Hohenzollern Castle is one of the most impressive and popular castles in Germany. It is the ancestral seat of the imperial house of Hohenzollern and is located in the southwest, about 68 kilometres (42.3 miles) south of the city Stuttgart.
The current, third castle was built in the middle of the 19th century, but there were two previous buildings at the same location. The castle was first mentioned in the year 1267, however, this structure was completely destroyed after a siege in 1423. The second castle was constructed larger and better fortified from 1454 to 1461 and was reinforced once again during the Thirty Years War. However, by the end of the 18th century, it had lost its strategic importance and gradually fell into disrepair. Between 1846 and 1867 it was then rebuilt in its present Neo-Gothic form.
Today, the castle is still privately owned by the Hohenzollern family and is used as a museum and location for events, which take place there from time to time. It is open to the public the whole year and guided tours in English are offered every Saturday and Sunday. During the high season, from mid-March to October, additionally once a day from Monday to Friday. More information can be found on the website of Hohenzollern Castle.
The best view on the impressive castle offers the opposite mountain, which is called Zeller Horn. The easiest way to get there, is by a short hike (about 1.3 kilometres / 0.8 miles; one way) from the south side of the mountain. But you can also use the other hiking paths in the area.
In addition, Lichtenstein Castle is located about 39 kilometres (24.2 miles) northeast of Hohenzollern Castle and worth a visit.