Germany has many, many castles… Anyone that has taken a drive along the Moselle will attest to this. But did you know there are actually more than 20 000 castles in Germany? With a population of around 80 million, that’s 1 castle for every 4000 people. Insane!
These castles all have such a wide variety of styles dating throughout numerous time periods, from medieval forts to young palaces. There is one type of castle though that captures the minds and hearts of all that have the opportunity to see them; Fairytale Castles and you’ll find plenty of Fairytale Castles in Germany!
Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria
The most well-known castle in Germany & possibly even in the world.
The Neuschwanstein Castle will leave you speechless, this truly beautiful castle is filled with intricate, beautiful details. Ludwig II of Bavaria, who commissioned this famous castle, is also known as the Märchenkönig, meaning ‘Fairytale King’. He & Eduard Riedel, the architect, must’ve had an incredible imagination and sense of architecture to think up this amazing place.
Taking 17 years to build, the palace was finally completed in 1886. Originally, the building was intended as the home to King Ludwig. He was only able to sleep 11 nights in the castle before his death, however. Even then, the castle was not nearly complete and to the degree of splendor, it is today.
King Ludwig was unable to see his architectural dream upon completion, but over a million people every year take the trip to see this masterpiece. Summer or winter, it doesn’t matter, with a fresh blanket of snow, the Neuschwanstein Castle seems to carry an even more astounding fairytale presence.
Where is it?
Located in South-West Bavaria at the foot of the Alps. The nearby town of Füssen offers great overnight possibilities & is a 1-hour 30-minute drive from Munich. The train will get you from Munich to Füssen in 2 hours & 30 minutes.
Lichtenstein Castle in Baden-Württemberg
No matter how you feel about fairy tales, you’ll love Neuschwanstein’s little brother.
Remarkably, this castle is hardly known by many foreigners, and not nearly as well-known as it’s bigger brother, Neuschwanstein Castle.
It may not be the largest castle or the oldest, but the way it nestles on a high cliff, with breath-taking views over the much more historic lands, this castle speaks to me. Whispering that it holds secrets of days past and it will tell me them if I just stay for a little bit longer.
Not to be confused with Liechtenstein, the small country you’ll find between Switzerland & Austria. The castle as we know it today was completed in 1842, and in 1869 became the official residence to the dukes of Urach. Unlike Neuschwanstein castle, the Lichtenstein castle did undergo damage during WWII, but restoration work started almost immediately after. To this day the castle is still owned by the dukes of Urach, but you can explore some rooms and the grounds of this fairytale castle on guided tours.
Definitely worth a trip, and then you can let us know if and what the Lichtenstein Castle says to you. 😉
Where is it?
Located in the Swabian Jura of southern Germany, the Castle is only 30km from Hohenzollern Castle, which you’ll see shortly. Tübingen is only a 30-minute drive away and provides plenty of stayover possibilities.
Burg Eltz (Eltz Castle) in Rhineland-Palatinate
Constructed in 1490, and after 33 generations, it is still in the hands of the same family.
The castle is situated in a beautiful forest. The catch? You will need to take a 40min walk to reach it.
OK, so it’s not exactly a catch if you take the shuttle, which shuttles between the castle and parking lot regularly enough.
The castle has undergone diverse changes throughout the years which you can see quite clearly from the inner courtyard. Internally, the castle was split into 3 different residences as a previous generation passed it down equally among 3 siblings. One of the residences is currently being used as an office, but you can still take a guided tour, packed with information, through the other 2 residences.
Where is it?
Nestled in the hills above the Moselle River between Koblenz and Trier. If you’re looking for a place to stay the night, the many small towns nestling on the Moselle river caters aplenty with holiday housing. We would rather make the short trip to Koblenz however, with far more possibilities & attractions you’ll be able to experience on your stay.
Schwerin Castle in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
Not built on a hill or cliff, this castle is rather oddly placed on its own island.
The entire city of Schwerin seems to be on the up, with a vast majority of the historic buildings recently been restored. The castle is the diamond piece to this beautifully restored city.
Once you’ve taken a tour of the majestic castle, you can head to the castle gardens for a relaxing walk. This castle has such a romantic charm, I’d even be pushed to say this magical place would be better described as a palace.
