Germany is well known for its stunning castles. Now that Singaporeans can visit the country under the VTL scheme, you may want to plan your travels to take in a few of them.
With as many as 20,000 castles scattered across the land, visitors to Germany have plenty to choose from when it comes to exploring these fortified buildings. These structures range from postcard-perfect sites worthy of a Disney animated flick to little-known medieval ruins. Replete with turrets, drawbridges, towers, and breathtaking views, they will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a fairy tale.
NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLEBuilt in the late 1800s, Neuschwanstein Castle is the most visited castle in the world. It is said to have been the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Disneyland.
Nestled in the Bavarian Alps, it was commissioned by King Ludwig II, and is built on the edge of a cliff. This dramatic setting provides a jaw-dropping alpine backdrop, which makes it picture-perfect. The interior walls of the castle are adorned with murals depicting the legends behind Wagner’s operas — Ludwig II was an ardent fan of the composer.
One of the highlights not far beyond the castle’s walls is Marienbrücke, the bridge that hangs over a waterfall and offers iconic views of Neuschwanstein. After your tour, be sure to explore the wooden trails around the castle as they provide ample opportunities to admire the surrounding Bavarian Alps.
HOHENSCHWANGAU CASTLEHohenschwangau Castle overlooks the village of the same name on the shore of the idyllic Lake Alpsee. Originally built in the 12th century, the castle was ruined by Napoleon Bonaparte. Ludwig II’s father, King Maximillian II of Bavaria, rebuilt it in the Gothic Revival style. Almost all the interior walls and ceilings are painted with scenes depicting German folklore or medieval legends. Many pay homage to swans, the heraldic animal featured on the king’s coat of arms.
It was Ludwig II’s childhood home, where the family spent their summers. Like Neuschwanstein Castle, the interiors can only be explored via a guided tour. Do book ahead to avoid the long queues.
HOHENZOLLERN CASTLEHohenzollern Castle is another one of Germany’s most visited palaces for its fairytale views. Located in Baden-Wurttemberg, it is surrounded by the Black Forest, and towers over the town of Bisingen on a mountain of its name. Previously the ancestral seat of the former royal German dynasty known as the House of Hohenzollern, today it is owned by Prussian Prince George Frederick, the current head of the Prussian branch of the Hohenzollern family.
The neo-Gothic castle contains a sizeable art collection, a treasure trove of jewelled items, an open-air cinema, and a brewery. Each year, it welcomes roughly 350,000 visitors, who get to view the gardens, chapels, and a guided tour of some of the castle rooms.
HEIDELBERG PALACEEvery year, Heidelberg Castle attracts one million visitors from all over the world! The massive red sandstone ruins tower majestically over the Neckar valley. It is one of the best surviving examples of German Renaissance architecture. From its lofty position on the hillside directly above the old town centre of Heidelberg, the palace forms a backdrop visible from any point in the town or from the Neckar River.
Its origins date back to 1225. Until the Thirty Years’ War, Heidelberg Palace boasted one of the most notable ensembles of buildings in the Holy Roman Empire. In the late 17th century, it was attacked and destroyed by the French during the War of the Grand Alliance. After some repairs, it was again damaged by lightning strikes, leaving it uninhabitable — but the most picturesque and largest castle ruin in Germany.