As I stepped off the train at Hechingen Station and saw Hohenzollern Castle in the distance, it reminded me of something out of a fairy-tale movie. Perched on top of a small isolated mountain above the Hechingen town with nothing else around it except for the forest was this beautiful, light coloured stone castle.
I remember the first time I saw a picture of it in a guide book and thought how much it reminded me of Neuschwanstein Castle (review to come). I wrote it down in my little black journal and set about figuring out how to get there and if I could do it in a weekend or day.
Once off the train, we took the shuttle to the lower car park and proceeded to walk the 5mins up the hill to the entrance. I was taken in by how quiet and beautiful the surrounding forest was, (though I was there during the off-peak season) and I even notice a few hikers walking around. Once we arrived at the entrance, I walked up another steep hill before entering the castle forecourt and gardens. As it was a clear day, the view from the top was stunning and you could see for miles across the land.
Originally built in the early 11th century the castle was completely destroyed in 1423, before a second castle was built that served as a refuge during the ‘Thirty Years War’ and was sub sequentially destroyed. The third version that stands now was built in 1867 and the only original feature that still stands is the chapel on the right hand side when you enter the castle courtyard.
This is still a residential castle so there is only a small section that is open to the public which you can visit on a guided tour. However these tours were not always given in English. As the next English speaking tour was not for another hour, we decided to take the next available tour in German and thought we would just read the information boards inside along the way to understand roughly what the guide was talking about. Unfortunately, this was not the case as the only information available in the Castle was in German only.
As we couldn’t do anything about it once inside, we just made up our own stories and bought an English (available in various languages) guide book once the tour ended from the visitors centre.
After the tour, we decided to have some food in the attached restaurant before heading on back to Stuttgart for the afternoon.
Getting there & Location:
Getting there on public transport was relevantly straight forward but coming back was a bit more of a mission. We took the train from Stuttgart to Hechingen (You can get a group pass if there are more than two) and then the shuttle bus from Hechingen Station to the castle (it’s a 10-15min ride) which cost around 3 Euros.
The first shuttle back leaves just after 4pm (not sure if it different during peak periods) so if you are planning on coming back earlier you will have to find your own way back (a bit difficult given the castle is on a mountain). You can however walk to the castle car park (The shuttle drop off point) where there is a restaurant and they will call a taxi upon request – this should cost around 8 euro’s to get back to the train station.
I would recommend taking a car if available.
It is free to walk about the castle forecourt and gardens and you only have to pay a fee to go inside the castle.
You are not permitted to take photos inside the castle
As stated before, you can only enter the castle if you are on a guided tour which is not always in English.
There is a restaurant in the castle and also an Eatery in the car park below. You would be best to take a packed lunch or head into the town for something to eat.
Would I recommend it?
Anyone who has visited Stuttgart would know there is plenty of things to do and see around the city itself like the Mercedes museum, Christmas markets just to name a few. However, if you are looking for day trip or you have a general interested in castles and history. I would recommend Hohenzollern Castle for a day trip.
For any additional information please follow the attracted link: http://www.burg-hohenzollern.com/Welcome.html