16 Beautiful Castles in Germany

Finally it’s Friday! Or as one would say in German: Endlich ist Freitag!

We thought we’d kick off the weekend mit ein wunderbar showcase of castles and palaces located throughout Germany, brought together with our Cityseeker Collections feature, that you too can use to plan your next vacation itinerary or weekend destination!

Take a look below and learn more about some of the grandest architectural achievements in German residential living!

(Source: Public Domain @ Pixabay)

1. Hohenschwangau Castle

Located on Alpseestraße, the Hohenschwangau Castle can be dated back to the 19th Century. Built by Maximilian II of Bavaria, the castle was home to King Ludwig II when he was a child. The architecture and interiors of the castle are simply spectacular. The castle is open to public visitation throughout the year and also offers guided tours in several languages. The castle is one of the prime tourist attractions in the city. The Schloss Hohenschwangau is also one of the few castles in the country that remained unscathed during both World War I and World War II.

(Source: Zairon @ Wikicommons)

2. Residenz Würzburg

Completed in 1744, the Würzburg Residenz is a stunning palace in Baroque style. The grand staircase, chapel and salon are particularly impressive. There are also beautiful frescoes, painted by the Venetian artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Even Napoleon Bonaparte was struck with the palace’s beauty, staying there three different times between 1806 and 1813. The Würzburg Residenz was severely damaged by an air strike during WWII. However, it has been diligently restored, and now enjoys a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

(Source: Softeis @ Wikicommons)

3. Neuschwanstein Castle

Situated on a mountainside overlooking the Hohenschwangau valley, the Neuschwanstein Castle is a dream-like structure in an idyllic setting. Construction of the castle began in 1869 but was not completed until 1892. King Ludwig II commissioned its construction so that he could stay in a beautiful castle when he wanted to escape the royal courts. Sadly, the king did not live to see the castle’s completion. Visitors can explore the castle’s Byzantine, Romanesque, and Gothic-inspired interior, including the third and fourth floors, which were supposed to have been the king’s residences. These floors house opulent murals and spectacular woodcarvings. Tours of the castle are available throughout the day. Be sure to visit the nearby Mary’s Bridge, from where the view of the castle and its surroundings is stunning.

(Source: Richard Bartz @ Wikicommons)

4. Nymphenburg Palace

With a longer façade than the Palace of Versailles, Schloss Nymphenburg was the impressive summer residence of the Wittelsbachs. The Stone Hall is particularly impressive and the famous ‘Schönheitengalerie’ (Gallery of the Beauties) containing the portraits of 36 local women, is a must see. A few interesting smaller palaces can be found in the park: the Amalienburg, Pagodenburg and Badenburg. The Marstallmuseum boasts a comprehensive display of carriages, sleds and crockery; the Meditationskapelle (Meditation Chapel) with its Magdalenenklause is also worth a visit.

(Source: Softeis @ Wikicommons)

5. Linderhof Palace

The Linderhof Palace, nestled in the western corner of Ettal, is the smallest castle to have been constructed by King Ludwig II. The tour of the palace gives visitors a glimpse into the opulent life that King Ludwig led. Enjoy perusing the various chambers and the Hall of Mirrors, which was his haven. In winter when the castle is covered in snow, it looks like a totally different entity, but a spectacular one. The palace and its multiple attractions follow varying hours of operations as well as different admission prices; check the website for further information before visiting.

(Source: A. Kniesel @ Wikicommons)

6. Hohenzollern Castle

If you seeking a taste of what it means to be royalty, then a visit to Hohenzollern Castle must be in your travel itinerary. This particular castle, which sits a top a cliff and lords over the surrounding area, is one of the most-visited castles in Germany. This historic castle, once home to the Prussian Royal Family, is actually the third castle to have been constructed on this spot. The first fortress was built in the 11th-Century and then destroyed. The next castle was built in 1454, but this too was destroyed. The castle that visitors see today was constructed in 1846. Guided tours are available, though visitors can explore the chapels and cemetary at their leisure.

(Source: cantanima @ Flickr)

7. Lichtenstein Castle (Württemberg)

When you first look at the Lichtenstein Castle from a distance it is reminiscent of a castle from one of the Disney movies. Sitting atop a cliff, the castle exudes augustness and drama in style. It is believed that the castle has been around since the 12th Century but was destroyed in wars and battles and was rebuilt time and again. The Neo-Gothic style of the castle gives it a wonderful vintage charm which is carried forward to its interiors. The castle houses arms and ammunition from the centuries past, these are still conserved in impeccable conditions and are a treat to watch. They provide group, guided and private tours and they also provide costume tours that allow children to dress up in the costumes of knights and tour the palace.

