Germany’s endless array of castles and palaces

From princesses and knights, myths and legends, fairy tales, dramas, and love stories, to knights’ banquets and the Nibelungenlied, there are no limits to the imagination in this land of castles and palaces. Among Germany’s estimated 25,000 ancient fortresses are some of the most beautiful and famous in the world.

Immerse yourself in the history these walls bring to life!

The Pride of Hannover

Designed in the Baroque style by the House of Orange, the Royal Gardens of Herrenhausen are among the most beautiful parks in Europe. The heart of the complex is the Great Garden, which is home to many rare relics: the Grand Fountain, at 82 meters the tallest in any European garden, and rare old trees such as a cucumber magnolia from 1794. A variety of conditions in the Berggarten supports prairie and marshland areas, orchid collections, a rainforest, cacti, and a tropical conservatory — all for the visitor to enjoy.

The Gardens of Herrenhausen and fountain. © HMTG / Lars Gerhardts.

The Baroque era in all its glory

Once a modest hunting lodge, then a huge, three-winged palace; hardly any regent in Europe realized the dream of a royal residence as glamorously as Baroque rulers did with the  Ludwigsburg Palace. Visitors touring the rooms take an impressive journey through styles and periods, seeing stunning suites, luxurious ballrooms, and opulent apartments in styles from the lavish baroque to playful rococo and elegant classicism.

Ceiling art in the Residence Palace. © DZT / Leungmo.

Secrets Tips for unique experiences

In addition to castle museum visits, many sites offer visitors the opportunity to see ancient traditions come alive. Knights with horses and hunting birds, medieval craftsmen, cooks and musicians delight festival guests every Whitsun weekend at Weesenstein Castle, a fitting backdrop for a medieval festival.

The world’s first playing card museum is housed at Altenburg Residential Castle. This is no coincidence, because in the 19th century the popular game of skat was invented here. Visitors can find out more about the production of playing cards and even design their own jack, king, or queen of hearts at workshops.

Helicopter view of the Altenburg Residential Castle. © Westend61 / Martin Moxter.

Concerts and festivals under starry skies are a reality at the Spandau Citadel, one of the most important and best-preserved fortresses of the High Renaissance period in Europe. The Citadel Music Festival features up to 25 different artists from a variety of genres each season.

Zwinger in Dresden at dusk. © Lookphotos / Wolfgang Ehn.

Spend a night like kings and queens, an unforgettable experience you can have in some of Germany’s historic buildings. Glücksburg Castle is one of the most important Renaissance castles in northern Europe and invites guests to stay in apartments located on the castle island, surrounded by the castle courtyard, lake, and park.

Glücksburg Castle at sunset. ©Stiftung Schloss Glücksburg / Valhu Klau.

Meet the resident ghost at Saarbrücken Palace, first documented back in 999 and since then, housed as a castle ghost. When it isn’t haunting the halls, it invites visitors to take guided tours.

Things to consider before traveling

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Some tips to consider while traveling

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