One of the most famous castles in Germany is Hohenzollern Castle in the state of Baden-Württemberg. We have already seen many impressive photo photos of the castle, which is build on a 855 meter high, isolated and prominent mountain hill. So we were already very excited about our visit.
Table of contents
Things to know about Hohenzollern Castle
The history of the castle
Hohenzollern Castle sits majestically on an 855-metre-high mountain cone on the edge of the Swabian Alb in Baden-Württemberg. It is the ancestral castle of the princely family and formerly ruling Prussian royal and German imperial house of the Hohenzollern.
The first medieval castle on this square was probably built in the 11th century and first mentioned as “Castro Zolre” in 1267. In 1423 this castle was conquered and destroyed. A few decades later, a second castle complex was built even larger and more fortified than before. This experienced an eventful history and fell into ruin in the 19th century, so that Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm von Preussen decided in 1819 to rebuild the ancestral castle of the House of Hohenzollern. Thus, today’s castle complex with the multi-towered castle and the mighty fortifications was jointly restored in the 19th century by both branches of the House of Hohenzollern in neo-Gothic style and is still in their private possession today.
Opening Hours & Admission
The castle is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. Tickets for the visit cost 22 EUR per adult and can currently only be purchased via the online ticket portal. Children pay 10 EUR, children under 12 years and birthday children have free admission.
There are a total of 2 car parking spaces: The upper car park (P1) is the main car park, the lower car park (P2) is opened if necessary. Parking is available free of charge to castle visitors.
Shuttle bus & footpath
To get from the parking lot to the castle, you can either walk or take the free shuttle bus between 10 am and 6.30 pm, which runs about every 10 minutes. The shuttle bus station is located next to the parking shop in the upper parking lot P1. The lower car park P2 will be opened if necessary and then also approached by the shuttle bus.
We had first thought about walking from the parking lot to the castle to take some nice photos. But due to the dense forest at this point you have almost no view of the castle, so it’s not really worth it. The 600 meter long hiking trail is partly very steep and leads over stairs to the castle. Alternatively, the road can also be used as a footpath. This is a bit longer at 1,100 meters, but not quite as steep. For the walk you should plan about 20 minutes.
A plan of the castle complex
On the following map you have a good overview of the entire castle complex and the hiking trails.
A tour of the castle complex
The outdoor area & the castle courtyard
The entrance to the castle complex is located at the Adlertor. From here we walked along a curved path and several tunnels up to the castle. We really liked the path along the impressive castle walls and towers alone, because here you have already got a first impression of the mighty castle complex.
Before we walked into the castle courtyard, we made a detour to the garden bastion, which is located below the castle courtyard on the southwestern side of the castle complex. From here you have above all a great view over the Swabian Alb. In addition, the statues of the Prussian kings can be found here.
Via the gate tower we reached the castle courtyard. Here are two churches, the Catholic Michael’s Chapel and the Evangelical Christ Chapel. Parts of The Michael’s Chapel are dated back to the years 1454 to 1461 – making it the only surviving building of the second castle. At the large castle courtyard, a beautifully landscaped beer garden invites you to linger; here even the in-house beer of the Hohenzollern – the Prussian Pilsner – is served.
Since during our visit to the northern area of the outdoor area around the New Bastion and the Foxhole Bastion renovation work on the bastion wall took place, we unfortunately could not visit this part. From this side you usually have a very nice view in the direction of Stuttgart.
Of course, a visit to Hohenuzollern Castle should not miss a visit to the interiors. The tour through the different rooms took about 45 minutes. There are currently no guided tours, but you can explore the showrooms independently. We really liked the specially developed castle app, with which you can be guided through the showrooms on the basis of an audio castle tour. On site, the app automatically recognizes where you are in the castle courtyard or in the showrooms and begins with the explanations.
The tour begins in the very impressive family tree hall, where a castle employee gave us a very interesting introduction to the family tree of the Hohenzollern family. From there we went through various rooms such as the library, the Blue Salon, the Grafensaal and the Margrave’s Room and learned interesting Things to know about the life of the Hohenzollern Highnesses and Majesties. Unfortunately, we could not take our own pictures of the interior of the castle, as photography and filming is not allowed in the showrooms. We have kindly received some media pictures from the press office of the castle, which we are happy to show you here.
After visiting the showrooms, we went to the treasury. Here you will find, among other things, the weapon skirt of Frederick the Great, the Prussian royal crown, the famous snuff boxes of Frederick the Great, two of his traverse flutes and gemstone-studded tabatièrs.
Right next to the treasury is the entrance to the casemates. Only since 2004 have the bomb-proof vaulted cellar rooms been open to the public. These consist mainly of underground tunnels, secret passages and various rooms.
The most beautiful viewpoint & photo spot on Hohenzollern Castle
Hohenzollern Castle is a perfect postcard motif because of its perfect location on the summit of the Zollerberg!
Probably the most beautiful view of the castle is from the opposite viewpoint Zeller Horn. This can only be reached on foot, so we parked our car at the parking lot of the Berghotel Zollersteighof and walked from here about 20 minutes to the viewpoint. We have to say that the parking lot is quite small and a sign indicates that this parking lot is reserved for hotel and restaurant guests. However, we were very early in the morning at the parking lot, so that only a few cars were there and the restaurant operation had not yet begun. Alternatively, you can use the larger parking lot “Skilift/Dagersbrunnen2”, located about 600 meters further ahead.
We have marked the exact hiking trail from the parking lot to the Zeller Horn here in Google Maps.
The path to the viewpoint is very well developed, relatively straight, has no inclines and is therefore very suitable for prams. Arriving at the viewpoint “Zellern Horn”, we could not get out of the amazement. The view of Hohenzollern Castle was so amazing and beautiful! There was absolute silence, because we were – except for one photographer – the only ones on site and the sky seemed slightly dramatic due to the cloud movements. The sight of Hohenzollern Castle, which sits majestically on the top of the Zollerberg, totally thrilled us.
Our tip: If you have the opportunity, you should definitely take a good telephoto lens with you. The distance from the viewpoint to the castle is about 1.5 kilometers. Since the pictures of the castle on the mobile phone seem quite small.
We really enjoyed our day around Hohenzollern Castle and in the castle itself. The hike to the viewpoint in the early morning was a successful start to the sightseeing day and the castle tour a great highlight.