Top 10 Medieval Castles in Germany

Which castles should you see in Germany? Here is our list of ten castles you can explore that have largely remained the same since the Middle Ages.

Wartburg Castle

Dating back to the 11th century, Wartburg Castle was one of the most important fortresses in the Holy Roman Empire, and was once home to St. Elizabeth of Hungary and Martin Luther. Located in the central state of Thuringia, the castle was named to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1999.

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Satzvey Castle

Located in the Rhineland, this moated castle dates back over 600 years. While privately owned, visitors can enter the castle and it is home to many events and festivals.

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Eltz Castle

This castle is known as a ‘Ganerbenburg’ – where several branches of the same family own parts of the fortress. The Eltz Family have owned this castle for more than 800 years, and recently they finished extensive restorations and repairs.

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Heidelberg Castle

Mark Twain wrote about this place: “A ruin must be rightly situated, to be effective. This one could not have been better placed. It stands upon a commanding elevation, it is buried in green woods, there is no level ground about it, but, on the contrary, there are wooded terraces upon terraces, and one looks down through shining leaves into profound chasms and abysses where twilight reigns and the sun cannot intrude. Nature knows how to garnish a ruin to get the best effect.” First built around the end of the 12th century, Heidelberg Castle fell into ruins in the 17th century, and saw some restoration in the early parts of the 20th century. It now serves as an important tourist destination.

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Marksburg

One of the few castles in western Germany that was not destroyed in past centuries, Marksburg was purchased by the German Castle Association and restored. Located on a hilltop along the Rhine River, this castle dates back to the 12th century.

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Mylau Castle

Located in Saxony, this well-preserved castle was built in the late 12th century. Originally it protected German settlers who were migrating eastwards. After serving for centuries as a residence, the castle is now home to a natural history museum.

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Altena Castle

Built in the 12th century, this castle’s post-medieval life included it serving as a military garrison, jail and a hospital. Today, there is a youth hostel and a museum in the castle.

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Reichsburg Cochem

Dating back to the early 12th century, it was named an Imperial Castle by Conrad III. French forces left the castle a ruin in the 17th century, and it was rebuilt in a more modern style in the 19th. However, some parts of the castle have been preserved.

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Rheinfels Castle

Located in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, this castle was built in the 13th century but is now an impressive ruin. A museum can be found in the castle’s chapel.

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Marburg Castle

Located in the state of Hessen in central Germany, this fortress was built in the 11th century. Also known as the Landgrave Castle, this site is now home to a museum.

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medieval castles in Germany

 

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