I am visiting Bavaria in April, with a day trip to Salzburg (which could be an overnight). I am going to do the SOM tour. I love castles too! Everyone suggests Neuschwanstein in Germany (but), it's not a medieval castle, and I feel that I'd have time best spent with a tour of the history, and daily "workings" so to speak of castle life. Neuschwanstein is NOT that. Any suggestions of visiting castles in Bavaria, or is the castle in Salzburg worth checking out? I will also be in Nuremberg area as well.
doublemk since you are truly seeking a medieval castle for medieval experience in Bavaria, Eltz castle should be your ideal destination. It's above the Moselle River between Koblenz and Trier, Germany.
While in Nuremberg, visit the medieval Nuremberg castle.
I am only staying in Bavaria. I think the farthest north I am going is Bamberg. I saw the promo on Eltz caste and someday maybe I'll get back and take a Rhine River tour or such.
Since you're gonna be in Bamberg, then take a trip to Altenburg Castle. You can access this castle by public transit. It is worthwhile to enjoy the beautiful views over Bamberg from this hill, and for those who need to fortify themselves after hiking up here, there is a restaurant as well.
Another real castle can be found in Coburg, a one-hour train ride from Bamberg. A beautiful approach from the city centre through the Hofgarten, a large landscaped park.
Thank you RJean! I will definitely look into! So the castle in Salzburg isn't worth the trip then? I would have to stay overnight if I were to do that, so if not I'm ok with it. I was planning on seeing the Imperial castle in Nuremburg, and I wrote down the Lauf castle in Pegnitz. But if the castle in Bamberg is better to see, then I will do so! I don't want to see so many castles that they all merge in to one, and I'm like "I've seen enough", but I do want to see a couple anyways.
If you are going to Bamberg then go the few extra miles to Coburg. A real, proper, huge, never destroyed big castle at the top of a hill. Where Prince Albert, husband of England's Queen Victoria grew up.
The whole place is walkable, up and down, and a beautiful garden, and real cannons, and great immersive AV.
A tourist "train" takes you up the hill from the town or you can walk up the hill - steep and a little far - or if you are driving there is parking (a little) at the top.
When we visiting Neuschwanstein, we also visited Hohenschwangau the same morning. We visited Hohenschwangau first. That "castle" is fully furnished and was lived in. The tour provides information about the family and provides context for Neuschwanstein. I have also visited Hohensalzburg. It provides a lovely view of Salzburg. It was winter and the tour was self guided, but it didn't feel as much like a "castle" visit as other castles (Marksburg was one) I've visited. However, there is a lot more to Salzburg than Hohensalzburg and we found it a lovely city to visit.
I see that Ton and I were writing at the same time. Great minds and all that...
Have a look at the youtubes which may help you decide.
thank you all for your responses! Will look into them all!
Yes Fortress Hohensalzburg is worth visiting. Its right there in the center of the old city. Even if its just for the view and a nice lunch. Definitely more interesting than Neuschwanstein, IMO. If you ignore the omnipresent Mozart stuff, Salzburg is certainly worth staying overnight.
While Neuschwanstein isn't an authentic medieval castle, the castle is very impressive and it has an interesting and somewhat "mysterious" history. Hohensalzburg Castle is not quite as spectacular in terms of scenery and history. There are some historical displays, but also some fancy restaurants which provide great views of the city and river, especially at night. Of the two, Neuschwanstein is the more interesting (IMO). If you only have time for one, I would suggest the overnight trip to Salzburg, as there's much more to see there besides the Hohensalzburg castle.
I agree with previous replies that Burg Eltz would be a great castle to visit, but it's definitely too far for a day trip from Munich.
There are a couple of authentic, never conquered castles a lot farther south than Coburg.
One is at Burghausen, north of Salzburg, on the Salzach River, which is the border between Germany and Austria. Burghausen is about 2 hours by rail from Munich.
The other is at Harburg, on the Romantic Road about 10 minutes northwest of Donauwörth, on the rail line to Nördlingen.
The fortress is Salzburg is definitely worth a visit as it is one of the largest medieval fortresses in Europe. It is very well preserved and its setting above Salzburg is breathtaking. The view from the fortress is also spectacular. Salzburg as a city is also not to be missed.
You will be in Salzburg for the SOM tour. No need to go elsewhere - the castle there is fine
I believe both the Hohensalzburg Fortress and Schloss Hellbrunn in Salzburg are worthy of visits - if you have the (luxury of) time. One must keep in mind that each was built in a different era for different purposes.
A close drive or train journey from Salzburg is Hohenwerfen Castle. While oriented as much for children as anyone else, it does have some very interesting features. In addition to it's castle museum, it has a rather large Leonard Da Vinci exhibit and a really interesting Falconry demonstration (and museum).
Closer to Bamberg/Nuremberg is a small family owned and occupied castle by the name of Gößweinstein Castle (in the village of Gößweinstein off B470 and overlooking the Wiesent River Valley. This is a tiny authentic castle which, that last time I was there, allowed self-guided entry/tours on the honor system. I think entry was €3 deposited into a collection box.
By the way, Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castle are historically significant castles in their own context. A multi day trip to Fussen/Hohenschwangau can be very rewarding. I recommend getting the "Swan Ticket" package which allows entry into both castles and the Museum of Bavarian Kings. Note - your castle entry is on a reserved time basis.
If you're going to be in Nuremberg there's no need to go all over the country looking for good castles. The Kaiserburg is is outside the city limits to the east, and is not only a good fort type castle, it still has the moat filled with water, unlike most. And a 30-40 minute drive towards Rothenburg is Castle Colmberg, which you can actually stay in.
As for Hohensalzburg, most people pay little attention to the actual fortifications. They are extensive, and mostly on the opposite side of the river than the castle. It's a true fort, and held a strategic position even after gunpowder. the Castle made the fortunes of the owners secure for centuries. Neuschwanstein is pretty, but not practical.
Check out the Hohenwerfen Castle, just south of Salzburg.