If you are looking for picturesque places in southern Germany, Lichtenstein Castle would not disappoint. As I explored the castle, I was struck by the thought that this is a place that would captivate any traveler, especially wanderers.
The castle’s unique architecture, coupled with its seemingly impossible location, makes it an extraordinary destination for sightseeing. Situated on the edge of a cliff in the Swabian Alps, the castle’s stunning architecture is a sight that takes your breath away.
While Lichtenstein Castle may not be as grand or striking as Neuschwanstein Castle, Burg Eltz, or Hohenzollern Castle, it certainly embodies the spirit of Romanticism that makes it well worth a visit. And we must not forget about its interior. It is equally impressive, boasting a wealth of lavish neo-gothic decorations and artworks.
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Important: In this post, I’ll be offering some handy tips to help you maximize your visit to Lichtenstein Castle. I’ll also provide some useful information that could assist you in planning your trip.
Actually, it’s not just me who thinks Lichtenstein Castle is a destination worth visiting. Lichtenstein Castle is often mentioned in many travel publications as one of the most beautiful in Germany. Today, it serves as a popular tourist attraction in Reutlingen, Baden-Württemberg.
While Lichtenstein Castle is often visited for its stunning appearance, many visitors are unaware of its rich history. For those with a passion for the past, the castle’s historical significance adds an extra layer of interest.
The history of Lichtenstein Castle
The tale of Lichtenstein Castle begins in the distant past, around the 12th century. However, before its 19th-century makeover, it wasn’t the castle we know today, but a formidable fortress, a symbol of power during the Middle Ages.
The castle’s history is marked by several notable events, including the imperial civil war of 1311, attacks by the citizens of Reutlingen between 1377 and 1381, and the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48). It served as a ducal seat until 1567, after which it was neglected and fell into disrepair.
Fast forward to the 19th century, King Frederick I of Württemberg took over the crumbling fortress in 1802 and transformed it into a hunting lodge. Then, in 1837, Duke Wilhelm von Urach, inspired by Wilhelm Hauff’s novel Lichtenstein, bought the estate with the vision of building his own medieval castle. The construction of what is now Lichtenstein Castle started in 1840 and was completed two years later.
Sadly, the castle was damaged during World War 2. It took decades of repair work, but thanks to local non-profit organizations like the Wustenrot Foundation, the castle was fully restored. The Lichtenstein Castle we see today was completed in 2002. Not far from the current castle, you can find the ruins of an older medieval castle.
What to Do in Lichtenstein Castle
Unlike the expansive palaces in Munich, Venice, and Paris, or the impressive medieval fortresses in Carcassonne, Milan, and Rome, a visit to Lichtenstein Castle is a more mini historical-architectural adventure. You can already fully enjoy the castle experience in just a couple of hours.
It isn’t hard to believe. Even at your first glimpse of the castle upon arrival, you’ll see that Lichtenstein Castle is not overly expansive. In fact, a 15- to 30-minute stroll is all it takes to explore the accessible sections of the castle grounds.
However, if you plan to try all the activities available at Lichtenstein Castle, such as exploring the castle grounds, joining a tour, and dining in the castle’s restaurant, two hours is ample time to fully enjoy the castle experience. If you’re planning to try the adventurous activities available near Lichtenstein Castle, you might want to consider a half-day trip!
Sightseeing Outside & Take Pictures of Lichtenstein Castle
It’s a common misconception that Lichtenstein Castle is a solitary building teetering on a cliff’s edge. In fact, it’s a complex of four buildings, all connected by a medieval wall that forms a perimeter around the castle grounds.
Needless to say, exploring the castle grounds will be your first activity upon arrival at Lichtenstein Castle. As you stroll around, you’ll encounter several quaint features that transport you back to the days of kings and knights. The throwback vibes will hit you even before you step onto the castle grounds. The main gate of Lichtenstein Castle, with its portcullis, offers a glimpse into the Medieval Ages.
After a few steps into the castle grounds along the main pathway, the view of the main building of Lichtenstein Castle awaits you. Specifically, you’ll see it after passing by the building with a white timber-frame facade on your left. At this point, the white tower of the main building of Lichtenstein Castle should catch your eye.
Continue walking and you’ll reach the bridge that links the main building of Lichtenstein Castle with the rest of the castle grounds. This bridge provides one of the most iconic views of Lichtenstein Castle and is the best place to take selfies as a souvenir — don’t forget!
The highlight of exploring the castle grounds of Lichtenstein Castle, however, is the viewpoint at the farthest part of the grounds. Located near the 4-spire small tower, this viewpoint allows you to see the main building of Lichtenstein Castle standing on the edge of the cliff, overlooking the valley.
