenty of scenic nature parks. Germany is also home to some of the most stunning castles in the world. In fact, German castles are among the finest examples of medieval architecture of Europe, featuring several architectural styles like Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance, etc. Germany’s charming medieval castles are surrounded by scenic woods, gardens, lakes, mountains, valleys, and quaint towns and holds plenty of folklore and tales of Germanic royal families, dukes, and knights. Check out 10 scenic castles of Germany that are worth visiting with your family and kids.
Stunning Castles of Germany
The stunning 19th century Romanesque Revival castle of Neuschwanstein is one of the most photographed and scenic castles in the world. A personal residence of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, the plush castle is now one of the most visited castles of Germany. The iconic castle also served as the inspiration behind Disneyland’s Cinderella Castle. Take a tour of the castle and see the Hall of Singers, Throne Hall, Drawing Room, Study Room, Dining Room and Bedroom. King Ludwig II borrowed enormous amount of money for the construction of the castle and stayed in the castle only for 11 nights. The castle was opened to the public following his death and was used as a store house for Nazi plunder of Europe’s finest art works.
The seat of the House of Hohenzollern, the last royal house of Germany, resembles Hogwarts of Harry Potter film series. This hilltop castle is designed in Gothic Revival architecture and is still owned by the House of Hohenzollern. Guided 45-minute tours are the only way the public can enter and explore the seat of Kaiser Wilhelm II, the German Emperor and King of Prussia. Located 50 kilometres south of Stuttgart, Hohenzollern Castle is home to several historic artefacts, including the crown of Kaiser Wilhelm II, burial cemetery of the Prussian Imperial family, a letter of appreciation from the US President George Washington. The castle hosts an open-air cinema and Shakespearean plays to entertain visitors.
Hohenschwangau Castle was built by King Maximilian II of Bavaria and served as the summer home of King Ludwig II before the construction of Neuschwanstein. The castle is designed in Gothic Revival style and located in the charming village of Hohenschwangau. One of the most visited castles of Germany, Hohenschwangau is surrounded by lush green woods and mountains of Bavaria and the highly scenic Lake Alpsee. Tickets must be purchased two days in advance due to high demands and guided tours are also available to see the sections of this charming castle.
Situated in the bend of River Moselle, lies the small town of Cochem known for its wine producing region and the picturesque Reichsburg Cochem. The earliest mention of the castle dates to 1151, when King Konrad III declared it an Imperial castle. Even the troops of King Louis XIV’s troops failed to destroy it in 1689. Today, this charming castle is well preserved and is a key tourism attraction of Rhineland- Palatinate region. Every Fridays and Saturday evenings, Reichsburgh recreate a medieval fairy tale by hosting the Knight’s Meal. A special programme comprising of traditional food, wine and entertainment by locals dressed to resemble minstrels and maids of the bygone era.
Schwerin Castle is located on an island and is used as the official seat of Germany’s parliament. This stunning luxurious castle is also known as the “Versailles of the North.” Designed and built in a classic Romantic Historicism architectural style, Schwerin Castle is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. Guided tours are the only way to see the castle which is about an hour’s drive from Hamburg and around two hours from Berlin. The castle is known to be the home of a ghost named Petermännchen, a little creature often depicted as few feet in height and dressed in 17th century clothes.
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The 900-year-old Wartburg Castle is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site and is also associated with Martin Luther’s refuge and the place where he translated the New Testament into German from Ancient Greek and Hebrew between 1521 and 1522. Today, the Castle has several layers of history and architectural style on the exteriors while the interiors are designed in Romantic Historicism architecture. Wartburg Castle offers sprawling views of lush green Thuringian forest and the quaint town of Eisenach. A family-run donkey station offers rides to the castle, which is located at a height of 400 meters.
Constructed way back in the 13th century, the Heidelberg Castle is now an imposing complex of part restored and part ruins. The majestic castle suffered destruction during the War of the Grand Alliance by the French forces while a lighting bolt in the 18th century led to a fire that destroy the portion of the castle. Some portion of the castle was reconstructed during the 19th century. There are several guided tours in different languages that show the castle’s restored and ruined areas.
One of the finest examples of German medieval castles, Eltz Castle is over 850 years and the ownership is shared by three families for centuries. Perched atop a 70-metre rock, Eltz Castle transports visitors to the bygone era of knights, dukes, and medieval Europe. Designed in Romanesque and Baroque styles, it has a striking red woodwork on its turrets surrounded by Wierschem woodlands. The interiors are well preserved with original furnishings. Guided tours in English are available and highlights the several aspects of the castle, including the Knight’s Hall, which is full of iconic medieval Europe’s symbols.
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Located in the Harz Mountains in northern Germany, Wernigerode Castle is designed in Romanesque Historicism architectural style. The castle was a hunting lodge in the 12th century, it was converted into a fortress in the Middle Ages and was later extended and redesigned in the 19th century. Fully open to public, guided tours are the best way to explore this historic castle and learn about its history and tales.
The Marksburg Castle is situated above the town of Braubach in the Rhineland – Palatinate, Germany. This fortress was used only for protection of the region rather than a place of residence. French emperor Napoleon attacked and abolished the Holy Roman Empire and gave the Marksburg Castle to Duke of Nassau. The castle also suffered extensive damage due to American artillery bombardment during the Second World War. Today, it’s home to the German Castles Association and visitors can only enter the castle as a part of guided tours available in English, French, Italian and Spanish languages.