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Great Castles of Germany

Burg Eltz, one of the great castles of Germany (c)
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Great Castles of Germany

One of Germany's greatest treasures is its castles. There are Burgs (castles or fortresses) and Schlosses (castles or palaces) in virtually every corner of the country. But among the most popular, most picturesque, most notable, and greatest German castles, here are the top 10:

Burg Eltz, Mosel Valley, Germany, German castlesBurg Eltz

Burg Eltz (Rhineland-Palatinate), near the Mosel Valley is the most beautiful of Germany’s medieval castles. In 800 years, it was never defeated or significantly damaged by enemy fire. It is still family-owned and -occupied.

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The Wartburg, Eisenach, Germany, German castlesThe Wartburg

The Wartburg (Thuringia) outside Eisenach has been described as the most German of all German castles. It is a magnificent sight. While in hiding here, Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German.

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The Marksburg, Loreley Valley, Germany, German castlesThe Marksburg

The Marksburg (Rhineland-Palatinate) is perched high on a hill on the shores of the Rhine above Braubach. It is the only castle in this romantic stretch of the Rhine Valley that has never been destroyed or taken violently. This castle is the real thing, no 19th-century romanticism.

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Schloss Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany, German castlesSchloss Heidelberg

Schloss Heidelberg (Baden-Württemberg) is mostly in ruins, but it is still one of the most popular and most romantic sights in Germany. Tourists come in droves, and rightly so.

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Meersburg Alte Burg

Meersburg Alte Burg (Baden-Württemberg), a seventh-century castle with unspoiled views of the Bodensee, is the oldest inhabitable castle in Germany. It was started by Dagoberth, a Merovingian king, and long served as the residence of the bishop of Konstanz.

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Festung Königstein, Dresden, Saxony, Germany, German castlesFestung Königstein

Festung Königstein (Saxony), near Dresden, is the largest fortress in Germany. During World War II, it housed senior French prisoners of war as well as Dresden’s best artworks.

 

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Schloss Braunfels

Schloss Braunfels (Hesse), in the Lahn Valley, is another 19th-century folly. It has an 800-year history, but was mostly rebuilt in the 19th century in a Neo-Gothic style. It looks the part and the lines are much shorter than at Schloss Neuschwanstein.

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Schloss Neuschwanstein, Schwangau, Romantic Road, Germany, German castlesSchloss Neuschwanstein

Schloss Neuschwanstein (Bavaria) is 19th-century Romanticism pure. The highlight of Mad King Ludwig’s building fantasies, it inspired Disney. Ludwig’s other palaces – Herrenchiemsee and Linderhof – are worth seeing too.

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Schloss Sanssouci, Potsdam, Brandenburg, Germany, German castlesSchloss Sanssouci

Schloss Sanssouci (Brandenburg), Frederick the Great’s Rococo summer residence in Potsdam, is surprisingly small but a masterpiece from the Baroque period. The other lavish palaces in the direct vicinity are interesting too.

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The Residenz, Munich, Bavaria, Germany, German castlesThe Residenz

The Residenz (Bavaria), in Munich, was the principle residence of the Wittelsbach ruling family for over 500 years. It is a massive complex, lavishly decorated. Other royal residences in the Munich area such as Schloss Nymphenburg and Schloss Schleißheim are worth seeing too.

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Last updated November 5, 2010
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