The full Hohenzollern Castle Germany travel guide

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Standing tall amidst the rolling hills of Germany, Hohenzollern Castle embodies the very essence of a fairy tale. This neo-Gothic masterpiece wouldn’t look out of place in a storybook, captivating visitors with its:

  • Turrets that Reach for the Sky: Multiple towers and turrets pierce the heavens, adding a whimsy and grandeur to the castle’s silhouette.
  • Opulent Interiors: Step inside and be transported to a world of luxury. Lavishly decorated rooms adorned with intricate details and rich materials showcase the castle’s past grandeur.
  • A Colorful History: Hohenzollern Castle boasts a vibrant past, having served as a home to Prussian kings and princes. Explore the castle and unravel its fascinating stories.

While Germany is famous for its abundance of stunning castles, Hohenzollern Castle stands out for its dramatic presence and captivating blend of history and architectural beauty. It’s a must-visit for anyone seeking a true fairy tale experience.

Where is Hollenzollern Castle  

Hohenzollern Castle, a magnificent neo-Gothic masterpiece, perches atop a hill in central Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Here’s a closer look at its location:

the inside of castle Hohenzollern
  • Picturesque Setting: Soaring above the towns of Hechingen and Bisingen, Hohenzollern Castle offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
  • Proximity to Stuttgart: Located roughly 50 kilometres south of Stuttgart, the castle is a popular day trip destination for visitors to the city.
  • A Mountaintop Marvel: The castle sits atop Mount Hohenzollern, sometimes called Zoller by locals. At an elevation of 855 meters (2,805 ft), it offers a truly dramatic and picturesque setting. Unlike many European castles enveloped by urban sprawl, this majestic isolation allows visitors to appreciate the castle’s grandeur fully.
Castle Hohenzollern walls
Schloss Hohenzollern is a terrific example of a medieval castle

Our trip to Hohenzollern Castle wasn’t meticulously planned. In fact, I had never even heard of it before. We were winding our way through the picturesque Black Forest when, quite suddenly, a sight stopped me in my tracks.

There, atop a distant hill, loomed a magnificent castle, its turrets and towers reaching for the sky. As we drew closer, the castle grew more and more impressive, and by the time we reached the mountain base, I was utterly awestruck.

The castle from above
Aerial view of the famous Hohenzollern Castle, Germany.

Berg Hohenzollern, as the locals call it, was truly breathtaking. I could not tear my eyes away and could not wait to get to the castle gates.

Hohenzollern Castle’s story is intricately linked to the rise and fall of the House of Hohenzollern, a powerful dynasty that once ruled vast swathes of Germany. Here’s a glimpse into the castle’s historical timeline:

  • Early Beginnings (11th Century): The first mention of a defensive structure on the site dates back to the early 11th century. This initial castle was built by the Hohenzollerns, a dynasty destined for greatness.
  • A Family of Rulers: The House of Hohenzollern rose through the ranks, accumulating titles like Princes, Electors, Kings, and Emperors. They ruled over Hohenzollern, Brandenburg, Prussia, the German Empire, and even Romania! Their influence significantly shaped the political landscape of Germany.
  • Internal Divisions: Despite their prominence, the Hohenzollern family wasn’t immune to internal divisions. Over the years, the family split several times, though the castle remained primarily in the hands of a specific branch.
  • A Period of Vulnerability: One notable exception occurred when the castle fell under the control of the Habsburgs of Austria. This period of Habsburg control highlights the castle’s strategic importance and vulnerability during times of conflict.
  • Destruction and Rebirth (1423): A defining moment in the castle’s history came in 1423 when it faced a ten-month siege by the Swabian Free Imperial Cities. These cities, seeking independence from Hohenzollern’s rule, ultimately destroyed the castle.
  • A New Era (1454-1461): Undeterred, the Hohenzollerns constructed a larger and sturdier castle on the same site from 1454 to 1461. This new structure, the one that stands today, reflects the family’s resilience and their enduring connection to this historic mountaintop location.

Hohenzollern Castle is a testament to the enduring legacy of the Hohenzollern dynasty. Its history, marked by periods of power, vulnerability, and resilience, continues to captivate visitors today.

