We all know about the childhood stories about villains and heroes, courageous knights, and beautiful princesses that we used to read before bedtime. These stories always took place in magnificent castles, surrounded by a deep forest or on a hill overlooking the kingdom.

Germany, with its rich history and abundance of well-preserved castles, is the perfect place to explore this sense of nostalgia in real-life.

Here are 12 German castles that came straight out of a fairytale.

1. Eltz Castle

The Eltz Castle is located in the hills above the Moselle River valley and is one of the few castles that has never been destroyed. It is still owned by a branch of the same family that lived there in the 12th century, 33 generations ago!

2. Kronberg Castle

Kronberg Castle is located in the town of Kronberg im Taunus in Hesse, Germany. The castle sits atop a hill overlooking the Frankfurt skyline. Kronberg Castle was first built in the 12th century as a simple fortress. Over the centuries, it was expanded and transformed into a lavish royal palace.

3. Hohenzollern Castle

Hohenzollern Castle is likely what comes to mind when thinking of a villain castle. The castle, located in southwest Germany near Stuttgart, was first built in the 11th century but has since been rebuilt multiple times.

Its most recent iteration dates back to 1867 and was built in Neo-Gothic style – which explains its villainous appearance.

4. Schwerin Castle

Situated in the city of Schwerin, in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany, Schwerin Castle is one of the most impressive palaces in Europe. The castle has a long history and has 653 rooms, making it one of the largest palaces in the world. Schwerin Castle is also known for its beautiful gardens and lakes.

5.  Anholt Castle

Anholt Castle is a water-bound fairytale castle located in the Münsterland region of North Rhine-Westphalia. The moat surrounding the castle is connected to the nearby lake, making it seem as if the castle is emerging from the water. Inside, visitors can explore the beautiful staterooms, as well as the dungeons, which are said to be haunted.

6. Wernigerode Castle

If a “happy ever after” happened, it would look like Wernigerode Castle in Germany. The castle has many unique features that make it look like something out of a storybook. It has an asymmetrical design with many different colors and patterns.

7. Hohenschwangau Castle

Hohenschwangau Castle is a 19th-century palace in southern Germany. The castle sits on a hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria. The palace was the childhood home of King Ludwig II of Bavaria and was built by his father, King Maximilian II of Bavaria.

8. Burghausen Castle

This castle is the longest in Europe, measuring 1051 meters. Burghausen is located in Bavaria on top of a hill and was once used as a royal palace. You can explore the castle’s interior and learn about its history dating back to the 11th century.

9. Lichtenstein Castle

Lichtenstein Castle is a beautiful example of a medieval castle built in the Gothic style. The castle is located in the Swabian Alps in southwestern Germany and overlooks the Echaz valley. Lichtenstein Castle was first mentioned in historical records in 1269, though it is believed to have been built earlier.

10. Wartburg Castle

Located in Eisenach, Germany, Wartburg Castle was built in the 12th century and served as a refuge for Martin Luther during the early years of the Protestant Reformation. The castle is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and a popular tourist destination.

11. Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg Castle is a ruined castle in Heidelberg, Germany. The castle is among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps and one of the country’s finest examples of German Romanticism.

12. Dornburg Castle

Dornburg Castle is a group of three castles (Rococo, Renaissance castles, and Old Castle) in the German state of Thuringia. The castles are located on a hill overlooking the town of Dornburg and the Saale river.