Great Journeys

The German Castles Tour

Germany is home to some of Europe’s most staggeringly beautiful and scenic road trips, including routes through forests, countryside, mountains and more. This route is less focussed on natural beauty, and instead takes you past some of Germany’s most famous castles, some of which you might have seen on our #FairyTaleFriday campaign on Instagram and Twitter!

However, the castles aren’t the only attraction on this route. The scenery throughout could be lifted from a Brothers Grimm book, including half-timbered houses, quaint villages and towering pines.

Head to our Great Journeys page for more detail on how to arrange a tour of Germany’s famous castles, or read below for some of our suggested highlights.

Mannheim

Known as the “City of Squares”, Mannheim’s streets are laid out in a grid fashion, unusual among European cities. The main attraction of the city is Mannheim Palace, a wonderful red-and-yellow sandstone building which is also Germany’s largest baroque palace. The palace was originally a residence for the Elector, one of the most important territorial princes of the Holy Roman Empire. These days it is used as part of the university and is open for visitors, although it was nearly demolished after the Second World War to make room for a more modern city-space. Just imagine that!

Heidelberg

Built on the slopes of Mount Konigstuhl, the ruins of Heidelberg castle are among the most famous landmarks in Germany. Originally built in the 13th century, the castle has been restored and rebuilt various times and overlooks the city. Heidelberg city itself is wonderful, sitting on the banks of the River Neckar, the architecture is baroque and beautiful, with red-roofed buildings housing restaurants, cafes, bars and galleries, which act as testament to Heidelberg’s status as one of Germany’s original university towns.

 

Today, Heidelberg is one of Germany’s most enchanting cities. The longer you stay, the more heartstopping panoramas and hidden treasures you’ll discover.

– Lonely Planet

Hornberg Castle and Guttenberg Castle

The Neckar Valley is home to a number of castles, and 2 of the standout destinations are Hornberg Castle and Guttenberg Castle. Hornberg is the oldest and largest castle in the valley, built in the 11th century and having housed Knight Gotz von Berlichingen from 1517 until 1562. Guttenberg Castle is known for its grand turrets and towers, and is open to the public, offering a museum, a tavern and a bird of prey sanctuary. Both castles have restaurants and accommodation so you can stay overnight if you like.

Schwäbisch Hall and Langenburg Castle

As you walk through Schwäbisch Hall, you may think you’ve been transported into a medieval or fantasy story book. Gorgeous timbered houses and narrow, winding alleys will enchant and amaze you as you wander through the city, and there’s more to be seen at Langenburg Castle. Langenburg Castle is a wonderful, princely stately home which used to belong to the royal Hohenlohe-Langenburg family. Nearby you’ll also find the mighty turrets of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, which overlooks the gently flowing River Tauber.

Ansbach and Nuremberg

Ansbach is home to a splendid palace, as well as an orangery and gardens which are reminiscent of the Louvre in Paris, as well as the Palace of Versailles.

FB_NurembergNearby you’ll also find Nuremberg, which was painstakingly rebuilt – even using the original stone – after allied bombing in the Second World War all but flattened the city. The Imperial Castle dominates the skyline of Nuremberg with its stocky turrets and sandstone towers. Wander through the city and you’ll find the gorgeous Hauptmarkt Square, arrive here at midday and you’ll see the clock’s mechanical procession, but even if you miss that, check out the fountain with a brass ring which supposedly offers good luck to those who touch it.

Bamberg

The last stop on our castle tour, Bamberg is an architectural masterpiece and a UNESCO World Heritage site in its own right, but before you enjoy this fantastic city and its sights, head to Gößweinstein, with a twisting road which leads up to its medieval castle, or to Pottenstein, which has a towering 11th century castle sat on top of its dark and cool caves.

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