The art of the Schlöss has long been perfected in Germany. Built some hundreds of years ago- to protect towns from attacks and pillagers, to provide privacy to an elusive king, to show the power and wealthy of the elite- Germany’s collection of castles are some of the most beautiful in Europe.
1. Löwenburg, Hessen, Kassel
Modeled after a real Medieval knight’s castle, the Löwenburg (Lion’s Castle) was the private residence of Landgrave Wilhelm IX from 1793 to 1800. It is an architectural gem that served as both a fortress and leisure palace, with many turrets, bay windows and elaborate decorations. Although it fell into ruin after the death of Landgrave, it is today part of the larger Wilhelmshöhe Park and open to the public as a museum. Inside, you can see the former ornately decorated living rooms, an extensive weapons collection, a rich assortment of historical furniture, paintings, tapestries and medieval stained glass windows. Consult the Löwenburg Castle Website for more information.
2. Schwerin Castle, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
One of the most picturesque settings, Schwerin Castle is located on an island in the middle of Lake Schwerin, Germany’s third largest lake. It is regarded as one of the most beautiful and most important castles of Romantic Historicism in Northern Europe. This location has long provided strategic protection and there has been a fortress there since the year 973, when the Slavs settled in the area. The building you see today was commissioned, expanded and rebuilt by Grand Duke Friedrich Franz II of Mecklenburg-Schwerin between the years of 1845 and 1857 to include 653 rooms! Surrounding the castle grounds is a Burggarten garden and extensive parkland inspired by local traditions and French castle along the Loire.
Today, you can visit the Museum Schlöss Schwerin, full of artwork, an extensive porcelain collection and a collection of royal hunting and decorative weapons. The castle is also the home of the State Parliament of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Consult the Schwerin Castle website for more information.
3. Ahrensburg Castle, Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein
Just a quick day trip from Hamburg is the Ahrensburg Castle, built in 1595. Although it was originally referred to as a mansion, today it maintains the name of “castle” and is a symbol of the town of Ahrensburg. It serves mainly as a museum and event venue. Throughout the year you can find summer theatres performances, musical concerts and even a medieval market. Consult the Ahrensburg Castle website for more information.
4. Heidelburg Castle, Baden-Württemberg
Featured in a previous article, the Heidelberg Castle is a must-see on any trip to Germany! During its full glory it was considered one of the most impressive in Germany and even today its ruins towering over the town below are still a striking sight. The original castle was completed in the 13th century and has endured a serious of expansions, fires, attacks and rebuilding throughout the years. Today, you can visit the exterior grounds, with beautiful views of the valley below, but a private tour is required to visit the interior. Consult the Heidelburg Castle website for more information.
5. Stahleck Castle, Rhineland-Palatinate
Looking to go back in time to the Middle Ages? Have no fear! Stahleck Castle is now open as a youth hostel, dating back to the year 1135. Surrounded by peaceful woods with a beautiful view of the Lorelei Valley in the Rhine Gorge. The main streets near the castle has been restored to give an impression of what it may have looked like in the middle ages with cozy courtyards and wine taverns. Want to book a room? Click here.
Stay tuned for more of Germany’s most beautiful castles!