If photography is your passion, you might find yourself wanting to spend more time at Lichtenstein Castle, especially in the afternoon.
As the day progresses towards the golden hour before sunset, the castle takes on a breathtaking beauty. The warm glow of the setting sun enhances the castle’s features, making it a truly stunning sight to capture.
Join a Guided Tour Inside Lichtenstein Castle
Did you know? The Lichtenstein Castle that stands today was constructed on the remnants of a historic German medieval knight’s castle.
Interestingly, the design and interiors of the current castle were inspired by Wilhelm Hauff’s novel, “Lichtenstein”, which is also the source of the name of the castle. Today, you can see it showcasing Gothic-revival architecture, with elements of Romanticism evident in its style and furnishings.
When you visit, you’ll have the opportunity to join a guided tour of the castle, which typically lasts around 30 minutes. However, it’s important to note that photography is not permitted during the tour.
In summary, the tour includes visits to the first and second floors of the castle.
On the first floor, you’ll find an armory, a chapel, and a drinking room, all adorned with paintings and murals from the 15th and 16th centuries. The second floor houses rooms decorated with coats of arms and medieval furniture, a Knights Hall, and the renowned “Archer of Lichtenstein” painting located in the staircase.
There are seven parts of Lichtenstein Castle that are particularly noteworthy: The Royal Chamber, The Heraldic Room, The Corner-Room, The Knights’ Room, the Armory, the Taproom, and the Chapel. Each of these areas offers a unique glimpse into the castle’s rich history and architectural beauty.
- The Castle’s Armory houses a fascinating collection of medieval weapons, including a harquebus, guns, pistols, a sword from 1540, helmets, gunpowder horns, a bronze rifle from the 19th century, and armors that are over 400 years old. The room also features the summit of the Lichtenstein Rock, a white rock that adds to the room’s unique charm.
- The Taproom, used to celebrate the return from hunting, features a wooden clock and a large champagne glass gifted by Princess Theodolinde from Lauchtenberg to her husband, Duke Wilhelm. The room is adorned with hunting scenes, and a secret passage leads to the dungeons, providing a thrilling glimpse into the castle’s past.
- The Chapel is perhaps the most beautiful part of the castle, with stunning 14th-century stained-glass windows and paintings by Michael Wohlgemuth, Albrecht Dürer’s teacher. It also houses a beautiful Pietà and a painting depicting the death of the Virgin, surrounded by the twelve apostles. The gilded medallions adorning the vault add to the chapel’s grandeur.
- The Royal Chamber, where King Friedrich used to rest, houses sixteen portraits, including those of the donor, Count Ulrich, and Duke Ludwig. The room also features a mirror with a hole, a reminder of the damage caused by a bombshell during the Second World War.
- The Heraldic Room is adorned with shields painted near the ceiling and four malachite objects gifted by Tsar Alexander II. The room also displays paintings by the famous painter Zeitblom, adding to its artistic appeal.
- The Corner-Room houses mortuary masks of Napoleon I, Duke Wilhelm, and poets Goethe, Schiller, and Uhland, as well as a precious sewing machine. These artifacts provide a fascinating glimpse into the lives of these historical figures.
- The Knights’ Room, formerly a dining room, features two portraits of Duke Wilhelm and a carefully crafted marble table that appears to be covered with a glass sheet due to its meticulous polishing.
Dine and Drink in The Lichtenstein Castle’s Restaurant
Lichtenstein Castle isn’t just a historical marvel, it’s also a place where you can enjoy a delicious meal. The castle houses its own restaurant, ready to cater to hungry explorers.
Here, you can indulge in Swabian and home-style dishes. The restaurant takes pride in its food, ensuring each dish is prepared with a focus on quality and freshness. So, after a tour of the castle, you can look forward to a satisfying meal before you set off to your next destination in Germany.
You can experience the ambiance of the Lichtenstein Castle’s Tavern Restaurant with this interactive 360 view. It provides a comprehensive look at the restaurant’s layout and decor. Enjoy the virtual tour! Check the opening hours or learn more about the restaurant from its official website.
Have an Adventure Near Lichtenstein Castle
If you’re up for an adventure, you also have an opportunity to do so when you visit Lichtenstein Castle.
The castle has a nearby adventure park called Abenteuer Park. It’s a thrilling destination that offers a variety of fun and challenging experiences for all ages. With 11 unique courses, the park caters to both beginners and experienced climbers.
The courses, each with its own theme, are designed to test your strength, endurance, and coordination. For beginners and children, the Castle Tavern and Pagenweg courses are perfect starting points. As you gain confidence and skill, you can take on more challenging courses like the Tower and Accolade.
