We’ve researched the best and most beautiful castles you can visit in Germany this year, and found 23 top picks for your bucket list based on reviews and recommendations from tourists all around the world.
It’s estimated that there are more than 25,000 castles in the entire country, and for good reason. Due to the many small states and towns, local emperors and kings needed to secure their own area from rivals, hundreds of years ago. And because of the rugged terrain, especially around the western major rivers, most of the castles on our list are built on hilltops or mountain slopes, looking over the cities.
In our list, you’ll find all kinds of castles, from the longest castle in the world to castles appearing in Disney movies. Let begin!
23. Burg Frankenstein
Have you ever heard of the Burg Frankenstein? If not, you need to look it up and visit this place whenever you’re in Germany. This hilltop castle is in Muhltal, Germany. The Castle’s origins go back to 1250 when Lord Conrad II Reiz built it. The Castle underwent much enlargement and even modernization towards the start of the 15th century.
If you’re planning on visiting this Castle, you’re surely going to have a great time. Tourists always leave this Castle with wonderful memories. Tourists will need to track up to the Castle’s location, and it’s a wonderful thing to add to your list of things to see if you’re in Darmstadt, just north of the castle, anyway. Other tourists and visitors will surely give you some good company on the trek. If you get hungry, well, there’s a restaurant to cater to your needs!
22. Dresden Zwinger Palace
If you’re looking for a great place to stop and visit, the Dresden Zwinger Palace is the place to be! This is one of the most important buildings of the Baroque period. Construction started in 1710 and finished by 1728. The palace was originally an orangery, a garden, and a site for festivals.
This palace is one of the most popular locations where people come to visit. The pavilions, the gardens, the fountains, and even the galleries are every photographer’s dream. Visitors can also simply come, walk around, sit, and enjoy the view of the palace. This is a must-visit place if you ever plan on going to Dresden.
21. Schloss Mespelbrunn
During your stay in Germany, do not forget to give Schloss Mespelbrunn a visit. This moated castle belongs to the late medieval period and early Renaissance era. Original constructions date back to 1427. However, the Castle that we see today is the result of rebuilding sometime around the 16th century.
Today, if you were to visit the Schloss Mespelbrunn, you’ll find that it is a very popular tourist attraction site. Visitors who come to visit this Castle can admire the Renaissance influenced architecture. This Castle is a great location for photographers. The surrounding woods are also a great place to stroll. The inside of the Castle is, however, the real deal. You can explore the different rooms inside by taking a guided tour.
20. Glücksburg Castle
So, are you running out of Castles to visit in Germany? Not so fast! Have you heard of the famous water castle?
Yes, that’s right! The Glücksburg Castle is a water castle and is predominantly Renaissance in style. Nikolaus Karies built the Castle from 1582 till 1587. Today, the Castle is more or less a museum and a site for tourists.
This white, red, and gray Castle should surely be on your must-visit list when you come to Germany. You’ll get to meet other tourists from other parts of the world. You can explore the castle grounds and take photographs wherever you’re allowed to. The guides who provide tours are also exceptionally great.
19. Burg Altena
Categorized as a hill castle, the Burg Altena belongs to the medieval period. You can easily find this Castle at Fritz-Thomee-Straße 80. The Castle stands on a spur, and its construction dates back to the dawn of the 12th century undertaken by the counts of Berg.
Today, the rooms of the Castles are museums, and a youth hostel is also present there. Owing to its beauty and popularity, thousands of tourists from different parts of the world come to visit this Castle. If you’re someone who loves visiting historical sites, the Burg Altena is a good option, especially if you’re in Hagen and looking for more things to do. There is much to admire and explore inside as well.
18. Königstein Fortress
Königstein Fortress, located near Dresden, also goes by the name Saxon Bastille. In Europe, this Fortress is one of the largest when it comes to hilltop fortifications. The Fortress consists of more than fifty buildings, and some even go far back as four hundred years. Historically, this Fortress was primarily a prison, but today, it’s a popular tourist destination.
