Like many parts of Europe, Germany has a rich history dating back thousands of years. While there are countless relics and sites dotted throughout the continent for current generations to learn about the country’s past, none are as impressive or abundant as Germany’s collection of castles.
Said to have as many as 25,000 castles, Germany can stake its claim as having the most extensive collection anywhere in the world. Home to royals, lords, knights, and noblemen, dating back to the 7th century, they are a shining example of how the country operated in its formative years.
With such a vast quantity, it is highly unlikely anyone will be able to visit them all. That is why you will find the following list of 20 of the most impressive German castles very helpful. It will give you a great selection of castles in Germany with plenty to offer visitors and some ideas to plan your historic adventure.
- Castles in Germany
- 20 German Castles For Your Bucket List
- 1- Neuschwanstein Castle
- 2- Hohenzollern Castle
- 3- Frankenstein Castle
- 4- Wernigerode Castle
- 5- Hambach Castle
- 6- Burghausen Castle
- 7- Callenberg Castle
- 8- Schonburg Castle
- 9- Giebichenstein Castle
- 10- Falkenstein Castle
- 11- Eltz Castle
- 12- Kransberg Castle
- 13- Altena Castle
- 14- Moyland Castle
- 15- Pyrmont Castle
- 16- Schwerin Castle
- 17- Heidelberg Castle
- 18- Nuremberg Castle
- 19- Marksburg Castle
- 20- Lichtenstein Castle
- 20 German Castles For Your Bucket List
Castles in Germany
20 German Castles For Your Bucket List
1- Neuschwanstein Castle
Commissioned by Bavarian King Ludwig II as a royal retreat and monument to the past, Neuschwanstein Castle was built in the 19th century.
Its exterior features a Romanesque Revival design, with stunning towers and an ornate gatehouse.
Inside you will find rooms like a throne room and kings suite, all designed based on the German legends of Lohengrin.
The castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Germany, where visitors can enjoy guided tours around the castle and stunning views of the exteriors and surrounding forest vistas.
Neuschwanstein Castle is at Neuschwansteinstrasse 20, 87645 Schwangau.
2- Hohenzollern Castle
Built for the House Of Hohenzollern dynasty, Hohenzollern Castle was erected atop Mount Hohenzollern in the mid-1800s.
This castle was designed as a memorial to the family and sits on the site of two destroyed former castles.
The complex features chapels, gardens, palatial buildings and military architecture.
Over time, the castle has been used as a filming location for numerous movies and TV shows due to its iconic look and beautiful surroundings.
A popular tourist destination, it houses several legendary artefacts, including the Crown Of Wilhelm II and a letter from the first US President, George Washington.
Hohenzollern Castle is at 72379 Burg Hohenzollern.
3- Frankenstein Castle
Frankenstein Castle is believed to have been the inspiration behind Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” novel.
A beautiful, 13th-century castle, it sits in the Odenwald mountain range on the outskirts of Darmstadt, offering stunning panoramic views.
Surrounded by dark forests, it is linked with numerous myths and legends.
A popular tourist attraction, the castle is often visited by ghost hunters or those seeking the fountain of youth, possibly hidden within the castle’s grounds.
There is a beautiful tomb you can visit where, according to a legend, Lord George the dragon slayer is buried.
Frankenstein Castle is at 64367, Muhltal.
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4- Wernigerode Castle
Located in the Saxony-Anhalt region of Germany, Wernigerode Castle was built in the late 19th century on medieval foundations.
Its elaborate, Neo-Romantic design is said to be inspired by Neuschwanstein Castle, which was built at the same time.
Fully open to the public, it is one of the most visited attractions in the region.
Join a guided tour of the interior and exterior of the castle, discovering such hidden gems as the beautiful private chapel that lies within.
Wernigerode Castle is at Am Schloss 1, 38855 Wernigerode.
5- Hambach Castle
Hambach Castle is located on the Schlossberg Mountain and is considered one of the most important symbols of German democracy.
This is because it was the location of the Hambacher Festival in support of German unity in 1832.
Completely restored on the 150th anniversary of the festival in 1982 and again on its 175th anniversary in 2007, the site demonstrates German pride.
