High walls, pointed towers, deep moats and brave inhabitants, unconquered and unconquered - this is what the epitome of a knight's castle looks like. In Germany, there are still many such medieval forts that have survived the turmoil of the centuries and tower more proudly than ever over the land. As witnesses of times long past, they stand on hilltops, are surrounded by lakes or hide in dense, green forests. With their impressive architecture, many castles are now important architectural monuments and cultural assets. And worth a visit for this and many other reasons. 

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Lion Castle, Hesse

"Rapunzel, let down your hair"! The Lion Castle is nestled in green countryside at the gates of the city of Kassel, above Wilhelmshöhe Palace. With its many towers, beige-brown masonry and gray slate roofs, it looks like the ideal setting for a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. In fact, the castle was built at the exact time when the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm wrote down their collection of fairy tales, between 1793 and 1801. The Löwenburg is particularly interesting because it is one of the first pseudo-medieval castle ruins in Europe. The castle was deliberately designed to resemble a dilapidated medieval knight's castle from the outside, complete with armory with weapons and knight's armor. However, in accordance with the epoch in which the castle was planned and built, the interior structure rather resembles the typical room program of a baroque pleasure and country castle. The princely living quarters with their historical furniture, paintings, tapestries and bronzes are therefore particularly worth seeing. The castle can be visited on guided tours that take place every hour and can only be reached on foot via Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe.

By train comfortably and without traffic jams to Kassel: Plan arrival.


Breuberg Castle, Hesse

One of the most impressive castle complexes in southern Germany is Castle Breubergwhich rises high above the town of Breuberg in the Odenwald. At that time, it was built by Konrad Reiz von Lützelbach as a Staufer castle and has been inhabited and used for various purposes ever since. Initially as a residence for various noble families, in the more recent past it was also used as a district administration office. During the Second World War served the castle as a place of residence for migrant workers, then as a production site for a toy factory. Today, the old walls house a youth hostel and a castle tavern. The colorful mix of inhabitants in the past can still be seen today in the equally colorful mix of furnishing and architectural styles. Especially Gothic and Renaissance have left their traces. Today, the Breuberg Museum is located in the historic rooms. Here, old craftsmanship, contributions to folklore and objects from the castle's history are on display.

By train and bus comfortably to Breuberg: Plan arrival.


Eltz Castle, Rhineland-Palatinate

A beautiful count's daughter who loses her life fighting for her freedom, high castle walls, a moat and a stone castle bridge -. Eltz castle is a knight's castle as it is written in the book. This is probably also the reason why it has not been captured by enemies once in its 800-year history. And that's not all: it has survived all the turmoil of the centuries completely unscathed, making it one of the few castles in Europe that has never been destroyed. To this day, the castle is owned by the von und zu Eltz family, which is no longer present on the castle grounds. Castle lives, but maintains it and opens it to curious visitors from all over the world between April and November. A guided tour not only takes you through the castle's many rooms, but also on a journey through the centuries, which have left their mark on every corner. A particular highlight is the treasure chamber in the cellar. Here await over 500 exhibits - gold, jewelry, porcelain, weapons and armor. 

By train and bus comfortably to the castle Eltz: Plan arrival.


Reichsburg Cochem, Rhineland-Palatinate

Knights' halls, dining rooms, hunting rooms, bower, oriels, battlements -. the Imperial Castle rises high above the town of Cochem on the Moselle and offers everything you would expect from a real knight's castle. The complex, which served as a customs castle in the Middle Ages, was built - it is assumed - in the first half of the 12th century. During the Palatinate War of Succession in the mid-17th century, the castle was severely damaged, but in the 19th century, the Berlin commercial councillor Louis Revené decided to restore it and rebuild it in the neo-Gothic style. Since then it shines in new splendor and is visible for miles above the Moselle valley. Interested parties can the castle However, you can not only admire the castle from afar, but also take part in guided castle tours, discover the impressively designed interiors and, on Fridays or Saturdays, take part in a rustic knight's banquet in the castle cellar. The crowning glory of this "Gasterey nach Art der alten Rittersleut": At the end of the evening, each guest is knighted.

By train comfortably and without traffic jams to Cochem: Plan arrival.


Trifels Castle, Rhineland-Palatinate

Built of sandstone, it sits enthroned on a wildly jagged rocky reef above the town of Annweiler: Trifels Castle. At its feet lies the Queichtal, eastward stretches the Rhine plain and westward the Palatinate Forest. Probably built in the eleventh century, the old walls have seen and experienced a lot. For the castle was not simply a knight's castle. In the 12th and 13th centuries, it served the Staufers and Salians as an important center of power, which is why imperial regalia such as the crown, scepter and orb were repeatedly kept behind the thick walls. To this day, faithful replicas of these treasures can be admired in the castle's treasury. But the rest of the castle is also worth seeing, because its architecture is an exciting witness of the most different eras. After all, the masonry had to be rebuilt in parts again and again over the 1,000 years of its existence after destruction and decay. During a visit, guests can also hear exciting stories about Emperor Barbarossa - Trifels Castle was considered his favorite feasts. The life of King Richard of England, known as the Lionheart, is also closely interwoven with the walls. He was imprisoned here for several years.

