Top 10 Best Castles in Germany:
Out of all the countries in Europe, Germany hands down has the best collection of amazing castles! From defensive Medieval wonders to fairytale castles straight out of a storybook, Germany has it all. Some of the magnificent structures were built to protect towns, while others were formed just for the pleasure of mad kings.
In the past, some of these properties have helped inspire Brother’s Grimm to write timeless tales, provided the backdrop for Frankenstein’s laboratory, and even gave Walt Disney the model to create his own iconic castle. Our complete list of the best castles in Germany is to sure spark to your imagination just like they have done for travelers over many centuries!
Best Castles in Germany:
1. Neuschwanstein Castle (Füssen, Germany):
About Neuschwanstein Castle: Tucked on the edge of the mountains South of Munich is the crown jewel of Europe’s fairytale castles and the best castle in Germany, Neuschwanstein (website). Meaning New Swanstone Castle, Neuschwanstein (Noy-shvahn-shtine) is so impressive that Walt Disney used it as his model for Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. From the alpine setting overlooking a lake, to the timeless design, and lavish interior, you’ll quickly understand why Disney loved Neuschwanstein so much. It is not just one of the best castles to visit in Germany, but maybe the best fairytale castle in the World.
While the Neuschwanstein may look like it is straight out of the Middle Ages, Germany’s best castle was actually the work of Bavarian King Ludwig II in the mid-1800s. The site had formerly been the fortress of the Knights of Schwangau from the 1100s until 1535, but laid in ruins by the time Ludwig’s dad King Maximilian II built the family home on the hill below. Ludwig grew up in the shadow of the ruins and was inspired to build his masterpiece through his obsession with the works of opera composer Richard Wagner. The castle has everything from a man-made grotto cave to tons of grand rooms that only a theater mind could drum up. It was fitting that when Wagner went broke, Ludwig let him move into Neuschwanstein where he wrote some of his best work. One of our favorite things to do at Neuschwanstein is to explore Mary’s Bridge (closed in winter) which spans a large waterfall behind the castle. You can even hike further past the bridge for unique elevated views of Neuschwanstein.
Along with a guided tour into the depths of Neuschwanstein, you will also get to tour King Ludwig’s boyhood castle Hohenschwangau (website) which sits right next door and also made our top castles in Germany list (explained below). Visiting both castles together gives you a lot better insight into the King behind Europe’s greatest castle. Just as fun as the castles is taking a paddleboat out onto nearby Swan Lake just like the young King Ludwig did in his childhood. As you leave it is crazy to think that in his day the citizens called Ludwig the Mad King and got upset about his grand projects. They even got so mad that they kicked him out of office after getting fed up with his overspending. As time has passed, however, Ludwig has become beloved in Bavaria for the beauty of his projects.
Getting Here: Take the train directly from Munich to Füssen (2:05) then either Bus 73 or 78 directly to the Castles’ ticket office (0:10). It is 1:45 by rental car. Important Ticket Tip: This is the crown jewel of worldwide fairytale castles and therefore are super busy so it sells out daily. We highly suggest reserving your tickets at least 3 days in advance and arrive at will call 90 minutes before your tour time. Reservations Online: HERE. Reservations By Phone: +49 (0) 8362-930830.
2. Burg Eltz (Münstermaifeld, Germany):
About Burg Eltz: Tucked into a lush valley, Burg Eltz is one of the greatest fairy tale castles in the World. The current castle was built from 1490-1540, and the property has been in the hands of a single family for over 33 generations since 1157. Burg Eltz is only one of 3 castles in the Rhine River region from Medieval times that hasn’t been destroyed or re-built over time.
Because of its protected location, Burg Eltz can be tricky to get to. While there is a bus on weekends in the Summer, most visitors who don’t have a rental car will have to either taxi or hike from nearby Moselkern. Hiking lets you truly feel the seclusion of this fairytale castle and helps make your first glance a pure Medieval fantasy. As you pass onto the stone bridge into the huge castle you can feel its history which originally dates back to before the 1100s. It was in 1157 that the Eltz family acquired the deed to the property and started expanding. Interestingly, Count and Countess Eltz, who are direct decedents still manage and live on the property today.
