5 Castles in Germany You Should Add to Your List

If your favorite stories begin with “once upon a time” and end with “happily ever after,” then it might be time to plan a trip to some castles in Germany!

This article was sponsored by GNTB

From flag-topped turrets poking out of dense woods to grand stone structures high up on hills, Germany is filled with storybook castles—20,000 of them, in fact! With so many to choose from, we’ve narrowed it down to 5 must-see castles in Germany that are worth the trip from Poland. Opt for a quick day trip from Wroclaw to cliff-side Königstein or hit the Romantic Road to Neuschwanstein Castle in the enchanted Bavaria province.

No matter what you decide, we have a feeling you’ll be polishing your tiara and practicing your curtsey by the end of this list.

1. Königstein Castle - A Fortress with a View

Foto: Thomas Eichberg

Just 30 minutes from Dresden and perched 240 meters up on a steep sandstone plateau, you’ll find Germany’s largest hilltop fortress: Königstein Castle. Surrounded by Saxon Switzerland’s forest landscape and flanked on one side by the river Elbe, this gigantic castle—one of the largest in Germany—is a stunner.

Königstein Castle, which dates to the early 13th century, requires an 800-meter uphill hike (or a much easier elevator ride), but it’s worth it. Trek along the 1.6 kilometer-long castle wall for forest views and explore more than 50 buildings.

Take a moment to admire Königstein’s mix of architectural styles, including late Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and 19th-century influences! Be sure to check out the 152-meter-deep well in the center of the fortress—it’s the second deepest well in Europe.

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2. Neuschwanstein - A Magical Castle Fit for a Princess

One of the most recognizable castles in Germany, make your Cinderella dreams come true with a visit to Neuschwanstein! Perched on a hill with the Bavarian Alps as its dramatic backdrop, the 6,000-square-meter Romanesque castle was commissioned in 1868 by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, the “Fairy Tale” King.

After the king’s death in 1886, Schloss Neuschwanstein quickly became one of the most visited (and photographed) castles in Germany and an inspiration to many around the world, including Walt Disney. Rumor has it that Neuschwanstein is the inspiration for the castle in Disney’s 1950 animated classic, “Cinderella”!

Inside, check out 14 of the finished rooms or take a guided tour to see the king’s lavish bedroom. Outside the castle, though, is where you will find some of the most beautiful scenery in Germany.

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3. Herrenchiemsee - A Palace Packed with Glamour

Foto: DZT/ Francesco Carovillano

In 1873, the “Fairy Tale” King purchased the 238-hectare island Herreninsel in Chiemsee lake to build his version of Versailles. The Bavarian king died before construction began, but his dream was carried out with the construction of Herrenchiemsee New Palace beginning in 1878.

Herrenchiemsee is truly a feast for the eyes from the moment you enter. The pièce de resistance? The palace’s Great Hall of Mirrors. Lined with floor-to-ceiling windows for nearly 100 meters, the space positively sparkles with ornately decorated gold candelabras.

Other highlights include the State Staircase, the State Bedroom, and the king’s Small Apartment, which was carefully designed in French Rococo style. Outside, tour the grand gardens that also resemble Versailles, complete with a copy of King Louis’s famous Latona Fountain.

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4. Eltz Castle - A Photographer’s Dream Castle

Foto: DZT/ Florian Trykowski

Set aside plenty of time to explore and photograph Eltz Castle. Just over an hour and a half west of Frankfurt, Burg Eltz is one of the best preserved castles in Germany—it has been owned and cared for by the same family since the 12th century.

Eltz’s enchanted setting is like so many other castles in Germany in that its location is atop a 70-meter-high rock. But that’s where the similarities stop. What makes it unique is that it sits inside a lush valley in the Eltz Forest nature reserve and is surrounded by the Elzbach river on three sides.

Eltz features eight towers that soar up to 35 meters and has a timber-frame structure that looks as if it was ripped right from the pages of your favorite fairy tale. Inside the castle, visitors take a journey through 850 years of Western architecture and culture.

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5. Nymphenburg Palace - A Palace with Walls that Sparkle

Foto: München Tourismus/ Werner Böhm

Back in Bavaria, Nymphenburg Palace takes regal opulence to another level. Twinkling chandeliers? Check. Colossal gilded picture frames? You bet. Ceiling artwork that could even impress Michelangelo? Oh yes!

This Baroque beauty was originally constructed in Italianate-style between 1664 and 1675 as a royal summer residence. Nymphenburg grew into a premier royal palace that is now over 630 meters wide, making it one of the largest castles in Germany—and in Europe.

Tour the main complex’s 16 Baroque, Neoclassical, and Rococo-style rooms, including the Stone Hall with its glittering gilded details, stunning parquet floors, and painstakingly painted ceiling frescoes. Outside, stroll the expansive English-style Nymphenburg Palace Park grounds and pavilions.

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Cover Image: DZT/Günter Standl