Castle Ruins in Stuttgart

Castle ruins in Stuttgart, Germany

I woke up on Sunday morning and decided I wanted to visit a castle.

Fortunately living in Germany, there’s no shortage of castles and it’s not that difficult to turn this thought into a reality.  What did surprise me though was that we found one – or what remained of one, Burgruine Hofen (Castle ruin Hofen)  6km from our apartment in the NE district of Hofen Neugereut in Stuttgart, which also happens to be the only castle ruin in Stuttgart.

Castle ruins in Stuttgart, Germany

An artist’s depiction of how Castle Hofen looked in 1120

No one knows exactly when Castle Hofen was built, but there are records referring to it as far back as 1120.  Castle Hofen was built beside the Neckar River to ward off enemy attacks on the village which was next to the castle.  On the other side of the river was another similar castle built next to another village for the same purpose.

Castle ruins in Stuttgart, Germany

The castle ruins of Hofen, the only castle ruins in Stuttgart

Unfortunately nothing remains of the castle on the other side of the river. Castle Hofen is now referred to as a castle ruin since it was largely destroyed in the 30 year war from 1618 – 1648.  Above are what remains of Castle Hofen today, the only castle ruin in Stuttgart!

Castle ruins in Stuttgart, Germany

Guards would shoot at enemies from small openings found throughout Castle Hofen

It was clear that Castle Hofen meant business.  Throughout the castle were many small openings for guards to shoot at enemies, but the small holes made it difficult for enemies to shoot back.

Castle ruins and Church in Stuttgart, Germany

Castle ruins get a new life

We may think of recycling as a new concept but it’s been around since at least 1783, when part of the castle ruins were used to build a wall around the Church of St. Barbara which stands next to the castle ruins of Hofen.

Hofen Castle ruins in Stuttgart, Germany

Living beside the castle ruins of Hofen

In many ways, life has changed little since 1120.  Castle Hofen was built right beside a village and today it’s possible to live right beside the castle ruins of Hofen.  As soon as I saw this I immediately began looking for “For Rent” signs in apartment windows, much to my German fiance’s chagrin, who didn’t see why we would leave an apartment we’re happy in, to live beside castle ruins.  Unfortunately I didn’t see any “For Rent” signs, but I haven’t given up my search yet!

Vineyard at Castle ruins in Stuttgart, Germany

Vineyards line the other side of the river bank across from the Hofen castle ruins

As if discovering that castle ruins existed so close to my home wasn’t enough, we also found there was a lovely walking path along the Neckar River.  On the other side of the Neckar River are vineyards.  Castle ruins and wine?  This was turning out to be a very good day!

Restaurant near the Castle ruins in Stuttgart, Germany

Restaurant near the castle ruins

We also discovered a German restaurant along the Neckar River overlooking Max-Eyth Lake.  The views can’t be beat and the cappuccinos were divine, but overpriced.  Fortunately there are also  picnic spots along the Neckar River so you can bring your own lunch if desired.   When I woke up I was hoping to see a castle, but as the events of the day unfolded, not only did I get a castle ruin, but one close to my house in a beautiful setting in a new part of Stuttgart that I hadn’t been too.  Do Sundays get any better than this?

What’s your idea of a perfect Sunday?


  1. says

    Sometimes, you never know what you have in your own backyard. What a find, Laurel! That small opening in the castle where the guards would have target practice….wonder if that’s where the saying “Don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes?” That’s really all the enemy could see given how narrow the opening was. I hope that a for rent sign appears in a dream apartment for you and your fiance right next to that castle wall.

  2. Laurel says

    @Renee – You’re so right, I couldn’t believe I had never heard of this castle ruin, especially when it was so close to me. Re: the small opening and the saying, you very well could be right. It looked like it would be hard to get a good shot and the opening was an awkward shape. Thanks so much for the wishes, it really would be a dream apartment :)

  3. says

    Living next to a castle ruin? That would be sooo me.In fact, the other day I walked up to the Apollo temple near where I live in Turkey (a little older and a little more spectacular than the Stuttgart ruins) looking for some old stone houses that are around there. None was for sale,so, like you, I keep hoping.

