Best Guide to Visiting Hohenzollern Castle in Germany

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Burg Hohenzollern, or Hohenzollern Castle, is a striking castle located atop Mount Hohenzollern in the Swabian Alps of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. With over 350,000 visitors a year, it is one of the most famous and majestic castles in the country, known for its impressive architecture and picturesque setting.

The castle’s history dates back to the 11th century when it was first mentioned in historical records. However, the current castle was built in the 19th century, following the destruction of the original castle in the 18th century. It was constructed in neo-Gothic style and served as the ancestral seat of the Hohenzollern family, who played a significant role in German history.

Today, the castle is privately owned by the Hohenzollern family, descendants of the historical rulers who once resided at the castle.

The family has an impressive art collection with many pieces on display at the castle including the Prussian royal crown that was made for Emperor Wilhelm II. The crown can be seen in the treasury room along with jewels and other important artifacts.

Getting To The Castle

It is easy to reach the castle’s car park by car. There is a large parking area for cars, buses and motorcycles at the base of the castle. Once you park you have the option of walking along a footpath that is uphill and mostly stairs or taking the shuttle bus to the main castle entrance. Shuttle bus transportation to and from the castle’s entrance is included in the cost of admission. 

Once at the entrance, you have to walk 350 meters uphill on a paved walkway to the castles’ main courtyard. 

You can also get to the castle’s car park by train + bus. Detailed directions can be found on the “getting there” tab of the castles website. 


Visiting The Castle

While Hohenzollern Castle has one of the highest entry fees (23 euros per adult), it also has the most beautiful interior of all the castles I saw while on my German road trip. Some castles are more interesting from the outside, but the dining room at Hohenzollern Castle was stunning! Honestly, for that reason alone, it’s worth the fee. 

The castle has several decorative rooms open to the public, including its cathedral and treasury room. You can take photos of the castle’s interior but not in the treasury room. I walked through all the rooms and around the courtyard in under an hour. 

The castle also has a beer garden and a restaurant (although it was under renovation when I visited). The beer garden serves a variety of brews on an outdoor patio and has a few food items as well. 

To be honest, I didn’t have the best experience with the staff at the beer garden. They didn’t make me feel welcomed, and the lady at the register came at me with an attitude when I couldn’t find the food items on the menu. Four items were listed on the top left of a large two-page drink menu. I didn’t see them and our language barrier didn’t help the situation.

I was starving, but the unpleasant encounter made me want to leave, which worked out perfectly. I headed to Lichtenstein Castle afterward, and they had a much better cafe with lovely employees and great-tasting German food. The cafe was open to the public and could be visited without a castle ticket. It’s located next to the castle’s parking lot.

The cost of entry is cheaper if you buy your ticket online. It is 3 euros more at the onsite ticket counter. It was easy to buy a ticket through their online ticket portal. In summer, it is best to buy a ticket in advance. They use a timed entry system and sometimes are sold out days in advance during high season. I visited the castle in April and didn’t have any trouble parking or buying a ticket once I arrived for the next time slot.  

In hight season, they sometimes require a parking space reservation that can be done on-line. It is free, but it is best to check their online ticket portal system for seasonal updates to make sure you are not turned away upon arrival.

Upon arriving at the castle, you will park in the parking lot. There is a shuttle to the top of the castle’s entry point that takes 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can walk up the footpath from the parking lot. It takes 25 mins and includes a lot of stairs. If it’s a warm day you might want to take the bus up. I was heading to Lichtenstein Castle after, so I took the bus to save time.

At the car park, there is a ticket office, a gift shop, and free restrooms (next to the gift shop).

The shuttle stops right before the 350 meter paved walking path to the castle’s courtyard. It is just one last uphill push along this path to the courtyard and castle rooms. 

They do not allow bulky bags and large backpacks inside the castle rooms. They will either ask you to wear the backpack to the front or if it is really large, ask you to store it (for free) at the onsite storage lockers. 

The tour is self-guided. They have a QR code available to download an audio guide app. The app would not download for me (the wifi at the castle was not strong, and I had very little cell service) so I walked through without it. There are signs that explain what you are seeing in English and German in each room so you really do not need the audio guide anyways.

I was impressed with the decor in each room. From moldings and decorated ceilings to handpainted walls and gold details. Many of the rooms were works of art. I am not sure when the last renovations were at this castle, but they did a great job highlighting its beauty.

The tour was maybe a little short for the price of admission, but I enjoyed it and would recommend a visit to this castle despite its cost. You can easily make a half day of it, enjoying the panoramic views of the Black Forest from the castle, relaxing with a beer in the garden and taking your time to enjoy every detail of the museum rooms.

Make sure to stop along the country roads to admire the castle’s stature atop of Mount Hohenzollern. The best views of the castle are from a distance while in the countryside. Once you get too close to the castle it’s hard to see all of its towers, turrets, and battlements that look so majestic from afar.

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Sam wearing backpack and hat walking through town.

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