Germany

Best Castles in Germany

Well known for being the country containing fairytale-like castles that sit atop mountains, Germany also has castles located on islands, despite it being a landlocked country! From hill castles to water castles, here are some of the best ones to visit.

 

43 Famous German castles to visit

1. Ahrensburg Castle

Castles in Germany Ahrensburg-Castle

This picturesque white castle, located within extensive parklands on a moated island, is actually a former palace. Nowadays it opens its doors to allow guests to see an array of artwork, china, and furnishings inside the castle rooms, as well as an impressive rococo staircase.

Where: Ahrensburg, South Schleswig-Holstein
When:
16th century
Style:
Renaissance
Open for visit:
Yes. Open from 11 am Tuesday-Thursday plus weekends during Spring-Autumn (March to October) and from 11 am Monday, Wednesday, and weekends in Winter (November to February).

2. Altena Castle

Best Castles in Germany Altena-Castle

Rising up from Klusenberg Hill, this Medieval hill castle built by the Counts of the Marck is a sight to behold with its grey turrets poking out above the trees. It is famous for containing the world’s oldest youth hostel in a castle but if you don’t want to spend the night, you can still see the castle and learn its history by visiting one of the two on-site museums; the Museum of the County of Mark and the World Youth Hostels Museum.

Where: Altena, North Rhine-Westphalia
When:
12th century
Style:
Medieval
Open for visit:
Yes. Open Tuesday-Friday from 9.30am and weekends from 11 am. Closed Mondays plus 24th, 25th, 31st December and 1st January.

3. Bischofstein Castle

German Castles Bischofstein-Castle

Nestled on the hillside above the river Moselle, Bischofstein Castle was used as a stronghold by the Archbishops of Treves after its construction in 1270. However, much of the castle seen today is from the 1930s, the original castle being destroyed in 1689 apart from an impressive 20-meter tall cylindrical donjon tower that visitors can climb up.

Where: Hatzenport, Rheinland-Pfalz
When:
13th century
Style:
Medieval
Open for visit:
Only as a retreat centre

4. Burghausen Castle

Famous Castles in Germany Burghausen-Castle

This charismatic castle with its 6 courtyards is noted for being the world’s longest castle complex (1,043 meters long)  and is one of the most impressive castles not just in Germany but in the whole of Europe due to it having almost all of its Medieval fortifications still intact. It was used as the second residence of the dukes of Lower Bavarian and the court of their consorts from 1255 and contains an impressive collection of late Gothic panel paintings.

Where: Burghausen, Upper Bavaria
When:
11th-16th century
Style:
Medieval
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily excluding 1st January, Shrove Tuesday, and 24th, 25th, 31st December.

You might also like: The best Bavarian Castles to visit. 

5. Colditz Castle

Best German Castles Colditz-Castle

Built on a hill spur above the river Zwickauer Mulde, Colditz Castle dates back to the 11th century having been used as a hunting lodge for the residence of the kings of Saxony, a workhouse, and a mental institution over the years but is most well known for its use in WWII as a Prisoner of War Camp.

Where: Colditz, Saxony
When:
11th century
Style:
Renaissance
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily from 10 am excluding 23rd, 26th, 31st December and 1st January.

6. Eltz Castle

Castles in Germany Eltz-Castle

This picturesque fairytale castle, built on a forested hilltop above the river Moselle, is quite simply stunning! It is one of only three castles on the left bank of the River Rhine that hasn’t been destroyed. Step inside to tour some of the 100 rooms of the castle that contain countless treasures before stepping foot onto some of the best hiking trails in the region.

Where: Wierschem, Rhineland-Palatinate
When:
12th century
Style:
Medieval, Gothic
Open for visit:
Yes, open daily during the Summer season (April-October) from 9.30 am.

7. Heidelberg Castle

Best Castles in Germany Heidelberg-Castle

This partially ruined castle is considered one of the most important Renaissance structures North of the Alps. Visited by Mark Twain, Heidelberg Castle dates back to the 11th century with an upper and lower section plus fabulous inner courtyard but has stood in partial ruin since the 17th century due to abandonment during the war and lightning striking the castle not once but twice.

