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Germany fairytale castles and palaces you must see

Last Updated on October 31, 2023 by Ingrid & Alex

Germany has grown somehow on me throughout the years and has convinced me it is such an amazing travel destination I could never get bored of. Whether you’ll be spending one day in Munich, taking any of the many Munich day trips, or looking for fairytale castles, Germany will impress you. And let’s not forget about driving the Romantic Road

And it is fairytale castles and palaces in Germany that we are talking about today. With such a large number, you could spend weeks and even months exploring them. 

On top of that, Germany’s countryside looks torn from a story with the little wooden painted houses, lots of flowers and gardens. I could go on and on for days. And let’s not mention the fact that Germany has some of the best winter destinations in Europe, from fairytale Christmas Markets, to perfect nature. 

But here is a list of Germany’s fairytale castles and palaces you must see, as recommended by travel bloggers who have been there.

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Germany fairytale castles and palaces you must see

Neuschwanstein Castle by Erica at TravelswithErica

Neuschwanstein Castle is nestled up in the mountains just a short train ride from Munich.  It’s one of King Ludwig II of Bavaria’s castles and is exceptionally extravagant even though he died before the interior was completed.

The outside of Neuschwanstein Castle is breathtaking, but it is the interior that is the real show stopper.  Only 14 rooms inside the castle were ever finished because Ludwig II was quite particular about how he wanted each room to look and wanted each room to be over-the-top and full of detail.

You’re now able to tour the inside of Neuschwanstein Castle.  Tickets cost €13, and it is a guided tour that lasts approximately 35 minutes.  The tour is offered in both German and English, and you can request an audio guide of the tour if you speak a different language. 

You don’t have the option to tour Neuschwanstein Castle without a guide, and you’re not permitted to take photos of the interior.

At the end of your tour, you’re able to partake in a self-guided walk around a portion of the grounds.  It gives you the opportunity to view Neuschwanstein Castle from different angels and really appreciate how beautiful it is.  There is also a creek and small waterfall you’re able to visit.  I can see what Ludwig II loved Neuschwanstein Castle and found it relaxing and cathartic.   

I personally love Neuschwanstein Castle because you feel like you’re transported into a fairy tale.  You’re in nature visiting a gorgeous castle.  The interior is grand with a unique style in each room and drips extravagance.  The stunning interior coupled with the nature surrounding the castle makes for an experience you’ll never forget!

Here are a few ways of seeing Neuschwanstein Castle with an organized tour as a day trip:

Burghausen Castle by Norman TheMunichGuide

Did you know you can visit the longest castle in the world on a day trip from Munich?

Burghausen Castle is altogether 1,051 meters long and dates back to 1025 AD. It was continuously expanded until it reached its current size in the 15th century.

It’s such a fun place to explore. There is not only a museum but also a chapel and even a restaurant you can explore as you move through the 5 ensuing courtyards until you reach the main bastion.

What I love the most about this castle is the fact that people are still living in some of the outbuildings. There are regular trains to Burghausen from Munich and it’s not at all hard to get there, being one of the best castles near Munich.

You should also know that there is an enchanting little old-town right below the castle. The Austrian border is barely a kilometer away, and in summer you can even go bathing in the beautiful lake on the other side of the Burghausen castle. The best part: Very few international tourists come here.

Rheinfels Castle by Bhushavali at My Travelogue

The stretch of Upper Middle Rhine Valley, the part of Rhine river, from Koblenz and Bingen is extremely gorgeous that it is listed under UNESCO!

This 67 km stretch has innumerable churches and 40+ castles. A cruise through this river gives an overview of many of these castles.

It is just picture perfect with the hills on either side with vineyards and castles and churches and picturesque medieval villages & towns! It’s just too beautiful to describe in words. Some of these castles are a bit in ruins, some well restored to visit and some converted to hotels.

One of these fabulous castles is Rheinfels castle in St.Goars.

This huge castle was built in 1245 CE as a tax collection point, like the rest of the castles in this stretch. Soon it became a defense castle.

