There are more than 25,000 palaces and castles in Germany. Many of them are renovated, but others lie in ruins. For many centuries, Germany was a region with fragmented territories and the Central Europe was ruled by various emperors, kings, and counts.
In Germany's castles, we can see history come alive. Here are the ten best German castles and palaces to visit when exploring Germany with kids. Let's do a countdown to the best castles in Germany to visit with kids.
The most popular castle with tourists visiting Germany is undoubtedly Neuschwanstein Castle in the picturesque Bavarian Alps. The fantastic 'fairy-tale castle' was built on top of a hill by the eccentric Bavarian king, Ludwig II, also known as the 'Mad King'. Unfortunately, the king never lived in his favorite castle, as Neuschwanstein Castle was only finished after his death. Did you know that Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle is modelled after Neuschwanstein?
King Ludwig II was born and brought up in Hohenschwangau castle on the hill adjacent to Neuschwanstein Castle. Less crowded with tourist, the tour around the castle will give magnificent insights into the kings childhood years. The king's iconic swan motif can be seen in every room.
Wartburg castle in eastern Germany near Eisenach was built in 1067 and is famous for one of his former residents, Martin Luther. The Protestant monk who translated the New Testament of the Bible from Greek into German, spent his exile at the Wartburg. The castle is also known for the medieval 'Minnesinger' contests. One still can visit the singers' gallery. Various wallpaintings show the medieval singers and some lines of their poems.
The stunning Sanssouci palace in Postsdam, near Berlin, was built by Emperor Frederick II, who is usually referred to as Frederick the Great. Frederick wanted to establish an orchard on the grounds, but then decided to also build a summer palace above the terraced garden to enjoy the great views from the elevated position.
Nymphenburg Palace is part of the largest baroque palace complexes in Germany. This castle houses today also a great science museum for children with lots of hands-on-displays. The palace was build between 1664 and 1679 and is located in a leafy suburb of Munich. The first Bavarian king, Maximilian I Joseph, had the gardens redesigned from French-style geometrical gardens to the English-style landscaped gardens which still are preserved today.
The castle ruins which are probably the most famous castle ruins in the world are a landmark of Heidelberg. The castle towers majestically on top of hill above the Neckar river. The castle was mentioned as early as 1225. It is impressive, and was home to the counts and prince electors of the Rhine palatinate for more than 300 years.
Dresden' s palace 'Zwinger' is part of the Dresden castle, but located outside the city fortifications. The Zwinger originally served as an orangery, festival and exhibition centre. It is built adjacent to the Dresden castle, which was seat of royal families since 1485. The palace is built according to the Rococo style and houses today one of the biggest art collections in the world.
The medieval castle at Nuremberg was the seat of many kings and emperors that ruled over Germany from the early middle ages until the first World War. Nuremberg (Nürnberg in German) was an important trade and finance centre from as early as the 11th century. Emperor Charles IV made Nuremberg the center of his empire. After the second World War, the castle lay in ruins for the most part, but was fortunately it was resurrected.
This smallest of King Ludwig II castles, also built in Bavaria, is popular place to visit with children, as the castle shows the fascinating world of the 'Mad King'. A 25-meter high fountain in the garden is exciting to watch. The castle tour includes the spectacular 'grotto' ('Venusgrotte'), an artificial cave which is illuminated and decorated.
This medieval castle located on top of an isolated mountain near Stuttgart. It was first built in the 11th century and since then is used as a show piece. The castle never was used as a proper residence by the Habsburger or Hohenzollern dynasties. Never anybody lived longer in this castle than just a couple of months! The castle is still privately owned and is one of the most visited castles in Germany.
Image credits on Castles in Germany: shutterstock.com and own images