If you wish to explore the area further a day trip riding down the Rhine River will let you see dozens of more castles stilling high above the water. The nearby off-shoot of the Mosel River is also great and leads to one of our favorite Medieval towns in Europe, Cochem.
Seasonality: Please note that the interior tours of the castle are closed from late-Fall until mid-Spring each year. You can still hike here in the Winter as long as you are dressed for the snow but will only see it from the outside. Getting Here: If you have a car there is a huge parking lot just uphill from the castle. On weekends in the summer, there is a Castle Bus (#330) that goes here from Hatzenport if you are coming from Koblenz or from Treis-Karden if you are coming from Cochem. If you go by taxi it is cheapest to get it from Moselkern Station and it can be prearranged or you can do a dream-like 60-minute hike from the Moselkern train station. Castle Website: (HERE).
3. Hohenzollern Castle (Hechingen, Germany):
About Hohenzollern Castle: Hohenzollern Castle is one of the most amazing castles in Europe and is bound to inspire images of dragon myths. The Castle almost doesn’t seem real as it sits high up on a hilltop in the German countryside. The Prussian Royal family has a house on this hilltop since 1061 AD and a full-on castle since 1267. The castle has changed style over the years and even required a complete rebuild in 1423, but the Prussian Royal Family has remained its caretakers. It is almost unheard of to have the same royal family control a castle property for so long.
Today the Prince of Prussia and his wife still live in the Hohenzollern, but they keep their fairytale castle open to the public. We absolutely love the way they do their tours as your guide will be wearing an authentic Medieval outfit. During the slow season, they even let you roam parts of the Castle without a guide at your own pace. The family also has Sigmaringen Castle (website) right in the middle of the city of Sigmaringen to fall back on during the months when Hohenzollern gets too busy. It was in this urban castle where Frederick Miller starting brewing beer for the royal family before moving to the United States to found Miller Beer in 1855.
Getting Here: By rental car, it is a 45-minute drive from Stuttgart plus either a 15-minute shuttle ride or a 30-minute steep hike from the parking lot. By public transportation from Stuttgart by train to Hechingen (0:33), followed by the castle shuttle (0:15) which meets the incoming trains at 11:25 & 1:25 daily (4 additional times on the weekends during peak season). Remember that it is also close to Lichtenstein Castle so you can see both. Castle Website: (HERE).
4. Lichtenstein Castle (Lichtenstein, Germany):
About Lichtenstein Castle: Clinging to the edge of a cliff and connected to land by a series of drawbridges, Lichtenstein Castle is fantastic! At the beginning of the Middle Ages, the Knights of Lichtenstein built a fortified stronghold in the nearby village down in the valley. After the fortress was destroyed in the Revolt of 1377, the local Lord of Lichtenstein decided to build a new cliffside castle 15 minutes outside of town. In 1567 the Lord of Lichtenstein’s family lost their title and the fortress went into disrepair.
By the 1800s Lichtenstein Castle became a royal hunting lodge which was bought by Count Wilhelm of Württemberg in 1837. Using the foundation of the original Medieval fortress, Count Wilhelm built the amazing fairytale castle you can tour today. The family Count Wilhelm of Württemberg is currently on their 4th generation of running the stunning castle. The fine details like the dwarf benches along with the panoramic valley views and the overall look of the fortress make it one of the top ten castles in Germany.
Getting Here: By rental car, it is 45 minutes from Stuttgart. By public transportation from Stuttgart it is about 2 hours with the train to Reutlingen (0:40), followed by Bus 400 to Honau (0:30), and a 45-minute walk up to the castle. Remember that it is also close to Hohenzollern Castle so you can see both in one day especially if you rent a car. Castle Website: (HERE).
5. Schweriner Castle (Schwerin):
About Schweriner Castle: Straight out of a dream, this mega-sized castle sits on an island in the middle of Schwerin Lake. As Germany’s third-largest lake, there has been a fortress here in 973 when Slav tribes settled the area. With battles between Germanic tribes and noblemen of the romantic location, the castle eventually fell under the rule of local Dukes.