Averaging over 200,000 visitors per year, it now operates as a memorial, museum, and convention centre.
Hambach Castle – Schlossstrasse, 67434 Neustadt An Der Weinstrasse
6- Burghausen Castle
Burghausen Castle holds the world record as the longest castle complex in the world, at 1041 m.
Built in the early 11th century in the traditional Gothic style, the castle provides stunning views from a ridge above the River Salzach.
An inner courtyard and five outer courtyards house buildings once used as stables, a brewery, bakery, food stores, and military garrisons.
Inside the castle is a museum hosting famous pieces of Gothic artwork, a chapel, and the residences of both knights and royalty.
Burghausen Castle is at Burg 48, 84489, Burghausen.
7- Callenberg Castle
Built at some point before 1123, Callenberg Castle was used as a hunting lodge and summer residence until becoming the primary home of the House Of Saxe-Coburg And Gotha dynasty.
With several owners having all made significant changes throughout the years, the castle has a unique blend of architectural styles that have it listed as a national monument.
These include Baroque, Doric, Gothic, Gothic Revival, Italian Renaissance, and Medieval.
The attached cemetery features graves of many famous members of the dynasty that visitors can visit.
Inside the castle, there is an incredible art and furniture collection as well as the German Rifle Museum.
Callenberg Castle is at Callenberg 1, 96450 Coburg.
8- Schonburg Castle
Located atop the slopes of the Saale, Schonburg Castle was built in the 12th century to be the most important castle of the Bishops of Naumburg.
Well-preserved throughout the years, it is considered one of the best remaining examples of classical castle construction in the world.
All of the chimneys, gates, walls, and most of the buildings retain their substance and decoration, which dates to the High Middle Ages.
Combined with a small collection of other parts of the landscape, including a cathedral, the castle has received a world heritage nomination.
Together, they form the Naumburg Cathedral And The High Medieval Cultural Landscape Of The Rivers Saale And Unstrut.
Schonburg Castle is at 55430 Oberwesel.
9- Giebichenstein Castle
The former royal residence of the Holy Roman Emperor, Otto I, Giebichenstein Castle, was built in the 9th century.
Its age makes it a fabulous destination for those hoping to experience an example of a traditional castle, while its position on the River Saale allows it to offer stunning views.
The lower portion of the castle now houses the Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule Halle, one of Germany’s largest art and design universities.
With roughly 1000 students each year, it provides the opportunity to soak in the style and architecture first-hand.
Giebichenstein Castle is at Seebener Str. 1, 06114 Halle.
10- Falkenstein Castle
Often referred to as New Falkenstein Castle, it was built between 1120 and 1150 to replace nearby Old Falkenstein Castle, which had been destroyed in 1115.
The Romanesque style castle has been altered numerous times throughout the centuries yet still retains its original character.
Located within dense forests that are a protected area, the castle now operates as a museum.
In addition to exhibits relating to the castle’s history, it also has a falconry and a restaurant serving Medieval-style delicacies.
The charming setting is a lovely venue to hold a special event.
Falkenstein Castle is at Burg Falkenstein 1/1, 06543 Falkenstein.
11- Eltz Castle
The most unusual aspect of the 12th century Eltz Castle is that the same family has owned it throughout its existence, the Eltz family.
It is also one of two on the left bank of the Rhine that has never been destroyed.
Surrounded by beautiful forests, its towers and turrets paint a picturesque scene like something out of a fairy-tale.
Fans of German history will be delighted to explore a treasury filled with precious metals and artefacts, as well as a Knights Hall, displaying medieval weaponry and suits of armour.
Eltz Castle is at 56294 Wierschem.
12- Kransberg Castle
Located in the Taunus Mountains, Kransberg Castle was built in the Medieval period, but its appearance dramatically altered throughout the 19th century.
Around 1940, it was repurposed as Adolf Hitler’s primary military headquarters, before then being used as a German-US intelligence centre during the Cold War.
This incredible past allows it to hold significance relating to the history of the German military for much of the last 850 years.
Kransberg Castle is at Schlossstrasse 1, 61250 Usingen.
13- Altena Castle
Built by the Counts Of Berg during the 12th century, Altena Castle has changed hands countless times.
