The Castle Route: travel back in time by bicycle or car
The Castle Route tells tales of war-torn times, mighty battles and cultural heydays. It runs for 1,200 km from Mannheim to Prague and passes around 90 castles and palaces. Some of Bavaria’s most impressive fortresses can be found between Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Bayreuth. Travel along the Castle Route in comfort in your own car or motorhome. Or sail along on your bicycle – the Castle Route cycle trail runs parallel to the road.
You may choose to start your voyage of discovery at the Kaiserburg in Nuremberg, whose existence was first documented in 1050. This imposing palace complex was first erected by the Staufer dynasty, and has been a hallmark of the city ever since. From the Sinwell tower, the highest point of the castle, you can enjoy a fabulous view across the old town district of Nuremberg. In the excellent permanent exhibition you can learn about the eventful and often war-torn history of the castle through valuable loaned items and displays.
Simulate the medieval experience
West of Nuremberg you will find Cadolzburg Castle in a town of the same name. It is one of Bavaria’s mightiest castle complexes. Between the 13th and the 18th century the complex underwent many structural changes. The Burgraves of Nuremberg, from the House of Hohenzollen, lived here from 1260. An Experience Museum opened here as recently as 2017, allowing children and adults to experience medieval simulations on four floors. Touch-and-feel stations and a comprehensive educational programme encourage visitors to get involved.
Castle Route: art, culture and war
Further north lies Coburg with one of the largest castle complexes in Germany: the Veste Coburg sits majestically on a dolomite rock and towers 167 m over the city. The “Franconian Crown” is of particular interest to art aficionados as it houses the art collections of the Coburg dukes, comprising important paintings, sculptures, copperplate engravings, glassware, coins and weapons. The fortress is exceptionally well preserved. Martin Luther spent a productive six months here, during which time he published 16 texts and translated several books of the Old Testament.
Follow the Castle Route on to Kronach – and be sure to stop at the Festung Rosenberg. This extensive complex was never captured despite numerous attempts. As a result, the castle has been preserved almost in its entirety. Take a guided tour through the underground passages of the castle – you may even meet the ghost of the “White Lady”!
Masterpiece of the Renaissance: Plassenburg Castle, Kulmbach
As grand as a palace but as impregnable as a fortress, Plassenburg Castle towers over the town of Kulmbach. It owes its current appearance to the Renaissance. Wander across its beautiful courtyard, one of the most significant creations of the German Renaissance, or enjoy one of the regular cultural events held here. Four museums invite you to find out more about the history of the castle, the town and the region.