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 Sleeping Beauty were set in these enchanting buildings.
Sitting high above the Ailsbachtal Valley, Burg Rabenstein’s stone walls and terracotta rooftop make it look as if it’s been plucked out of a Disney fantasy. Beneath the castle, there’s a maze of limestone caves that guests can tour, as well as an on-site falconry with more than 80 birds. When it’s time to rest your head, all of the 22 rooms are individually decorated with a blend of contemporary and antique-style interiors.
Perched above 16th-century vineyards overlooking pretty Würzburg, Schlosshotel Steinburg is the perfect escape for foodies. Take to the terrace with a glass of wine and take in those aforementioned views before dining on goose, venison or salmon at the hotel’s fine-dining restaurant. While most of the rooms are modern, if you’re looking for a proper castle experience, opt for one of the castle rooms for swathes of rich reds, chandeliers and ornate detailing.
Create your own fairytale at Hotel Burg Trendelburg, which even comes complete with a Rapunzel’s Tower viewing platform. The tower in question stretches 40m (131ft) into the Trendelburg skyline, overlooking the lush green fields and the small village below. Climb the 130 steps to soak up the panorama, then get pampered like a prince or princess in the hotel’s old-world spa. This unique wellness centre features a stone-walled sauna and salt room filled with salts dating back 240 million years.
What you see is what you get at the Schloss Lieser – luxury from the get-go. Behind its grand 19th-century exterior, there’s a mix of deep mahogany fixtures, chandeliers, gold accents and some rooms that come with lovely large bay windows (opt for one of the Moselle view rooms for the best vistas of the river). After a dip in the indoor heated pool, make reservations at Puricelli Restaurant for locally inspired dishes.
As its name suggests, this is a deeply romantic option for an escape to a lesser-known corner of Germany. Tucked away just below the majestic Wartburg Castle, the panoramas stretching across the thick Thuringian Forest to the Rhön Mountains are best seen from the in-house restaurant, Landgrafenstube. Book a dinner in time to watch the sunset and take your taste buds back in time by tucking into its ‘historic menu’. Dishes are the same as those served in 1896, with a cheek of beef and minestrone with vegetables among the delicacies.
Standing proud on 4ha (10 acres) of Taunus mountain land, surrounded by manicured gardens and towering trees, Villa Rothschild makes it easy to see why Germany was the birthplace of so many of the fairytales we love today. It’s art nouveau exterior is striking, and each of the 22 rooms continues this regal theme with red-patterned furnishings and exposed beam ceilings. For those tempted by the scents wafting from the in-house restaurant, you can arrange to spend a day with the chef behind the scenes if you like, or simply book a table and enjoy the fare.
With just nine individually designed suites within its 130-year-old castle walls, as well as a hotel residence and luxury chalets to choose from, guests of Hotel Schloss Wendorf are spoilt for choice. There’s only one option for dinner on-site, the Cheval Blanc restaurant, but luckily that’s all you need. After a day of horse riding, touring the area on your bike or being pampered in the day spa, you’ll be ready to feast on the restaurant’s local delights.
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.
Courtesy of Hotel Castle Liebenstein / Booking.com
The famous Saga of the Hostile Brothers resulted in the construction of two castles, Castle Liebenstein and Castle Sterrenberg, in very close proximity. Legend has it that an old king built the two castles to resolve a feud between his two descendants. Situated in the Unesco World Heritage Upper Middle Rhine Valley, the 13th-century Castle Liebenstein provides unparalleled views over the Rhine, as well as an authentic Medieval castle experience. Bedrooms have been styled with Medieval decor, and guests can enjoy traditional German dishes in the Knights Hall, bathed in candlelight.
Courtesy of Schlosshotel Munchhausen / Booking.com
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.