In course of time, the Count Diether V von Katzenelnbogen, with his clever tie-ups, built the Katz castle on the other side of the river and effectively he could block every ship on the Rhine to collect whopping amounts of taxes! Today the castle is in ruins but is mostly intact.

There are 3 things that fascinated me in this castle.

One, of course, the watchtower that gave such a magnificent view of Rhine.

Two, the cellar, which is the largest vaulted cellar without support in the whole of Europe. 

Three, the underground tunnels – main ones called the fox tunnels and the tiny tunnels that branched out from them called mine tunnels.

This was dug-up in the 1600s when gun powder came into being when they could blow up the enemies above by lighting gunpowder in these tunnels just below them!

Today it is possible to walk inside the fox tunnels in the dark winter evenings with just a hurricane-lamp as a part of a guided tour. It is rather eerie!

Here are a few ways of seeing the Rhine River with an organized tour as a day trip:

Herrenchiemsee Palace by Tomas  at E&T Abroad

Herrenchiemsee Palace is a castle that was built on the island of the same name, which lies on Lake Chiemsee in Bavaria.

This building was built by Ludwig II of Bavaria, who built the castle as a copy of French Versailles. Ludwig was a bit deranged and had a plan to build many impressive castles and palaces. Louis XIV of France was his greatest role model and wanted to resemble him as much as possible. So he decided to make a perfect copy of his chateau. He spent a lot of money to build this estate, yet he died before he could finish it.

Anyway, Ludwig II visited the castle only once, about two years before his tragic death.

The mirror gallery located in Herrenchiemsee is even larger and longer than in Versailles itself. The room is over 75 meters long, there are 33 crystal chandeliers and over 2000 candles were needed to illuminate the room.

Worth mentioning is also a pompous bedroom decorated with pure gold, whose equipment was more expensive than the price of the island itself. Ludwig II imagined he would accept his audience here, unfortunately, he had never slept in this bed.

There is also an incredibly large bathroom with a 6800-liter pool. It is possible to see some of the unfinished rooms that remained empty too. It is said that there are up to fifty of them.

The ticket includes the entrance to an extensive museum about Ludwig II, so you can learn interesting things about his life and try to solve the mystery of his death.

The gardens and fountains around the castle are beautifully maintained, which is why a walk along the island is an inseparable part of the Herrenchiemsee palace.

Take a tour from Munich and see the Herrenchiemsee palace:

Marksburg by Ruth at Tanama Tales

The Upper Middle Rhine Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a wonderland full of small towns, vineyards, hilltops, monuments, and castles!

With one day in the valley, I had to carefully pick what to do.  After tons of research, I came up with a plan. From Frankfurt, we took the train to charming Rudesheim.  Once we explored the town lined with half-timbered houses, we took a scenic cruise to Braubach.  

Why Braubach?  Well, because Marksburg, the only castle in the area that has never been destroyed or fallen into disrepair, is located above the town.

The castle’s size, architecture, history, and location pull you.  There are about 40 castles in this part of the Rhine. But, a sight of Marksburg may make your jaw drop.  It is just that imposing (and hard to ignore).

From Braubach, you can walk or drive to the castle.  I recommend the walk (20 minutes) since the path goes through a forested area and gorgeous half-timbered houses.

Once at the top, you can buy tickets to tour the castle with a guide (tours last 50 minutes and are the only way to see the castle).

Get ready to be transported to Medieval times.  You are shown the gates, battery, chambers, kitchen, blacksmith workshop, chapel and more.  One particular feature, the Riders’ Stairway, impressed me. These steps, carved out of bedrock, are so difficult to climb.  No wonder why the castle was never defeated.

Without a doubt, my favorite part of the tour was the panoramic terrace.  The views of the Rhine, and its surroundings, are breathtaking. After the tour, you can get a treat or snack at the on-site cafeteria and keep enjoying the views.

I hope you consider stopping by Marksburg on your next visit to the Frankfurt-Rhine region.

Rheinstein Berg by James at Travel Collecting

Rheinstein Berg (Castle) is one of the most beautiful castles on the Rhine River.  The castle is perched atop a rocky outcrop about 270 feet above the river. There are stunning views over the surrounding Lorely Valley, Rhine River and the cute town Assmannshausen on the opposite bank. 