PicMonkey Collage

Hohenzollern Castle’s Enduring Legacy

Hohenzollern Castle‘s story extends beyond its initial glory. Here’s a look at its transformation and current state:

  • A Haven During War: The new, sturdier castle constructed in the mid-15th century was a refuge for the Catholic Swabian Hohenzollerns during the devastating Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648). This highlights the castle’s continued use as a place of safety and strategic importance during the conflict.
  • Shifting Fortunes: By the end of the 18th century, advancements in warfare rendered the castle obsolete as a defensive structure. This decline in strategic significance led to a period of neglect, with parts of the castle even being demolished. Today, only the medieval chapel is a reminder of this earlier iteration.
  • The Ravages of Time: Further challenges arose in the 20th century, with earthquakes in 1970 and 1978 causing significant damage. Maintaining and restoring the castle is an ongoing endeavour, with admission fees crucial in financing these efforts. This ensures the preservation of the castle in its original form for future generations.
  • A New Chapter (1846-1867): The castle we see today isn’t the original medieval structure. In the mid-19th century, King Frederick William IV of Prussia commissioned the construction of a new castle on the site. This neo-Gothic masterpiece, inspired by French chateaus of the Loire Valley, served as a family memorial rather than a permanent residence. No member of the royal family ever lived there full-time.
  • A Temporary Refuge: Interestingly, in 1945, the castle briefly became home to the former Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany, son of the last Hohenzollern monarch. This brief period reflects the complex history of the castle and the Hohenzollern dynasty.

Hohenzollern Castle’s story is one of resilience, adaptation, and ultimately, preservation. From its early beginnings as a defensive structure to its current role as a museum and tourist destination, the castle stands tall, a captivating symbol of a powerful dynasty and a testament to the enduring human desire to preserve history.

Unveiling the Treasures of Hohenzollern Castle Germany: A Journey Through Time

Hohenzollern Castle isn’t just a magnificent architectural marvel, it’s also a treasure trove of Prussian history. Here’s a glimpse of the fascinating artifacts that await visitors:

Statues on the outside of berg hohenzollern
Hohenzollern Castle, Germany, is the ancestral seat of the imperial House of Hohenzollern
  • Prussian Legacy: The castle houses a collection of historical artifacts that shed light on Prussia’s glorious past. These objects offer a tangible connection to the Hohenzollern dynasty and their reign.
  • The Crown Jewels: A highlight for many visitors is the Prussian crown collection. Imagine gazing upon the Crown of Wilhelm II, sparkling with precious stones and symbolizing the opulence of the Prussian monarchy. These magnificent pieces transport you back to a bygone era.
  • A Letter from Across the Ocean: One surprising artifact is a letter from none other than George Washington! This fascinating piece underscores the global connections of the Hohenzollern family. Baron von Steuben, a Hohenzollern descendant, played a crucial role in the American Revolutionary War, prompting this letter of thanks from the first US President.

Beyond the Artifacts: A Memorable Visit

Your personal experience at Hohenzollern Castle paints a vivid picture of what awaits visitors:

  • A Living Family Tree: The sprawling Hohenzollern family tree adorning the walls must be an awe-inspiring sight. Imagine tracing the lineage of this powerful dynasty through centuries, with each branch representing a family member. It’s a unique and visually captivating way to understand the castle’s significance.
  • A Treasury of Regalia: The treasury, filled with the Hohenzollern Kaisers’ crowns, is another captivating element. The intricate details, the weight of history, and the sheer opulence of these objects must leave a lasting impression.

Sightseeing at Hohenzollern

Hohenzollern Castle provides audio guides for sightseeing at your own pace.

People enjoying food and drink in the courtyard of Hohenzollern Castle
You can enjoy a drink and food after your tour.

Hohenzollern Castle offers a captivating experience for visitors of all interests. Here’s what you can explore:

  • Unwind in the Castle Grounds: Take a leisurely stroll through the picturesque castle grounds and soak in the stunning views.
  • Delve into History: Explore the museum rooms by exploring the castle’s rich past. These can be visited independently, allowing you to set your own pace. Castle staff are stationed throughout the rooms to answer questions and provide additional insights. For an immersive audio guide experience, download the free castle app.
  • Find Inner Peace: Discover the tranquility of the two castle chapels, silent testaments to faith and history.
  • Descent into History: Explore the casemates, a network of tunnels and chambers that once served defensive purposes.
  • Indulge in Delights: Enjoy a delicious meal or refreshing beverage at the castle restaurant, offering a delightful end to your exploration.
Hohenzollern Castle Germany
The Prussian Eagle

Planning Your Visit: Tips for Families

Here are some helpful tips for a smooth and enjoyable family visit to Hohenzollern Castle:

Consider the Walk: The walk from the car park to the castle can be quite steep and take up to 30 minutes. This might be challenging for younger children.

Take the Shuttle Bus: A convenient shuttle bus operates between the car park and the castle, making the journey easier, especially for families with young children or limited mobility.

Fuel Up at the Beer Garden: The castle grounds feature a beer garden offering a variety of food and drinks. It’s a great place to relax and refuel after exploring the castle.

