Germany is home to around 20,000 castles with each having distinctive romantic vibes. A visit to these castles in Germany is more like stepping into a fairy tale setting. The romanticized medieval design is believed to be the real-life inspiration for many castles in the Walt Disney series. Be it the Romanesque, Baroque, Renaissance, or even Rococo, all these castles have over 2,000 years of history filled with knights, dukes, and the devastation from wars. Some of Europe’s finest and most famous castles were restored during the 18th and 19th centuries to their former glory. Come let’s go down memory lane and stimulate our imagination through these medieval castles in Germany.

11 Most Beautiful Castles In Germany To Visit

Nueschwanstein Castle

castles in germany
This castle is nestled in the Bavarian Alps on top of a rocky hill

Europe’s most popular tourist attraction, The Neuschwanstein Castle is what inspired Walt Disney to create the Magic Kingdom. Nestled in the Bavarian Alps on top of a rocky hill that overlooks Hohenschwangau Valley makes for some breathtaking views. This impressive 19th-century castle is a cross between neo-Romanesque and neo-Gothic mixed with fairy tales. It was not built for defense purposes like the others but was created as a fanciful retreat for Ludwig II of Bavaria.

An estimated 1 million visitors travel to Neuschwanstein Castle to enjoy its stunning landscape and vistas. So popular is this fantasy world that you need to reserve a visit several days in advance. Do take the guided tour to know in depth about the history and architecture of this magnificent structure. Exploring this place is the perfect way to spend a day in Germany.

Eltz Castle

german castles
It is also known as Burg Eltz Castle

Eltz Castle, also known as Burg Eltz Castle is situated in Southwest Germany near the Moselle River between Koblenz and Trier. This fairytale-like castle sits on a huge rock in the middle of a dense forest with its only access through a narrow bridge. The castle is owned by the Eltz family and has been carefully maintained and restored without altering the structure or interiors.

Its soaring stone walls and sharply pitched roofs contribute to the uniqueness of this medieval architecture. Its striking interiors, private collections of historic artworks, and a 15th-century kitchen are the highlights of this place. The armory and treasury filled with gold/silver artifacts, jewelry, glass, porcelain, ivory, and weapons are considered one of the best in Europe. Take an invigorating hike through the stunning valley and surrounding forest to make the most of your trip.

Reichsburg Castle

castles of germany
Majestically standing on a hilltop

Reichsburg Castle is one of the best and biggest castles to see in Germany. Standing 300 feet above the scenic town of Cochem and the Moselle River is the stunning Reichsburg Castle. It remained a ruin for 180 years until a wealthy Berlin businessman Louis Ravené decided to buy the ruins and rebuild the castle. But, instead of restoring the castle to its original Romanesque style, he created a Neo-Gothic castle to use as a summer residence for him and his family.

Reichsburg Castle offers different tours, fun activities, and events keeping varied interests in mind. Prepare to be dazzled by the landscape garden tour, a ghost tour, and the night watchman tour, each offering riveting stories and historical facts about the castle. Autumn and winter are absolutely gorgeous times to visit Reichsburg Castle. You can wind up the tour by sitting down to The Knights’ Meal. 

Hohenzollern Castle

famous castles in germany
Hohenzollern Castle on the mountain, Germany. This castle is a famous landmark in Stuttgart’s vicinity. Aerial panoramic view of Burg Hohenzollern in summer. The landscape of the Swabian Alps with the Gothic castle.

The list of top castles in Germany isn’t complete without Hohenzollern Castle. It was built in the mid-19th century on the ruins of two preceding castles by King Frederick William IV of Prussia. This castle gets its name as it sits atop Mount Hohenzollern, 50 km south of Stuttgart. It was the ancestral home of the Hohenzollern family, but today it is a museum unlike any other. Many of the dynasty’s royal artifacts and treasures, like the Prussian royal crown, Fredrick the Great’s uniform, the silver-embroidered dress belonging to Queen Louise, and the famous snuff box that saved Frederick’s life are displayed here.

The mix of military architecture and Gothic Revival style along with splendid views of the surrounding neighborhoods are simply breathtaking. The castle is open year-round, and the panoramic views of rolling forest, December weekend Christmas markets, restaurants, and souvenir shops are what make this place worth the visit. 

Schwerin Castle

famous castle in germany
Beautiful castle on an island in the Schweriner Lake

Unlike other castles, which sit atop steep hills, Schwerin Castle sits on an island in Schweriner Lake. The castle, with its many towers and turrets, is entirely surrounded by water and forest. The only thing that connects to this castle is a bridge. The picturesque castle was rebuilt many times during its long history which is as early as the 10th century. Centuries back it was home to the grand dukes of Mecklenburg but today it serves as a museum and as a government building.

The most significant architectural creations of the romantic historicism era in Europe are widely admired for their architectural marvel and attention to detail. Its magnificent Throne Room, beautiful ballrooms, onion-domed cupolas, gallery of paintings, and tea caddy tower are the highlights here. A special mention for the most impressive baroque gardens in northern Germany with beautiful flower beds and sculptures.

Heidelberg Castle

medieval castles in germany
Heidelberg, Germany – July 16, 2015: Illuminated Heidelberg Castle at Night

Set against the deep green forests on the north flank of Königstuhl hill is the Heidelberg Castle which rises to the top of everyone’s list of famous castles in Germany. Even though it’s partially ruined by war and lightning in two separate incidents, this massive red sandstone Castle is one of the best surviving examples of German Renaissance architecture.