In the 1500s most of the castle was rebuilt, greatly expanding the grounds. Duke Friedrich Franz II remodeled the castle into what you see today in 1850. He worked off as much of the original rooms as he could while expanding Schweriner Castle into a grand 653 room palace. Seeing the castle over the lake and touring the vast gardens are an amazing way to spend part of a day.
Visiting Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm, stays open until 6pm in Summer. Cost: 6€ per Adult or 10€ for a Family ticket. Castle Website: (HERE).
6. Cochem Imperial Castle (Cochem, Germany):
About Reichsburg Castle: As a tiny village of 5,000 residents clinging to the wine terraced banks of the Mosel River, Cochem is an unreal Medieval town. The rows of colorful houses are dominated by the Gothic tower of the Cochem Imperial Castle (Reichsburg) perched high above which dates back to in 1000 AD. While the castle was restored in the 1800s after previously being damaged by the French, large sections from the original castle remain. This may be the smallest of the fortresses to make out top castles to visit in Germany list, but it is definitely one of the best.
Cochem Imperial Castle was built by the powerful Count Ezzo whose wife, Matilda, was the daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Otto II. The couple’s daughter Richeza became the Queen of Poland (1025-1034) through marriage and her own daughter Ryksa became the Queen of Hungary (1039-1043). This all added to the importance of the family and their ancestral seat in Cochem.
The Cochem castle officially gained Imperial status when the King of Germany Conrad III (House Hohenstaufen) stayed here in 1151. As a descendant of Charlemagne The Great, Conrad was destined to become the Holy Roman Emperor until he died in 1152. Conrad wasn’t the Emperor but ruled Germany and the Romans over a period where there was no Holy Roman Emperor (1137 to 1155) until Conrad III’s nephew Frederick I Barbarossa was crowned. Based out of Rothenburg, Germany he united much of the city-states and is often called Germany’s 1st real king.
The Cochem Imperial Castle has remained true to its roots and now holds great ghost tours, a knight’s meal, and a Medieval feast. The appeal for us at Reichsburg Castle is the authentic feel, unique events, and smaller groups of tourists than at many of Germany’s more famous castles. To put your visit over the top, consider staying at the Burghotel which is filled full are knight’s armor and has Medieval themed rooms.
Getting Here: Directly from Market Square in Cochem, Bus 781 leaves roughly every 20 minutes up to the castle which saves you a very steep 15-20 hike up. Castle Website: (HERE).
7. Heidelberg Castle (Heidelberg, Germany):
About Heidelberg Castle: The remains of the Heidelberg Castle complex are a real treat. The castle started in 1196 with the upper castle which was followed by the lower castle in 1212 which was completed in 1225. The biggest expansion happened when Holy Roman Emperor Rupert III decided to make the small castle into his palace in 1410. The complex was one of the most impressive in Germany one of the most visited by the Emperor. At its peak, Heidelberg Castle was considered the grandest palaces of the Renaissance.
In 1537 the upper Heidelberg Castle was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. The lower palace was spared from the fire, but 150 years later it was besieged by the French in the War of the Grand Alliance. Although the lower castle was rebuilt it too was struck by lightning in 1764 and badly damaged by fire. Today touring the remaining parts of Heidelberg Castle along with the ruins today is unreal. The experience starts as you see the ruins of Heidelberg Castle sitting above both the town and the river. Working through the courtyards you’ll pass working fountains from the old gardens which were called the 8th wonder of the world in their day.
Our favorite thing to see is the Heidelberg Tun from 1751 which is considered the world’s largest wine vat. The huge wooden barrel is 23 feet tall, 28 feet wide, and can hold over 58,000 gallons of wine. The vat was built by Prince Elector Karl Theodor to store the enormous amount of wine that he was given as tax payments. After visiting Heidelberg, it will be no wonder that Mark Twain wrote about his travels to the inspiring castle and that author Victor Hugo would also visit the castle grounds often.
Castle Website: (HERE).