(Source: Robert Scarth @ Wikicommons)

8. Wartburg Castle

Located on Auf der Wartburg, Wartburg Castle can be dated back to the Middle Ages. One of the most popular attractions in the city, the castle has seen many historical events. It was this very place where Martin Luther is said to have translated the Bible for the layman and where St. Elisabeth of Hungary stayed for a long time. The architecture of the castle mainly reflects Romanesque designs. Wartburg Castle found a place in UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1999. Open to public visitation, the castle offers guided tours and donkey rides for the little ones on the hill. It also features a museum.

(Source: Public Domain @ Pixabay)

9. Eltz Castle

Construction on the impressive Eltz Castle began some time in the 9th-Century. Construction continued up through the 11th-Century, when the main portion of the castle was constructed; this structure can still be seen today. Eltz Castle was the home of Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa in the 12th Century; following a family feud in the 13th Century, the castle came to be known as ‘Ganerbenburg’ for housing several lineages in its many rooms, and not just the royal family alone. A tour of the Eltz Castle gives visitors a glimpse of the courtyard, treasury, armor room, kitchen and the picturesque grounds. Check the website for a schedule of tours, as they tend to change seasonally.

(Source: Felix König @ Wikicommons)

10. Marksburg

Housed in the region above the Braubach town within the Rhineland-Palatinate region of Germany is the fortress of Marksburg, an iconic castle and a famous sight. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the fortress dates back to the 12th Century. However, it was reconstructed and remodeled many times throughout the course of its existence. Guided tours are available and lend valuable insight into the history and culture of the castles’ inhabitants as well as the surrounding regions.

(Source: Public Domain @ Pixabay)

11. Reichsburg Cochem

Rising 100 meters (330 foot) above the scenic Moselle River, Reichsburg Cochem is a towering medieval period castle perched atop a hill. Originally, its purpose was to collect a toll from each passing shop, now it’s serves as a popular tourist destination in the area. Its unique combination of neo-gothic architecture with remnants of Romanesque design stands testament to the many hands it changed over the centuries. Reichsburg Cochem also provides interesting tours for the whole family.

(Source: Pumuckel42 @ Wikicommons)

12. Heidelberg Castle

No trip to Heidelberg would be complete without a visit to the castle. Dominating the city from the brow of the hill, the castle offers breathtaking views over the old town and the River Rhine. It may be worth timing your visit to coincide with the Schlossfestspiele castle pageant or with one of the fantastic firework displays that illuminate the castle several times a year. Built over a period spanning three centuries, the castle developed from being a simple medieval fortress into a splendid Renaissance palace. Regular guided tours are available.

(Source: Хрюша @ Wikicommons)

13. Schwerin Castle

Former home of the Mecklenburg dukes, the Schwerin Castle was first mentioned in the 10th Century. The architecture is spectacular and features larger than life lavish furnishings. One of the major romantic Historicism structures in Europe, this castle is also known as the Neuschwanstein of the North. Today, the castle along with its gardens is open for public visits. One of the prime highlights of the castle is the Statue of the Obotrite Prince Niklot. Legend has it that a short ghost, Petermännchen roams through the castle unlocking doors with the many keys that he carries!

(Source: Sir Gawain @ Wikicommons)

14. Albrechtsburg

A beautiful old castle dating back to the 10th Century, the Albrechtsburg is a historical structure in Meissen. This castle was built after King Henry I saw the need for another castle after the destruction of his castle in Gana. It has spectacular architecture and provides panoramic views of the river Elbe. It is open for public visitation and has a museum where visitors can observe old relics. The castle reflects Gothic architectural designs and is in close proximity of the Meissen Cathedral. The castle offers guided tours to the visitors. There are special exhibitions held in the castle as well.

(Source: Wolfgang Staudt @ Wikicommons)

15. Sanssouci Palace

The word Sanssouci means “without concerns”, a sentiment that is heartily embodied by the magnificent Sanssouci Palace. What this palace lacks in size, it more than make up for in splendorous beauty. Sanssouci was the summer palace of the infamous King of Prussia, Frederick the Great. The palace was constructed in 1747 and was fashioned upon the king’s fancies. Behind the spectacular facade lie richly adorned Rococo halls and chambers. The palace is set atop terraced vineyards at the heart of the Sanssouci Park, akin to a jewel laid to rest on an expanse of verdant velvet. So deeply was the king’s love his summer retreat, that upon his death he wished to be buried here, a wish that was finally fulfilled in 1991. The palace remains a popular tourist attraction, as well as a venue for cultural events. Visit King Frederick’s most beloved home and witness for yourself the awe-inspiring beauty of this royal abode.

(Source: Sir Gawain @ Wikicommons)

16. Augustusburg Palace

Standing on the ruins of an ancient castle, the Augustusburg Palace is certainly a splendid structure. Representing the Rococo style, this palace has been included in the prestigious UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Currently, you can visit this landmark that has now been transformed into a museum through guided tours only.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our little adventure through some of the most gorgeous and historically important castles Germany has to offer. Make sure you include a few–if not all of them–on your next German vacation itinerary!

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