The top of an ancient volcano at the edge of the Schwäbishe Alp is the site of the Hohenzollern Castle (Burg Hohenzollern). The present castle was built in the 1850s, and is the third castle on this location. Like its larger and better known sister, Neuschwanstein, it is a fairyland castle built more for looks than for any real defensive purpose.
The castle is open year-round and guided tours are given every 15-30 minutes. The tour lasts about 35 minutes and covers most of the main floor of the castle and the armory, which contains a lot of interesting memorabilia. The tours are normally given only in German, but ask at the ticket window. We’ve had guests that have been able to tag along with a privately arranged English tour, or have ended up in a small group with a tour guide that was willing to do the tour in two languages. You can also buy a short guidebook in English. Tip: Read the book before you go on the tour. There is too much to see inside the castle to try to read and sightsee at the same time.
The castle is unique in that it houses both a Catholic and a Protestant chapel, one on either side of the castle. They are not part of the tour, but can be visited on your own. On both sides of the castle, there are stairs going down and to the sides of the castle. They lead to a lawn that circles the castle on top of the battlements. There are many fine views overlooking the plains below from here.
There is sit-down restaurant in the castle and an outside café on the castle grounds.
You should plan on spending at least three hours to drive, take the castle tour and wander around a bit. More information can be found at the castle website.
|Mid Mar-Sep||Daily 9:00am-5:30pm|
|Nov-mid Mar||Daily 10:00am-4:30pm|
The restaurant is open daily in the summer and fall. It is closed on Mondays in November, December and March, on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in January, and on Mondays and Tuesdays in February.
|Castle grounds only||€2.50|
|Adult shuttle bus (ow/rt)||€1.80/2.80|
|Child shuttle bus (ow/rt)||€0.75/1.30|
Take the A81 south in the direction towards Singen.
Take the second exit, labeled Empfingen. Turn left at the bottom of the exit ramp in the direction to Balingen.
In about 20km, you will pass under a larger road. Turn on to this road (the B27) in the direction to Hechingen or Tübingen.
Another 10km or so will bring you to Hechingen. Take the Hechingen exit and follow the signs to Burg Hohenzollern.
There are several parking lots as you go up the hill. Unless it is particularly crowded that day, you’ll probably be able to park in the uppermost lot. There are bathrooms and snack and souvenir shops at this lot.
If you feel like a 30 minute walk up a fairly steep trail, follow the trail signs to the castle. For those in search of an easier way up or down, there is a bus that picks up and drops off next to the parking lot. You pay the driver when you board.