8. Burg Frankenstein (Darmstadt, Germany):
About Frankenstein’s Castle: Now in partial ruin, this castle was built for Lord Conrad II Reiz in 1250 and was later the inspiration for Mary Shelley’s book Frankenstein in 1818. Most of the folklore was based on the life of Johann Conrad Dippel who was born in the castle in 1673. Dippel was an alchemist who set up a lab in the castle and produced animal oils he would sell which he marketed as the elixir of life.
It’s said that Mary Shelley heard some of the local folklore surrounding Dippel while on a cruise up the Rhine River in 1814. It is no wonder that Shelley was able to run with the story as she grew up with her step-mother working as an English translator for the Brothers Grimm who wrote quite creepy fairy tales.
In WW2, American soldiers had a Halloween party at the castle which has since been an annual event. In addition, the Frankenstein Castle restaurant often hosts scary dinners and Medieval banquets here.
Hours & Tours: The castle ruins are open daily from 9am to sundown. Tours can be arranged ahead of time, plus they have set tours on Sundays at 2pm & 3:30pm. Cost: Free. How To Get To The Castle: While you have to hike the final 30 minutes up to the castle, you can reach the starting point by car or by public transportation. From Frankfurt, it is only 1 hour (90 minutes from the airport) or 2 hours from Heidelberg as you take the train or bus to Bickenbach (Bergstr) followed by Bus BE1 to the Eberstadt Frankenbergers Mühle stop. Castle Website: (HERE).
9. Nuremberg Imperial Castle (Nürnberg, Germany):
About Nuremberg Imperial Castle: The elevated Nurmeburg Castle not only protected the city in Medieval times but was the main reason why it grew into a powerhouse. The biggest event happened in 1356 when Emperor Charles IV declared that this castle would be the place where every new Holy Roman Emperor would have to hold their first Diet (government session). The move shifted a lot of power to the castle helped the village of Nurmeburg boom from under 4,000 to well over 30,000 residents in only one century.
The Imperial castle was started by Holy Roman Emperor Heinrich III (house Hohenstaufen) in 1050 then largely completed by his great-grandson King Conrad III of Germany. Over the centuries the castle was enhanced and still looks today much like it did in the 1560s with pieced like the Deep Well, Double Chapel, and Round Tower mainly escaping damage from WW2.
The amazing Nurmeburg Imperial Castle truly is a treat and would be in our top 5 castles in Germany it is hadn’t been 90% ruined by bombings in World War 2. Luckily most of the castle was quickly rebuilt as it was before the war-making for a very enjoyable visit today.
10. Braunfels Castle (Braunfels, Germany):
About Braunfels Castle: Sitting just North of Frankfurt, the fortified castle in Braunfels was built in 1246 to protect the village against the Counts of Nassau. The hilltop castle was expanded many times over the centuries but was badly damaged in the Thirty Years’ War while it changed hands 7 times in the mid-1600s. In 1845, the “Hunting Prince” Ferdinand had the castle re-built on the original foundation including the Knights Hall and Keep off of historic records. The amazing silhouette and towers were added in 1880 by Prince Georg.
Seasonal Hours: Castle is open daily from April-October with tours running every hour starting at 11am. Tour in English is every Saturday at 1pm or other times with a request in advance. Closed in the Winter. Tour Cost: 7€ for adults and 2.50€ for kids. Castle Website: (HERE).
11. Wernigerode Castle (Wernigerode, Germany):
About Wernigerode Castle: After the tiny village was established here by Count of Wernigerode in 1121, a fortification was created on the hillside as their residence. The first mention of the home as a full castle in 1213 and it became a secure stop for German Kings during their hunting trips in the Harz area. After the line of Wernigerode Counts died out in 1429 numerous other nobles owned the castle through the 30 Years War after which it required a substantial repair. Since it was first built in 1213, this Saxon hill-top castle has been rebuilt many times. The current version was built in the 1800s and looks like it could be straight out of a vampire movie.
Christian Ernest, whose dad was a high-ranking Prussian politician and the first Vice-Chancellor of Germany took ownership of Wernigerode Castle in the late-1800s. Ernest had bigger plans for the Medieval castle and wanted to rebuild it in the fairytale style which he completed in 1893. The current version of the castle looks like it could be straight out of a vampire movie.
