I thought I’d seen some impressive castles. (I mean, come on, I live in the UK. We have castles pretty much everywhere.) But I’m afraid Hohenzollern Castle might be in another league. This thing is impressive. Or rather, IMPRESSIVE. With a capital Everything.
For a start, it’s set on the top of a big hill. It’s the tallest thing for MILES around and it looks amazing the closer you get to it. We tried to get our drone to fly overhead- but the wind wasn’t having any of it! You can read that story here.
Hohenzollern Castle- parking
Driving a motorhome (with a trailer) up the hill is no problem and there were friendly parking attendants on hand to tell us where to go… into the bus parking for us as we were too long for the motorhome spaces.
Turns out, we could have stayed there overnight if we’d only known! Parking is 4€ for 24 hours, which is a great price and one we were a bit gutted not to take advantage of- think of the drone shots we would have been able to take! Having said that, there are signs all over the place banning drones, so we probably wouldn’t have flown it anyway. You’ll find most castles and historic buildings have some sort of anti-drone declaration. Germany have really tightened up their drone laws recently, so please do make sure you comply with the new requirements.
Parking was fairly spacious but there are no facilities (toilets/ electric/ water etc) for motorhomes, so bear that in mind if you need them. Some of the spaces were on a slope, although we noticed that they did try to keep motorhomes on the flatter pitches and give the buses the sloping ones- which was very friendly of them!
Once parked, it’s a short walk to the ticket office. We opted not to tour inside the castle, so we paid 7€ each. The full tour costs 12€, 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. Then you wait for the mini bus to take you up the hill. I think the cost of this was around 2€/pp. You are of course welcome to walk up the hill and save the money… but it’s a very steep hill!
Hohenzollern Castle- the castle
The mini 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 might well have been something like that. 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 view the castle has over the surrounding area. I don’t know much about its history but I certainly wouldn’t want to attack it! 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’. In all honesty, it’s not really the wrong word, but they were so much more than 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.
Hohenzollern Castle- the legend
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.
Hohenzollern Castle- the verdict
We loved it. 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). 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.
We’d also stay overnight either before or after- just for the fun of it.
So that was Hohenzollern Castle- my new favourite and one that I would definitely live in if I could. I wonder which children I’d have to kill….. 🙂 Here’s the castle website if you’d like to plan your own visit: https://www.burg-hohenzollern.com/Welcome.html And now we’re off down the Romantic Road of Germany to see what other castles we can find!
Hohenzollern Castle- useful info
Today’s German Fact– Burg means castle and Schloss means palace. Hohenzollern castle is a burg. And now you can impress your friends with that piece of
Address: 72379 Burg Hohenzollern, Germany
Opening hours: 10am-5.30pm, but please check in advance.
Ticket price: 7€ for outside and catacombs, extra 5€ for guided tour around inside. Shuttle bus up is 2€ one way or 3.30€ return. Tickets are bought in the kiosk in the carpark, NOT at the top of the hill.
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