The Hohenzollern Castle is one of the most impressive and popular castles in Germany besides Neuschwanstein. It’s the ancestral seat of the imperial house of Hohenzollern and is located in the south-west, 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’s 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. It’s definitely worth a visit. More information can be found on the website of the Hohenzollern Castle.
Yet the best view on the fantastic 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 of course, you can also use any of the other hiking paths in the area.
The small castle is located about 39 kilometres (24.2 miles) northeast of the castle Hohenzollern and about 59 kilometres (36.7 miles) south of the city Stuttgart. So if you are in the region, I recommend a short visit.
Once the ancestral seat of the Knights of Lichtenstein, the castle today is owned by the Dukes of Urach, since the last lord died without an heir in a battle in 1687. The first building at the present location was built around 1390 and was considered as one of the best-fortified fortresses of the Middle Ages. However, after 1567 it lost its role as a ducal seat and fell into disrepair until the year 1802. During this time, the building was dismantled to its foundations and replaced by a rather humble hunting lodge. In the year 1837, the land was then bought by Duke Wilhelm of Urach, which let the castle rebuild from 1840 to 1842 in its current Neo-Gothic form.
The castle today is open to the public for a small fee on every day from April to October. In November, February and March, it’s only open on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s also possible to participate in a small guided tour during this time. In January though, the castle is closed. For more information take a look on the website of the Lichtenstein Castle.
The most famous view, the castle on the rocky slope, is only visible from the courtyard by the way.
© 2015 Eric Hoffmann – Hohenzollern and Lichtenstein Castle – Germany Travel Guide