Lichtenstein Castle: 7 Secrets You Should Know

Lichtenstein Castle in Germany

Chances are that unless you live in Germany, you haven’t heard of Lichtenstein Castle (or Schloss Lichtenstein in German).

It’s not nearly as famous as Heidelberg Castle or the Residenz in Munich.  It also doesn’t have a claim to fame like Burghausen Castle, the longest in all of Europe.  But don’t mistake its relative obscurity for uninteresting.  Here are seven secrets  I found out about about this elusive castle during a recent visit:

#1. Lichtenstein Castle Has a Nickname - It’s a source of pride among locals in the southwest state of Baden-Württemberg,  so much so that it has acquired not one, but two nicknames.  The first is “Neuschwanstein’s Little Brother,” after Neuschwanstein Castle, the most famous castle in all of Germany, even though I think Linderhof Palace, another King Ludwig II castle, is nicer.  The second is the “Fairytale Castle in Baden-Württemberg,” again indirectly referencing Neuschwanstein Castle.  No word on what the proud residents of the nearby Hohenzollern Castle,  or Ludwigsburg Palace  have to say about that.
 Drawbridge overlooking Honau, a nearby village in the Swabian Alps#2.  It Isn’t Overrun with International Tourists – Despite being a source of local pride, it isn’t on the radar of most international tourists.  As a result the 30 minute tour is only available in German.  Travel tip:   English speaking guests can request a handout translating what is being said translated into English.  It may be possible to arrange a tour in English or French, but it is only for groups and arrangements must be made ahead of time.  Despite it not being a stop for most international tourists, it is popular with German tourists eager to see Neuschanstein’s Little Brother. I personally loved Lichtenstein Castle and even J.P. my German husband who’s not much of a castle guy said it was “cute.”

View walking up to the castle

View walking up to the castle

#3.  It’s Relatively Young – It’s still an infant in castle years having being built between 1840-1842.  However the grounds have a much older history.  The original castle was built in 1200, but destroyed twice until it finally fell into ruins.

View from the castle overlooking Honau

View from castle overlooking Honau

#4.  It’s  a Small Castle - Lichtenstein Castle is the smallest castle I’ve been in to date in Germany, but that doesn’t  make it any less impressive.  Plus it offers vast views of the Echaz Valley and Swabian Alps.  And when you consider that it was only built as a hunting castle, it does start to seem rather large.  I’ve never thought of a castle as “cozy” but that’s the feeling I had as I toured inside –  well except for all the antique rather uncomfortable looking furniture.

Cannons used to defend the castle

Despite being a “cute” castle, there are a lot of historic weapons and armor on display.

#5.  It’s Based on the Novel “Lichtenstein” - How many castles were inspired by a book?  I don’t know, but  this was one of them.  It was inspired by the 1826 novel “Lichtenstein” by Wilhelm Hauff.  I haven’t read the book yet, but it’s on my reading list.  I’m curious to find out how a book inspired this Neo-Gothic structure.
#6.  Its Name is Self Explanatory – No real secret here if you speak German.  Lichtenstein is German for “light colored stone” on which the castle is build on,.  Clearly German practicality has been around for at least a couple of centuries.
The castle is perched on a cliff overlooking Honau in the Swabian Alps#7.  Lichtenstein Castle is Definitely Worth a Day Trip from Stuttgart - It’s only an hour drive south of Stuttgart and is a scenic drive with rolling hills and small villages through the Swabian Alps.  If you like castles, this one is worth a visit.  You can also turn it into a day trip by visiting Germany’s only Easter Egg Museum in nearby Sonnenbühl and Bear Cave and Fog Cave two interesting Show Caves.

For driving directions from Stuttgart see:  View Larger Map
For more info see the official Schloss Lichtenstein homepage.

 

Comments

  1. Laurel says

    @Sheril – Looking at this, I wonder if anyone fell off the cliff when they were building it. As for why, I think it was to show their wealth and power and this castle is actually a small one by castle standards.

  2. says

    Such a cute castle! I’ve never heard of it before, but when I make it to Germany again I’d love to take a day trip there. (It seems like it is precariously perched on that cliff and could topple over at any time!)

  3. Laurel says

    @Michael – I actually felt like I was going to fall out of the castle, just looking out the windows :). It’s definitely off the beaten path, but if you combine it with one of the other nearby attractions, worth a visit. It’s one of my favorite castles that I’ve visited in Germany, in large part because of the setting.

