Germany has plenty to offer travelers who want to explore the medieval castle and palaces of the entire country. Bavaria is one of the best regions that you can visit. Explore the beautiful historic castles on your own or through a guided tour. You can find these incredible palaces, castles, and fortresses amidst stunning scenery and spectacular views. These castles are on top of important towns or deep in the forest. You can see that their beauty still remains intact. These stunning German castles are definitely worth seeing if you want to immerse yourself in the country’s rich history. So let’s get started!
Must-Visit Bavarian Castles in Germany
You Can’t Miss
#1 Neuschwanstein Castle
The 19th-century palace and Neuschwanstein Castle are found in southwest Bavaria in Northern Europe. The Schwangau fortress once stood here before based on a 12th century record. It earned numerous nicknames throughout the years like “Walt Disney Castles” or even the “Cinderella Castle”. The Schloss Neuschwanstein was actually the dream of King Ludwig II. He nearly caused his own country to go bankrupt for pursuing a grandiose plan of creating this gorgeous castle.
The castle was under construction for several years and its effect was super impressive. This is why Disney patterned its “Sleeping Beauty Castle” based on this one. It was an incredible feat with all the modern amenities that people need. Think central heating, flushing toilets, and a fully functional kitchen.
Best Castle Features: Throne Room and Dining Room
When visiting the 19th century Neuschwanstein Castle, you can explore several rooms starting with the throne room. It has an elaborate design with a 13-foot gold-laden chandelier dominating the room. You will notice that there is no throne in the throne hall, as it may be the fault of the King’s death. You should also see the dining room. A bell system was installed. King Ludwig had it installed so that he would be able to call his servants at all times.
The most ornate section of the castle is the Prince’s bedroom. You will find an elaborately carved bed that took four years to finish. This beautiful castle also boasts of its Sangersaal room or better known as the Minstrels’ Hall. You will find several frescoes here depicting scenes from the opera Tannhauser as a tribute to the man who wrote the opera.
It is sad to say, but the 19th-century place was never finished. Square towers aside, there were parts that were left incomplete.
However, it is still one of Northern Europe’s best castles. There are many ways for you to explore these Disney-styled castles. You can take a guided tour, or use the shuttle buses in the area. If you are willing, you can hike up to it as well. You will reach your destination either way.
#2 Hohenschwangau Castle
Another example of Bavarian Castles is in the Hohenschwangau Castle in the Hohenschwangau valley. You certainly should add it to your itinerary. King Ludwig II’s father bought this castle in 1832. King Maximilian II renovated the ruins from 1833 to 1837. This castle was the childhood home of Ludwig II.
Best Castle Features: the Neo-Gothic Style Frescos
It was here that Ludwig’s mother, Queen Marie, deemed her favorite place on earth. The young prince disliked his mother for her indifference towards him.
The Neo-Gothic style frescoes are one of the highlights of this castle. They depict German legends like Lohengrin, Tannhauser, and the Holy Grail. What you can expect in this castle, located in the village of Hohenschwangau, is that each room has a specific theme to it. Maximilian’s son had a telescope placed in the castle for him to view the construction of Neuschwanstein Castle. Ludwig’s summer residence has a stunning yellow facade that you can see today.
#3 Nuremberg Castle
Wondering which popular castles in Germany to visit? Add the Nuremberg Castle to your list. It is a stunning structure to start with. The Holy Roman Empire put importance on the castle during the Middle Ages. It is worth the hike up the steep walkways. You will see the City of Nuremberg from above.
Best Castle Features: Museums
The medieval fortress was built in 1105 AD. Holy Roman emperors resided here which is why it was called the Imperial Castle. Get to know more about it through their guided tour and take a look at their museum too. Weapons and armors are put on display at the museum. Make sure that you visit the Deep Well in the castle, which is where the people used to get their water from.
Nuremberg underwent various structural changes between the 19th century and the 20th century. The castle is used only for special events these days. But be sure not to miss their museum on site. This is where you’ll find more about the castle’s history. You will also learn what it is being used for today.
German Palaces To Explore:
#4 Nymphenburg Palace
Start at the Nymphenburg Palace if you plan on visiting Ludwig’s castles. It is here where he was born. The Nymphenburg Palace was where Queen Marie gave birth to the future Mad King Ludwig. Several people witnessed the birth through the mirrors that surrounded the Queen. Considered as one of the biggest and best castles in Europe, the Schloss Nymphenburg comprises two long wings and a large villa.
Best Features: Gallery of Beauties and Stone Hall
The royal residence itself boasts 16 rooms and plenty of wall paintings. You will see intricately designed parquet floors to walk on too. The Gallery of Beauties and Stone Hall are the main highlights of the palace. The Gallery is where you will find King Ludwig I’s portraits of several beautiful women. Stone Hall is famous for its frescoes that depict various nymphs.
The Nymphenburg Palace Park is worth exploring too. Step outside of the stunning castle to get a view of it. The formal gardens are worth exploring. You may need a few hours to go around it. You don’t want to miss their beauty and grandeur. There are several mini-schlosses here too where you can see various architectural styles like Rococo. The birth of Max Emanuel sealed the castle’s status as a summer residence. His work on the palace remained the same over the centuries.
#5 Herrenchiemsee Palace
The largest castle that you will see among the famous castles in the country is Herrenchiemsee Castles. Many tourists love going on a day trip here. The castle was built on an island in Lake Chiemsee. The shy king did not care much about logistics. He preferred to build a palace here because of the surrounding scenery. Ludwig saved the island from deforestation as it was in danger of deforestation at the time. Funny enough, he built his fairytale castle here but did not touch the forest.
