The magical Hohenzollern Castle is located on the edge of the Swabian Alb. It may remind some of them of Neuschwanstein Castle, which may be due to the many turrets and pinnacles. The fortress is one of the most famous castles in Germany and is idyllically located between extensive eaves and juniper heaths, with a view over the Black Forest and the Alps – of course only in good weather conditions. When approaching it, you can see it from afar, because it is enthroned in the middle of a perfectly shaped mountain cone, called the Zollberg. But not only the castle is worth a visit. Also the surrounding area, which has a variety of hiking trails, rocks and viewpoints.
From the beginning until today
The history of the castle probably goes back to the 11th century. Just as the castle used to be, it no longer exists today, because it underwent several destruction, ît decayed and suffered some damage caused by an earthquake. There is almost nothing left of the medieval castle today. What you see today is rather an imaginative work of modern times, created by the art-loving King Friedrich Wilhelm IV. In order to realize his long-cherished dream, he had built one of the most imposing castle complexes in Germany, from the rotted ruin. Since then, the fortress seems like a weir, on which a neo-Gothic castle with many turrets and battlements was placed. It was never occupied for a long period of time and it only served the representative function. The Hohenzollern Castle is still privately owned to this day.
Arrival, ascent and entrance fees
The summit castle is located on the approx. 855 meter high Zollberg and can be seen from afar due to the location on arrival. If you want to see the castle up close, you have to overcome these vertical meters. For this reason, I recommend parking the car in one of the paid parking spaces. Many visitors try to avoid the parking fee of 2.00 euros (2019) and park the car on the side of the road – which, incidentally, is not permitted.
Admission tickets to Hohenzollern Castle are available in a small shop next to the parking lot. The prices depend on the scope of the visit. If you are interested not only in the fortress, but also in the interiors, the admission ticket is EUR 12.00 (as of 2019) per person. By purchasing the admission ticket, you are directly contributing to the preservation of Hohenzollern Castle, which finances itself without government support. You can find out more about admission prices here.
➤ Birthday children receive free entry and a free tour upon presentation of their ID.
After buying the ticket, you are unfortunately not yet in front of the entrance to the castle. From the parking lot, numerous stairs lead up the mountain to the castle. The ascent is not to be underestimated and yet much more strenuous than expected. Alternatively, a shuttle bus is available that takes visitors to the “Adlertor” castle entrance gate. An adult pays EUR 2.00 for a one-way trip (ascent or descent), and a return trip is EUR 3.30 (2019). You can find information on all shuttle bus prices and travel times here.
If you are finally tired of the hard climb in front of the castle entrance gate, you have the opportunity to buy an admission ticket again. If you think you have finally made it, I have to disappoint you. Although you have completed the most strenuous part, there are more to go. A long and pompous staircase winds its way up to the castle via cobblestones and four loops – the entrance portal to Hohenzollern Castle.
The Hohenzollern Castle
Once in the inner courtyard, the journey through time can finally begin. Outside, the castle building can be circled over the bastions and, in addition to the many statues of the Prussian kings, also has a great view into the distance. You can also enjoy an impressive view of the surroundings from the magnificent interiors. This is not the only reason why the interiors are worth a visit. Rather, a tour of the royal rooms is worthwhile because of the decorated and representative rooms.
Artistic wallpaper and elaborate paintings adorn the walls, decorative and elaborately designed furniture fill the rooms and the trimmings on the ceiling in the Grafensaal consist of a magnificent pointed-arch vaulted ceiling, which is supported by solid marble supports. Incidentally, the royal parquet may only be entered with oversized gray slippers that are pulled over the street shoes.
One floor below you can reach today’s treasury through the armory, where all sorts of valuable art-historical objects can be discovered. Among other things, there is the court dress of Queen Luise of Prussia made of silk and silver embroidery, the life-saving snuffbox from Frederick the Great, as well as his coat of arms with the legendary bullet hole. The highlight is the Prussian royal crown of William II, set with 18 diamonds and 142 diamonds.
In Zollerstüble, the Burg’s café-restaurant, regional specialties are served that are always freshly prepared. The offer ranges from a salad plate with roasted honey goat cheese with pine nuts to braised ox cheeks with red wine sauce and spaetzle. Of course, the Swabian classics, such as dumplings, are also offered. For the small hunger in between there is a large range of cakes and pies from the patisserie.
➤ The rooms can also be rented for weddings and other celebrations.
In summer, the Burg beer garden invites you to linger under the magnificent Königslinden, with its great view of the castle and the surrounding area. A large selection of food and drinks are offered at the adjacent kiosk, but you can also enjoy the refreshments you bring with you in the shade of the trees.
There are numerous events at the castle all year round, such as the spring awakening, the shooting star nights, the falconer weekend or the royal Christmas market, to name just a few. It is therefore worth taking a look at the event calendar.
The “Eagle Gate” is open to visitors all year round, the castle is closed for one day only on Christmas Eve. You can find more information about opening times here.
➤ Note: If you want to experience the castle in all its glory, you will have to wait a few years. Because the external influences have badly affected the castle. Therefore, some renovation work is pending, which is expected to last until 2035 (2019).
72379 Burg Hohenzollern
Aerial photos of the castle are certainly very tempting for all drone fans. Unfortunately, drones and all other remote-controlled flying objects are prohibited on the entire castle area. Violations will be reported.
You can find an overview of all information about Hohenzollern Castle here.