Top 10 Must-See Castles in Bavaria

Bavaria, Neuschwanstein Castle

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Last updated:
21.08.2020

Bavaria, one of the most historic and essential German regions, is a perfect destination for all history enthusiasts. Called once the Kingdom of Bavaria, this land is dotted with numerous ancient castles and ruins that exhale the historic past and unique atmosphere. Stepping into these places unleashes inspiration and imagination.

Having been towering over the surroundings for centuries, many have one-of-a-kind nature and unusual charm alongside personal history. Numerous dynasties of Counts, Dukes, and other nobles, wars and peaceful times - all of this left their marks on the walls of Bavarian castles. Step into a German fairy-tale, saturated with a romantic atmosphere. Here we collected a list of 10 castles that are among top places to visit in the magical lands of Bavaria.

1. Burghausen Castle

This enchanting gothic castle stands above a lovely town of Burghausen. Founded back in the Bronze Age, it is the longest castle complex in the whole world. With a length of 1051 meters, Burghausen Castle is one of the most impressive sights in Bavaria.

The castle bears marks of early, high Middle Ages, and even Renaissance. Throughout history, it changed and transformed into the masterpiece we see today.

Burghausen Castle

And medieval fortifications remind of the impetuous story of the castle. But despite some worrying times, most of the exterior remained almost intact in the original state as well as interior, which is designed in Art Nouveau.

Burghausen Facts

  • Location: Burghausen, Upper Bavaria
  • Age: since 13th century
  • Style: Medieval
  • Open hours: from 9.00 am (1 April - 6 October); 10.00 am 7 October - 1 March.
  • Tickets: Adults – 4.50 euros; Reduced – 3.50 euros; Children under 18 – Free

2. Neuschwanstein Castle

It is safe to bet that you’ve seen pictures of this castle at least once. And this wouldn’t be a surprise as a 19th century Neuschwanstein Castle is an idealized idea of ​​a knight's castle from the Middle Ages. Nestled in the Alps, with high peaked towers, strong pure-white walls, and hundreds of windows, the complex is a true “fairytale castle”. Often referred to by this name, Neuschwanstein is open to visitors almost all year round.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Overlooking the Hohenschwangau Valley, the construction of the Romantic castle started in 1869 for the Bavarian King Ludwig II as the king’s private refuge. Shortly after his death, the complex was open to the public. And today it is visited by around 1.5 million tourists annually.

Interestingly, the iconic Disney castle from Sleeping Beauty as well as the actual castle in Disneyland was inspired by Neuschwanstein Castle. See for yourself on Bavaria tour.

Neuschwanstein Facts

  • Location: town of Fussen, Southern Bavaria
  • Age: since 19th century
  • Style: Romanesque
  • Open hours: 9.00 am 1 April - mid-October; 10.00 am from mid-October to March.
  • Tickets: Adults – 13 euros; Reduced – 12 euros; Children under 18 – free

3. Hohenschwangau Castle

Hohenschwangau Castle is a fellow neighbor of the famous Neuschwanstein Castle. It is located directly across from Neuschwanstein in the village of Hohenschwangau. Rooted in the breathtaking valleys overlooking the amazing Alps, this castle is a great example of the Gothic architectural style while the interior is adorned with graceful royal ballrooms, bedrooms, and salons.

Another remarkable detail of this magnificent castle are its walls enriched with paintings representing Germanic folktales and historic legends

Hohenschwangau Castle

The castle is another heritage left by King Ludvig II of Bavaria. Or rather, his father, King Maximilian II of Bavaria. Once, Hohenschwangau was as luxurious as Neuschwanstein, but after the Napoleonic Wars, the building laid in ruins for a long time. Until King Maximilian II of Bavaria bought these ruins and transformed them into a summer residence, which became a childhood residence for King Ludvig II of Bavaria.

Hohenschwangau Facts

  • Location: town of Füssen, Southern Bavaria
  • Age: since 19th century
  • Style: Gothic
  • Open hours: from 8.30 am from mid-October to March; from 7.30 am from April to mid-October.
  • Tickets: Adults – 13 Euros; Reduced – 12 Euros; Children under 18 – Free

4. Johannisburg Castle

Johannisburg Castle has seen some hard times in its lifetime but still stands, powerful and mighty. It grew on the site of an earlier medieval castle between 1605 and 1614. Built from red sandstone, it served as a residence for the Archbishop-Elector Johann Schweikard von Kronberg.

The Second World War brought serious damage to the castle. But fortunately, all internal decorations including art collections and furniture were saved, so the castle was open to the public later in the 20th-century.

Johannisburg Castle

Johannisburg Castle is a perfect opportunity to behold wonderful German Renaissance architectural style. And in the inner museum you’ll see works of art and historical evidence from six centuries.

Johannisburg Facts

  • Location: town of Aschaffenburg, Franconia
  • Age: since 17th century
  • Style: German Renaissance / Neoclassical
  • Open hours: from 9.00 am from April to October; 10.00 am from October to March
  • Tickets: Adults – 3.50 euros; Reduced – 2.50 euros; Children under 18 – Free

5. Nuremberg Castle

Being one of the most important art and architectural monuments in the city and a part of the Nuremberg Historic Mile, Nuremberg Castle is a true symbol of the city of Nuremberg.

Nuremberg Castle

The building is a double castle, consisting of the Kaiserburg and the Burggrafenburg. Throughout its history, the castle has served as a fortification and imperial residence of the House of Hohenzollern. In ancient times, Nuremberg Castle represented the power and importance of the Holy Roman Empire. With such an impressive background, the complex is considered one of the most important fortifications in Europe.

This magnificent historical castle in Bavaria is another victim of a terrifying World War II. During air assaults on Nuremberg, the castle complex was severely damaged. But, fortunately, after the war, it was rebuilt in its historical form and now welcomes every traveler.

