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Nestled in beautiful landscapes, there are more than 20,000 German castles that overlook valleys, mountains and the Rhine — and they’re yours to stay in. Book now with Culture Trip
The abundance of these grand fortresses is a result of Germany’s historic geographical split into states, and the many battles and feuds among them. The castles tend to be situated in isolated countryside, with uninterrupted views as well as rich layers of history. Generous in romantic sensibilities and fairytale-like qualities, it is no wonder stories such as the Sleeping Beauty were set in these enchanting buildings.
Situated in the Unesco Heritage Middle Rhine Valley, the views from this hotel are magnificent, and improve only when partaking in Johann Lafer’s personal Heli Gourmet outing – a helicopter ride that flies guests over the rolling hills before landing in a vineyard to enjoy an exquisite meal. The castle is run by renowned chef Johann Lafers, and a major emphasis is placed on food and wine within the hotel experience, allowing guests to enrol in a cooking class with the head chef himself.
Hotel Purschenstein’s colourful history since its construction in the 13th century encompasses destruction, reconstruction and renovation, and in past lives it has been a children’s home and a cultural centre before becoming a hotel. Guests have the opportunity to join tours around the castle that delve into its historical significance and impact on the surrounding area. The accommodation is comfortable with elegant dining spaces, a pool and spa, and the surrounding mountains and hills of Saxony are perfect for exploring. Trips are organised to major nearby cities, which include Dresden, Chemnitz and Leipzig.
Set amid immaculate grounds, the luxurious Schlosshotel Munchhausen was inaugurated following an extensive renovation of the castle and adjacent barn. The hotel includes an 18-hole golf course for guests to hone their putting, in addition to offering special golf packages. If golf is not a passion, the hotel is advantageously situated near the historic town of Hamelin, which is said to be where the fairytale of the Pied Piper originated. In the Middle Ages, there was a worryingly sharp rise in the disappearance and death of children in Hamelin. As the story goes, on 26 June 1284 the Pied Piper, angry at the town for not paying him for getting rid of the diseased rats which had caused much of the tragedy, led the children away with his magic pipe.
Taunus is an area in Germany noted for its spectacular mountains and dramatic forested landscapes. At the heart of Taunus, set in Schlosspark, is Kronberg – a hotel that focuses on health and wellbeing. Offering both golf and beauty packages, the hotel offers a spa for ultimate indulgences and a manicured 18-hole golf course. If you want to venture out of the hotel grounds, the nearby town of Taunus is renowned for its ancient charm, with lanes lined with half-timbered houses and restaurants serving a variety of cuisines.
The Ruhr Valley, in the heart of Ruhrgebiet, is home to Schloss Hugenpoet, a 17th-century castle hotel. Ruhrgebiet was the European Capital of Culture in 2010 and offers a variety of cultural activities reachable from the hotel. Guests have easy access to the likes of Essen Opera House and the Essen Philharmonic Concert Hall. The owners have renovated the castle to accommodate a hotel focused on design and luxurious living. Schloss Hugenpoet is famed for its restaurants, especially the Michelin-starred LAURUShaus. With antique furniture, modern touches and both natural and cultural surroundings, this hotel captures the perfect balance for a relaxing stay.
This is an updated version of an article originally written by Bethan Morgan.