The original castle dates from the early 1300s, but it was rebuilt in the 1800s and then extensively restored after it was purchased by a former opera singer in 1975.  It is not huge, but most of it is open to the public (although it is closed from December to February).  You visit the castle on a self-guided tour, which means you can take your time, enjoy the buildings, grounds, and views at your leisure and take photos wherever you want.  

A word of warning – you will need to be reasonably fit to fully enjoy it.  There is a short footpath from the parking lot; steps to the chapel (with a Gothic altarpiece); more steps down to the crypt (which has three coffins belonging to the family of Prince Frederick William Louis); steps up to the main part of the castle; and even more steps on the outside of the turret (don’t miss the Knight’s Hall (Rittersaal) with lovely stained-glass windows at the top).  The rewards are incredible views and a fantastic romantic fairytale castle to fully explore.  Other highlights include the Burgundy Garden with a 500-year old burgundy grapevine and the working drawbridge.

Rheinstein Castle has a gift shop and a small café where you can enjoy a glass of wine and wonderful views.  It is even possible to stay in the castle! 

As long as you are fit enough to navigate the stairs, this is a highlight of any trip to Germany.  An alternative to all those stairs is to enjoy a stunning view of the castle from the Rhine River on a river cruise between Koblenz and Rudesheim.

Colmberg Castle by Carolyn of Holidays to Europe

It may be a lesser-known castle but Colmberg Castle on Germany’s Castle Road is definitely of the fairytale variety.

Situated in the small village of Colmberg, about 20 kilometers from Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Colmberg Castle (official name Burg Colmberg) sits on a hilltop overlooking the beautiful Franconian landscape below. As you drive towards Colmberg, you can’t help but notice the castle, with its turreted towers and formidable walls, as it comes into view.

Built during the Middle Ages, the castle was bought by Burgrave Friederich IV of Nuremberg in 1318 and was an important possession of the House of Hohenzollern (a German royal dynasty) for almost 500 years.

In recent times, the castle has been owned by a private family since 1964 and they have restored it to its former glory and turned it into a hotel and restaurant. If you’ve ever wanted to stay in a castle, Colmberg is a great choice. Rooms feature modern conveniences but retain a medieval feel and the hotel’s narrow, low-ceilinged corridors and wooden staircases add to the charm.

There’s a restored 15th Century chapel, banquet halls, and decorations dating back to medieval times to explore.
Outside, a stroll around the beautiful gardens, through ancient stone archways, and alongside the fortified walls will almost have you believing you’ve stepped back in time.

It’s not only hotel guests who can enjoy a visit to Castle Colmberg, though. The restaurant is open for dinner and serves traditional cuisine including local venison which is sourced from the Castle’s own game reserve. During the warmer months, there’s nothing better than dining alfresco in the Castle’s courtyard protected by the medieval walls and towers.

I really enjoyed my overnight stay at Colmberg Castle and highly recommend a visit.

Nuremberg Castle by Sharon at Exploringrworld

This lovely, restored castle sits on a hill above the old town of Nuremberg. It’s right at the Medieval wall, which is still intact and a pleasure to see, too. First built in 1037, the castle hosted German kings and emperors of the Holy Roman Empire as they traveled from place to place.

The castle was updated or redecorated several times. Heavily damaged during the bombing of World War II, the castle is now restored to its pre-war, Medieval style with touches of Romanesque and late Gothic architecture that survived the bombing.

Begin your visit with a walk through the pleasant gardens. First laid out in the 1500s, the garden today features roses and pagoda trees. The southern garden area will delight you with its circular flower bed surrounded by maples.

Next, climb the short but steep path to the castle courtyard. Notice the lime tree in the center. The castle courtyard has featured a lime tree here for centuries. Artist Albrecht Durer reported on dancing under the lime tree at the summer solstice party in 1455. And it’s believed the castle court met under the branches of the tree once upon a time.

A small museum displays artwork, including stained glass with battle scenes. You’ll also see antique weaponry, official documents, and the Holy Roman Empire crown jewels.

