Bavaria, Germany has many majestic medieval castles. Unfortunately we have only been able to visit five of them. I love old castles. The older they are the more interesting they are for me. I love learning their history because a castle has the entire history of a town or even an entire region concentrated in one place. Behind a castle’s wall lots of people found refuge and shelter during times of war and found joy and entertainment during times of peace. All this tumultuous life is many times captured inside a castle’s museum. Read on about five beautiful castles in Bavaria, Germany.
Arguably the most famous castle in the world is Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany. It is built on a tall hilltop at the foot of the Alps, in the small village of Hohenschwangau near the town of Fussen in Bavaria Germany. There are pictures everywhere on the internet, but when you get there and see the castle from the bottom of the hill, it does really look like a fairy tale. You expect to see knights on their horses coming down the hill in their shining armor. Once you see it you stop wondering why Walt Disney used this castle as the inspiration behind Cinderella’s castle.
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany – Storm clouds gathering around Neuschwanstein Castle
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Neuschwanstein is a new castle, being opened to the public 1886, but its unbelievably picturesque location and medieval look really explain why it is the most famous castle in the world. If you are planning to visit Neuschvanstein and Hohenschwangau castles we found that it is best to visit Neuschvanstein in the morning and then Hohenschwangau later. Most people do it the other way around and this is how we visited as well, but Neuschvanstein gets really busy around noon. Each castle tour takes less than one hour but you need to plan for at least two hours for each castle to account for waiting and the shuttle bus ride.
If you are planning a trip to this beautiful are you can find budget hotels in the Schwangau region. We stayed at the inexpensive Alpengasthof Geiselstein in the nearby village of Halblech, only 10 minutes from the castles.
Dating from the fourteen century and built initially as a fortress, Hohenschwangau (which means High Schwangau) is the childhood residence of King Ludwig, the builder of Neuschwanstein Castle on the nearby hill.
Hohenschwangau Castle, Germany – The Alpsee lake and Hohenschwangau Castle seen from Neuschwanstein Castle
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Hohenschwangau Castle overlooks the pristine Alpsee lake and it provides an unbelievable panorama of the surrounding mountains and hillsides.
Linderhof is the smallest of the three palaces built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria and the only one which he lived to see completed. Built as a smaller version of Palais de Versailles near Paris, Linderhof is situated in absolutely stunning natural setting and is just a delight to visit and stroll through its gardens.
Linderhof Castle, Germany – The lake and fountain in front of the palace
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Linderhof Castle is also very mysterious with the eerie artificial cave that was built just for Ludwig. Also called Venus Grotto, the cave houses a large scale scene from Wagner’s Tannhauser opera. It features an artificial waterfall and spotlights with changing colors which were an amazing technological achievement for those times.
We came to Linderhof in the afternoon after visiting Neuschvanstein Castle and we arrived in the middle of a huge downpour. It takes about 30 minutes of beautiful driving from the Scwangau area through Austria and to Linderhof. If you start early in the morning and you plan well you can see all three castles in one day.
If you are looking to stay in the area you can find great places to stay near Linderhof Castle.
Harburg is a tiny village on the famous Romantic Road that goes from the northern part of Bavaria all the way south to the Alps and the border with Austria.
Harburg, Germany – Harburg Castle is a large medieval fortress dating from around 1150. Unlike many of Germany’s castles which have been damaged during World War 2, Harburg Castle has remained intact over the centuries.
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Harburg Castle is a large medieval stronghold that dominates the village below and the surrounding landscape. It has an idyllic setting with a slow flowing river, a village with tiny streets and Harburg Castle perched on the hill.
We came to Harburg driving the picturesque Romantic Road from Rothenburg and Dinklesbuhl. Harburg Castle appears after a bend in the road and it provides a gorgeous view right from the road.
Germany’s Romantic Road is best visited by renting a car in Germany and driving it through the countryside all the way to the Alps. If you are planning a trip to this area you can find budget hotels on Germany’s Romantic Strasse.
Nuremberg castle is a formidable medieval fortress situated on the hill overlooking the old city of Nuremberg. As much of Germany was destroyed during world war 2, Nuremberg castle was badly damaged as well with only one tower and two chapel buildings surviving the bombardment.
Nuremberg, Germany – Beautiful view of the Nuremberg Castle tower and entrance
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In the 1920s Nuremberg Castle was rebuild according to the original plans and it still dominates the city from the hilltop. We came to Nuremberg from Munich, so if you are planning a trip to this area you can find great hotel prices in Nuremberg or you can look for budget places to stay in Munich.
Is it worth visiting castles in Bavaria, Germany?
Absolutely! Even though many historical landmarks have been mostly destroyed during the war, Germany has done an amazing job in rebuilding them according to the original plans.In addition they created beautiful museums around these landmarks. We loved each one of them.