Little Surprises: The castle shop offers souvenirs and treats. You might even encounter friendly staff who surprise your little ones with a sweet treat, just like Willow!

Remember to watch young children, especially when exploring the castle grounds.

By planning ahead and considering these tips, you can ensure that your family visit to Hohenzollern Castle is an enriching and enjoyable experience for everyone.

Burg Hohenzollern

Schloss Hohenzollern Hours

  • Summer season (March 16 – October 31): 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM daily
  • Winter season (November 1 – March 15): 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM daily

Entry Price

There are two options for entry tickets:

  • Castle complex without interior rooms:
    • Adults: €7
    • Children (6-17 years old): €5
  • Castle complex and visit of the Castle rooms (guided tour):
    • Adults: €12
    • Reduced admission (seniors, disabled persons, students 18+): €10
    • Children (6-17 years old): €6
    • Family ticket (2 adults with max. 4 children): €28

Additional Information

  • Since the castle sits on a hill, there’s a steep walk up to the castle.
  • A shuttle bus is available to take you to the outer gate. There’s still a 350-meter walk through the ramparts to reach the inner courtyard.

Hohenzollern Castle’s majestic hilltop location offers breathtaking views, but it also presents a question: how to get there? Here are your options:

Public Transport:

  • Train & Bus: A convenient option is to take a train to Hechingen station. From there, hop on a bus that goes directly to Hohenzollern Castle. This is a hassle-free way to reach the castle, especially if you’re not keen on driving.
  • Train Details: For your reference, here are some sample train schedules departing from Stuttgart main station (Hbf) to Hechingen station (Bahnhof/ZOB, Hechingen):
    • 10:16 hrs departure – arrives at 11:19 hrs (daily)
    • 12:16 hrs departure – arrives at 13:19 hrs (daily)
    • Remember to check schedules for the most up-to-date timings before your trip. Consider using resources like Omio for booking tickets.


  • Highway Access: For those arriving by car, you can take the A81 highway (Stuttgart-Singen) and exit at Empfingen. Follow signs for B463 towards Balingen, eventually leading you to the castle.

Additional Considerations:

  • Parking: The castle has parking facilities located below the hilltop structure.
  • Shuttle Service: Be aware that there’s a steep walk from the parking area to the castle entrance. Luckily, a shuttle bus operates to take you closer, although there’s still a short walk through the ramparts to reach the inner courtyard.

If I could pick one castle anywhere in the world that exemplified what my imagination would portray as a castle, it would have to be Burg Hohenzollern. When I think of castles, I always think of high on a mountain, big walls, and watch towers. Hohenzollern Castle, Germany, has that and much more.

We hope this article on Wyld Family Travel helps you plan your trip to Germany. There are so many great castles to see.

More Germany travel inspiration for families

Rebecca Wyld

Content Creator/SEO Editor

Co-founder and SEO editor here at Wyld Family Travel. Bec has travelled to over 45 countries across 3 continents and is a journey with kids advocate. When Bec is not planning travel, she creates content for our family travel blog or does local community service work. You can find all of Bec’s detailed travel guides here on Wyld Family Travel and on other popular websites such as Lonely Planet.

10 thoughts on “The full Hohenzollern Castle Germany travel guide”

  1. What a gorgeous castle! 🙂 And so much history there. Totally intrigued by that dark story of the white lady… wow.

  2. Wow! This castle is really beautiful. Also, this article is quite helpful for those who are planning to see places in Germany 🙂

  3. We love visiting castles in Germany but never made it to Hohenzollern. Looks very cool!

  4. I have so many European castles I want to see, and this one has always been on my list, up there at the top with Neuschwanstein. It’s great to read about it in detail, thank you

  5. What do you mean when you say there are various types of tours? Any other division than into for kids/ for adults?

  6. Wow, this is a beautiful castle and I can see why you couldn’t take your eyes of it as it does embody that fairytale castle image! Looks like they do a nice job of maintaining it too!! We’ve not explored much of this part of Germany, but would love to one day soon!

  7. It’s nice to get to know a castle in Germany because most of us usually only aware of castles in France or the UK !

  8. I’m so blown away by how many castles I’m hearing exist throughout Germany! I’ve only been to neuschwanstein castle, and I thought that was pretty much it, but I’m now learning I need to get back. Could dedicate a whole bucketlist just to visiting castles 😀

  9. I love that you can actually go inside Burg Hohenzollern and that they offered tours to learn more about its history. I visited my first castle in Lisbon, St Jorge Castle and I was very disappointed that we couldn’t go inside nor were there organized tours of the grounds.


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