The majestic sandstone structure and warm color contrast with the green forest dominate the skyline. A walk along the beautiful garden, enjoying the views from the palace courtyard, a wine cellar tour, a boat ride on the nearby Neckar River, and exploring the pharmacy museum are some of the best things to do here. Apart from this many concerts, performances, and festivals are held in the courtyard every year. An estimated 1 million visitors come to this rugged castle ruins each year making it one of the top castles in Germany.

Wartburg Castle

castles in germany
Castle built in the second half of the 12th century

Wartburg Castle, the first German castle to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, was built in the second half of the 12th century. Well-preserved original sections from its feudal period help us recreate life here in the medieval and Renaissance eras. This is the place where Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German, making it a place of significant historical importance. The Wartburg Castle in Germany is a must-visit for any history buff.

This exemplary hilltop castle presents an impressive overview of 1,000 years of German history. The half-timbered buildings, battlemented parapets, and period furnishings are a sight to behold. Wartburg Castle is home to collections of over 9,000 historic items, works by Lucas Cranach the Elder, and a museum filled with art collections. A guided tour or dining options at certain parts of the property which are reconstructed with romantic themes are other options here.

Lichtenstein Castle

germany castles
Germany, Lichtenstein Castle. Baden-Wurttemberg land in Swabian Alps.

Lichtenstein Castle built in the 19th century is one of the newer castles in Germany. Nestled at the top of a 250-meter-high cliff in the Swabian Alps near Honau, it’s just an hour’s drive south of Stuttgart. This castle is often referred to as the “fairy-tale castle of Württemberg”. True to its name, its steep walls, tall round tower, and narrow wooden bridge over a ravine complete its story-book charm.

Even though there are thousands of castles in Germany, this castle is wildly popular among tourists. Highlights of this place include the colorful wall paintings, the Knights’ Hall, romantic style interiors, elaborately painted ceilings, chapel glass painting, and collection of historic weapons and armor. You can either drive or hike up to the castle. Get enrolled for a castle rope course and end your day of exploration at Lichtenstein Castle by grabbing a bite at Old Forester’s Lodge.

Drachenburg Castle

Drachenburg castle
Also called the ‘Dragon’s Castle’

Schloss Drachenburg or Drachenburg Castle constructed in the late 19th century has a long and interesting history to it. From being a summer resort to Christian Boys’ school, and training center to becoming a private villa in the 1970s, this castle has seen it all. It is also called the ‘Dragon’s Castle’ because of an old tale in that a hero slays a dragon on the same hill. The architectural style has an interesting blend of medieval castles, Gothic cathedrals, and Big Ben.

Since the 1980s, much work has gone into restoring and reconstructing this castle. Today the castle’s rooms and exterior are fully restored and it proudly holds the title of being one of the most famous castles in Germany. The sublime interiors, beautiful walking tracks, historical artifacts, and picturesque fairy-tale architecture, make it worth the visit to Drachenburg Castle.

Marksburg Castle 

German cultural heritage
Marksburg is a castle above Braubach town in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

The Marksburg Castle, built high above the river, with a triangular layout is another wonder of German cultural heritage. This castle was built on top of a cliff in the city of Braubach by one of the most powerful families of that time. Eberhrard II of Katzenelnobgen added the Gothic architectural style that gives it much of its present-day appearance. The castle these days is one of the principal landmarks of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley UNESCO World Heritage Site.

There are three gates to cross before reaching a winding series of stairways. From here, you can explore the medieval cellars, a Great Hallway, a master bedroom, an elaborate kitchen, an herb garden, and a 14th-century chapel with paintings on the walls and ceilings. Climb the tower for sweeping 360-degree views across the Rhine. The contrasting dark dome and light-colored façade give this medieval giant a special appearance. 

Dresden Castle

oldest buildings in Dresden
Also known as Royal Palace by night, Saxony, Germany

Dresden Castle, also known as the Royal Palace, is one of the oldest buildings in Dresden. This castle is best known for its different architectural styles that include Baroque and Neo-renaissance styles. For more than 400 years the castle was the residence of the electors and kings of Saxony but today it is a museum complex.

The many sections of the museum take us through Germany’s past, such as the Numismatic Cabinet, the Dresden Armory, the Collection of Prints, Drawings, Photographs, and the New Green Vault. With over 500,000 objects by 20,000 artists spanning eight centuries, including the works of greats like Rembrandt, Michelangelo, and Pablo Picasso never ceases to amaze visitors.

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From the little-known ruins of medieval fortresses to the popular ones, German castles have always inspired and taken us back in time into a fairy tale world. Come let’s step back in time to explore these magnificent architectural castles of Germany. Do share your views and comments in the comment section below.

What’s the oldest castle in Germany?

Meersburg Castle, also called the Alte Burg is considered to be one of the oldest inhabited castles in Germany.

What’s the biggest castle in Germany?

Measuring 1051 meters in length, Burghausen Castle is the biggest castle in the world.

Why Germany has so many castles?

Germany was divided into many small, competitive feudal states during the Middle Ages. The construction of secure and fortified castles was encouraged for safety during these unstable times.

What is the best castle to visit in Germany?

Nuremberg Castle, known as a castle of paradox is the best castle to visit in Germany.

What country has the best castles?

Germany has over 20,000 castles within its borders and each one is better than the other.

Where is the Disney castle in Germany?

The Disney castle is in the hills of the green region Allgäu in Bavaria which is located in the village of Hohenschwangau. 


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