Planning a trip to Hohenzollern Castle, Germany? What to know how to get to Hohenzollern, who lives there and why it's famous? Here's everything you need to know (including a video and map!)
I've seen some impressive castles in my lifetime. (I live in the UK. We have castles pretty much everywhere!)
But Hohenzollern Castle might be in another league. This thing is impressive. Or IMPRESSIVE. With a capital Everything.
Where is Hohenzollern Castle?
Hohenzollern Castle is in south-west Germany, just south of Stuttgart and really close to the amazing Black Forest. (If you're a biker, this area is heaven. Seriously.) You can find the castle on our map, along with all our other itineraries and places we've stopped.
Address: 72379 Burg Hohenzollern, Germany
Opening hours: 10am-5.30pm, but please check the castle website in advance.
By the way, did you know that Burg means castle and Schloss means palace? Hohenzollern Castle is Burg Hohenzollern. And now you can impress your friends with that piece of
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Is Hohenzollern Castle open all year?
Yes- in normal times Hohenzollern Castle is open all year, although opening times vary between summer and winter (and global pandemics!)
The castle is closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. There is also a Christmas market around the beginning of December, which would be a magical way to start the run-up to Christmas!
Like Christmas travel? Here are some of the biggest and best European Christmas Markets to explore and enjoy
How to get to Hohenzollern Castle
The castle is in the middle of nowhere- on the top of a very very steep hill. My advice is to drive as it makes it much more accessible. If you're exploring Europe in a motorhome or camper, you can stay overnight on the grounds (see below). There are some public transport options, like a bus or taxi, but driving gives you much more flexibility.
Train from Stuttgart to Hohenzollern Castle
The nearest train station is Hechingen Station. From there, you can get a bus which will drop you in the car park. Full timetable and details can be found here.
Is there parking for motorhomes at Hohenzollern Castle?
Absolutely! We were impressed at how much parking was available- even for a big motorhome towing a trailer like us! You can't reserve parking, just turn up, but the parking attendants were really helpful and directed us to a suitable place. (You can see more in the video below)
Can you stay overnight at Hohenzollern Castle?
We found out that you can stay overnight in your motorhome at Hohenzollern Castle- for only 4€ a night!!! We were gutted not to be able to do this- although you can't get up to the castle during the night, it would be fun to stay on the grounds. Again, there's no way to reserve this and there are no facilities- it's just a parking place.
Some of the parking places are on a slope, but we did notice that they tried to put motorhomes on the flatter spots and the coaches on the slopes- very friendly and thoughtful of them! If you're touring Germany in a motorhome, definitely consider this as an option.
As for the actual castle itself, no- it's not possible to stay overnight inside the Castle as its still privately owned.
When is the best time to visit Hohenzollern Castle?
Like all incredible castles in Germany, the best time to visit is outside the school holidays, which are around Easter, Christmas and most of July/ August.
I recommend getting to the Castle as early as you possibly can, as it does get busy during the day. There are a huge number of tours and tour buses which visit the castle- if you arrive early you should miss most of them and be able to enjoy the place with fewer crowds.
How much does it cost? Ticket prices for Hohenzollern Castle
We opted not to tour inside the castle interior, so we paid 7€ each for the grounds and catacombs (in 2018). The guided tour inside costs an extra 5€ (so 12€ in total), or you can get a family ticket for 23€. We were pretty amazed at how cheap it was- castles in England often charge a lot more for entry.
Don't forget, tickets need to be bought in the kiosk in the carpark, NOT at the top of the hill. If you go up without a ticket you'll need to go all the way back down again!
Is it a steep walk to Hohenzollern Castle?
Uh, yes. Very. There is a shuttle bus which you can pay extra for- I think the cost of this was around 2€/pp or 3.30€ return. You are of course welcome to walk up the hill and save the money… but it's a very steep hill! (Reminded us a lot of the walk up from Tintagel Castle in Cornwall!)
