Schloss Hohenzollern, or Castle Hohenzollern, is easily one of the most beautiful castles in Germany. Part of its scenic allure lies in its position atop Mount Hohenzollern. This mountain, it should be noted, tops out at around 2,800 feet above sea level, and the views from the castle grounds are rewarding. As for the castle itself, the spectacular design was inspired by the castles in the Loire Valley in France, and there is a delightful English neo-Gothic edge to it all.
The Hohenzollern Castle is the ancestral seat of the Hohenzollern family. This noble family emerged in the eleventh century, which is also when the original Schloss Hohenzollern was built. This first castle on the site was destroyed in 1423, and a larger castle was then built to take its place. Work on that castle was completed in 1461. By the late 1700's, the second Hohenzollern Castle lost its strategic significance, and after being abandoned, it fell into a state of disrepair. Only the chapel remains from this early fortress.
In 1819, then Crown Prince Frederick William IV of Prussia included a visit to Hohenzollern Castle on his travel itinerary for southern Germany. Perhaps persuaded by the impressive location of the ruined castle, the eventual king had it rebuilt. The castle that visitors encounter today was completed in 1867 and is still privately owned. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get a look inside. Guided tours in English can be arranged, and there are some tantalizing options. It is possible to take a guided tour after regular opening hours, for example.
On an average annual basis, more than 300,000 people visit Schloss Hohenzollern and treat themselves to a tour. Also worth noting is the fact that the Hohenzollern Castle plays host to special events. These events include a Christmas market, concerts in the courtyard, and private group events. As for where to find the castle, it lies only some 30 miles south of Stuttgart. For those who are without a car, it is possible to take a train from Stuttgart to Hechingen station. From there, the trip to the castle can be completed by way of bus.