Burghausen may not be on your radar, but besides being home to the longest castle in the world, the town offers some great German charm.
My trip to Burghausen was impromptu and if I have to be honest I wasn’t crazy excited about visiting this town. But I found the idea of visiting the world’s longest castle intriguing. So off we went, ready to explore. Since the trip happened to coincide with Easter, I got a pretty good idea of how charming this town can be during a festive season.
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Where is Burghausen?
Burghausen is located in Upper Bavaria, just over 110km from Munich. Despite that, I had never heard of it until a few days before my trip. Back in the day, it was a key player in the salt trade. Today its #1 attraction is the longest castle in Europe – which is incidentally how I found out about Burghausen in the first place.
The town is located in Upper Bavaria near the Austrian border. The town lies on the Salzach river and the Wöhrsee lies in the town. Burghausen was once a trade city where salt was deposited. The salt was transported from modern-day Austria on the river. It was then taken overland from Burghausen.
The town is thought to be established in the 11th century but archeologists have since uncovered evidence that the area may have been inhabited much longer than that. Evidence was found that at one time or another, the Celts and the Romans were residents of the area.
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As we drove into Burghausen, I noticed a shiny silver larger than life Easter Egg, then another one, then another. I counted four:
If that wasn’t enough to put the thought of Easter into my head, the pastel-colored Old Town sure did. The entire medieval Old Town reminded me of a storybook painted especially for Easter. Despite it being a cloudy, windy day, my spirits lifted as I took in the Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo facades and gabled roofs.
And believe me, Bavarian villages know how to charm. All that was missing was the Easter Bunny!
With a claim to fame of being the longest castle in Europe, measuring in at an impressive 1043m long, and one of the longest castles in the world.
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What is Burghausen Castle Famous For?
Not only is Burghausen Castle the longest castle in Europe, but it’s also a magnificent example of a late medieval fortification that is mostly intact. That is pretty impressive when you consider that it dates back to 1025. And it was used by the Dukes of Lower Bavaria until the late Middle Ages.
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In addition to being considered the strongest fortress in the country, it also served as a court for the duchesses and was home to their children, where they were also educated. Being so sturdy, it’s not surprising that the castle was also where the Dukes kept their abundant stashes of gold and silver. Duke George the Rich wasn’t called “rich” for nothing! The castle was also the home to widows from the ruling family.
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What To See in Burghausen Castle
Despite being the longest castle in Europe, Burghausen Castle isn’t all castle. It’s connected by six courtyards, with the actual castle making up a relatively small part of the 1043m.
My favorite part of visiting Burghausen Castle were the views over the town of Burghausen – beautiful!
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The State Castle Museum is OK, but I was expecting more from the longest castle in Europe. Only a small part of the castle is open to tourists. And compared to other castle tours it was just OK for me. Having said that though, if you like art there is a large collection of huge Gothic panel paintings that illustrate the history of Bavaria. And entrance is only €4.50 for a self-guided tour.
Walking through this massive complex really does give you a feeling that you have walked back in time. Or at least a television period drama. If you have an active imagination and love history then this is probably a great place to let your imagination free.
If you love events that give you a glimpse into history you should visit when they have the Landshut Wedding. The event takes place every 4 years. It is the re-enactment of the wedding of Georg the Rich and his bride Hedwig. They are the most famous residents of the castle.
In summary, I would definitely recommend a visit to Burghausen Castle. It’s a medieval architectural gem, unique in how long it is and very impressive – at least from the outside. Insider travel tip: Go across the river for the best views of Burghausen Castle. I have added it to my list of favorite castles in southern Germany. The town of Burghausen is also worth wandering around. I especially enjoyed the colorful houses in downtown Burghausen.
Know Before You Go to Burghausen Castle:
- The castle is open daily except on Shrove Tuesday, December 24, 25, 31 and January 1st.
- It’s open from 9:00 – 6:00pm April – September and from 10:00 – 4:00 October – March
- It’s free to walk around the castle. A visit to the State Castle Museum costs €4.50 for a self-guided tour.
- Children under 18 enter free.
- You can reach the castle by public transportation. It’s just over a 2-hour train ride from Munich to the Burghausen main station. Then you take a local bus to the actual castle. The cheapest way to go is by the Bavaria ticket, available for purchase at the ticket machines.
- Driving to Burghausen Castle from Munich takes just over an hour (114km).
- For further info visit the castle’s homepage here.
Where to Stay in Burghausen
Top Pick: DORMERO Hotel Burghausen
DORMERO Hotel Burghausen is a 4-Star located in the center of Burghausen. The hotel offers free minibar drinks and stylish rooms that offer bathrooms designed in Italian marble. Guests can enjoy Spanish treats in the on-site restaurant. The hotel is a 5-minute walk fro the Burghausen train station.
Top Pick: Klostergasthof Raitenhaslach
Klostergasthof Raitenhaslach is located 5km outside of Burghausen in the Raitenhaslach district. The hotel is set in a historic monastery on the banks of the Salzach river. Guests can enjoy the beautiful grounds, free wifi, and spacious and comfortable rooms and bathrooms. The hotel has its own restaurants and guests can enjoy meals on the sun terrace. There is a spa at the partner property that guests are free to enjoy.