Ludwig was not able to finish the old castle. His ministers declared him insane. Ludwig was removed from the castle and taken to the Berg Palace. Unfortunately, he died within 24 hours of removal. Unfortunately, the manor house was his prison. Ludwig did try to copy the beauty of Versailles, but the outcome was not as expected.
Best Features: Hall of Mirrors and State Bedroom
There are several impressive rooms that you can check out in this fairytale castle. Among these are the Hall of Mirrors and the State Bedroom. The castle was designed to be better than Versailles. Regrettably, the King did not live to finish it.
#6 Ludwig’s Castle and Residence & Munich Residenz
There are several popular tourist attractions to visit here. The Munich Residenz or the Residence is one example. The King of Bavaria resided here. He stayed here while he was in Munich. This is why it is one of the best attractions in the city. Be sure and take a tour of ludwig.
The Residenz was nearly destroyed during the Second World War. Sadly, the Allied forces bombed the city. They nearly destroyed the Residenz. But the Germans rebuilt the palace to restore it to its former glory. Half of the palace now functions as its museum where you will find an extensive collection of tapestries, paintings, crown jewels, rugs, and other impressive treasures. If you take a closer look at the paintings that are on display, you will notice that they all have cuts on them. The Nazis were forced to slice them off the frames, to hide them from their enemies.
Best Features: Cuvillies Theater
The Cuvillies Theater is one of the highlights of the Residenz. The Prince of Bavaria saw his first opera here. It was Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin. The Bavarian King Ludwig II sought refuge here. He did not enjoy his public life. This did not stop him from attending two-state matters. Ludwig designed the Winter Garden on the Residenz. This was to help him feel better while at home. It was removed after his death.
#7 Linderhof Palace
The Schloss Linderhof was designed to stand out. It was patterned after the Palace of Versailles. Ludwig visited Paris in 1867 and fell in love with the palace of Versailles. It is possible that the palace surpassed Versailles as the amount of gold used was impressive.
Ludwig often referred to his private residence as Meiost Ettal. It was an anagram of a famous saying by King Louis XIV which was “L’etat c’est moi” or “I myself am the nation.” The chosen area in the Bavarian Alps for Linderhof was not enough to emulate the sheer size of Versailles. This would come later. King Ludwig II envisioned Herrenchiemsee Palace to be much better than Versailles.
Best Features is the Golden Fountain and the Ceilings
Just like any castle of the fairy-tale King, the setting of Linderhof was visually stunning. You will find a large golden fountain at the front which sends out water up to 72 feet or 22 meters in the air. The castle has several small rooms in it. But they made up for it with the amount of gold they used for decorations. It is not unusual to feel suffocated in these rooms. With just too much gold, you can feel overwhelmed.
Don’t forget to check out the Linderhof gardens. The Venus Grotto is a popular attraction here as well. The Moorish Kiosk is a must-see too. It comes with an ornate throne. Take a stroll in the gardens to enjoy their beauty.
Additional Castles to Discover
One of the best things about Germany is that there are tons of tourist attractions for you to visit. If you are with a small group, joining private tours to various castles and palaces in the country – is worth the cost. You’ll get more information from your tour guides this way. You can also add the following to your itinerary. This is aside from the ones above.
#1 Heidelberg Castle
This Southern Germany castle rests on a rugged hill overlooking the city below. Large parts of the fortress are in ruins. The locals did attempt to restore it to its former grandeur. You can approach the viewing platform to enjoy the stunning view of Heidelberg. For sure, you will fall in love with the view of the surrounding areas. You should take your time exploring this castle and the city itself.
#2 Schwerin Castle
Germany has plenty of fairytale castle that you can visit just like the one located on an island in Lake Schwerin. It has stood for more than a thousand years. Thanks to the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Frederick Francis II, it is a joy to visit.
#3 Wartburg Castle
The Wartburg Castle itself blends well with the surrounding forest making it the perfect castle in several ways. You will see that it has retained many of its designs from the feudal period. You can imagine its grandeur based on the remains of the castle. It was here that Martin Luther King was exiled.
#4 Burghausen Castle
The Burghausen Castle was already standing between the Bronze Age to the Iron Age. The location of the castle was perfect, as this is why it was favored by both the Celts and Romans. The fortress dates back to the late Middle Ages. It was the House of Wittelsbach’s second home between 1250 to 1500. They stored their gold and silver in this castle too!
#5 Cochem Castle
The structure that you see here today was not the original. King Louis XI destroyed the original castle. Louis Ravene was the one who built the Cochem Castle that you see today. It stands out from the hill overlooking the waters. You should drop by and explore its interiors. You will be surprised how much has stood the test of time.
#6 Ludwigsburg Palace
Ludwigsburg is best known for its neoclassical style. The palace has an impressive 452 rooms stretched out in a complex of 18 buildings. There are four wings with the northern wing being the oldest and serving as a ducal residence (the residence of a Duke).
Be Sure Not to Miss Visiting These Castles and Palaces
Visiting Germany to see the gorgeous palaces and castles for a day tour should be on your bucket list. The grandeur and the history of these structures are definitely worth visiting. You can create an itinerary with all these castles in mind and not have to wait for a long time. You can get around these castles and palaces by renting a car or taking a bus. But there are some castles that require some hiking. A bit of research can help you plan your day.
Traveling to this country is a must. Germany is steeped in history that you’ll fall in love with. You can learn more by talking to the locals. They will give you more insight into all these places. Plus if you visit the bars and restaurants in the towns, you will be able to meet the locals.
Take advantage of all the guided tours for an immersive experience. Your guide will show you the best sights in the country. Believe me, you will not be disappointed after seeing these attractions.