For those seeking a real thrill, the Hussar Ride offers a sensational view over the entire park, while Muenchhausen’s Flight and the Labyrinth will get your pulse racing with heights rarely reached in normal life. The Castle Ghost course takes you up to 18 meters high, and the Torture Chamber challenges you to jump over an 8-meter gap!
You should register for a planned visit on weekdays (except during school holidays in Baden-Württemberg) one day in advance. Otherwise, you may find the doors closed. You can also check the website for the weather situation before your visit. The phone is only reachable during the opening hours.
More visiting information and weather-related announcements are published on the official website of the park.
Things to Do Near Lichtenstein Castle
When planning a visit to Lichtenstein, it’s important to note that it’s a bit removed from Germany’s top attractions. Without careful planning and research, you might find yourself with a lot of idle time after visiting Lichtenstein Castle, or spending hours traveling to another destination.
But don’t let that worry you. I’ve got you covered. The good news is, you don’t have to travel far to reach another unique destination. Just a short drive or a single bus ride from the town where Lichtenstein Castle is located, and you’ll find yourself at another tourist attraction or discovering a hidden gem off the beaten path! Indeed, your adventure doesn’t stop at Lichtenstein Castle.
If you’re a fan of panoramic views and unique architecture, the Schönbergturm in Pfullingen is a destination you’ll appreciate. This observation tower, perched on the Swabian Alb in Baden-Württemberg, is a recognized landmark of Pfullingen.
Nestled in Pfullingen, the Schönbergturm is a distinctive observation tower that reaches a height of 26.4 meters. Constructed in 1905, it has since become a notable landmark of Pfullingen. The tower’s unique design features two towers connected by a bridge at the top, serving as an ascent and descent path.
Originally, the roofs over the viewing platform and the entrance area were made of wooden shingles. However, in November 1949, these were replaced with copper roofs, adding to the tower’s distinct appearance.
Today, the Schönbergturm continues to function as an observation tower. Its unique double-tower construction has earned it a local nickname, the “Pfullinger Unterhose” or “Underpants”, making it a point of interest for travelers.
On days when the weather is clear, the tower offers an added bonus. From its heights, you can catch sight of the Lichtenstein castle, adding to the worthiness of your visit.
In addition to the panoramic views, the tower offers various activities. Visitors can spend their time sightseeing, flying kites, barbecuing, or even embarking on a hiking trail.
Before planning a visit, it’s advisable to check the local weather and any potential closures. As it’s an outdoor activity, dressing appropriately for the weather is recommended.
You can visit the tower any day of the week. For the latest updates and additional details, it’s best to visit Pfullingen’s official website.
There is beauty both above and below the ground around Lichtenstein Castle. If you’ve rented a car to visit Lichtenstein Castle, you might want to add Nebelhöhle to your itinerary.
This cave is just a few minutes’ drive from Lichtenstein Castle and is a hidden gem in Sonnenbühl, Germany. It’s a karst cave that stretches over 814 meters, with 380 meters open for exploration.
As you wander through the cave, you’ll be captivated by the unique formations. The eerie beauty of the black grime underneath a thin layer of calcite is particularly striking.
For more information, please check the tourism website of Baden-Württemberg.
If you’re a history buff or a nature lover, then Ruine Achalm in Reutlingen is a place you’d definitely want to visit. It’s a historical hill with the ruins of an 11th-century castle — imagine walking through the remnants of a structure that has stood the test of time.
The site is also home to a look-out tower that dates back to 1838. Climbing up this tower is an adventure in itself. And once you reach the top, you’re rewarded with a breathtaking panoramic view of the surrounding towns from Reutlingen to Pfullingen to Eningen.
Before you pack your bags, though, there are a few things you might want to consider. First, the weather. You’d want to visit when the skies are clear to fully enjoy the view. Second, be ready for a bit of a climb to reach the top of the look-out tower. So, if you have any mobility issues, this might be a challenge.
For more information, please check its official webpage here.
Driving is the most convenient way to reach Ruine Achalm. You might consider stopping at Restaurant Achalm, where you can park your car and grab a bite to eat before starting your adventure.
The hike to Ruine Achalm begins right from this restaurant. So, after you’ve enjoyed your meal, you can set off on your journey to explore the historical site.
How to Visit Lichtenstein Castle
Important: If you’re planning to visit Lichtenstein Castle, ensure you’re clear on its location before purchasing plane and train tickets. It’s not in the country “Liechtenstein,” between Switzerland and Austria, nor in the town named Lichtenstein in Saxony, Germany.
For the most up-to-date information about visiting Lichtenstein Castle, check out the castle’s official website. It’s your go-to source for everything you need to know about planning your visit. From opening hours to ticket prices, it’s all there. The website also provides details about guided tours.
