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Eine der beliebtesten Burgen Deutschlands: Burg Hohenzollern, Bild: Markus Gann / shutterstock

The 5 most popular castles and palaces in Germany

What distinguishes Germany from many other Western European countries is the great variety of castles, palaces, manor houses and estates. Neither was there ever a truly anti-monarchical movement in Germany that destroyed these cultural treasures, nor were they a target of the Allies in the Second World War. Accordingly, beautiful castles and palaces can still be found throughout the country today. The former manor houses of the aristocratic houses are now mostly open to the public as museums. In some of them, however, the former noble families still live today.

The most popular castles and palaces in Germany

Today, there are almost only castles from the late Middle Ages. This has to do with the fact that many of the former fortresses lost their purpose as defensive bastions in the late Middle Ages. Instead, the noble families have focused more on comfort and representation. However, this also means that many of them are well preserved to this day and provide an interesting insight into the life of a completely different period of German history.

1. Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein
Neuschwanstein, Image: VOJTa Herout / shutterstock

Hardly any other building in the Federal Republic of Germany is as famous as the fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle. Up to 10,000 visitors are drawn here every day and it is considered one of the most popular photo motifs in Europe. It was once the life project of the Bavarian King Ludwig II. Under his supervision, the construction of a fairytale castle began, which arose from the ideal of his idea of a medieval castle. In fact, the building is still comparatively young when construction began in 1869. Incidentally, King Ludwig II never completed it: he did not live to see its completion, although it was intended as his retirement home. Today, the castle can be visited for the most part. However, if you want to get a place here on the daily tours, you should definitely order the ticket in advance on the Internet. Otherwise, the quotas could already be exhausted.

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2. Hohenzollern Castle

Hohenzollern
Hohenzollern Castle, Image: Markus Gann / shutterstock

Another fairytale castle is Hohenzollern Castle, which is enthroned on the mountain of the same name in Baden-Württemberg . The main castle of the Hohenzollerns, who once provided the Prussian kings and emperors, had its foundation stone as early as the 10th century. Over the centuries, it was steadily expanded and found its final touch with the pointed roofs and the richly decorated interior in the 19th century. Today, large parts of the castle can be visited and house, among other things, a museum with the eventful history of the family. However, some of the Hohenzollerns still live in the segregated areas today. A visit is particularly recommended in winter, as the surrounding landscape also transforms into fairytale land.

3. Eltz Castle

Eltz Castle
Eltz Castle, Image: Marcel Derweduwen / shutterstock

For over 800 years, Eltz Castle has been owned by the family that once provided the counts of the region. Located near Koblenz , the castle has a long and eventful history behind it. It is also one of the only fortifications in the country that could never be conquered. The castle can be visited in the summer months between April and November and contains a large part of the furnishings from historical times in the museum. In addition to a collection of weapons, the treasury also contains many treasures from the almost 900 years of history that the castle has already completed. The surrounding forests and valleys are also particularly popular, as the castle is surrounded by almost untouched nature.

4. Schwerin Castle

Schwerin Castle
Schwerin Castle, Image: Andrelix / shutterstock

Perhaps one of the most beautiful castles in Germany is Schwerin Castle in the state capital of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The first ruler’s castle of the local aristocrats is today the state parliament of the state. Surrounded by wonderful gardens and an artificial water landscape, it is often ignored what a beautiful structure it actually is. It also has a long history, some of which is presented within the walls of the former manor house. Although there are some regulations due to the presence of the state parliament, parts of the castle are also open to the public. Here you will find not only a museum about the history of the area, but also a gastronomy and a generally good connection due to its current purpose.

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5. Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Castle, Image: anyaivanova / shutterstock

The last castle in this list can no longer keep up with the pomp and splendour of the other buildings. However, before Heidelberg Castle was partially destroyed by soldiers in the 17th century, it was probably one of the most imposing buildings in all of Europe. After that, it was left to decay for quite a while, until from the 19th century onwards attempts were made not to destroy the ruins even further. Today, the castle is only a ruin, but still gives an idea of what the fortress must have once looked like. The guided tours tell a lot about the history of the city and the fortress itself, and about the many myths and legends associated with the structure. Especially in connection with a visit to Heidelberg’s old town, which is located exactly under the castle, it is one of the most popular destinations for tourists in all of Germany.

Of course, there are a large number of other medieval and stately houses in Germany. From north to south, from west to east, there are wonderful architectural highlights and many buildings that are closely linked to Germany’s tangled history. A visit to almost all of them is worthwhile.

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