  4. Sabrina says

    That last picture is amazing!! Honestly, how did I miss so many things when I was living in the area? Yes, I was miserable studying the whole freaking time, but I so should have had time to see this!

  5. says

    I really need some long weekends. You mention so many neat places that are such a pain to get to from Freiburg without a car. :(

  6. says

    Lovely tips and ever since 1989, I have always wanted to visit Lichtenstein but never got around to it. Actually, I just caught an episode of the Amazing Race where they had to cycle and measure the length of the country which was a mere 22km long. Fascinating!

  7. says

    My god the germans really know how to crank out the castles don’t they?

    I would love to see this one as the hordes of tourists have always put me off making the four hour drive down from where my gf lives in Germany to see Neuschwanstein.

  8. says

    You’re really lucky to be placed so centrally in Europe. For us living in the periphery, Lichtenstein is a bit out of the way, but I enjoyed your presentation and esp. the interpretation of the name. Never thought of that before;)

  9. says

    Oh boy another castle I must add to my list! I have never heard of this castle but will definitely visit. It really did remind me of Neuschwanstein! Lovely castle perched up on that crag. Great pics.

  10. says

    That is a very cute castle. It really surprises me that you don’t hear more about this castle and that so few tourists go there. It is very beautiful!

  11. says

    This one I have actually been to a couple of years ago… picked some castles at random while I had a free weekend on a business trip… definately worth a look

  12. says

    It does look like you might fall out of the castle! I have to agree with your fiance, it is “cute”. Let us know how the book is… a book inspiring a castle….hmmm

  13. Laurel says

    @Sabrina – Maybe it has to do with being local? I do far more sightseeing in Germany than I did while living in Canada, so I know the feeling :)

    @Andrew – This is another one of those places that is a lot easier to get to with a car (but I have a couple of train friendly destinations coming up soon)

    @Ben – Agreed.

    @Grace – LOL, it’s all relative isn’t it?

    @Gina – The surrounding area is really nice as well and the nearby caves are also worth a stop. I think it would be a great place for a bike ride and we saw tons of bike paths in the area as well.

    @David – The castle in Germany ALMOST has the same name as the country you’re referring to: Liechtenstein, , except that it’s spellt without an “i” after the “L” Lichtenstein. How confusing is that? I saw that episode of the Amazing Race as well and will definitely have to get to Liechtenstein.

    @Robin – ~ 25,000 of them to be exact. It’s insane. I hear you about the hordes of tourists. I visited Neuschwanstein in October (not tourist season as it was after Oktoberfest) and it was still really busy.

    @Mette – I love living so central, but yes unless you happen to be in the Stuttgart area, Schloss Lictenstein really isn’t close to anything else, unfortunately.

    @Debbie – So many castles, so little time. I really enjoyed this one though, but it is a bit out of the way.

    @GoingKraut – I think it’s because it’s not close to anything. If it was more centrally located, I’m sure it would be popular, as it really is a beautiful little castle.

    @Nancie – Me too, I can’t get enough of castles either.

    @Zhu – Agreed, the castle is awfully close to the edge of the cliff, which adds to its beauty.

    @Keith – Glad to hear you enjoyed it. I love picking castles as random, sometimes you get really lucky and find some great ones. If you have any other recommendations, please pass them on.

    @Jillian – Agreed “cute” is a perfect word to describe this castle. Will let you know what I find out about the book, and hoping I can actually find it in English.

  14. Chris says

    Another cool place to check out–thanks for clearing up that it’s NOT located in the really small country with (almost) the same name. Otherwise I would have spent a lot of time looking for it!

  15. John K says

    Great Photos

    I have model of the Lichtenstein Castle section shown in photo#7. It is wonderful to see a photo in it’s natural setting.

  16. says

    I really need to visit here and soon!! It looks so enchanting and I love the fact that it was inspired by a book. Although a small castle, I think it’s the perfect size for my new abode. ; ) Gorgeous pics too my friend.

  17. says

    I love castles and this is a very beautiful one. Although I do not live so far away, I haven’t visited yet. Definitely on my list now.
    Love the photos.

  18. says

    I have to agree with J.P., this is a beautiful castle. I like that it’s not overrun, it’s quaint, small compared to the others and its location makes it unusual. Would be great to see it, Laurel. Thanks for the tour!

  19. Rodney Hendricks says

    While stationed in Germany in late 60’s I was stationed about 2 miles from Lichenstein castle went several times but I think the view from driving up the side of the mountain is the best of all

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