Hohenzollern Castle in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, is one of the country’s most visited castles. Located about 50 kilometers south of Stuttgart, Germany, it is the ancestral seat of the Hohenzollern family, and was originally built in the early 11th century. Perched on a hill, its impressive setting and lavishly decorated rooms attract more than 300,000 visitors per year.
The castle is first mentioned in 1061, when it know as the “Crown of all Castles in Swabia” and “the most fortified House in Germany.” At the end of the 12th century Count Frederick III of Zollern, the family that owned the castle, got married and became Burggrave of Nuremberg. Due to the distance between Burg Hohenzollern and Nuremberg, the Counts sons later divided the properties; the family became split into the Swabian line and Franconian line, which later became the Brandenburg-Prussian line that became the Prussian Kings and later the German Emperors.
When the family split into two branches, the castle remained the property of the Swabian branch. In 1423, the Castle was destroyed for the first time after a 10-month siege, but it was quickly rebuilt bigger and stronger. It changed hands several times over the next centuries and by the early 1800s, was in ruins. At that point, Crown Prince Frederick William of Prussia decided to have the castle reconstructed. It was rebuilt, even grander than its original two incarnations, and furnished with the finest art and decor. Today, the only part of the original castle that still stands is the chapel.
Today the castle is privately owned, with it split unequally between the two branches of the family. The Brandenburg-Prussian line owns two-thirds, while one-third is owned by the Swabian line. It’s a popular tourist attraction, with daily tours offered, though it is also still used for special events by Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia and his wife, Sophie Johanna Maria, Princess of Prussia, who still have their own apartment at the castle. Since 1954 the castle has also been used as the site of a summer camp for needy children from Berlin.
In the winter, the castle is open from 10am to 4:30; summer hours are 10am to 5:30pm. On most days, guides tours are required to visit the interior rooms, but on certain days during the Castle Stroll, you can explore them on your own. The admission price varies depending on what you want to see. Touring the castle complex without interior rooms costs € 5.00 for adults. To visit the castle complex and the castle rooms, it’s € 10.00 for adults.
Parking is 2 euros per car; you can walk the steep road to the castle from the parking lot, or you can take a shuttle bus for € 1.85 on the way up or € 3,00 round trip.