Visiting Harburg Castle on Germany’s Romantic Road

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Harburg Castle (Burg Harburg) is a well-preserved medieval castle located in Harburg, a town in Bavaria, Germany along the famous Romantic Road. Its history spans over a thousand years, making it one of the oldest castles in Southern Germany.

The exact date of the castle’s construction is unclear, but it is believed to have been established around the 11th century. It was first mentioned in historical records in 1150 and has changed hands many times. The castle has been owned by the Oettingen-Wallerstein estate since the 1700s and is now a part of the Princes of Oettingen-Wallerstein foundation. 

Harburg Castle is a fortified castle complex with a mix of architectural styles. Over its 1000 year history there have been many renovations and buildings constructed on its property each reflecting the popular style of the time. You’ll see a blend of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architectural styles throughout the complex.

One detail that stood out was the wooden shutters on every window painted red with a yellow X. I do not know the significance of the shutter design, or if there is one, but one thing is for sure, they definitely add a unique element to the overall medieval feel of Harburg Castle.

Getting to Harburg Castle

By Car:

The best way to reach the castle is by car. There is a car park just outside of the main gate with free parking for castle visitors. 

It is a short walk from the parking area to the castle grounds. To enter the castle courtyard, you will have to purchase a ticket for a small fee.

By Train: 

It is possible to take a train from Munich (MUC) to Harburg Castle via München Hbf, Donauwörth, and Harburg in around 2h 44m. 

You will then have to get to the castle itself from the train station. 

Although it is possible, I do not think a day trip to the castle is worth the effort or cost of a train ticket. Harburg is best visited during a road trip through Germany and the Romantic Road.

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Visiting Harburg Castle: What to Know Before You Go

The castle is open daily from March through early November with tours schedule each hour. Check the castle’s official website for updated opening times.

You will have to buy a ticket to walk around the courtyard and an additional ticket for an interior tour. Tour tickets can be purchased in the gift shop while entry tickets are purchased at the ticket hut near the main castle gate. During my visit I paid 3.50€ to walk around the courtyard and 5€ for a guided interior tour.

You are only able to access the interior rooms via tour and all tours are in German. 

Each tour takes about 60 mins and takes you through a number of rooms including the chapel, multiple towers, along the defensive wall, the Princes building and a dining hall. 

I took the German language tour to see the inside and I am glad I did. It is one of the few castles I visited in Germany that shows multiple rooms and lasts a long enough for me to feel like the 5€ was worth it.

Unfortunately even with Google Translate, I could not understand what the guide was saying. Even though she spoke English, she made it clear the tour would be strictly in German. I wanted to ask questions but admittedly I was too afraid I would annoy the guide if I asked questions in English so I never did.

At the beginning of the tour, she reprimanded me for taking too many photos of the courtyard and holding up the group. I was with another guest interested in photos and we both waited until after the group left the current area to take a few shots without people in them which she didn’t appreciate, so this set the stage for the rest of the tour. 

Photos are not permitted in some of the interior rooms, basically the rooms I thought were the prettiest are the ones you are not allowed to take photos or videos in. 

Despite that, I still enjoyed the tour. The castle is well preserved and the rooms are decorated nicely with historic embellishments and artifacts. I enjoyed walking the tower walls, experiencing the dungeon and “torture chamber” and seeing the views from above. 

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Some of the rooms seemed to have a lot of history and most likely a story to tell (besides that in the English language pamphlet). I could tell the guide went into some details but with the language barrier it was difficult to understand. Some of the German & English speaking guests tried to translate the stories to me which was greatly appreciated.

At the end of the tour, you have some free time to walk around an interior art gallery filled with paintings at you own pace which was a nice ending to the fast moving tour.

While in the castle courtyard, you can see the old well, the castle gardens and a few other buildings from different time periods. You are not allowed to enter any other buildings but there are a lot of photo opportunities within the castle courtyard. 

On the day I was visiting, a wedding was schedules for later in the day.  After my tour a classic car decorated with white floral arrangements was parked near the well which gave a lovely touch and another perfect photo opportunity. I didn’t bring my tripod into the castle expecting it to be busy and hard to take pictures at, but the grounds were not crowded at all. 

As with other castles in Germany such as Lichtenstein or Rheinstein, there is not much to do at the castle other than take the tour and walk around the courtyard. Two hours is plenty of time to visit the castle and complete a tour.

There is a small gift shop and a castle cafe. The cafe serves local beer and wine along with traditional German dishes. I had lunch here and enjoyed it very much. The waitress was so friendly and offered recommendations for my Germany Road Trip. I ordered Schnitzel and salad and enjoyed the ambiance at the cozy cafe. It made the perfect stop for lunch while road tripping the Romantic Road.

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If you have some time, after visiting the castle head down to the river bank and stroll over the stone bridge to enjoy the charm of this quaint German village! Harburg Castle is the main draw in Harburg but sitting along the river enjoying nature and the views of the castle is a great way to relax and take in a beautiful day.

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