The 16 Best Castles in Germany to Visit in 2024

Steve Cummings

Are you looking to travel to Germany in the coming year? You may be a history lover or just looking at the stunning architecture. Whatever your interest, it is worth considering visiting some of the fantastic German castles. 

You may wonder how many castles there are in Germany. It is thought that there are around 25,000 castles, mansion houses, and palaces throughout Germany. 

In the following guide, we will highlight 16 great castles in Germany that you should visit. 

1. Dresden Castle

Dresden Castle
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Located in the stunning cultural city of Dresden, Dresden Castle is much more than the average famous German castle. It is now more of a living relic of the past and a museum. It is one of the oldest buildings in the city and one of the earliest known palaces in Germany. You will find a stunning collection of art and artifacts within the castle. Historical displays of ancient clothing, jewelry, weaponry, statues, and paintings abound. 

Initially constructed in the 13th century, it suffered damage from various disasters. It has been rebuilt countless times. However, its damage in the 18th century was the most severe. A fire led to Augustus II commissioning a complete rebuild in the Baroque style, as opposed to the original Renaissance and Romanesque. 

2. Eltz Castle 

Eltz Castle
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The castle is located within a forest in Wierschem on the Germany-Luxembourg border. It is a great site to visit if you are heading into rural Germany. 

You should note that it can only be visited with a guided tour, which lasts around 30 minutes. There is a traditional stone bridge, and you can sneak a peek inside the castle's various rooms, hearing incredible stories while admiring the interior design and décor. Eltz Castle is among the best German castles. 

The knight's hall in this castle is one of its most famous parts. But there are also private chambers and a dungeon you can explore. Toward the end of your guided tour, you can look through the treasury and the various valuable artifacts.

3. Marburg Castle, aka Landgrafen Palace

Marburg Castle
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An old fort from medieval times around the 11th century, Landgrafen Palace is often referred to by its other name, Marburg Castle, because of its proximity to Marburg town center. 

It is just an hour's drive north of Frankfurt, making it an excellent day trip. Landgrafen Palace has many exciting features, like a big Gothic hall, furnishings, historical artwork, and artifacts, making it one of the best German castles to visit. 

4. Mespelbrunn Castle

Mespelbrunn Castle
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There are many pretty castles in Germany, including Mespelbrunn Castle. This castle is in an idyllic setting with a small but dense forest at its backdrop and a surrounding moat. It is close to Frankfurt in the middle of rural nowhere and is an excellent destination if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

Like many castles in Germany, it has a fairytale atmosphere. Its moat is home to swans and trout, and guided tours offer a look around the traditional, elegant rooms. 

5. Drachenberg Castle

Schloss Drachenburg
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You will find Drachenberg Castle in the stunning Rhine Valley. It was modeled when constructed in the classic style of other medieval German castles on the Rhine. It is easy to reach if you are visiting Bonn. If you want the best views over the Rhine, few places in the Valley offer better vistas than the Castle. 

A relatively new castle, it was built in the latter half of the 19th century. It was their private villa before its owners started using it for public purposes. 

6. Cochem Castle

Cochem Castle
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Also known as Reichsburg Castle and Reichsburg Cochem, Cochem Castle sits on a hilltop and was first built in the 11th century. It is one of the best places to visit if you want to experience ancient German castles, with the atmosphere and laid-back feel of a small-town trip. 

You can walk around the castle with a guided tour that lasts approximately 40 minutes. It is small compared to other German castles, so it is not physically demanding. If you want an exciting experience, you can dine at Reichsburg Castle in the on-site restaurant, which offers tremendous views over the town and the River Moselle. 

7. Wernigerode Castle

Wernigerode Castle
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You may want to experience ancient German castles and fortresses. If that is the case, you should visit Wernigerode Castle in the town of the same name in central Germany. 

Everything about the castle and the city screams old-world. The old fort's location is a bonus as it's next to a nature reserve, and there are several towering hills where you can look over the castle and the town. 

The castle was constructed on an old fortress ruin; many of the remaining buildings are of 19th-century origin. Many great guided tours will take you through the castle and allow you to explore its interior while learning about the artifacts and intricate chambers you encounter. There is an exciting fusion of architectural styles, and it is partly a classic German Gothic Castle with arched windows. But a fantastic tower shows Renaissance influence.

8. Altena Castle

Altena Castle
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If you want to learn a lot while visiting a pretty castle in Germany, then Altena Castle is one of the best in the country. Situated on top of a hill that overlooks Altena town, the castle is now home to a stunning medieval history collection and the intriguing World Youth Hostels Museum. After all, it was the world's first of that kind of establishment. It is one of the German castles where you can stay.

There is a lot for you to learn while visiting Altena Castle, with many educational displays and various exhibits. Perfect for all ages and families, as even young children are welcome. Over time, it has served as a prison, military garrison, and even a hospital. So, its history and heritage are deep and fascinating. 