It has served as a court, a hospital, a garrison, a prison, a workhouse, and several other things, giving it a rich and varied history.
In 1914, the first youth hostel in the world was established in the castle and remains in operation today.
The castle’s main rooms are now a museum, showing exhibits on medieval history and a display on world youth, while there is also a restaurant on site.
The castle also hosts a Medieval Festival each August, paying homage to its roots.
Altena Castle is at Fritz-Thomee-Strasse 80, 58762 Altena.
14- Moyland Castle
Moyland Castle is a moated castle in Kleve, considered among the most important Neo-Gothic buildings in the North Rhine-Westphalia region.
Its four-towered keep is iconic and represents the image many people best associate with traditional castles.
Inside, there’s a museum dedicated to works of art by numerous local artists, with over 60,000 pieces and 200,000 archival records dating back to 1800.
Surrounding the castle, you will also find beautiful herb gardens filled with stunning sculptures.
Moyland Castle is at Am Schloss 4, 47551 Bedburg-Hau.
15- Pyrmont Castle
Cuno Of Schomburg built Pyrmont Castle at the end of the 12th century.
Surrounded by forests and waterfalls, it is a stunning destination that allows you to see the castle as the beautiful piece of architecture it truly is.
The castle’s exteriors were remodelled in the Baroque style during the 18th century, while many of the interiors remained unchanged.
This demonstrates the changing of styles in the region through the ages.
Pyrmont Castle is at Burg Pyrmont, 56754 Roes.
16- Schwerin Castle
Sitting on an island in Lake Schwerin, the first castle set here was built in the 10th century.
Most of the castle has been rebuilt or remodelled in various styles, the most prominent being French Renaissance.
Considered one of Europe’s most important pieces of Romantic Historicism, it is designated to become a World Heritage Site in the near future.
It represents one of the best combinations of beauty and history you will likely find anywhere in Germany.
Schwerin Castle is at Lennéstrasse 1, 19053 Schwerin.
17- Heidelberg Castle
Originally built in the late 1100s, much of Heidelberg Castle was demolished in the 17th and 18th centuries.
While only parts of it have been rebuilt, it still dominates the hillside of Heidelberg and is a significant Renaissance building to the north of the Alps.
Built from red sandstone, visitors can take guided tours inside its iconic walls, with a visitor centre offering literature and souvenirs to help you understand more about this fantastic location.
Heidelberg Castle is at Schlosshof 1, 69117 Heidelberg.
18- Nuremberg Castle
Located at the heart of Nuremberg’s historical district, Nuremberg Castle is considered among the most impressive Medieval fortifications in all of Europe.
With the earliest parts of the castle believed to have been built around 1000 AD, the complex grew to include a palace, chapel, stables, and numerous towers and courtyards.
It’s an outstanding example of what a Middle Ages superpower looked like.
Nuremberg Castle is at Burg 17, 90403 Nurnberg.
19- Marksburg Castle
The castle began as a single keep, built by the Eppstein family around 1100 AD, before gradually expanding over the next 700 years into the grand complex you see today.
Despite more than 40 hill castles in the area, Marksburg is the only one to have never fallen into disrepair or been destroyed.
Its stunning hilltop position made it strategically placed to offer protection from invaders for centuries before being turned into a prison in later years.
Now, one of the central points of the Rhine Gorge UNESCO World Heritage Site, guided tours lead visitors through the most important parts of this breathtaking location.
Marksburg Castle is at 56338 Braubach.
20- Lichtenstein Castle
Lichtenstein Castle was built in the 1840s by renowned architect Carl Alexander Heideloff.
Inspired by the 1826 novel “Lichtenstein”, it is designed in the Gothic Revival style and set on the peak of a sheer cliff.
It offers one of the most dramatic appearances of any castle on Earth, and its design has been imitated multiple times, both in Germany and the wider world.
Guided tours are available for guests to explore locations like its chapel and courtyard and take in the stunning vistas from its towering location.
The views from the castle over the Echaz Valley in Baden-Württemberg are stunning.
Lichtenstein Castle is at Schloss Lichtenstein 1, 72805 Lichtenstein, Germany.