By train comfortably and without traffic jams to Annweiler: Plan arrival.


Vischering Castle, North Rhine-Westphalia

As if on a mirror, the castle with its pointed tower floats above the mirror-smooth water surface. The speech is from Vischering Castle, the ideal of a typical Münsterland moated castle - a round main castle surrounded by a house pond. Only a narrow bridge leads across the water to the gate of the compact castle complex. Probably built in the 12th century, the building served as a fortress. It was inhabited by the knight Albert von Wulfheim, who, with the help of the castle and a small crew, was to ensure that neighboring castles could not extend their dominions further into Münster. From 1519 to 1622, the castle was finally expanded into a residential castle. Today, parts of the castle can be visited by visitors. This also includes the Münsterlandmuseum, which was opened in 1972 in the premises of the historical building. In the permanent exhibition "WasserBurgenWelt" you can learn about the history of the castle and its inhabitants. The café "Reitstall" provides hungry stomachs with small meals, coffee and cake. 

By train and bus comfortably to the castle Vischering: Plan arrival.


Wartburg, Thuringia

Center of high medieval poetry and minnesong, place of residence and activity of St. Elizabeth, exile for Martin Luther, who translated the New Testament here, and scene of the Wartburg Festival of the German fraternities - no German castle is so closely associated with great historical events as the Wartburg in Thuringia. The impressive building, erected in 1067, was therefore designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. And as if that were not reason enough for a visit, the Wartburg also still extremely impressive high above the city of Eisenach from the green of the Thuringian Forest. By the way: If you calculate the center of Germany based on the center of gravity of the area of Germany, it is only about 10 kilometers away from the Wartburg. Therefore, Wartburg Castle was declared the center of Germany by proxy and the symbol of German unity in 1989. Today, the fortress offers guided castle tours and hosts cultural events. For example, the Wartburg Festival, where concerts and operas are performed in the castle's own festival hall.

By train comfortably and without traffic jams to Eisenach: Plan arrival.


Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg

In the heart of Baden-Württemberg, on the edge of the Swabian Alb and between Lake Constance and the Black Forest lies the Hohenzollern Castle at an altitude of 855 meters. Those who want to climb it have to take a long and steep walk, only to find themselves in front of the high walls and ask to be let in. But don't worry: today they are happy to grant it. The first castle on this site was built in the early 11th century, but was completely destroyed in 1423 after a long siege. In 1454, therefore, another castle was built with higher, stronger walls, parts of which are still preserved today. Every year, up to 300,000 visitors flock to the impressive structure, which with its light-colored stone, gray spires and ornate stone frescoes is almost reminiscent of the "Harry Potter" school of magic, Hogwarts. At Hohenzollern Castle, visitors can tour not only the fortress with its 140 rooms - including the library with ornate murals or rooms with gilded coffered ceilings. The museum, which houses a fascinating collection of artifacts related to the history of Prussia and its royal families, is also worth a visit. In addition, the castle hosts events throughout the year, such as concerts, exhibitions and one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Germany.

By train and bus comfortably to Hohenzollern Castle: Plan arrival.


Lauenstein Castle, Bavaria

Green flower tendrils wind across the blue-painted, column-supported vaulted ceiling that spans the hall with its elaborate tapestries: The Orlamünde Hall at Lauenstein Castle looks like something out of a fairy tale. The castle lies in the heights of the Thuringian Forest, not far from the Franconian-Thuringian border and is considered the northernmost castle in Bavaria. The oldest components of the impressive castle complex date back to the 12th century. For many years, the Thuringian dynasty of the Counts of Orlamünde, now extinct, lived here. But the ghost of Catherine of Orlamünde, who lived here in the 14th century, is said to still walk around the premises as a "white woman" and thus never really left the castle. At least that's what they say ... Today heard the castle the Free State of Bavaria, which has restored the complex and set up an extensive museum in the main castle. Armor, weapons, furniture, tiled stoves, paintings, wall and ceiling paintings can be viewed here. Also worthwhile is a visit to the annual Lauenstein Castle Festival, during which the castle is transformed into a medieval setting for jugglers and lansquenets. 

By train and bus comfortably to Lauenstein Castle: Plan arrival.

Cover photo: The Reichsburg Cochem © Boris Stroujko, Adobe Stock

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