Where: Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg
When:
11th century
Style:
Renaissance and Gothic
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily from 10 am. Closed 25th December.

8. Herten Castle

German Castles Herten-Castle

This restored red-brick moated castle complex (really a fortified house with inner courtyard and chapel) is located within  30 acres of parkland and includes an old landscaped English country garden with touches of Baroque landscaping. Many events take place within the castle grounds (the castle itself being a hotel) including concerts and art markets.

Where: Herten, North Rhine-Westphalia
When:
14th-16th century
Style:
Gothic
Open for visit:
Open Sundays 1pm-6pm

9. Hohenschwangau Castle

Famous Castles in Germany Hohenschwangau-Castle

The best way to admire this picturesque palace is by taking a carriage ride to the entrance before stepping inside to view the 19th-century interiors including the 5 staterooms, the kitchen, and the gardens. The castle has a long history, originally dating back to the 12th century when it was owned by the knights of Schwangau but the architecture seen today was rebuilt by King Maximilian II of Bavaria as a Summer residence, later becoming the childhood home of King Ludwig II.

Where: Schwangau, Bavaria
When:
19th century
Style:
Gothic Revival
Open for visit:
Open daily from 8.30 am excluding 24th December and 1st January.

For more castles near Munich, click here. 

10. Hohenzollern Castle

Best German Castles Hohenzollern-Castle

The ancestral seat of the Prussian Royal House and the Hohenzollern Princesses, this castle has the look and feel of a fairytale castle and the history to go with it. Admire the art collections, see the Prussian King’s crown, and visit the Royal Chambers whilst uncovering the history of this magical place on a guided tour.

Where: Hohenzollern, Baden-Württemberg
When:
19th century
Style:
Gothic Revival
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily from 10 am excluding 24th December when the castle is closed and restricted hours on 31st December and 1st January.

11. Idstein Castle

Castles in Germany Idstein-Castle

The striking hill castle that can be seen today with the iconic Witches’ Tower stands on the site of a much older castle dating back to 1170. Once the residence of Prince George Augustus Samuel of Nassau-Idstein, Idstein Castle was later used as Convalescent Home for Members of the Royal Prussian Army, a military hospital during WWII and today contains the Idstein Pestalozzi Gymnasium school.

Where: Idstein, Rheingau-Taunus
When:
12th century
Style:
Renaissance
Open for visit:
Only on request.

12. Johannisburg Castle

Best Castles in Germany Johannisburg-Castle

Both a castle and a palace, Johannisburg Castle is a huge four-winged complex located by the River Main and is considered one of the most important structures from the German Renaissance era. Once the second residence of the archbishops and electors of Mainz, today visitors can step inside and visit the art gallery, palace church, vestment chamber, the Princely apartments, and learn more about the castle’s history at the on-site Municipal Palace Museum.

Where: Aschaffenburg, Bavaria
When:
14th century
Style:
Renaissance
Open for visit:
Yes. Open Tuesday-Sunday from 9 am. Closed Mondays.

13. Konigstein Fortress

German Castles Konigstein-Fortress

This hilltop fortress is one of the biggest fortifications in the whole of Europe and contains more than 50 buildings to explore including the dungeons and treasury with panoramic views out to the Elbe Sandstone mountains viewable from the top of the fort. Once a popular destination of the Saxon court, as well as a hiding place for the Royal Family, Konigstein Fortress is thought to date back as far as 1233.

Where: Konigstein, Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge
When:
13th century
Style:
Medieval
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily from 9 am excluding 24th December.

14. Lahneck Castle

Famous Castles in Germany Lahneck-Castle

Overlooking the point where the River Lahn joins the Rhine is the medieval fortress of Lahneck Castle. With its mix of medieval, neo-Gothic and 19th-century architecture, it’s a classic example of Rhine Romanticism when it comes to sightseeing. Take a guided tour to learn the history and see the paintings, furniture, and armor with a visit inside the great hall as well as the chapel.