Cities near Lichtenstein Castle
You can easily explore Lichtenstein Castle and its nearby attractions in a day trip from several German cities. Let’s break down the travel times to Lichtenstein from each city, considering both car and train travel.
|From||By Car||By Public Transportation|
|Stuttgart||43m||1h 20m (1 transfer: train + bus)|
|Frankfurt||2h 19m||2h 44m (2 transfers: 2 trains + 1 bus)|
|Wurzburg||1h 56m||3h 42m (2 transfers: 2 trains + 1 bus)|
|Nuremberg||2h 32m||3h 57m (2 transfers: 2 trains + 1 bus)|
|Munich||2h 8m||3h 24m (2 transfers: 2 trains + 1 bus)|
Keep in mind, these travel times are just estimates. Actual travel times may vary. Factors such as traffic conditions or changes in public transportation schedules can affect these estimates. So, it’s always a good idea to check for real-time updates before you set off on your journey.
If Lichtenstein Castle is on your itinerary, starting your journey from Stuttgart would be a good idea. The castle is less than an hour’s drive away if you’re traveling by private car. If you prefer public transportation, it’s still quite accessible. You can reach Lichtenstein Castle from Stuttgart in approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes.
See the best hotel deals in Stuttgart here.
While you’re in Stuttgart, don’t miss out on exploring the city’s top attractions. Whether it’s before your trip to Lichtenstein Castle or after, taking the time to discover Stuttgart will definitely enhance your visit. From car museums to parks and historical sites, there’s plenty to see and do in Stuttgart.
If you’re planning an extended trip in Southern Germany, there are several cities that you shouldn’t miss.
Munich, with its blend of modern city life and traditional Bavarian culture, is a must-visit. Nuremberg, known for its medieval architecture and rich history, is another city that should be on your list. Wurzburg, Bamberg, and Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber are also worth visiting. Each of these cities offers its own unique medieval charm and a wealth of experiences to explore.
How to go to Lichtenstein Castle in Germany
There are two main ways to reach Lichtenstein Castle: by public transportation or by car. Many tourists opt for the convenience of driving. It’s efficient and gives you the flexibility to travel at your own pace.
By Public Transportation
If you’re traveling from other cities in Germany, your journey to Lichtenstein Castle begins with a trip to Stuttgart. This city is the closest to Lichtenstein and is well-connected to Germany’s fast train lines.
Once you arrive in Stuttgart, head to Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof. From there, you can catch a train to Reutlingen Hauptbahnhof. Trains to Reutlingen depart at least three times every hour.
Upon reaching Reutlingen Hauptbahnhof, you’ll need to transfer to Reutlingen Busbanhof. Look for a bus heading to Honau in Lichtenstein. The bus codes you need to keep an eye out for are:
The bus ride to Honau takes about 30 minutes. Once you get off at the Honau bus stop, your hike to Lichtenstein Castle begins.
The hike takes about 40 minutes. There are three hiking trails to choose from, but the quickest route to the castle is via Gallusstraße. While the path is mostly flat, be prepared for a 248 m upward elevation change along the way.
- Hauptbahnhof means Central Station in English.
- Busbahnhof means Bus Station in English.
Bahn.com is your one-stop-shop for all your travel needs in Germany. Whether you’re looking for train rides or tickets and passes for other modes of transportation, you’ll find it all on this site. Make sure to check out their offers page. It’s a great place to find bundles and discounts that can help you save on your travel expenses.
And here’s a tip: always opt for a round-trip ticket. It’s not just convenient, but it could also be more economical.
If you want to skip the commute and save some time, consider renting a car. You can check out the options available on booking.com, including the locations and rates.
Once you’ve got your car, you’ll find parking conveniently located near Lichtenstein Castle. There are parking spaces to the south and west of the castle, near the Schloßschenke Lichtenstein restaurant and Altes Forsthaus.
Best time to visit Lichtenstein Castle
When it comes to weather, the ideal time to visit Lichtenstein Castle is from June to mid-September. This is when Germany experiences its warmest temperatures. But do bear in mind that June also tends to be the rainiest month.
If you’re looking to capture the best sights of Lichtenstein Castle, consider planning your visit during the autumn season. This is when the surroundings burst into a riot of fall colors. The vibrant foliage adds a whole new dimension to the castle’s beauty, making your visit even more unforgettable and awe-inspiring.
Where To Go After Lichtenstein Castle
Like Lichtenstein Castle, both these places offer a blend of enchanting scenery and rich cultural experiences. They’re perfect for immersing yourself in the magic and beauty of Germany.
If you’re a fan of breathtaking landscapes, then Neuschwanstein Castle should be high on your list. Its stunning scenery is truly a sight to behold.
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