More than 700,000 visitors flock to this fortress each year. Records of this Fortress go all the way back to 1233. The Fortress was extremely important as a refuge during wars. However, today the scene is quite different. When visiting, you will encounter many other visitors who are also exploring and touring the premises. You’ll feel rather small against the enormous walls of this Fortress.
17. Burghausen Castle (Worlds Longest!)
If you’re searching for reasons to visit this Castle, look no more. Guinness World Record confirms the fact that the Burghausen Castle is the longest castle in the world (see the entire building here), measuring 1051 m. Located in Burghausen, which is in Upper Bavaria. The history and the construction stretch as far back as 1025. The main Castles are predominantly gothic influenced.
When you visit Germany, don’t forget to visit this Castle. You will surely have a unique experience, one that you won’t get from any other castles. A tour of this Castle will take some time owing to how large it is, but it will be worth the visit. The insides are lavishly decorated with artwork, murals, and painted ceilings. Visitors can always take a guide with them while exploring.
16. Rheinstein Castle
You will surely pinch yourself if you ever find yourself gazing at the sheer beauty of the Rheinstein Castle. Located north of Büdeshiem, the Castle seems like something you will see in a movie. The Castle is popular for its strategic location, which is common in any medieval castle. Originally constructed around 1317, the Castle underwent repair and renovations in the 19th century under the romantic influence.
Today, the Castle is more of a museum that offers insights into the history of the Castle. The reason to visit this Castle is also because of the beautiful view you get to take in. From the Castle, visitors can catch the sight of the Rhine river in all its glory. There are also apartments if visitors wish to stay. The Castle offers tons of reasons for people to explore and go on tours.
Tourist Tip: If you’re in Wiesbaden looking for things to do, Rheinstein Castle is only a couple of miles away!
15. Marburg Castle (Landgrafenschloss)
Located on top of Schlossberg, The Marburg Castle is one of the most magnificent Castles of Germany. You don’t have to be an art or history lover to appreciate this Castle’s charm and beauty. Originally built as a fort in the 11th century, it later became a residential place for the Landgraviate of Hesse. This was the Castle where the Marburg Colloquy was held as well.
Today, this magnificent Castle is a museum site, and people from all over the world come and visit this place. Visitors who come here even get to see the magnificent and commanding view of the city below. The Castle also has tons of exhibitions to keep tourists busy and in awe. Plenty of historical artifacts and antiques are what visitors will get to see when they visit this Castle.
14. Schloss Marksburg
It does not come as a surprise that Germany has shortages of amazing castles. The Schloss Marksburg, located just south of Koblenz, is one such magnificent Castle. This is one of the few Castles untouched by the many wars in the region. It was a protective and defensive Castle rather than a residence.
Built around 1,117 to protect the town, the castle today is a popular spot for tourists from all corners of the world. The present appearance is the result of the many renovations undertaken by noble counts during the 14th and 15th centuries. If you wish to visit this Castle, you’re in luck as multilingual tours are available. You’ll get to witness the chapel, the kitchen, the different rooms, and above all, you’ll get a great view of the Rhine.
13. Lichtenstein Castle
If you’re looking for exciting things to do while in Reutlingen, you know what you’ve got to do!
Make some time to go and visit the Lichtenstein Castle just south of the city. This Gothic-Revival style of Castle which is in Schloss Lichtenstein 1, will surely take your breath away by its beauty. Currently owned by the Dukes of Urach, the Castle’s foundation work got started in 1390.
Partially destroyed during the second world war, the Castle was, however, restored immediately. Upon arrival, you can get your tickets to obtain a guided tour of the castle premises. There are also the ruins of the earlier and older Castle located nearby, which is free to visit. The gardens of the Castle are also open for exploration and visitation.
