Whether you to choose to explore the remarkable castles of Germany on a luxurious river cruise with enriching insights from a local expert, or on a private guided tour, Germany’s splendid collection of castles and palaces evokes a rich, fairy tale-esque history that continues to charm and fascinate.
From the towering castle that inspired the home of Disney’s Cinderella to the Rhine’s only medieval palace, you’ll feel like a Bavarian King as you witness these majestic ancient structures’ decadent halls.
Just one look at Neuschwanstein and you’ll immediately see why it is known as the “jewel of Germany.” Built in the late 1800s as a prized retreat for King Ludwig II, this magnificent castle inspires every visitor, including Walt Disney himself.
Overlooking Bavaria’s deep gorges, pine-speckled forests and towering Alps, the view outside is as captivating as the ornately decorated rooms inside. For a spectacular view, climb Mary’s Bridge (Marienbrücke) to see the castle flanked by the plains and the cascading Pöllat Gorge waterfall below.
The last remaining medieval castle on the Rhine, Marksburg Castle has sat perched high on a lush hilltop, overlooking the quaint town of Braubach, for over 700 years. A popular stop on Rhine river cruises, this staggering UNESCO World Heritage fortress protected all who remained inside its imposing walls. Open daily for tours, you can view historic artifacts like armor, weapons and even torture devices.
Towering above a wide, reflective moat, the stark white Glücksburg Castle sits in the town of Glücksberg, where it was considered one of the most important Renaissance castles in all of Northern Europe. Built in the late 1500s as a monastery, the King of Denmark took up residence here during the summers, relishing the vast views across the moat as he marched across the castle’s courtyard.
Nestled in the hills of the Moselle River and surrounded by a dense forest, Burg Eltz castle is, without a doubt, stunning. Walking across the narrow, stone gangway, peering up at its 12th-century façade and Bavarian painted windows, you’ll be thankful that it’s one of the few castles in the country untouched by war. Open for guests and still boasting original furnishings, you’ll enjoy the rare privilege of an authentic glimpse into the royal lives of the medieval elite.
Sitting on a private island in Lake Schwerin, the stately Schwerin Castle inspired the lowliest peasant to dream of strolling through its picturesque gardens, past 15th-century sculptures and statues, and up to its pristine fountain. On the popular paranormal tour, you just might bump into a man named Petermaennchen, whose ghost has allegedly been prowling the halls for centuries.
Perched precariously on a steep, rugged cliff near Honau and Baden-Württenburg, Lichtenstein Castle has inspired architects around the world. An impressive thrill to behold from any angle, more astounding adventures can be found around the castle grounds in the form of a kid-pleasing ropes course and miles of breathtaking hiking routes.