The towers of the Wernigerode, the silhouette it makes above the town, and the extensive tour options make it one of the best castles to visit in Germany. Unlike other castles in Germany where you only see a dozen rooms, a visit here lets you visit the interiors of almost 50 rooms two-part tour. As you walk through the lavish spaces you will feel like you have traveled back 600 years in time and it’s amazing the rooms are in reality so young.
Castle Website: Here.
12. Hohenschwangau Castle (Füssen, Germany):
About Hohenschwangau Castle: Sitting below the shadow of the fairy tale Neuschwanstein, is another top castle to visit in Germany called Hohenschwangau. The beautiful bright orange Hohenschwangau (Ho-en-shvahn-gau) was the childhood home of King Ludwig II (House Wittelsbach) and is the more lived-in of the family’s famous castles. Because of this, the rooms in Hohenschwangau Castle are very interesting and well decorated. This beauty and the family history of Hohenschwangau make it one of the best castles in Germany.
Originally the property was part of the fort for the Knights of Schwangau which they controlled from the 1100s until 1535 called Schwanstien. Over the centuries to follow the fortress fell into ruins until it was bought by Bavarian Crown Prince Maximilian in 1832. Following the plans of the ruined Schwanstien, he built the Hohenschwangau castle you see today in a neo-Gothic style.
The new Hohenschwangau (High Country Of The Swans) became a family retreat as Maximilian became King and was where he raised his son Ludwig II. From the lakeside castle, a young Ludwig could see the additional castle ruins up the hill which let his imagination run wild. He would later build Neuschwanstein Castle and many other extravagant projects which led him to be called Mad King Ludwig.
Hohenschwangau is a must-visit to get a better picture of the Wittelsbach family history before heading up to the hill to tour the more famous Neuschwanstein Castle. If it wasn’t for the fast-paced tour schedule rigidly cramming in one group after another the Hohenschwangau Castle would be even higher on our list of the best castles to visit in Germany.
Getting Here From Munich: It sits right below Neuschwanstein Castle and is seen with a combo ticket (see directions above). Entrance Ticket Tip: We highly suggest calling ahead for your tickets you’ll have almost no wait without the risk of getting turned away. Reservations Phone: +49 (0) 8362-930830. Castle Website: (HERE).
13. Mespelbrunn Water Castle (Mespelbrunn, Germany):
About Mespelbrunn Water Castle: Reflecting off of its natural moat, the Mespelbrunn Water Castles is one of the most magical places in Germany. It was originally built as a remote farmhouse in the 1100s before fortifications and a tower was added in 1427. Over the centuries many of the fortifications were removed as the rural location and natural moat from the lake added ample protection. In 1958 the water castle was used in the film The Spessart Inn which was based on a fairy tale written by Wilhelm Hauff.
Visiting Hours: Closed in Winter. Open Daily starting in March 9am-5pm. Cost: 4€ which includes a 40 minute guided tour. Castle Website:(HERE).
14. Wartburg Castle (Eisenach, Germany):
About Wartburg Castle: Built in 1067, this castle has an amazing history. At the turn of the 13th Century, it was one of the most important castles in the region after attracting many famous poets. This led to it hosting the annual Minstrels’ Contest which was medieval to the max.
The castle’s biggest claim to fame happened in 1521 when religious icon Martin Luther stayed here for a year following his ex-communication by Pope Leo X. Working at breakneck speed, Luther translated the entire Bible from ancient Greek into German in just 10 weeks. It quickly became the most widely circulated version of the Bible in German. Today you can still see the room where Luther worked and stayed. We love touring the medieval banquet hall and checking out the amazing frescoes at the castle.
Castle Website: (HERE).
15. Schönburg Castle (Oberwesel, Germany):
About Schönburg Castle: Sitting high above the Rhine River, the study Schönburg Castle was first mentioned in 911. While many other castles on the Rhine are partial ruins, Schönburg was preserved because of a unique family decision. Early on the family decided that when the duke died the castle would be inherited by all of the sons instead of just the oldest which was a more common practice. Because of this, there were many more stakeholders in the property and at its height, in the 1300s there were 250 people from 24 families living in the castle.