Where: Lahnstein, Rhineland-Palatinate
When:
13th century
Style:
Medieval
Open for visit:
Yes. Guided tours in German are available at selected times Tuesday-Sunday April-October with tours in English available on demand.

15. Lichtenstein Castle

Best German Castles Lichtenstein-Castle

This fairytale castle, perhaps the most fairytale-like in the whole of Germany sits perched atop exposed cliffs on the edge of the Swabian Alps with woodland below. Admire the incredible views from the castle grounds before stepping inside the castle on a guided tour (in German only) to see the suits of armour, the Knight’s Hall with its Gothic-style painted ceiling, the staircase with the famous “Archer of Lichtenstein” painting by Schutze vom Lichtenstein, and the chapel.

Where: Lichtenstein, Baden-Wurttemberg
When:
12th-19th century
Style:
Gothic-Revival
Open for visit:
Yes, open daily from 9 am April-October castle and weekends only from 10 am during February, March, and November. Closed December and January.

16. Marienburg Castle

Best German Castles Marienburg-Castle

This enchanting castle nestles atop Marienburg Hill in Calenberger Land. It was built by King George V, the last King of Hannover, for his wife Queen Mary and has remained a Summer residence of one of Europe’s oldest Royal families, the Guelph family. Step back in time as you explore some of the 190 rooms and learn about the love story of King George and Queen Mary.

Where: Pattensen, Lower Saxony
When:
19th century
Style:
Gothic-Revival
Open for visit:
Yes. Open Tuesday-Sunday March-May and September-October. Open daily June-August, and weekends only January-February.

17. Marksburg

Castles in Germany Marksburg

One of the most important UNESCO World Heritage sites of the Rhine Gorge, Marksburg was built and used as a medieval stronghold rather than as a residential royal castle. Almost unchanged in appearance since Medieval times having never been destroyed, visitors can step back into history with a guided tour of the castle kitchen, wine cellar, bedchamber, great hall, armory, and keep.

Where: Braubach, Rhineland-Palatinate
When:
12th century
Style:
Medieval
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily excluding 24th and 25th December. Guided tours in English take place at 1 pm and 4 pm from the end of March to the start of November.

18. Maus Castle

Best Castles in Germany Maus-Castle

Known as Thurnberg Castle by it’s the correct name, this castle was built by Archbishop Balduin to protect his newly acquired territory in the mid-late 1300s and developed the nickname Maus (Mouse) Castle due to the building of Neukatzenelnbogen aka Katz Castle opposite. Visitors can take a guided tour around the interior of the castle or enjoy seeing the falcons, eagles, and owls at the on site aviary.

Where: Wellmich, Rhineland-Palatinate
When:
14th century
Style:
Medieval
Open for visit:
Occasionally – Check website for details of guided tours.

19. Moritzburg Castle

German Castles Moritzburg-Castle

This opulent pleasure castle/palace with its striking bronze colored turrets sits on an artificial island that is symmetrical and includes a Rococo palace on a large pond known as The Moritzburg Little Pheasant Castle as well as the only lighthouse in Saxony; Maritime Flair. Explore the grounds of the castle park as you walk beside the canals and through the forest enjoying the views.

Where: Moritzburg, Saxony
When:
18th century
Style:
Baroque
Open for visit:
Yes. Castle open daily from 10 am between May-October with the lighthouse open every last Sunday of the month.

20. Moyland Castle

Famous Castles in Germany Moyland-Castle

This picturesque moated castle is a must-see due to its neo-Gothic architecture and collection of Joseph Beuy paintings making it a historic castle with ornate gardens containing 470 varieties of Hortensia and an art museum in one.

Where: Bedburg-Hau, North Rhine-Westphalia
When:
14th century
Style:
Neo-Gothic
Open for visit:
Yes. Gardens open all week and castle open Tuesday-Sunday from 11 am weekdays and 10 am weekends.

21. Munzenberg Castle

Best Castles in Germany Munzenberg-Castle

This ruined castle with not one but two round towers measuring 29 meters tall is considered one of the best-preserved castles in Germany from the High Middle Ages and is a superb example of Romanesque architecture.

Where: Munzenberg, Hesse
When:
12th century
Style:
Medieval
Open for visit:
Yes, open daily.