Visiting Hohenzollern Castle
The shuttle bus drops you off just below the entrance, which gives you a great view of just how BIG this castle is. It's a beautiful golden stone and the sunshine gleams off it. The entrance is through a cool tunnel with many alcoves- we joked that this was where the prisoners were kept but honestly, it may well have been! There were certainly enough steel bars all over the place.
Eventually, you stop winding your way up and reach the ‘proper' entrance gates- and see the breathtaking view the castle has over the surrounding area on all sides. It's a pretty commanding position.
The ‘standard' entrance ticket includes the castle grounds, which are beautifully kept, the two castle chapels and the casemates, which are translated on the literature as ‘cellars'. It's not really the wrong word, but they were so much more than just plain cellars.
Down here is where the gunpowder was stored, so orders were given to dig an entirely new layer to help protect the castle should any accidents happen with the gunpowder. This layer was literally hewn out of the rock beneath the castle and it was fascinating to see and to walk through.
How long does it take to visit Hohenzollern Castle?
We spent about 2 hours wandering the castle grounds, not including waiting for the minibus up & down. We would have been longer as we wanted a coffee, but, unfortunately, their cafe was crazy busy so we could not partake in ‘Kaffee & Kuchen' (coffee & cake) which was a shame as we were addicted to Black Forest gateau by then. We did manage to get some in Triberg– another place you need to visit while you're in the area.
Is there a restaurant or shop at Hohenzollern Castle?
Yes- I believe there are two restaurants, although only one was open when we visited. It was ridiculously busy so we didn't stop. The gift shop is a typical gift shop but we got a few trinkets to remind us of our visit.
Is Hohenzollern Castle the best castle in Germany?
We didn't really know what to expect from Hohenzollern Castle- after all, everyone says the best castle in Germany is Neuschwanstein Castle (the Disney castle) – but we loved it! I would quite happily go back; just walking around the grounds felt magical and the views were spectacular, not to mention the history. I didn't want to leave.
I wonder who I have to kill/ marry to live there….?!?!? Talking of which…
Who lives at Hohenzollern Castle?
The castle is still privately owned by the Royal Family- the Swabian Royal House of Hohenzollern (Prussian line). When they're at home, the family flag is flown on the flag tower.
When was Hohenzollern Castle built?
There have been several castles on this hill (anyone else singing Ed Sheeran as they read that?? One of the best driving songs ever!) All previous castles were also called Mount Hohenzollern – this version was built in 1867.
The ghost of Hohenzollern castle
Ok, this ghost story was really cool. Hohenzollern Castle is actually one of the first places where the ‘legend of the white lady' is recorded.
In the 14th century, the Lord of the castle wanted to marry a Countess. He said to the Countess “only 4 eyes will stand in our way” (of the marriage). The Countess took this to mean that her two children (from a previous marriage) were a hindrance, so she immediately and brutally murdered them! The Lord had actually meant his parents, who opposed the match, but he was so repulsed by her actions that he immediately broke off any engagement.
The Countess founded a cloister to try and redeem herself before God. She spent the rest of her life shut up in there, clothed in white. After her death, there were multiple sightings of her at the castle and the legend of the “white lady” began, which has then spread to many other castles and into several books!
Watch the Video of our visit to Hohenzollern Castle
Want to see inside Hohenzollern Castle? Watch our video tour and see the parking, entrance, castle grounds, casemates and hear about the ghost of Hohenzollern Castle!
Flying a drone at Hohenzollern Castle
Germany have really tightened up their drone laws recently, so please do make sure you comply with the new requirements before you fly a drone. There are signs on most historic and public buildings banning the use of drones- Hohenzollern is no exception.
Is Hohenzollern Castle worth a visit?
Absolutely!! It's possibly my favourite castle in Germany- maybe even better than Neuschwanstein… maybe. If we went back I'd definitely opt to do the tour around the inside as I would love to see what it looked like in there.
If you're travelling down the Romantic Road of Germany I highly recommend you stop to visit Hohenzollern as well.
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