After the castle was burned in 1689 it fell into ruin until a German-American family bought it in 1914 to begin restorations. It was sold back to the city in 1950 and operates as a family-run hotel thanks to a long-term lease. It is one of the rare chances in Germany to stay overnight in a castle which is a magical experience.
Cost Per Night: $200 for a single room up to $400 for the biggest suite. All rooms include a welcome drink, breakfast, and 4-course dinner. Castle Hotel Website: (HERE).
16. Löwenberg Castle (Kassel, Germany):
About Löwenberg Castle: Modeled after an actual Medieval knights castle, Löwenberg was built as a private home from 1793-1800 by Landgraf Wilhelm IX. The castle was a masterpiece, but start to fall into ruin after Landgraf’s death. Today it is part of the larger Wilhelmshöhe Park which is a great place to visit.
Around the park, Colossal Palace was built 1700-1717 capped with a huge Hercules Monument and tiered ponds going down the hill. The water features are turned on as a show every day in the Summer and Fall starting around 2pm and includes man-made waterfalls. Museum from 1778 and numerous outbuildings adding in the 1800s including a greenhouse. Because of the different attractions, a visit to the castle is a well-rounded experience.
Visiting Hours: Summer they are open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm. In Winter they are open Friday -Sunday 10am-4pm. Castle Website: (HERE).
17. Burg Altena (Altena, Germany):
About Altena Castle: No German castle list is complete without Burg Altena. The Castle, built in 1108, became the 1st Youth Hostel Association hotel in the World in 1914 which paved the way for Europe’s modern hostel system. Hostels in general and even most Castle Hotels owe Burg Altena for blazing a new path. We like the thought of staying in a German castle hotel since the country has our 2 favorite castles in all of Europe Burg Eltz and Neuschwanstein.
Cost Per Night: Is only around $40 a night for an adult with discounts for kids. Must book on the Youth Hostel International website here. There are 5 hostel rooms in the Castle itself (3 beds, 4 beds, 13 beds, and 14 beds) and 5 rooms Jugendstil guesthouse near the main entrance. Hotel Website:(HERE).
Other Castle Hotel Options: Auf Schönburg Castle overlooking the Rhine Valley from a hilltop perch is another great choice in central Germany as the stretch of river is littered with castles. Landsberg Castle in Meiningen Germany is a little smaller but is covered in vines and has a great drum tower.
18. Burg Rheinstein (Trechtingshausen, Germany):
About Burg Rheinstein: If your goal is to visit the most castles possible over a small geographical area then the section of the Rhine River near Trechtingshausen, Germany is the place for you. This 60-mile length of the Romantic Rhine between Mainz and Koblenz has a dozen stunning perched along the river with Burg Rheinstein being one of our favorites to visit.
Built on the Rhine in 1323, the picturesque Burg Rheinstein Castle looks straight out of a fairy tale as it glares down at the Rhine River from its hilltop position. With numerous rough stone towers and some amazing vantage points to take in the river valley, the castle is breathtaking. While the property was re-built in the 1700s by Prince Frederick of Prussia it has remained one of the most authentic castles on the Rhine River. In addition to the towers and views of the Rhine, we especially love the small castle drawbridge.
Castle Website: (HERE). Nearby Castles: Schönburg Castle Hotel (mentioned earlier on this top castles in Germany page), Burg Stahleck, Sooneck Castle, Burg Ehrenfels, and the medieval village of Bacharach are all very close to Burg Rheinstein on this section of the Rhine River. It is very popular to take a day-long river cruise to see many of them from the water and most of the villages are also connected by local train.
19. Sigmaringen Castle (Sigmaringen, Germany):
About Sigmaringen Castle: City high on a rocky cliff in the center of Sigmaringen, Germany, this beautiful castle has been owned by the royal family of Prussia since the Middle Ages and they still live here! The family is today best known for the more famous Hohenzollern Castle, but the castle in Sigmaringen is a true hidden gem.