12. Marienburg Castle
Lovers of history will love visiting the Marienburg Castle. Located in Marienberg 1, which is in Lower Saxony, this Castle was a birthday present to Queen Marie by King George V, who belonged to Hanover. The Castle also doubled as the summer seat of the Hannover House between the 18th and the 19th centuries. The Castle is built in a Gothic Revival style.
If you’re visiting Hildesheim just a couple of miles away for the holidays or just for leisure, visit this magnificent Castle. Whether you’re with friends or family, this is a great destination to visit. The Castle has a fairytale appearance making it a great location for tourists. They can come and go on guided tours both inside and outside.
While on the tour, you’ll get to see the dining rooms, the high ceilings, the artwork, and even stop to have meals at the restaurant inside.
11. Schloss Drachenburg
Constructed sometime at the ending of the 19th century, the Schloss Drachenburg is a privately owned villa. Even though it’s a private palace, visitors and tourists can still come to a visit this palace. The villa underwent several and major restoration works during the 1970s. Today, the villa’s appearance and the beauty that surrounds it is a prime reason for tourist attraction.
Visitors can get to see the Rhine valley and the river as well. This is a great place if you want beautiful photographs as well. Though gothic in style, it remains very romantic.
Tourist Tip: Schloss Drachenburg makes an excellent one-day trip if you’re already spending time in the historic city of Bonn just north of the castle.
10. Wernigerode Castle
Among the list of popular castles in Germany, the Wernigerode Castle is one of them. Located in the beautiful Harz mountains in the middle of Germany, the current appearance of the Castle was built during the 19th century. However, the foundations of this Castle go much deeper into the past. The earliest mentions of this Castle dates back to 1121.
The Castle is beautiful both inside and out. If you love taking photographs, brace yourself. You will get so many awesome photos to remember your trip here! The Castle offers visitors lots of exhibits. Guided tours are also a great idea to learn more about the Castle. Visitors can see the view of the town nearby, roam the Castle premises, and even antiques.
9. Schloss Wartburg
Wartburg Castle belongs to the Middle Ages. Today, it is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites. This was the Castle where Martin Luther translated the English Bible into German. The Castle was also an inspiration for king Ludwig II to built the Neuschwanstein Castle. Construction started around 1067, and different architectural styles got employed over the years.
This Castle is a great place to visit when in Germany with friends or family. Located in Auf d. Wartburg 1, the Castle is a popular tourist spot. The interiors of the Castle will leave you in awe. Today, the knight’s Hall is a popular concert venue.
8. Burg Hohenzollern
What looks like a mighty Castle nestled on the hills was the ancestral seat of the House of Hohenzollern. Situated on top of Mount Hohenzollern, the Castle has three structures or Castles, with the present Castle’s construction dating back to 1846. The architectural style is Gothic Revival Architecture. No German emperors occupied the Castle, except for Wilhelm in 1945.
Today, people who wish to visit this Castle are in for a treat. They can find the crown of Wilhelm II and even some of the possession of King Frederick the Great. Visitors can also find a letter sent by then U.S. President, namely, George Washington. If you ever visit this palace, remember to take a guided tour and learn more about the history. Today, the Castle also has a restaurant if you ever feel hungry.
7. Reichsburg Cochem
Located on top of a rock in Schlossstraße 36, the Reichsburg Cochem is a medieval imperial castle. The original style of the Castle got destroyed during the Palatinate war, but it got restored in the neo-gothic architectural style in the 19th century. Visiting this castle is a must if you’re someone who loves art history, or just history in general.
Are you wondering what you can do in this Castle? Well, a lot of things! To start with, the chapel of this Castle still functions as a wedding venue. Moreover, guided tours are also multilingual. If you don’t speak German or English, you’ll likely find a language you understand. There are also events, meals, programs, and functions for travelers. Don’t miss the chance to see this Castle in person.
