Germany’s most spectacular castles

Lichtenstein Castle
Lichtenstein Castle

The great thing about Germany’s castles is that a lot of them were built near rivers. This is most likely because the German aristocracy and royalty in the Middle Ages had the foresight to see that people in the 21st century would really enjoy scenic river cruises. Not really – they were built near rivers because it provided easy access to water for the surrounding townships, easy access for goods and services to come by boat and better protection against enemy armies. But riverside or not, one thing is for sure – Germany’s castles are spectacular. Here are seven examples to prove it. 

1. Cochem Castle

Cochem Castle
Cochem Castle has been restored in Gothic style

Cochem Castle is perched atop a hill above a river, overlooking the wonderfully scenic town of Cochem. It’s a popular town for river cruises to pass through as the castle above the colourful buildings that dot the shore line is quite a sight. The first historical mention of the castle was in the 12th century. In the 1800s it was overrun by the French and all but destroyed before a Berlin businessman bought it for a pittance, restoring it in a Gothic revival style. 

Ad. Article continues below.

2. Eltz Castle, Munstermaifeld

Eltz Castle is a 12th century castle
Eltz Castle is surrounded by rivers and forest

A spectacular tidbit about Eltz Castle is that it’s still owned by the Eltz family, some 33 generations after the first 12th century owners. The castle is surrounded on three sides by rivers and lies in the midst of the Eltz forest. You’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time with a trip to Eltz Castle. 

Ad. Article continues below.

3. Lichtenstein Castle

Lichtenstein Castle is truly a sight to behold
Lichtenstein Castle is truly a sight to behold

Located in Germany’s south, Lichtenstein Castle was built in the late 1800s, inspired by the novel Lictenstein. The ruins of the medieval castle that inspired the novel are a few hundred metres away, which was destroyed and rebuilt many times throughout its history. 

Ad. Article continues below.

Read more: 10 photos that will inspire you to take a European river cruise

4. Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg Castle and the old bridge
Heidelberg Castle and the old bridge

Heidelberg Palace was one of the most grand palaces of the Renaissance, so much so that it was heralded in the 17th century as the eighth wonder of the world. With the old bridge in the foreground, Heidelberg Castle with its red sandstone walls, is an impressive centrepiece of the historic little town. 

Ad. Article continues below.

5. Hohenzollern Castle

Hohenzollern Castle is perched high in the Swabian Alps
Hohenzollern Castle is perched high in the Swabian Alps

Located atop a 234m bluff in southwestern Germany, Hohenzollern is one of the country’s most visited castles. It was built in the early 11th century and has been torn down in wars and restored three times in its history. It’s home to some very impressive historical Prussian artefacts, including the crown of Wilhelm II, some of King Frederick the Great’s personal belongings and a letter from George Washington thanking Baron von Steuben, a Hohenzollern descendant, for his service in the American Revolutionary War. 

Ad. Article continues below.

Read more: Visit the small town that inspired beauty and the beast

6. Wartburg Castle

Wartburg Castle is on the World Heritage List
Wartburg Castle is on the World Heritage List

As well as being an important historical monument in itself, Wartburg Castle has had history made within its walls. It’s the place where Martin Luther translated the New Testament of the bible to German, and it was also home to Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. Built in the Middle Ages, it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999 due to its historical significance to the Feudal Period in Europe. It’s also said that Wartburg Castle was an important inspiration source for Ludwig II when he built the next castle on the list – Neuschwanstein Castle.

Ad. Article continues below.

7. Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle is a world famous
Neuschwanstein Castle is a world famous

A list of Germany’s castles wouldn’t be complete without the famous Neuschwanstein Castle. Otherwise known as the Disneyland castle (because it was modelled after Neuschwanstein), it was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria in the 19th century to pay homage to Richard Wagner. More than 1.3 million people visit the castle every year, with up to 6,000 in a single day in the summer. So maybe avoid a summer visit. 

Which is your favourite castle from the list? Let us know in the comments. 

Ad. More articles below.