  4. Laurelas says

    @Inka – Living near a temple would be very cool as well! I like the location of the castle ruins, they’re fairly central, but since then I found out that friends just outside of Stuttgart have a view of a castle from their house, so another area I need to explore :)

  5. says

    Ahh I want to see a castle while strolling near my house! There were some castle ruins in my hometown of St. Louis, MO. They were totally fenced off and private property but kids always destroyed the fences to go in. I think it showed something that there wasn’t too much graffiti or beer bottles, we just wanted to see it.

    I’m with you- I’d want an apartment right by it!

  6. says

    I absolutely LOVE castles. It was the main reason for wanting to visit Europe ever since I was a little kid, jsut to see the castles. I can still spend hours just wandering around the ruins of a castle.

  7. says

    Just goes to show we don’t have to take off half way across the world to discover new wonders! :) Keep your eye out for those ‘for rent’ signs. You might be living next door to a castle one day…

  8. Laurel says

    @Rease – I had no idea there were castle ruins in St. Louis, very cool. Maybe it’s a North American thing as I think it would be so cool to live near a castle, or castle ruins, where my German fiance is pointing out the narrow streets, no place to park your car, etc all the practical things.

    @Marko – Thanks for stopping by, I’ve got castle ruins, you’ve got Rocky Mountains in your backyard so I guess it’s a trade off :)

    @Michael – Thanks. Stuttgart wouldn’t be on my list of places to visit if someone only had a week to visit Germany, but it does have a lot to offer and it’s a great place to live.

    @Yvonne – I’ve asked a few locals about this and quite a few haven’t heard about it, so you’re not alone. Maybe because there are so many other spectacular castles around Stuttgart that this smaller ruin gets missed.

    @Andrea – There is something to be said for lazy Sundays as well! I like to have a nice lazy morning, then go exploring – the best of both worlds.

    @Julia – Especially in Europe, it’s shocking what’s in your own backyard. Now that I have the dream of living next to a castle, I don’t think I will get that out of my head.

  9. Eastgale says

    “We also discovered a German restaurant along the Neckar River overlooking Max-Eyth Lake.”

    Oh my, I remember the lake-side restaurants in Munich and at Chiemsee, the one here in the picture looks so similar to the ones I have visited, and I love them! It is really relaxing to be dining/having snacks near a lake, always make me feel life is so beautiful.

    Lovely place, I think I’d like to live there, too!

  10. Laurel says

    @Eastgale – I agree, you can’t help but feel relaxed when you’re relaxing near a lake. We plan to become regulars :)

  11. Sabrina says

    Beautiful! I used to live in the area for quite a while and regret that I never really got to know it… There are quite a few things to see!

  12. Laurel says

    @Sabrina – We explore almost every weekend, and my list of things to explore is still much longer than the list of what we’ve explored already – one reason I really enjoy living in Germany :)

    @Cathy – I’m fascinated by castles as well, even small ruins like this one. I definitely think we’ll be back to check it out again and stop in at the restaurant for Sunday brunch.

  13. Laurel says

    @Lisa – Ohh and there are so many amazing castles around Berlin too! Definitely no shortage of castles in Germany.

  14. says

    Let me finish that sentence…
    I’m glad you included the drawing of what the castle once looked like. How wonderful to stroll your neighborhood streets and dream of all the court intrigue that once played out there!

  15. Harry says

    Hi Laurel ,

    thanks for the blog !I was so proud as i read it , because i grew up in Stuttgart Hofen and still live here ! Cool that you like it !The Burgruine Hofen is really an Insider Tip , not much people know about it .
    Had friends from Colorado here last week ,and of course i took them to the Burgruine.They also have been impressed ! Thanx for the description,now they can get information about it in English .;)
    BTW , we had dinner at the Haus am See on the evening they arrived.



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