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My Favorite German Castles & Palaces Near the KMC


German castles are renowned worldwide for their majestic beauty, rich history, and architectural grandeur. These formidable structures stand as enduring symbols of power and culture, each with its own unique story to tell. From the fairy-tale-like Neuschwanstein Castle nestled in the Bavarian Alps to the imposing Burg Eltz rising proudly amidst the forests of the Moselle Valley, German castles enchant visitors with their picturesque settings and impressive fortifications. These castles served as seats of noble families, centers of governance, and strategic military outposts throughout the centuries, contributing to Germany's diverse cultural heritage and offering a glimpse into its storied past.



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1 - Schloss Heidelberg

Schloss (German for palace) Castle Baroque Renaissance Rococo Elector Noble Architecture History Gardens Courtyard Residence Fortress Germany Grandeur Heidelberg Castle  Schwetzingen Palace  Burg Eltz  Burg Landshut  Schlossruine Nanstein  Four Castle Hike  Burg Lichtenberg  Barockschloss Mannheim  Reichsburg Cochem  Other Castles of Note

Heidelberg Castle stands as a timeless symbol of the region's history and grandeur. Perched atop the verdant slopes of the Neckar Valley, this iconic castle boasts a rich and storied past dating back over 800 years. Originally constructed in the 13th century, the castle served as the residence of the Palatinate Electors for centuries, witnessing periods of both splendor and turmoil. Despite suffering extensive damage from lightning strikes, fires, and wars, the castle's imposing ruins still exude an aura of majesty and resilience. Visitors are drawn to its captivating blend of architectural styles, from Gothic to Renaissance, as well as its panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.


You know it's worthwhile when even Germans come to Heidelberg for their vacations! You can explore the ruins outside for free, but if you want to enter, it will cost you around 10 euros per person (adult). Inside is an apothecary museum (pretty neat), a stunning panoramic view of the city over the river, a wine bar, restaurant, and event venue. I've even had a four-course brunch there (highly recommended)! The castle offers all kinds of fun events.


When friends and family come to visit, this is where I bring them.


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2 - Schloss Schwetzingen


Schloss Schwetzingen is a testament to the elegance and cultural richness of the region. Originally built as a simple Renaissance fortress in the 16th century, the castle underwent extensive renovations in the 18th century under the patronage of the Elector Carl Theodor. These renovations transformed the castle into a magnificent Baroque and Rococo palace, complete with exquisite gardens, ornate pavilions, and landscaped grounds. The palace's interior showcases opulent furnishings, intricate frescoes, and stunning architectural details, reflecting the lavish lifestyle of its noble residents. Today, Schloss Schwetzingen is renowned for its cultural events, including concerts, theater performances, and festivals, attracting visitors from around the world.


When visiting Heidelberg Castle, you might as well add this palace to your plans for the day! It's "along the way" and about a 20-minute drive from the castle grounds. If you can, I would visit in late spring to early fall when things are lush and green, and the statues are uncovered. It's not the same during the winter and can be a little drab (I've been 3x, during three different seasons). You can tour the inside but only during specific tour times detailed on their website (there is no option that I can see to purchase online). The gardens are quite extensive, so be prepared for a nice walk!


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3 - Burg Eltz

Schloss (German for palace) Castle Baroque Renaissance Rococo Elector Noble Architecture History Gardens Courtyard Residence Fortress Germany Grandeur Heidelberg Castle  Schwetzingen Palace  Burg Eltz  Burg Landshut  Schlossruine Nanstein  Four Castle Hike  Burg Lichtenberg  Barockschloss Mannheim  Reichsburg Cochem  Other Castles of Note

Burg Eltz, nestled amidst the lush forests of the Moselle Valley in Germany, is a captivating medieval castle steeped in history and surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. Perched on a rocky outcrop above the Elzbach River, Burg Eltz boasts a striking architecture that spans over 850 years, showcasing a harmonious blend of Romanesque, Baroque, and Renaissance styles. Its remarkably well-preserved state and picturesque setting have earned it the reputation of one of Germany's most beautiful castles.


This is one of the more famous castles found in Germany and is only open from spring to fall, so check their schedule before heading out.


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4 - Burg Landshut


Burg Landshut, located near the charming town of Bernkastel-Kues in Germany's Moselle Valley, stands as a timeless symbol of medieval grandeur and historical significance. Perched atop a hill overlooking the serene Moselle River, this imposing castle offers panoramic views of the picturesque surrounding vineyards and quaint half-timbered houses. Initially built in the 9th century, Burg Landshut underwent several renovations over the centuries, resulting in its current blend of Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles.


You can climb the tower, which offers the best panoramic view (for a fee), and I've even had a bite to eat and a glass of wine at the restaurant built into the castle. If you decide to tackle the climb to the castle on foot, be prepared for quite the incline!


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5 - Schlossruine Nanstein


Probably the easiest castle to visit, Schlossruine Nanstein is nestled right next door in the town of Landstuhl, Germany. It is a captivating testament to centuries of history and resilience. Perched atop a sandstone hill overlooking the quaint village below, this majestic castle ruin offers a glimpse into the region's medieval past. Originally constructed in the 12th century, Schlossruine Nanstein played a significant role in defending the surrounding lands and served as a strategic fortress during various conflicts. Despite enduring sieges and battles, the castle remained a formidable stronghold until its partial destruction in the 17th century. Today, visitors can wander through the atmospheric ruins (entrance fee), exploring its crumbling walls, towers, and underground passages while soaking in panoramic views of the scenic Palatinate countryside.


I often visit solely to hike the nearby trails or for a nice drink and bite to eat at the tavern next door.