22. Neuschwanstein Castle

German Castles Neuschwanstein-Castle

Built by King Ludwig II as a private refuge, Neuschwanstein Castle is a breathtaking piece of fairytale architecture built on a rugged hilltop overlooking the village of Hohenschwangau. It is one of the most popular castles in the whole of Europe with visitors able to take a guided tour of the castle interior to see the lavish apartments and staterooms.

Where: Hohenschwangau, Bavaria
When:
19th century
Style:
Romanesque-revival
Open for visit:
Yes open daily excluding 24th, 25th, 31st December and 1st January.

23. Nurburg Castle

Famous Castles in Germany Nurburg-Castle

Captured by Swedish, French, and Imperial troops and used as a fortress, prison, and quarry, Nurburg Castle complex has a rich history having been built and destroyed several times over. The castle today lies in ruin, the main remaining feature being the tower that visitors can climb to enjoy panoramic views through these sadly don’t reach quite as far as the Nurburg racetrack!

Where: Nurburg, Rhineland-Palatinate
When:
12th century
Style:
Medieval
Open for visit:
Yes. Open from 10 am but closed Tuesdays and if there is snow.

24. Nuremberg Castle

Best German Castles Nuremberg-Castle

Explore the group of fortified buildings that make up Nuremberg Castle aka Kaiserburg, one of Europe’s most chilling medieval forts and the most important imperial castle of the Holy Roman Empire. Visit the Knights Hall, Sinwell Tower, as well as the castle gardens, Deep Well, and Palace Chapel as you discover the historical importance of this place.

Where: Nuremberg, Bavaria
When:
11th century
Style:
Medieval
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily excluding 1st January, Shrove Tuesday, 24th, 25th, and 31st December.

25. Pfalzgrafenstein Castle

Castles in Germany Pfalzgrafenstein-Castle

Located on a tiny island in the middle of the River Rhine sits the picturesque toll-station castle of Pfalzgrafenstein. Built in the shape of a boat with an iconic pentagon-shaped, this was once a stronghold, built by King Ludwig as a means to collect money from boats sailing along the river. Visitors can learn the history of the castle on a guided tour led by costumed guides.

Where: Pfalz Island, Rhineland-Palatinate
When:
14th century
Style:
Baroque
Open for visit:
Guided tours by appointment only. Castle is accessible by ferry, times vary depending on tide and weather conditions.

26. Rheinstein Castle

Best Castles in Germany Rheinstein-Castle

Rising 270 feet above the Rhine, the privately-owned Rheinstein Castle grows up from a rocky ridge surrounded by trees in the Loreley Valley. Originally built as a customs post during the German Empire, the castle that is seen today dates from 1823 and is complete with a working drawbridge and portcullis. Admire the surrounding views from the courtyard gardens where the Burgundy grapevine is grown before exploring inside the castle itself.

Where: Trechtingshausen, Rhineland-Palatinate
When:
10th century
Style:
Medieval
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily from March-November. Closed December-February.

27. Rochlitz Castle

German Castles Rochlitz-Castle

Otherwise known as Rochlitz Palace, this palace/castle with its two towers and Gothic chapel stands on the site of a former imperial palace with a history of more than 1,000 years. Discover the history of the Wettin family and the life story of Elizabeth Rochlitz, a Lutheran convert who introduced the Reformation into Saxony.

Where: Rochlitz, Saxony
When:
14th-15th century
Style:
Gothic
Open for visit:
Yes. Open from 10 am Tuesday-Sunday between April-October.

28. Schwerin Castle

Famous Castles in Germany Schwerin-Castle

Built on an island on Schwerin lake, this Castle has been the home of dukes and grand dukes for centuries and is certainly a sight to behold with its pointed turrets reflected in the water below. Although dating back to the 13th century, much of what is seen today comes from the 19th century when the castle was renovated in the neo-renaissance style, modelled heavily on the French Château of Chambord.

