Nestled in beautiful landscapes, there are over twenty thousand castles which overlook valleys, mountains, and the river Rhine. The abundance of these grand fortresses is a result of Germany’s historic geographical split into states, seeing many battles and feuds amongst them. The castles tend to be situated in isolated countryside, and boast uninterrupted views in addition to layered histories. Generous in romantic sensibilities and fairy-tale like qualities, it is no wonder stories such as the Sleeping Beauty were set in these enchanting buildings.
With roaring open fires, an intimate library, manicured grounds, a prison tower and beautiful rooms, Hotel Schönburg is one of the most elegant castle hotels in Germany. The first documentation of Schönburg Castle dates back to between 911 and 1166, before the castle became central to fights and feuds in the 17th century. After being burnt down by the French in 1689, it has since been restored and converted into a hotel which boasts panoramic views of the UNESCO World Heritage Upper Middle Rhine Valley site. Nestled in the countryside, the hotel offers plenty of walks and bike rides, as well as ventures to the nearby medieval town of Oberwessel.
Castle Colmberg overlooks the Franconian land, a position which made it powerful in medieval battles. The castle itself dates back over a thousand years and there is still documentation today of its sale in the 13th century. The castle later became the headquarters of the Bavarian Kingdom in the 19th century before falling into the hands of the last imperial consul in Japan in the 1920s. Within the castle grounds is an ancient chapel full of charming historic touches. The hotel is a great starting point for treks around its surrounding nature and for visits to the medieval towns of Rothenburg, Dinkelsbühl and Feuchtwangen.
Hotel Schloss Landsberg
Built in the impressively grand Gothic Revival style, the castle boasts an observational tower, stained glass windows, and four-poster beds fit for royalty. The building itself dates back to the 19th century and was influenced by the owner’s connections with the British Monarchy. Hotel Schloss Landsberg looks out over the Thuringian countryside; thick with woods and enchanting walks, it is a perfect spot from which to indulge in the history of the area.
Johann Lafers Stromburg
Situated in the UNESCO Heritage Middle Rhine Valley, the views from this hotel are breathtaking, and improve only when partaking in Johann Lafer’s personal Heli Gourmet outing – a helicopter ride which flies guests over the rollings 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.
Parkhotel Wasserburg Anholt
With gatekeepers and drawbridges, castle grounds and a museum, Parkhotel Wasserburg Anholt provides a luxurious experience within this fairytale-esque building. One of the two castle restaurants is located by the moat, and after a meal here guests can make their way down to the castle cellar to enjoy a drink. From the castle, guests are able to explore its 42 acres of grounds either on bike or foot. The accommodation is full of traditional character and has been updated with modern facilities. The museum Parkhotel Wasserburg Anholt also provides a magical environment in which to explore masterpieces of 17th and 18th-century art and includes paintings by Rembrandt and Jan van Goyen.
Hotel Purschenstein boasts a colourful history since its construction in the 13th century. It has seen destruction, reconstruction, and renovation, and in past lives had been a children’s home and a cultural centre before becoming a hotel. It is possible to partake in tours around the castle which 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 area of Saxony boasts mountains and hills perfect for exploring. Trips are organised to major nearby cities which include Dresden, Chemnitz and Leipzig.
Hotel Castle Liebenstein
The famous Saga of the Hostile Brothers resulted in the construction of two castles, Castle Liebenstein and Sterrenberg, in very close proximity. Tale 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 a medieval decor, and guests can enjoy traditional German dishes in the Knights Hall, bathed in candlelight.
Set amid immaculate grounds, the luxurious Schlosshotel Munchhausen was inaugurated following an extensive renovation of the castle and adjacent barn. There is a particular emphasis on golf as the hotel includes an 18-hole course for guests to practice 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 Hameln which is said to be where the fairy tale of the Pied Piper originated. In the Middle Ages, there was a worryingly sharp rise in the disappearance and death of children in Hameln. As the story goes 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 beautiful mountains and dramatic forested landscapes. At the heart of Taunus, set in Schlosspark, is Kronberg – a hotel which focuses on health and well-being. Offering both golf and beauty packages, the hotel offers a beauty cottage 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 variation of cuisine.
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 plethora of cultural activities reachable from the hotel. Guests have easy access to the Essen Opera House and the Essen Philharmonic Concert Hall to name but a few. The owners have renovated the castle to accommodate a hotel focused on design and luxurious living. Schloss Hugenpoet is famed for its restaurants, especially NERO which is celebrated for its Michelin star. With antique furniture, modern touches and both natural and cultural surroundings, this hotel captures the perfect balance for a relaxing stay.
The landscape of Germany is graced by more than 20,000 castles and palaces. Some are in ruins, but many castles are picture perfect and home to interesting museums and restaurants. Looking for something even better?
You can live your own fairy tale by spending the night in a medieval German castle. Many German castles have been turned into castle hotels, offering a unique experience for couples and families alike. And the best: It doesn’t cost a king’s ransom to stay at one of Germany’s castle hotels. There’s no shortage of castles in Germany. Customs houses and fortresses known as Burg line the riverbanks and crown nearly every hilltop. Scattered throughout the countryside are the more ornate homes of landed gentry and archbishops, or Schloss. While gorgeous to look at from the outside, many castles also are unique overnight lodgings.
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