Nuremberg Facts

  • Location: Nuremberg
  • Age: from 12th-century
  • Style: Medieval
  • Open hours: from 9.00 am from April to September; 10.00 am from October to March.
  • Tickets: Adults – 7 euros; Reduced – 6 euros

6. Blutenburg Castle

Amid blooming greenery on the banks of river Würm, right outside of Munich, Blutenburg Castle is nestled. Built by Duke Albert III in the 15th-century, the castle replaced the older one destroyed by war.

Sadly, the interior can’t be visited, but the castle is a great collection of museums. The International Youth Library has set up various reading museums in the palace: the Michael Ende Museum, the James Krüss Tower, the Erich Kästner Room and since July 2005 the Binette-Schroeder cabinet.

Blutenburg Castle

Blutenburg Castle served Duke Albert III as a luxurious hunting lodge, so the appropriate area was selected. And this is one of the main things to see in Bavaria as the castle offers inspiring natural views of the Würm River and the surroundings.

Blutenburg Facts

  • Location: Seldwed 15, west of Munich
  • Age: since 15th century
  • Style: Medieval
  • Open hours: only the chapel. From 9.00 am (April - September) from 10.00 am (October - March)
  • Tickets: Free

7. Drachenburg Castle

Drachenburg Castle dates back to the 19th century. This mighty and impressive complex was built as a private villa on the Drachenfels hill in Konigswinter. Such a location reveals amazing views of the surroundings and the pearly river Rhine.

Drachenburg Castle

The castle was built as a residence of Baron Stephan von Sarter, a financial expert and punter. But by the irony of fate, he never moved there.

Controlled by the State Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia, the charming castle is open to the public, offering you an opportunity to dive into a fairy-tale.

Drachenburg Facts

  • Location: Konigswinter, Germany
  • Age: since 19th century
  • Style: Palace
  • Open hours: 10:00am – 16:00pm
  • Tickets: Adults - 7 euros; Reduced - 5 euros

8. Lauf Castle

Originally a medieval fortress, today Lauf Castle is an alluring place to visit in Bavaria. Interestingly, in German, it bears the name “Wenzelschloss” ("Saint Wenceslas' Chateau"). This is due to the survived statue of Saint Wenceslas, patron saint of Czechs, on the facade of the entrance gate.

But the most impressive feature of Lauf Castle is the hall of arms, which was discovered in 1934 under a layer of old paint. The found collection of 112 coats of arms is unique artifacts of the noblemen of the Crown of Bohemia.

Lauf Castle

Lauf Castle was erected on the ruins of an older castle by Charles IV, the Holy Roman Emperor, in the 14th-century. But the fortress quickly changed its owner. After construction, as a result of an exchange of lands, the Emperor ceded the castle to Otto V, Duke of Bavaria.

From 1985 to 2013 Lauf Castle was used by the Nuremberg Academy of Fine Arts as a Lauf branch. During that time an extensive restoration took place. Today, the castle is empty but provides wedding services and is included in many city tours.

Lauf Facts

  • Location: Lauf an der Pegnitz, close to Nuremberg
  • Age: since 14th century
  • Open hours: interior is closed to public
  • Tickets: -

9. Heidelberg Castle

The beautiful city of Heidelberg boasts a great landmark and one of the most famous ruins in Germany, Heidelberg Castle. This astonishing 12th-century Renaissance castle was built of red sandstone on an 80-meters hill. From here you can see a bright image of the valley and Old Town, a historical district in Heidelberg. Which is definitely worth visiting if you’re on Germany tour.

The castle has a very tragic history. It was destroyed during the Nine Years’ War in 1693 and partially restored until a lightning bolt set the complex on fire in 1764. Since then the reconstruction has been abandoned.

Heidelberg Castle

Despite the slings and arrows, we still can admire the majesty of Heidelberg Castle. The Ottheinrichsbau, one of the palace buildings, is one of the most important structures of German Mannerism. In the cultural-historical epoch of Romanticism, the castle ruins were stylized as the epitome of a bygone and admirable epoch. Today it is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Europe.

Heidelberg Facts

  • Location: Heidelberg
  • Age: since 13th century
  • Style: Medieval / Renaissance
  • Open hours: only in guided tours. 8:00am - 6:00pm
  • Tickets: Adults – 8 euros; Reduced – 4 euros

10. Marienberg Fortress

This mighty fortress fulfilled its purpose more than once throughout its history. Dominating the historic city of Wurzburg on a mountain ledge 100 meters above the river Main, the 12th-century fortress was often under siege.

Marienberg Fortress

For 5 centuries it stood bravely, but in the 17th century just another attack caused serious damage. Which was only the beginning. In the times of World War II, the castle suffered significant damage during bombardments. Large parts of the fortress were destroyed.

But all's well that ends well. The Marienberg Fortress restored its beauty in the second half of the 20th-century. If you’re there, you should note one of the most unique attractions of the complex, St Mary’s Church. This wonderful building is a portal to AD 706, the year of its construction.

European history has significantly influenced lovely Bavaria, which unintentionally has turned it into a fairytale land with an impressive number of authentic castles, luxurious palaces, and medieval fortresses. And beautiful nature together with splendid landscapes brings to this place romantic charm. Only one glance at these beautiful places in Bavaria immerses you in a world of legends, noble knights, and aristocratic magnificence.


Marienberg Facts

  • Location: Wurzburg
  • Age: since 12th century
  • Style: Medieval / Renaissance / Baroque
  • Open hours: from 9.00 am from (April - October); 10.00 am from (November - March).
  • Tickets: Adults – 3.5 euros; Reduced – 2.5 euros

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