With 25,000 castles in Germany, it can be confusing when choosing which you want to visit. But there are some castles in South Germany that stand out among the rest.
With so many castles in Germany, it can be daunting trying to pick which to visit. So I have made a list of my favourite castles in the South of Germany. Each of the castles is chosen according to what they have to offer. And no 2 castles are the same, so you can expect something unique from all of them.
My Favourite Intricate Castle in Germany: Herrenchiemsee New Palace
One of crazy King Ludwig’s castles, the Herrenchiemsee New Palace is the most elaborate. It cost more than the combined total of famed Neuschwanstein and Linderhof.
It is decadent and elaborate and is even housed on its very own island, the Herren Island on the Chiemsee. Unfortunately, photos are not allowed inside but the exterior gives you an idea of the luxury you can expect inside. It is a popular castle so try to visit during the off-season if possible.
From Munich, a trip to the Herrenchiemsee New Palace is always a good idea.
Top Tour: This tour will guide you through the Palace and its grounds. I recommend this day-trip to the Palace as it also includes a great boat ride to the shores of Herren Island.
Top Tour: I also recommend this skip the line tour. This way you won’t have to waste any time waiting in line and will have more time to enjoy the palace and its surroundings.
Another favorite of mine is King Ludwig’s hunting castle. You’ll have to hike up to see it but the surroundings are stunning.
My Favourite Castle Tour in Germany: Ludwigsburg Palace
To be honest, most castle tours have the same Modus Operandi and can feel like they sort of blue together. But the same can’t be said for the Ludwigsburg Palace tour. The tour offers an insight into the scandalous lives of the royals that once lived here. That includes Duke Eberhard’s libido which was reserved dor his mistresses.
The tour also includes a look at the servant’s quarters. You get a glimpse of how difficult it would be to live in a cold dark room, while everyone else was surrounded by luxury.
This is one of my favourite castle tours in Germany and if you’re looking for something different then this is where to find it.
Tour Tip: I recommend getting yourself a Stuttgart card. It will give you entry into all the major sites, museums and Ludwigsburg Palace and will make your planning much easier.
My Favourite Tourist Castle: Heidelberg Castle
Yes, it is touristy. And you will find it on most tour bus circuits, including the Japanese tour. But this 700-year-old castle that overlooks the city of Heidelburg has survived all kinds of adversities including fires and a lightning strike.
The castle tour is well worth fighting the crowds though. I recommend this tour as you will not only have the opportunity to explore Heidelberg Castle but also the town itself. The tour will give you the opportunity to discover the hidden gems that travellers often miss.
Top Tour: If your not one for tour in large groups, or any groups, then I recommend taking a private tour of the castle and town. You won’t have to deal with other tourists in your group and will have the full attention of the guide.
Top Tour: Inside Heidelberg Castle, visitors can also visit the World’s Largest Apothecary Museum. It showcases over 20,000 pharmaceutical items. You’ll also find the world’s largest wine barrel here.
Best Time to Visit
The crowds reach an all-time peak in July and August. Go at another time of year if possible. If not go early or later in the day.
Related Reading: Top 20 Best Castles in Germany to Visit
Favorite Small Castle in Germany: Lichtenstein Castle
Lichtenstein Castle is not on your usual castle route in Germany, but I recommend you don’t miss this one. Besides not being as touristy as the other castles it is also stunning. The locals sometimes refer to it as Neuschwanstein’s Little Brother. Even though it is much smaller, I find it much more beautiful.
What it lacks up for in size it makes up for by perilously clinging to the edge of a limestone cliff.
My Favorite Hike to a Castle in Germany: Hohenzollern Castle
You don’t have to hike the 12km to Hohenzollern Castle, you could just drive to the parking lot. But, I love the outdoors and will never miss a chance to take the outdoor route if I can. Besides, what better motivation to get moving than a beautiful castle.
Hohenzollern Castle dates back to the 11th century. It has seen numerous wars including the Thirty Years War. It has fallen into ruin and even suffered from an earthquake.
Tip: Go early to avoid the crowds and check the schedule in advance if you’re looking for an English tour.
Top Tour: If your travelling from Frankfurt then I recommend you book this tour of Hohenzollern Castle. The tour not only includes return transfers but will take you on a great tour of the castle and grounds. Hear stories about the royals that once lived here.
If you want even more of a challenge, then hike to King Ludwig’s Hunting Palace in the German Alps. The views are unbeatable!
My Favorite Castle in Munich: The Residenz
There are two castles in Munich, The Residenz and Schloss Nymphenburg and Schlieissheim Palace located just outside of Munich. Schloss Nymphenburg and Schlieissheim Palace are more impressive on the outside, but I love the interior of the Residenz.
It’s also one of the largest castles in Europe. Plus it also houses the Treasury where visitors can look at the crown jewels. The Residenz is conveniently located in downtown Munich.
Top Tour: I highly recommend you attend a concert with dinner in the Residenz. It’s the surest way to feel like royalty!
Related Reading: Neuschwanstein Castle
My Favourite Castle Ruins in Germany: Old Castle in Baden-Baden
I spent over an hour exploring these castle ruins for which there is no tour nor entrance fee.
Despite the nice weather, there was only a handful of other visitors there. I loved having free run of the place. You can even enjoy a meal at a restaurant located on a small makeshift terrace in the old castle ruins. The views are amazing! And even better with a coffee in hand.
I’ve been to dozens of other castles in Germany, but these are some of my favorites.
Have you visited any castles in the South of Germany? Which were your favourites?