9. Schwerin Castle

Schwerin Castle
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Schwerin Castle is in a league of its own. Rather than just having the standard moat, the castle is built onto its island. It is located in the tranquil waters of Lake Schwerin in the country's north. 

It was designed with unique neo-renaissance architecture, making it a castle to behold from the exterior and interior. The grounds are free to enter, and it is an excellent way to spend a day. To venture inside, you must pay a small fee for tours of the sublime throne room and other intricately designed rooms. This is one of the most beautiful German castles open to the public.

10. Lichtenstein Castle

Lichtenstein Castle
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When it comes to dramatic-looking castles in dramatic locations, there is none more surprising than Lichtenstein Castle. Perched almost perilously on a cliff face, with one-half of its entirety sitting square against the edge of the cliff, this neo-gothic castle must be seen to be believed. 

This is a genuine German fairy tale castle, not just because of its intense location but also because of its exterior with the high tower and the fact that to enter it, you need to cross a bridge. Okay, so it may not be as ancient as other fortresses in the country, given that it was inspired by Lichtenstein and created by Carl Alexander Heidloff during the 19th century. However, spending time there on your trip to Germany is still worthwhile.

11. Burg Hohenecken

Burg Hohenecken
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Many of the German castles in our guide are visited by tourists almost daily, so it was a good idea to give you some options to avoid too many crowds. Despite how beautiful the red-toned sandstone ruined structure Burg Hohenecken is, it is less popular than others. 

The small, atmospheric castle grounds are pretty and free to wander around. There is no precise date that the castle was constructed, but many historians believe it was at least in the early 13th century. 

12. Hohenschwangau Castle

Hohenschwangau Castle
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Another castle that can only be visited if you take a guided tour by a professional is Hohenschwangau Castle. This is a famous German castle, with good reason. Baroque-style architecture is found on the interior and exterior of this building in Bavaria. It is one of the most ornate castles in the country and is situated in a very rural spot with a beautiful dense forest around it and a stunning lake that is ideal for swimming in during the summer months. 

On your guided tour of the castle, you will see the throne room, dressing room, royal bedroom, and cave. The castle was first mentioned in the 12th century, but it's hard to know when it was first built. Like many castles in Germany, it was renovated in the 19th century while King Maximilian II ruled the country.

13. Hohenzollern Castle

Hohenzollern Castle
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Hohenzollern Castle is another impressive 19th-century castle in a scenic part of the country. It is especially famous for being home to a remarkable art collection and the Prussian royal crown. The architecture resembles many classic German fairy tale castle designs and layouts. That, coupled with its mountaintop location and many turrets, will give you the traditional castle vibes you may have been looking for. 

It is located in the southwest of the country in the breathtaking Black Forest area between Hechingen and Bisingen. The castle is one of the best examples of Gothic revival architecture. Interestingly, it sits in the ruins of a much older medieval castle and has its own chapel. Among the many staircases, garden walkways, and passages, you will also find a royal treasury with excellent weaponry exhibitions. 

14. Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg Castle
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By far, Heidelberg Castle is one of the most beautiful German castles still standing. At one point, this castle was an opulent symbol of grandeur. Now, it sits partially ruined. The sandstone is still present. And with a dense forest as a backdrop, it has a very ethereal feel. 

Its grounds are full of exciting things to see and do, including an apothecary museum and what is believed to be the world's biggest wine barrel. Yes, that does mean you can stop while touring the castle to taste the wine. 

15. Wartburg Castle

Wartburg Castle
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Atop a rocky summit on the outskirts of the small town of Eisenach in the center of the country, you will find Wartburg Castle. Wartburg Castle was built during medieval times. However, the castle you see today features numerous 19th-century renovations and restorations. 

Martin Luther is believed to have completed his first translation of the Bible here, which means the castle has become a spot for pilgrims wishing to pay their respects.

16. Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle
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One of the most popular in the country, Neuschwanstein Castle is a great place to visit. Although built in the 19th century, it is well known for its stunning rural setting and impeccable beauty. The Ammergebirge nature reserve is at the back of the castle. The castle looks like it is floating over the forest from certain angles. 

This is a German fairy tale castle, and while many like it, it stands out from some of the more famous castles. 

Final Thoughts

In the guide above, we have tried to cover as many of the famous castles of Germany as possible, along with the less well-known ones. Whatever kind of castle you like looking at, wherever you are visiting in Germany, there is no shortage of beautiful German castles. We understand you may need more time or inclination to see the above castles. But we recommend you figure out where you will be heading and staying when going to Germany and find castles in the area.

We must be careful when suggesting that the above list is exhaustive. It is anything but. If we have missed a castle that more tourists should know about, please let us know in the comments section below.

Related: 15 Must-Eat German Dishes While Traveling in Germany

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