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Located on Alpseestraße, the Hohenschwangau Castle can be dated back to the 19th Century. Built by Maximilian II of Bavaria, the castle was home to King Ludwig II when he was a child. The architecture and interiors of the castle are simply spectacular. The castle is open to public visitation throughout the year and also offers guided tours in several languages. The castle is one of the prime tourist attractions in the city. The Schloss Hohenschwangau is also one of the few castles in the country that remained unscathed during both World War I and World War II.
Completed in 1744, the Würzburg Residenz is a stunning palace in Baroque style. The grand staircase, chapel and salon are particularly impressive. There are also beautiful frescoes, painted by the Venetian artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Even Napoleon Bonaparte was struck with the palace's beauty, staying there three different times between 1806 and 1813. The Würzburg Residenz was severely damaged by an air strike during WWII. However, it has been diligently restored, and now enjoys a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Situated on a mountainside overlooking the Hohenschwangau valley, the Neuschwanstein Castle is a fairytale-like structure in an idyllic setting. Construction of the castle began in 1869 but was not completed until 1892. King Ludwig II commissioned its construction so that he could stay in a beautiful castle when he wanted to escape the royal courts. Sadly, the king did not live to see the castle's completion. Visitors can explore the castle's Byzantine, Romanesque, and Gothic-inspired interior, including the third and fourth floors, which were supposed to have been the king’s residences. These floors house opulent murals and spectacular woodcarvings. Tours of the castle are available throughout the day. Be sure to visit the nearby Mary's Bridge, from where the view of the castle and its surroundings is stunning.
With a longer façade than the Palace of Versailles, Schloss Nymphenburg was the impressive summer residence of the Wittelsbachs. The Stone Hall is particularly impressive and the famous 'Schönheitengalerie' (Gallery of the Beauties) containing the portraits of 36 local women, is a must see. A few interesting smaller palaces can be found in the park: the Amalienburg, Pagodenburg and Badenburg. The Marstallmuseum boasts a comprehensive display of carriages, sleds and crockery; the Meditationskapelle (Meditation Chapel) with its Magdalenenklause is also worth a visit.
The Linderhof Palace, nestled in the western corner of Ettal, is the smallest castle to have been constructed by King Ludwig II. The tour of the palace gives visitors a glimpse into the opulent life that King Ludwig led. Enjoy perusing the various chambers and the Hall of Mirrors, which was his haven. In winter when the castle is covered in snow, it looks like a totally different entity, but a spectacular one. The palace and its multiple attractions follow varying hours of operations as well as different admission prices; check the website for further information before visiting.
If you seeking a taste of what it means to be royalty, then a visit to Hohenzollern Castle must be in your travel itinerary. This particular castle, which sits a top a cliff and lords over the surrounding area, is one of the most-visited castles in Germany. This historic castle, once home to the Prussian Royal Family, is actually the third castle to have been constructed on this spot. The first fortress was built in the 11th-Century and then destroyed. The next castle was built in 1454, but this too was destroyed. The castle that visitors see today was constructed in 1846. Guided tours are available, though visitors can explore the chapels and cemetary at their leisure.
When you first look at the Lichtenstein Castle from a distance it is reminiscent of a castle from one of the Disney movies. Sitting atop a cliff, the castle exudes augustness and drama in style. It is believed that the castle has been around since the 12th Century but was destroyed in wars and battles and was rebuilt time and again. The Neo-Gothic style of the castle gives it a wonderful vintage charm which is carried forward to its interiors. The castle houses arms and ammunition from the centuries past, these are still conserved in impeccable conditions and are a treat to watch. They provide group, guided and private tours and they also provide costume tours that allow children to dress up in the costumes of knights and tour the palace.
Located on Auf der Wartburg, Wartburg Castle can be dated back to the Middle Ages. One of the most popular attractions in the city, the castle has seen many historical events. It was this very place where Martin Luther is said to have translated the Bible for the layman and where St. Elisabeth of Hungary stayed for a long time. The architecture of the castle mainly reflects Romanesque designs. Wartburg Castle found a place in UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1999. Open to public visitation, the castle offers guided tours and donkey rides for the little ones on the hill. It also features a museum.
Construction on the impressive Eltz Castle began some time in the 9th-Century. Construction continued up through the 11th-Century, when the main portion of the castle was constructed; this structure can still be seen today. Eltz Castle was the home of Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa in the 12th Century; following a family feud in the 13th Century, the castle came to be known as 'Ganerbenburg' for housing several lineages in its many rooms, and not just the royal family alone. A tour of the Eltz Castle gives visitors a glimpse of the courtyard, treasury, armor room, kitchen and the picturesque grounds. Check the website for a schedule of tours, as they tend to change seasonally.
Housed in the region above the Braubach town within the Rhineland-Palatinate region of Germany, the fortress of Marksburg is a famous sight. Designated as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, the fortress dates back to the 12th Century. However, it was reconstructed and remodeled many times throughout the course of its existence.
Rising 100 meters (330 foot) above the scenic Moselle River, Reichsburg Cochem is a towering medieval period castle perched atop a hill. Originally, its purpose was to collect a toll from each passing shop, now it's serves as a popular tourist destination in the area. Its unique combination of neo-gothic architecture with remnants of Romanesque design stands testament to the many hands it changed over the centuries. Reichsburg Cochem also provides interesting tours for the whole family.
No trip to Heidelberg would be complete without a visit to the castle. Dominating the city from the brow of the hill, the castle offers breathtaking views over the old town and the River Rhine. It may be worth timing your visit to coincide with the Schlossfestspiele castle pageant or with one of the fantastic firework displays that illuminate the castle several times a year. Built over a period spanning three centuries, the castle developed from being a simple medieval fortress into a splendid Renaissance palace. Regular guided tours are available.