Outside of Buckingham Palace in London and a few others, it is extremely rare to be able to tour the lavish interiors of a European royal family’s active home. The piece of history that we like the most about Sigmaringen Castle is that it is the place where Fredrick Miller served as the royal brewmaster before immigrating to Milwaukee, Wisconsin (USA) where he founded the Miller Beer Company.
Castle Website: (HERE).
20. Drachenburg Castle (Bonn, Germany):
About Drachenburg Castle: Sitting on the edge of Dragon’s Rock (Drachen in German), the fairytale-style Drachenburg Castle is perched perfectly to provide stunning views of the German countryside near Bonn. The hilltop of Dragon’s Rock was famed in Medieval folklore as the location where the Norseman Sigurd slayed a dragon as it slept in a cave. This fable led the Bishop of Cologne to build the first castle, called Siebengebirge, on the hilltop in 1138AD. Siebengebirge was sacked in 1637 during the Thirty Years’ War and its ruins above Drachenburg Castle are a popular tourist destination.
With the history and the commanding views, Baron Stephan von Sarter built the current Drachenburg Castle in the shadow of the original in just 2 years from 1882-1884. Stephan grew up modestly as the son of a local innkeeper before getting super rich off of the stock market and by providing funding for the Suez Canal. To make the commute up the hilltop easier, he even built the Drachenfelsbahn railway, which is still used today. Stephan had meant to live in his new castle, however, he never did and died in Paris in 1902. After Stephan’s death, his nephew bought the estate and was going to build a huge amusement park around the castle, but he died in combat during WW1.
Later, in WW2, the castle served as a Nazi school for boys before being liberated by the Americans. Today you can tour the grounds and the amazing rooms of the castle including its famed staircases, mega-sized paintings, and beautiful Baroque details. One of the weirdest things in the glorious interior is a fake pipe organ which was added to the music room in 1971 by the last owner of the castle, Paul Spinat. The quirky owner would hold organ concerts with music that would play from a hidden tape recorder.
Castle Website: (HERE).
Honorable Mention Castles In Germany:
Marienburg Castle, Hanover: Stunning hilltop castle built in 1858 by King George V of Hanover as a birthday gift to his wife.
Stolzenfels Castle Koblenz: This unique castle was built in 1259 to protect the toll station that sat in the middle of the Rhine River. It was occupied by the French and Swedish many times before being destroyed in 1689. In the 1800s it was given by the city as a gift to Prussian Crown Prince Frederick William IV of Prussia who refurbished the run-down castle. Notable guest includes Queen Victoria of England.
Burresheim Castle, Mayen: Built in 1157, the stout Burresheim Castle was one of only two castles in the region to never be overtaken in the upheavals of the 1700s-1800 or the French Revolution.
Babelsberg Castle, Postdam: The reach of the Prussian Royal family and their castles were large. In addition to Hohenzollern and Sigmaringen Castles mentioned above, they also had Babelsberg Castle near Berlin. Prince Wilhelm of Hohenzollern built this one in 1833 as a Summer home before becoming King of Prussia and Germany. It is on the smaller side, but still pretty cool.
Landsberg Castle Hotel, Meiningen: Covered in vines with a great drum tower, this Medieval castle once served as a 4-star hotel before being turned into a private home. Located in Meiningen straight north of Nuremberg between Frankfurt & Berlin.
Marksburg Castle, Braubach: With a keep dating back to 1117, this is one of the few castles on this list that has been untouched since Medieval times.
Stahleck Castle, Bacharach: Dating back to 1135, this Rhine River castle is one of the oldest on our list. Today it serves as a youth hostel.
Herten Castle, Herten: Lakeside castle first built in the 1300s known for its beautiful reflection in the water.
Ehrenfels Castle, Rüdesheim: Built on the Rhine River by the Archbishop of Mainz in 1212 to protect the local territory. Today the ruins are smaller but surrounded by vineyards.
Sooneck Castle, Niederheimbach: Built over the Rhine River in 1271, the central tower is the only main part remaining of the castle.
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