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6 - Four Castle Hike

Lowenstein, Hohenburg, Wegelnburg, Fleckenstein


It is an enchanting adventure that unveils the rich history and breathtaking landscapes of the Palatinate region in Germany. This scenic trail takes hikers to explore four medieval castles: Lowenstein, Hohenburg, Wegelnburg, and Fleckenstein. Each castle offers its own unique charm and historical significance, from the romantic ruins of Lowenstein and the imposing fortress of Hohenburg to the rugged beauty of Wegelnburg and the mysterious allure of Fleckenstein (activities for children). As you traverse the winding paths that connect these ancient strongholds, you'll be treated to panoramic views of rolling hills, lush forests, and picturesque villages.


Be warned, though. The highest castle in the Palatinate region is the Wegelnburg, which stands at an elevation of approximately 572 meters (1,877 feet) above sea level. Be prepared for an uphill climb!


Are you seeing a theme yet?


Castles on a hill. Up you go!


Komoot Hiking Link:


Parking Near Fleckenstein:


See my previous blog post here:


7 - Burg Lichtenberg


Burg Lichtenberg is one of the most extensive castle ruins in the region and a fascinating historical landmark. Dating back to the 12th century, this imposing fortress has witnessed centuries of history, from medieval battles to modern-day restoration efforts. Perched atop a wooded hilltop, Burg Lichtenberg offers commanding views of the surrounding countryside and the nearby town. Visitors can explore the extensive ruins, including the impressive keep, gatehouse, and defensive walls while discovering the castle's rich history through informative exhibits and guided tours.


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It's also a very popular photography site.


I recently visited with my friend Amanda to take photos for her 30th birthday!


Schloss (German for palace) Castle Baroque Renaissance Rococo Elector Noble Architecture History Gardens Courtyard Residence Fortress Germany Grandeur Heidelberg Castle  Schwetzingen Palace  Burg Eltz  Burg Landshut  Schlossruine Nanstein  Four Castle Hike  Burg Lichtenberg  Barockschloss Mannheim  Reichsburg Cochem  Other Castles of Note

You'll often see photography taken from afar in a field nearby with Lichtenberg in the background. However, that morning, due to heavy fog, that wasn't an option. They still turned out pretty decent, though!


8 - Barockshloss Mannheim

Schloss (German for palace) Castle Baroque Renaissance Rococo Elector Noble Architecture History Gardens Courtyard Residence Fortress Germany Grandeur Heidelberg Castle  Schwetzingen Palace  Burg Eltz  Burg Landshut  Schlossruine Nanstein  Four Castle Hike  Burg Lichtenberg  Barockschloss Mannheim  Reichsburg Cochem  Other Castles of Note

It is a magnificent example of Baroque architecture and design. Constructed in the early 18th century under the patronage of Elector Palatine Johann Wilhelm II, the palace served as the principal residence of the Palatinate Electors. Its imposing facade, adorned with elaborate sculptures and decorative elements, reflects the grandeur and opulence of the era. The palace's interior features sumptuous halls, intricately decorated chambers, and a remarkable staircase, showcasing the wealth and sophistication of its former inhabitants. Surrounded by lush gardens and expansive courtyards, the Barockschloss Mannheim remains a symbol of the region's rich cultural heritage.


This residence is actually one of four suggested by https://www.schloesser-und-gaerten.de/. This website is a wonderful resource for exploring the area! Schloss Heidelberg, Barockschloss Mannheim, Schloss Schwetzingen, and Burgfeste Dilsberg are all within 20-30 minutes of each other. Dilsberg is the only one I haven't visited.


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9 - Reichsburg Cochem


Reichsburg Cochem, perched high above the picturesque town of Cochem along the winding Moselle River in Germany, is a stunning medieval castle steeped in history and legend. Originally built in the 11th century, the castle underwent extensive restoration in the 19th century, reviving its Gothic Revival style and preserving its enchanting allure. With its commanding position atop a hill, Reichsburg Cochem offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding vineyards, quaint villages, and lush countryside. Visitors are captivated by its imposing towers, fortified walls, and charming inner courtyards, which provide a glimpse into the castle's storied past as a seat of noble families and a strategic stronghold.



The indoor tour is really well done and can be arranged via the office/gift shop at the entrance. You rarely find a fully furnished castle like this!


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10 - Other Castles of Note

Schloss (German for palace) Castle Baroque Renaissance Rococo Elector Noble Architecture History Gardens Courtyard Residence Fortress Germany Grandeur Heidelberg Castle  Schwetzingen Palace  Burg Eltz  Burg Landshut  Schlossruine Nanstein  Four Castle Hike  Burg Lichtenberg  Barockschloss Mannheim  Reichsburg Cochem  Other Castles of Note

Of course, there is the famous Neuschwanstein (Cinderella's Castle), but that isn't really "nearby." More practical suggestions are Burg Trifels (Pfalz Lamas is next door) and, if you are looking to venture into France, Citadelle de Bitche, Les châteaux de Beaufort, and Château de Fléville.


Schloss (German for palace) Castle Baroque Renaissance Rococo Elector Noble Architecture History Gardens Courtyard Residence Fortress Germany Grandeur Heidelberg Castle  Schwetzingen Palace  Burg Eltz  Burg Landshut  Schlossruine Nanstein  Four Castle Hike  Burg Lichtenberg  Barockschloss Mannheim  Reichsburg Cochem  Other Castles of Note

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Schloss (German for palace) Castle Baroque Renaissance Rococo Elector Noble Architecture History Gardens Courtyard Residence Fortress Germany Grandeur Heidelberg Castle  Schwetzingen Palace  Burg Eltz  Burg Landshut  Schlossruine Nanstein  Four Castle Hike  Burg Lichtenberg  Barockschloss Mannheim  Reichsburg Cochem  Other Castles of Note

Thank you for being here.

Happy adventures!

❤️ Allie



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