Where is it?
Located in northern Germany, 100km’s from Hamburg. Lübeck is only an hour’s drive from the castle & makes for a great destination to stay over for the night. Check out our article out on what you need to see whilst you’re in Lübeck, click here.
Hohenschwangau Castle in Bavaria
Ludwig II of Bavaria’s childhood residence. With a beautiful view, this magical castle hasn’t received as much attention due to its new neighbor. None other than Neuschwanstein Castle. For castle goers, this is a good thing, as you can visit both of these beautiful monuments in the space of a day, with only a 35min walk separating them.
Don’t forget to stop at Queen Mary’s Bridge for an amazing view of Neuschwanstein Castle overhanging the cliffs. If you still have some time left, you can even rent a boat on the Alpsee lake.
Where is it?
A short walk from Neuschwanstein Castle. 😉
Mespelbrunn Castle in Bavaria
Between the metropolis of Frankfurt am Main and Würzburg, you’ll find a true fairytale feeling by visiting the Mespelbrunn Castle.
Situated in the Spessart forest, the Mespelbrunn Castle was constructed in 1427 as a fortified castle, but in the following century rebuilt as a manor house retaining the moat & round tower from the original castle. The castle is still owned by the same family, which even reside in the south wing of the castle still to this day.
This incredible moated castle is a well-visited attraction, and you can probably see why.
Where is it?
Located between Frankfurt am Main & Würzburg. Aschaffenburg offers plenty of accommodation whilst still only being a 30-minute drive from the castle.
Hohenzollern Castle in Baden-Württemberg
Situated on Mount Hohenzollern, this privately-owned castle dates all the way back to 1267. This castle is a prime example of masterful military architecture, previously being a fortress, and then decaying until the early 19th century when Crown Prince Frederick William of Prussia decided to reinvigorate it back into life. The Ancestral seat of the Prussian Royal House and the Hohenzollern Princes was restored. With it, through the years, a wide variety of jewels, gold, and silver have been obtained and are now on show.
Where is it?
Sitting atop mount Hohenzollern, on the edge of the Swabian Jura of central Baden-Württemberg. Once you’re in viewing distance, you cannot miss it. Tübingen is 30 minutes away by car and only a 40-minute drive separates Hohenzollern Castle & Lichtenstein castle.
Cochem Castle (Reichsburg Cochem) in Rhineland-Palatinate
Built around 1000 AD, this castle is situated on a hill in the beautiful Winelands of the Moselle. If you take a drive from Koblenz to Trier along the Moselle, you will stumble upon plenty of astonishing castles. This is one of them that will most likely stay firmly in your mind.
Apart from the fairytale towers and impressive figure this castle poses, you’ll find that Cochem Castle has a rather fun party trick. The Knights’ feast, as the name suggests is a traditional medieval knights dinner, and you’re the knights! After completing a tour, guests are ushered in and given a rundown of how meals were done, back in the day. Feasting commences, with period clothing, servants and maids pass along bowls of water to wash your hands so you can feast with your fingers. Jesters provide the entertainment and also authentic period music. You’ll see ancient torture devices & eventually, you’ll even be knighted. Vegetarian knights are also well catered to. 😉
Where is it?
This fairytale castle in Germany is located halfway between Trier & Koblenz along the Moselle river. Eltz Castle is only 30 minutes away, making a visit to both castles on one day very possible, and highly recommended. 😉
Marksburg Castle in Rhineland-Palatinate
This beautiful medieval castle has survived for over 900 years. Its survival means that it’s the only medieval castle of the middle Rhine not to suffer destruction. Positioned high on a cliff, this magical castle provides long views over the Rhine. Unlike many of the previous castles, this one was designed for protecting the town below, instead of housing royalty.
Due to its survival and history, the Marksburg Castle is a fundamental piece of the Rhine Gorge UNESCO World Heritage site.
Where is it?
Located on the Rhine river, it’s only 15kms south of Koblenz.
These 8 Fairytale Castles in Germany are sure to capture your imagination and set you back to the period of their construction. Some may even take you on a journey through time.
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