Take the wooden spiral stairway to the top of Sinwell Tower. You’ll be rewarded with views of Nuremberg and its orange-colored roofs. As you enjoy the vistas, it’s easy to imagine life hundreds of years ago when rulers lived in the castle and walked the winding, cobblestone lanes of Nuremberg.

Some tours to consider for Nuremberg:

Lichtenstein castle by Hannah & Adam Lukaszewicz at GettingStamped

Liechsten Castle is located in the southwest state of Baden Wurttemberg on the edge of the Swabian Alps in Germany and is an absolute dream. This gothic-style castle was built right on a cliff that is surrounded by rolling hills and valleys and is considered one of the most fairytale-Esque castles in all of Germany and Europe! 

You can visit the castle year-round, except for the winter months of December and January. In the spring and summer, the surrounding area is full of lush, green landscape. However, our favorite time to visit is in the fall, when all the trees surrounding the castle are beautiful autumn colors. It’s truly a sight to see! 

In our opinion, the best way to get to the castle is by car. Renting a car in Germany is pretty inexpensive and we’ve always felt safe driving throughout the country. Once you arrive, there is a parking lot available to park too for a small fee. 

The only way to get a glimpse inside is to take the 30 minutes guided tour. The tour is not given in English and no pictures are allowed inside, but it’s totally worth it to see inside the magnificent structure. You can also explore the courtyard of the castle before or after your tour. 

Inside you’ll see armor, weapons, a chapel lined with stained glass windows and a knight’s hall featuring gothic and medieval-style decor. Outside on the grounds, you’ll find beautiful bridges connecting the castle structures. There’s so much to see at the Liechsten Castle!

Cochem Castle 

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One of the most romantic little towns in Germany, Cochem is tucked away in between vineyards and on the banks of the river Mosel. 

The perfect destination for a laid back vacation, it is also home to one of the nicest castles in Germany: Cochem Castle.

On top of a hill, we spotted it as soon as we approached the colorful village and were impressed by how nice it is. There are two ways of reaching the castle and we took both when we decided to see the region from up the hill. 

Climbing through the woods felt like we were really in nature, while we also had the chance to come back down through the small city center filled with wine and souvenir shops.

The castle itself dates from the 11th century and sits between different types of vineyards. It is the largest castle on the Mosel, and every year, during the first week of August, medieval performers, artisans, and various other folk wait to welcome guests to our castle festival.

We stayed overnight during our Germany Romantic Road road trip and I wished I had more time here. 

Hohenzollern Castle by Hannah at Hannahshappyadventures

Source: Pixabay

Hohenzollern is a stunning fairy-tale German castle located in Baden-Wurttemberg. It’s perched at the top of a mountain.

The views leading up to the castle are just as spectacular as the views from the castle itself. The fact it is fully restored sets it apart from many fairy-tale castles in Germany, which are often just ruined.

Furthermore, they run open-air events throughout the summer – imagine seeing a Shakespeare classic in this incredible setting.

The castle grounds are also home to a restaurant and beer garden. After our visit in the summer, we spent some time relaxing in the beer garden with a stein. It was the perfect end to a great day.

The entrance costs just 7 euros or 12 euros to include a guided tour of the castle rooms. On certain days each year, you can visit the castle rooms unsupervised. We spent around 2 hours at the castle, and around an hour in the beer garden.

Hohenzollern is best visited by car. It takes less than an hour from Stuttgart and just under two hours from Freiburg. Alternatively, take the train to Hechingen station. From here there is a shuttle bus available up to the castle.

However, some of the best views of the castle are from a distance – therefore, visiting by car is best as you can stop when you would like to take photos. Hohenzollern is just one of many amazing places to visit in Baden Wurttemberg.

Burg Eltz 

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Burg Eltz was one other stop on our drive through Germany’s Romantic Road all the way to Colmar and Strasbourg in France. 

Maybe one of the most Instagrammable castle in Germany, Burg Elz is hidden away in between some hills and at the heart of a forest. Once we parked our car, we had a 20 minutes walk in the woods which is pleasant enough. 

The castle is set above the Moselle river, in between Koblenz and Trier and it is owned by the same family that had it in the 12th century. 

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