What little girl doesn’t dream of visiting the castles of Disney movies? Well, the most important lesson that I took from those movies is that dreams do come true. Germany is home to several incredible castles and palaces that you won’t believe exist outside of fairy tales. So what are you waiting for? Check out the most stunning castles in Germany and start planning your trip!
Neuschwanstein– The iconic “New Castle” is probably the most famous of the German palaces. It was built by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a private retreat and rather than using public funds, it was paid for privately from his personal fortune and loans. Since Ludwig’s death in 1886, the castle has been open to the public, and has been visited by over 61 million people, with over 1.3 million annual visitors. A symbol of Romanticism, Neuschwanstein is said to have been the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle.
Hohenschwangau – King Ludwig II’s desire for an impressive castle is understandable when you learn that Hohenschwangau was his childhood home. Built on ruins of an old fortress Ludwig, the area was discovered by Ludwig’s father Maximilian II who fell in love with the beautiful scenery. Construction of the Gothic castle began in 1833, with additions until 1855, and the interior was decorated with depictions of medieval stories and poetry.
Lichtenstein Castle – Built from 1840-1842, this stunning Neo-Gothic castle belongs in the realm of fairy tales, princesses and knights. Located in the cliffs of the Swabian Alps on a site where a 12C castle once stood, but was left in ruins. It was rebuilt in 19C and is accessible only by stone bridge, stretching to another hilltop. Inside, it boasts an impressive weapon collection.
Wartburg – One of the best-preserved 11C medieval castles in Germany, this castle has attracted a lot of attention over the years. In 13C, it was home to St. Elisabeth of Hungary, and it was also where Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German in 15C. Today, Wartburg is the second most visited attraction in Thuringia, where you can visit the museum and children can ride donkeys up the hill!
Sanssouci –The summer home of Frederick the Great of Prussia is situated in Potsdam, near Berlin. This ornate palace is often compared to France’s Versailles. A relatively small country, it was originally built as a retreat for Frederick the Great to have a place to get away from the court in Berlin. Today, the palace holds Frederick the Great’s library, amazing terraced gardens, and several beautiful and interesting temples.
Reichsburg Cochem– Declared an Imperial castle by King Konrad III in 12C, this grand castle was destroyed by the French in the Nine Years War. It was abandoned until a 19C businessman purchased it and reconstructed it in Gothic revival style. Walk up the hill to see this beautiful castle and the amazing views of the surrounding area.
Wernigerode Castle – Located in the Harz mountains, overlooking Wernigerode in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, this castle’s earliest documentation dates back to 13C. Visitors can enjoy a lovely interior court, entertainment for adults and children, as well as different seasonal events and festivities.
Schwerin Castle – Records of this castle date as far back as 10C. Originally a fortress, this castle is situated on a very interesting island both strategically and aesthetically, and so became very desirable. Due to its position, this castle has a rich and fascinating history, and it even is said to be haunted by a ghost called
Hohenzollern Castle – This fairy tale castle is located at the top of Mount Hohenzollern, overlooking the towns of Hechingen and Bisingen. The castle dates back to 11C,but was destroyed in 15C. Another stronger castle was built on the same site in 15C. By the end of 18C, the medieval castle fell to disrepair, but was resored for King Frederick William IV of Prussia in 19C, which is the ultimate version that we see today. The castle is now home to several interesting historic artifacts. Hohenzollern hosts over 300,000 visitors per year, making it one of the most visited castles in Germany.
Burg Eltz – This magnificent medieval castle sits in the hills between Koblenz and Trier, overlooking the Moselle River. The castle is still owned by the family that originally inhabited it, dating back over 33 generations to the 12C. Most of the castle is open to the public, but a portion of it remains private for the family.