Although the COVID-19 pandemic still has the world firmly in its grip, there are many countries that have reopened their borders to tourists. Whether it’s Austria, Malta, or a vacation on Kefalonia, each of us could use a little time away from the daily grind! But in order to have a great time, we don’t have to get on a plane right away, because in Germany there are an incredible number of beautiful corners just waiting to be discovered. Castles and palaces have always had something truly fascinating about them, and each of us has dreamed of being a princess or prince at some point in our lives. You have only experienced the Federal Republic in all its glory when you have visited some of the most beautiful castles in Germany. And because it is always most beautiful at home, we have compiled some of the most magical places in this article. And believe us – out of the 20,000 castles in this country, this was no easy task. So read on and plan your next adventure!
Table of Contents
- Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in Germany
- Hohenschwangau Castle, Bavaria
- Eltz Castle, Rhineland-Palatinate
- Reichsburg Cochem Castle, Rhineland-Palatinate
- Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg
- Castles in Germany: Schwerin Castle, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
- Lichtenstein Castle, Baden-Württemberg
- Heidelberg Castle, Baden-Württemberg
- Drachenburg Castle, North Rhine-Westphalia
- Wartburg Castle, Thuringia
Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in Germany
Who doesn’t know it – the famous Disney castle? Nestled in the Bavarian Alps and with an outstanding view of the Hohenschwangau Valley, you will find the idyllic Neuschwanstein Castle. The gleaming white building is enthroned on a mountain and the towers rise imposingly into the air. Neuschwanstein Castle is the most photographed building in Germany and is one of the most popular vacation destinations in Europe, with around 6000 visitors a day. It was built in the late 19th century as an imaginative retreat for Bavarian King Ludwig II. The king himself lived there for only a few months. Beautiful paintings and dazzling chandeliers adorn every room, but the absolute highlight is the grotto between the study and living room – a man-made stalactite cave.
Hohenschwangau Castle, Bavaria
Just a 30-minute walk from Neuschwanstein Castle lies another pearl that is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful castles in Germany. Hohenschwangau Castle is often underestimated, but quite unjustly so. The imposing building was created in the 19th century for the still small King Ludwig II and his father Maximilian II of Bavaria. Nestled in the breathtaking beauty of the Bavarian Alps and surrounded by mountainous forests, Hohenschwangau Castle looks like something out of a storybook. Join the guided tour and be enchanted by the folklore scenes that adorn the walls and ceiling of the castle. An experience you will surely never forget! And how about combining the visit with a short hike through the Schwanseepark? It is located directly below Hohenschwangau Castle and is a real dream for all adventurers with more than 60 kilometers of hiking trails!
Eltz Castle, Rhineland-Palatinate
The beautiful Eltz Castle is located between Koblenz and Trier, making it a must-see for anyone planning a vacation to the Moselle River. The dramatic building is set amidst densely wooded hills and rises on a steep rocky hilltop, surrounded by the Elzbach River, which encloses the structure on three sides like a moat. The castle was a gift from Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa to the noble Eltz family and still belongs to a real count. The unique architecture with the many towers up to 35 meters high is a real feast for the eyes. But what makes the castle so unique is the fact that it was never damaged by war. The armory with all the silver and gold artifacts as well as jewelry and porcelain is actually one of the best in Europe. The Knight’s Hall with its remarkable jester’s heads and armor symbolizing freedom of speech tell visitors the exciting story of the castle and its inhabitants. And if you want to explore the natural landscape around the castle, you should definitely take a hiking tour on the dream trail “Eltzer Burgpanorama”.
Reichsburg Cochem, Rhineland-Palatinate
Would you like to be transported to the Middle Ages? Then you should not miss the impressive Reichsburg Castle in Cochem during your Moselle vacation. The imposing building rises more than 100 meters above the river and is visible from afar. The castle was first built around 1100 and served as a customs castle at that time. But after it was completely destroyed in the 12th century, it remained as a remnant until the 19th century. In the 19th century, Louis Ravene, a successful businessman from Berlin, bought the ruins and rebuilt the castle. When you catch sight of the Reichsburg Cochem for the first time, all the little details will simply enchant you. Take a small guided tour and admire the interiors and the neo-baroque and neo-renaissance style parts of the castle. And for a unique experience, treat yourself to a real knight’s meal in the restaurant!
Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg
If you talk about the most beautiful castles in Germany, then of course you can’t forget the majestic Hohenzollern Castle. It is located near Hechingen on the edge of the Swabian Alb and sits impressively and lonely on an 855 meter high peak. The magnificent building was built as early as 1061 on the ruins of two predecessor castles and was once the seat of the Prussian royal family and the princes of Hohenzollern. Looking at it, you might think you’re looking at the Hogwarts school of magic from the “Harry Potter” movies. Over the years, Hohenzollern Castle has been destroyed and rebuilt several times, with only the St. Michel Chapel miraculously surviving it all. Among the absolute highlights are the magnificent halls, such as the Margrave’s Room, the Count’s Hall and the Blue Salon. Or marvel at the armory and treasury with their shining knight’s equipment, and the Prussian royal crown. To make the castle visit even more fun, let your kids walk through the interiors wearing a royal red coat and fancy felt slippers while you indulge in regional delicacies at the castle café.
Castles in Germany: Schwerin Castle, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
With its picturesque location, Schwerin Castle has also earned a place among the most beautiful castles in Germany. Unlike most castles perched on steep hills or rocky buttes, this gem is almost completely surrounded by water. It is located on an island in Schwerin’s Inner Lake, and the picturesque scenery offers a true escape from reality. With its pointed spires, tower and domes, Schwerin Castle is one of the most important creations of romantic historicism in Europe. Its history dates back to the 10th century, and for centuries it was home to the grand dukes of Mecklenburg. Even today, politics are made there, as Schwerin Castle has been used as the seat of the state parliament of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern since 1990. However, much of the lovingly decorated interior is a museum and is open to visitors almost daily. There you can see the magnificent throne room as well as numerous precious sculptures, paintings and handicrafts from the 19th century. To get some fresh air, take a short walk through the castle garden and enjoy the romantic atmosphere while feasting on traditional treats at the Orangery Café.
Lichtenstein Castle, Baden-Württemberg
Built directly on a steep cliff against the abyss and surrounded by wooded nature – we can hardly imagine a more dramatic and beautiful location for a castle. Lichtenstein Castle is a real gem and could have come straight out of a storybook. A small wooden bridge leads to the spectacular grounds and the view is simply indescribable. As early as the 12th century, there was a castle on this site, but it lost its status as a ducal seat and was demolished down to the foundation walls. And now comes the surprise. A few years later, Wilhelm Graf von Württemberg was inspired by the novel “Lichtenstein” and then built the beautiful Lichtenstein Castle, as we know it today, in 1840-1842 according to his ideas. Yes, you read it right – here the book was not inspired by the castle, but the castle imitated the book.
Heidelberg Castle, Baden-Württemberg
Although partially destroyed, Heidelberg Castle is a majestic structure and is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful castles in Germany. The masonry rises steeply above Heidelberg’s old town and provides a breathtaking, picturesque backdrop. Heidelberg Castle is made of sandstone and the warm color contrasts in a magical way with the green forest it is surrounded by. Especially at sunset, it looks almost mystical. The ruined castle is one of the most important Renaissance buildings north of the Alps and has a long and fascinating history dating back to the 13th century. The castle was almost completely destroyed by the French in the 17th century and a few years later it was struck by lightning. Its stones were used to build the houses in Heidelberg at that time, which makes the atmosphere even more unique.
Drachenburg Castle, North Rhine-Westphalia
In the middle of the idyllic and densely wooded nature park “Siebengebirge”, the next jewel awaits you, which is one of the most beautiful castles in Germany: the Drachenburg Castle. It lies below the ruin of the same name and the legendary Drachenfels and was built in record time from 1882 to 1884 as a residence for the financial entrepreneur Stephan von Sarter. With its dreamy towers, mock battlements and square clock tower, Drachenburg Castle looks like a unique, eccentric blend of medieval castle, Gothic cathedral and Big Ben. According to legend, it was there that the dragon slayer Siegfried slew a dangerous dragon that once spread terror and fear throughout the region. Today, the castle has been preserved almost in its original state and houses the Wilhelminian Museum and the Museum of the History of Conservation. You can reach the magnificent building either on foot via the beautiful Eselsweg or via the nearby middle station of the Drachenfelsbahn. Incidentally, the Drachenbahn is the oldest cogwheel railroad still in operation in the Federal Republic.
Wartburg near Eisenach is not a typical fairy tale castle, but it is still a place full of meaning for Germany. History was literally made there, as Martin Luther actually translated the New Testament of the Bible into German at Wartburg Castle. The imposing structure sits on a 410-meter-high precipice and was built between the 12th and 15th centuries. Wartburg was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999 and is not only one of the most beautiful, but also one of the oldest castles and palaces in Germany. From the various structures you can see that Wartburg has been added to and renovated several times, but with over 1000 years of history, you can’t expect anything else. Inside the castle you can expect a unique art collection and museum that will take your breath away.