Where: Schwerin, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
When:
19th century
Style:
Neo-Renaissance
Open for visit:
Yes, open all year Tuesday-Sunday from 10 am

29. Sigmaringen Castle

Best German Castles Sigmaringen-Castle

The second-largest palace in Germany and contains an incredible collection of armories, Sigmaringen Castle (otherwise known as Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen Castle) sits on the top of a hill overlooking the town. Visitors can take a tour inside the castle complex to learn the turbulent history of the House of Hohenzollern, once a powerful dynasty, and the Swabian branch of the family who has owned the castle since 1535.

Where: Sigmaringen, Baden-Württemberg
When:
11th century
Style:
Gothic
Open for visit:
Open daily from 9 am excluding 24th, 25th, 31st December.

30. Stolzenfels Castle

Castles in Germany Stolzenfels-Castle

Located above the River Rhine, this magnificent UNESCO palace is a prime example of Prussian Rhine romanticism. Starting out as a Medieval fortress, the 19th-century building seen today was developed from the 13th-century ruins by Prussian Crown prince Frederick William and has 5 gardens plus a landscaped park for visitors to enjoy.

Where: Koblenz, Rhineland-Palatinate
When:
19th century
Style:
Gothic Revival
Open for visit:
Yes. Open weekends and bank holiday Monday’s February-mid March and all of November and Tuesday-Sunday plus holidays between mid-March-October. Closed December and January.

31. Marienberg Fortress

Best Castles in Germany Marienberg-Fortress

This mighty fortress dominates the city of Wurzburg, visible from everywhere thanks to its hilltop position. Settled since the Bronze Age, it served as a residence for the Wurzburg prince-bishops for close to 5 centuries. The round Marienkapelle is one of the oldest church buildings in Southern Germany but the 40-meter high keep, the well house, the Scherenberg gate, and gardens don’t disappoint either!

Where: Wurzburg, Bavaria
When:
12th century
Style:
Renaissance / Baroque
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily with guided tours in English available April-October.

32. Zwingenberg Castle

Ge rman Castles Zwingenberg-Castle

One of the most beautiful castles found along the banks of the River Neckar, Zwingenberg Castle is inhabited by Ludwig Prince of Baden, a descendant of Grand Duke Charles Frederick of Baden. Open-air opera shows take place once a year in the courtyard and shouldn’t be missed if your trip coincides with the event in July-August but hikers will enjoy the scenic trails behind the castle at any time of the year.

Where: Zwingenberg, Baden-Württemberg
When:
13th century
Style:
Gothic
Open for visit:
Guided tours available upon request.

33. Bentheim Castle 

Famous Castles in Germany Bentheim-Castle

This impressive castle is one of the oldest in North-West Germany and towers over the spa town providing visitors with stunning views. Step inside to see the Knight’s Hall, the Powder Tower, and the Torture Chamber as you learn the legend of Bentheim Castle on a daytime tour or, better still, an evening torchlight tour that’s sure to send tingles down your spine!

Where: Bad Bentheim, Lower Saxony
When:
11th century
Style:
Medieval/Gothic
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily from 10 am

34. Berwartstein Castle

Best German Castles Berwartstein-Castle

One of the rock castles that made up part of the Palatinate defenses during the Middle Ages, Berwartstein Castle is the only one that was rebuilt and lived in after its demolition though today is just a reconstruction of the original rock castle. Step inside and learn about the raids and misdeeds of the legendary Palatinate armed forces marshal and army commander, Hans Trapp.

Where: Erlenbach bei Dahn, Rhineland-Palatinate
When:
12th century
Style:
Medieval
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily between March and October and weekends November to February.

35. Blankenhain Castle

Castles in Germany Blankenhain-Castle

This large lakeside castle with its beautiful mansard roof and domed towers is home to the Agricultural Museum. Covering 11 hectares the open-air museum includes 80 buildings and 100 exhibitions that show visitors what farming and rural life was like in Germany between 1890 and 1990.

Where: Blankenhain, Saxony
When:
12th century
Style:
Baroque
Open for visit:
Yes. Museum open Tuesday-Sunday Mid February until April and Mid October til Mid November and daily from May to mid-October. Closed Mid November-Mid February.

