Germany is the land of fairytale castles nestled in beautiful forests. In the past, castles played an important role in the defense of Germany, which has a history of knights, nobles and bloody warfare. Many of the castles have been restored to near-perfection and no visit to Germany would be complete without gazing in awe at these incredible structures.
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1. Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle looks like something out of Disney movie. It’s a romantic, white castle that sits on top of a large hill surrounded by lush green forests in the heart of southern Bavaria. The castle was built in the 19th century by King Ludwig II of Bavaria as a homage to the Medieval era. Today, it is one of the most visited castles in the world. The castle has featured in several movies, such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the Great Escape. It also served as inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. Find a place to stay in Bavaria near to Neuschwanstein Castle.
2. Hohenschwangau Castle
Also referred to as Schloss Hohenschwangau, this castle is located in southern Germany, right next door to the Neuschwanstein Castle mentioned above. In fact, you can combine your tour to the two castles, opting for either a 40-minute long hiking trail or horse-drawn buggy ride between them.
Hohenschwangau Castle was built as the childhood palace of King Ludwig II of Bavaria and rests near the border with Austria. It has roots that go as far back as the 12th century. However, it changed hands many times and was deconstructed/remodeled many times before becoming the castle that it is today. The current structure was built in the 19th century.
3. Burg Eltz
Built in the 12th century, Burg Eltz Castle has withstood the test of time. It is now one of the most popular castles in Germany. It’s yet another castle that has never been affected by war, enough though it’s situated along the Rhine River, and is well-preserved as a result.
The forest-hidden castle has been owned by the Eltz family for over 800 years. Some of its buildings were constructed in the 13th through 16th centuries. This means that the castle’s total construction lasted through a period of almost 500 years. It has been restored numerous times over the years to maintain its appearance and structural integrity. However, the castle still boasts many of its original furnishings.
4. Schwerin Palace
Schwerin Castle is one of the most important sites for 19th-century Romantic Era fans, as it was built by four renowned architects Gottfried Semper, Friedrich August Stüler, Georg Adolf Demmler and Ernst Friedrich Zwirner. The castle sits on an island in the middle of a lake in the city of Schwerin. While much of the castle that stands today was built in the late 1800s, the castle’s origins date back to the 10th century when nobles lived in a house on the site. Today, the castle is open to the public and you can explore its grounds. According to many, there’s a resident ghost that lives there who goes by the name of Petermännchen, so keep your eyes peeled!
5. Hohenzollern Castle
Hohenzollern Castle was home to the German Royal Family up until the First World War, when the royal family was removed from power following Germany’s defeat. The castle was first constructed as a fortress in the 11th century and added to over the centuries. Over time, the castle has suffered damage from wars and fires, however, it’s since been restored. Today, it’s open to visitors and you can see important artifacts such as the royal crown of Wilhelm II. Check out accommodation options in Baden-Württemberg, near to Hohenzollern Castle.
6. Mespelbrunn Castle
The stunning Mespelbrunn Castle has humble origins. It was originally a house built on the water by a Knight in the 15th century. Over the centuries the building was added to, becoming the elegant castle that it is today. Its waterside location means it’s an incredibly tranquil place to visit.
7. Wartburg Castle
The Wartburg castle is set within the mystical Thuringian forest. It was the first castle to be designated a UNESCO world heritage status, thanks to its historical significance as the place where the new testament was translated from Ancient Greek to German in the 16th century. The castle has been beautifully restored and visitors can explore its walls and the surrounding forest. Explore places to stay in Thuringia, which is near to Wartburg castle.