Amazing Hohenzollern castle is listed as one of the top 100 places to visit in Germany. It did not disappoint!
We had the chance to visit with other worldschooling friends — the Sundance Family (5 kids) and some German friends of theirs (with 3 kids). So there were a total of 14 kids on this excursion (plus Katie Sundance and I are both pregnant!)
We met the Sundance Family while living in Costa Rica. Our kids became fast friends, and it’s been fun to meet up with them around the world (so far twice in Germany and once in Morocco, besides Costa Rica). You should follow their YouTube channel, and I know we’ll be crossing paths with them again.
According to Wikipedia, Hohenzollern Castle is the ancestral seat of the imperial House of Hohenzollern. The third of three castles on the site, it is located atop Berg Hohenzollern, a 234-metre (768 ft) bluff rising above the towns of Hechingenand Bisingen in the foothills of the Swabian Alps of central Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
A popular tourist destination, Hohenzollern castle has over 300,000 visitors per year, making it one of the most visited castles in Germany.
The first fortress on the mountain was constructed in the early 11th century. Over the years the House of Hohenzollern split several times, but the castle remained in the Swabian branch, the dynastic seniors of the Franconian-Brandenburgian cadet branch that later acquired its own imperial throne. This castle was completely destroyed in 1423 after a ten-month siege by the free imperial cities of Swabia. A larger and sturdier structure was constructed from 1454 to 1461, which served as a refuge for the Catholic Swabian Hohenzollerns, including during the Thirty Years’ War. By the end of the 18th century it was thought to have lost its strategic importance and gradually fell into disrepair, leading to the demolition of several dilapidated buildings. Today, only the medieval chapel remains.
The final castle was built between 1846 and 1867 as a family memorial by Hohenzollern scion King Frederick William IV of Prussia. Architect Friedrich August Stüler based his design on English Gothic Revival architecture and the Châteaux of the Loire Valley. No member of the Hohenzollern family was in permanent or regular residence when it was completed, and none of the three Deutsche Kaiser of the late 19th and early 20th century German Empire ever occupied the castle; in 1945 it briefly became the home of the former Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany, son of the last Hohenzollern monarch, Kaiser Wilhelm II.
OUR FAVORITE PARTS
The hike to this castle was beautiful itself (there is a shuttle available for small kids and pregnant ladies, and anyone else who would like a ride).
The castle is perched on the top of a hill, and the grounds are beautiful and well maintained. We weren’t able to see the entire castle, as part of it is still privately owned (an used?) by the family.
We really loved the treasury, where you could see dresses that belong to the queen, gold-plated china, real crowns and other incredible pieces. The dungeons were neat, and the views were unbeatable, even though it was a cold, cloudy day in May. Oh, and of course the gift shop was a favorite. We ended up buying some Schleich knights on horses (living in Germany has converted me to Schleich toys!)
Visiting this castle led to me reading the book Frederick the Great by Nancy Mitford, Prussian king from 1740 until 1786 (the longest reign of any Hohenzollern King).
Enjoy the video below!