6. Eltz Castle
Located in Wierschem, the Eltz Castle looks like something off of a movie. Surrounded by a dense and thick forest, the Castle stands on a hill. Remarkably, the Castle is still under the same family branch of the original Eltz family. The Castle still stands in its original glory and was never destroyed or reconstructed. For a short period, the Castle was also part of the German 500 notes.
To get a tour of the Castle, visitors will need to secure their tickets before going in. The guided tour will take you around the Castle premises. You can also explore the different rooms on your own. Sticking with the guide is, however, a better idea since you will get to hear the detailed history of every corner and every room.
5. Schwerin Castle (Schweriner Schloss)
If you do not have this Castle on your bucket list, what are you waiting for? Located in Schwerin (check out what to do while in Schwerin), this Castle stands on an Island. Historically, the Castle was home to countless dukes and even grand dukes. Construction work of the earlier sections started in the mid 19th century, but the earliest records date back to A.D. 973.
Today, the Castle stands as an important representation of Romantic Historicism. Visiting this Castle means visitors and tourists must secure tour tickets. When on the guided tours, guests can see the grand duke’s throne, the chapel, different statues and paintings, and even the orangery. Exploring the surroundings is also a great idea.
4. Schloss Hohenschwangau
Anyone who comes to visit Germany should not leave without visiting the Hohenschwangau Castle! This was the childhood home of the Bavarian king, Ludwig II. The Castle stands on a rock and overlooks the pristine scenery and the city of Füssen (see our guide of things to do in Füssen). Throughout history, this Castle took on many names and different residents. Today, around 300,000 annually visit this Castle.
Except for Christmas, the Castle is open to the public throughout the whole year. Timings can change depending on the seasons. Visitors can get a guided tour and see the different rooms like the bedrooms, salon, ballroom, the towers, and even the gardens. Visitors will also get to amazing artwork and murals inside the Castle.
3. Schloss Heidelberg
Whenever you set foot in Germany, make it a point to go see the Heidelberg Castle, especially if you don’t know what to do in Heidelberg. You’ll find this Castle at Schlosshof 1, Heidelberg. The Castle dates back to the Renaissance era, and today, only the ruins remain. Demolished throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, only partial efforts have been made to restore it. Nonetheless, it’s still worth the visit.
Originally, construction work started before 1214. If tourists and visitors wish to take a tour of the inside, it is only possible with a guide. There is also the castle garden that many people love visiting. Spending the night is also an option, where you can get to dine and have a fun time.
2. Kaiserburg Nürnberg
Located in Nürnberg, the Nuremberg Castle is a must-visit destination if you ever get the chance to visit Germany, and it’s the second most popular castle based on our research.
It is a group of fortified structures and buildings going back to the medieval era. It was once the symbol of the power of the Roman Empire. Medieval kings used this as an imperial castle.
The Castle has three sections, all built during different periods.
Today, if tourists decide to come here, they can get guided tours of the Castle. They will get to see the different rooms, the paintings, and the tall pillars. The Castle also has statues. Coming to visit this Castle would make for a nice trip where you’ll get to learn its history and significance.
1. Schloss Neuschwanstein
On our number one spot of the best castles in Germany, we find the most famous as well.
Schloss Neuschwanstein is a 19th-century palace located just above Hohenschwangau, which is in Southwest Bavaria. If you are visiting Germany, make it a point to come to visit this Castle constructed of bricks. This palace got constructed using the personal fortune of King Ludwig II to honor Richard Wagner.
Fun fact: Walt Disney was so impressed that he used Neuschwanstein as inspiration for Sleeping Beauty!
Don’t skip the chance to see this amazing palace. Every year, more than a million people come to visit this palace. It was only after Ludwig’s death that the palace was open to the public. The Castle’s design is reminiscent of Castle Romanticism, which was a form style in the 1800s. Today, people can get guided tours of the palace premises. Come and marvel at the sheer beauty of this historic Castle.
Info & Tickets: Visit website