36. Albrechtsburg

Best Castles in Germany Albrechtsburg

Germany’s oldest castle, Albrechtsburg started off as a wooden fortress in the year 929 with the late Gothic complex that is seen today, being built from 1471 onwards. Meant to be used as a representative administration centre and residential palace rather than for defense purposes, Albrechtsburg actually went unused much of the time until it became Europe’s first porcelain factory.

Where: Meissen, Saxony
When:
15th century
Style:
Gothic
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily excluding 24th and 25th December, 1st January and 7th-19th January.

37. Dresden Castle

German Castles Dresden-Castle

This Royal Palace is almost 800 years old making it one of the oldest buildings in Dresden and was used for nearly 400 years as a home for the electors and kings of Saxony of the Albertine line. Restored after the bombings of WWII, Dresden Castle today contains the Dresden State Art Collection in the magnificent palace rooms.

Where: Dresden, Saxony
When: 14th century
Style:
Renaissance Revival
Open for visit:
Yes. Open Tuesday-Sunday from 10 am closed Mondays.

38. Mespelbrunn Castle

Famous Castles in Germany Mespelbrunn-Castle

This fascinating and truly beautiful moated castle is located in the Spessart forest and has become the forgoer for what a German water castle is. With a 15th century tower, most of what you see of the home of the Counts of Ingelheim today is Renaissance style.

Where: Mespelbrunn, Bavaria
When:
15th-16th century
Style:
Romanesque
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily from 9 am Spring-Autumn, closed Winter (November-March)

39. Reichsburg Cochem

 Best German Castles Reichsburg-Cochem

This imperial castle with its panoramic views across the village and down to the river Moselle is a castle that charms visitors with its looks both inside and out. The castle seen today is the second castle to stand on the site, the first being destroyed by King Louis XIV  in 1689 where it remained in ruin for 180 years until 1868.

Where: Cochem, Rhineland-Palatinate
When:
11th century
Style:
Neo-Gothic
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily excluding 25th December with limited tours available January-February (Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday).

40. Wartburg Castle

Castles in Germany Wartburg-Castle

Dating back to the Middle Ages, the UNESCO listed Wartburg Castle takes visitors back 1,000 years to explore German history from the time of the feudal period when the hilltop castle was founded. Visitors today can see the splendor in the Ceremonial Hall and the Wartburg Castle Art Collection that includes paintings, tapestries, and furniture, and learn about the history of the castle at the museum.

Where: Eisenach, Thuringia
When:
12th century
Style:
Romanesque
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily. Guided tours in English available at 1.30 pm.

41. Wernigerode Castle

Best Castles in Germany Wernigerode-Castle

Originally a Medieval fortress used as a hunting lodge by German Emperors in the 12th century, the castle that is seen today dates from the 16th-19th century. Step inside on a guided tour to visit 40 of the castle’s grand living quarters and learn the history of the castle at the exhibitions.

Where: Wernigerode, Saxony-Anhalt
When:
12th century
Style:
Romanesque
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily excluding 25th December and 1st January.

42. Glücksburg Castle

German Castles Glücksburg-Castle

An important example of Renaissance architecture, Glücksburg Castle complex is Germany’s largest moated castle used by the Danish Kings and built on a former Cistercian monastery. Today, after 400 years, it is still the seat of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.

Where: Glücksburg, Schleswig-Holstein
When:
16th century
Style:
Romanesque
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily May-October and weekends only November-April.

43. Nordkirchen Castle

Famous Castles in Germany Schloss-Nordkirchen

Rivalling Versailles in France thanks to its Baroque architecture and landscaped gardens, Nordkirchen Castle is certainly impressive. The chapel features stucco work and ceiling frescoes whilst the gardens are a mix of English landscaped gardens and Baroque gardens. Wander the pathways as you take in the topiary and sculptures around every corner with half-timbered old houses also in the grounds before stepping foot inside the castle to see the Juniper Ball Room.

Where: Nordkirchen, North Rhine Westphalia
When:
18th century
Style:
Baroque
Open for visit:
Garden open all year. Guided tours of the palace available Sundays and public holidays or on other days by appointment.