How to see 7 Famous Fairy Tale Castles in Germany in Three Days (Part 1)

I don’t really have any memories of the fairy tale castles in Saxony. I only remembered the photos I so meticulously, almost religiously, glued into my photo albums years ago. I have always loved taking photos and telling the stories connected to them. But this time I no longer had to try and retract stories from the back of my mind. I got to actually relive them. Over fifteen years later (gosh, writing that makes me feel old). I went to see the seven famous fairy tale castles in Germany and they were all pretty much in one spot: Saxony. And here’s how you can see them as well within just three days!

How to see 7 Famous Fairy Tale Castles in Germany in three days (part 1)

Gold, Feathers and a Cinderella Shoe

I am sure you all know about the fabled fairy castle on which Disney modelled his princely Cinderella abode. Well, you won’t find that here. What you will get instead is a whole area covered in lavish castles that are generously decked in gold and pastel, overlooking exotic botanical gardens and a quaint river (unless it floods, then it’s not quaint at all). And to see them all and experience their glory, I teamed up with Saxony Tourism for this sponsored trip and started right with my hotel: it was an actual castle.

Despite all of my many travels, so far I had never sat in a breakfast parlour overlooking a neo gothic terrace and private wine slopes of a city that dated back to 1206 (at least it was mentioned for the first time in that year) from a room in which a duke had lived. Life felt pretty spectacular at Eckberg Castle and I was all ready and set to go out and explore. The first thing on the agenda was to see Moritzburg Castle. It is a place close to the hearts of Germans as its image flickers over every TV screen come Christmas time. It features in the Czech-German co-production of a Cinderella retelling. And it’s great every time.

The weather was perfect for a museum visit (i.e. it was raining) and so I joined the queue for a guided tour. As would become the theme of my tour, the castle had been built by the gloriously eccentric, master playboy and decadence inclined August II the Strong. He was insanely rich and liked to show it. So he built a castle (which, as always, he designed / he could do everything, duh) in the middle of a lake, a smaller guest mansion on yet another lake, where he liked to re-enact sea battles and even built a light house for that matter.

Famous Fairy Tale Castles in Germany - Schloss Pillnitz, Saxon Switzerland, Königstein Fortress

Not for those with Allergies

There were rooms with the linings and beddings made out entirely of feathers, high walls were covered in antlers, some of which were disfigured ones, which August had a particular liking to so that he even shot at stags just so the antlers would crook crooked. He was a crazy man. And walking through the rooms and hearing the stories, it all seemed so unreal. He was a rich elector of Saxony but since he had enough cash to spare and ambitions to match, he basically bought himself the crown of Poland after he had travelled throughout Europe to teach himself architecture. To pass the time between king duties, he had a harem of eleven official mistresses and dozens of unofficial lovers by his side and planted castles all over the place.

Now here’s a little essential terminology for visits to Germany. We have different words for castle. If you see the word ‘Festung’, is a fortress and commonly refers to a medieval fortification and defence edifice, whereas a ‘Burg’ also served for housing. A ‘Schloss’ describes a palace created for amusement and showing off. A ‘Schlösschen’ is a smaller castle and usually just a temporary getaway for maybe hunting parties or party parties. Sometimes you can a place that for instance has ‘Burg’ in its name but is actually a castle and so you get Schloss Moritzburg. It actually used to be a ‘Burg’ but over time was constantly rebuilt until it finally became a baroque inhabitable monument to the hunting sport.

How did you like this little part of fairy tale castles in Saxony? There are many more, so check out part two!

I would like to thank Saxony Tourism for organising and funding this trip through Saxony. As always, my opinion is entirely my own.

35 Comments

  1. You gotta love the decadent playboys! :-) Haha…Their vision is always eclectic. I would have loved this. I enjoy visiting castles and palaces. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Kemkem, yeah, those crazy playboys. You wonder where they have their heads but their ideas might be crazy but also cool! I hope you get to visit more castles in the future. There are heaps over here in Germany.

  2. Well, August sounds like quite the guy! Very macho. I love how he built a lighthouse just to re-enact his sea battles! I love visiting castles. Saxony sounds so mythical. The pastels on the exterior are so pretty and really create a fairytale scene. :)

    • Hi Jackie, August sure was quite the guy. I can totally see him as macho. He even had is favourite mistress exiled because she wanted to talk poitics with him. She spent 50 years in one tiny castle (well, tiny as far as castles go).
      Saxony really is very picturesque. I hope you can visit someday. :)

  3. Oh, this is great! I have only seen a tiny part of Germany, but not the pretty parts… definitely no castles. I had heard that it was such a beautiful country and all about the castles, so this is nice to find so I can plan my next trip there!

    • Hi Tracie, which part have you seen? My wild guess is Frankfurt if you say you haven’t seen the pretty parts. I am not a big fan of the city.^^
      I hope you can come over here and see lots of castles. We have them everywhere. In fact there is a castle when I look out of my window. It’s pretty cool.

  4. Your blog always reminds me how much there is to explore in my own country :) Love the pictures too – you look like Alice in Wonderland exploring the castle of the Queen of Hearts!

    • Hi Annika, I am glad it does! You are from Germany as well? It’s true, we have so much to see and I feel a little bit like a travel ambassador since I “fled” to the other and of the world to get far away from Germany. There are so many travellers who don’t know much apart from the biggest 5 cities and so I try to encourage more people to see all the beauty we have in our backyard. Germany really is quuite diverse. And I LOVE your comparison. I did feel like in wonderland. It qas just so strange to see what this one person had created in his life time. He was a crazy visionary.

  5. The only castle I’ve seen in Germany is Neuschwanstein (I think I spelled that right??!!) – sounds like you could dedicate a whole bucketlist just to German castles though!!!

    • Hi Meg, yes, you spelled that absolutely right. It is the go-to castles for most first-timers to Germany, for understandable reasons. But like you said, there could be bucketlists full of German castles alone. :)

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    • Hey, Natasha. The gold was everywhere. He sure had a lot of money to spare. Maybe you can DIY gold paint your doors as well? A little touch of glam^^

      And I hope you are able to visit Germany soon. We have a lot to offer.

  7. I’ve never done a castle tour of Germany, but it looks awesome. I had no idea about the castle terminology distinguishing the different type of castles. Leave it to the Germans to be so organized!

    • So you’ve been to Schloss Neuschwanstein? I must admit I was a tad disappointed as the interior was just so little compared to the exterior but that was understandable as the funds ran out and it was never completed (plus, the King mysteriously died). Have you seen any other castles in Germany?

    • Thanks, Emily. The castle sure was impressive and I get that you’d think of Disneyland. He was just as visionary and all about entertainment. I hope to see you soon in Germany! :)

  8. Europe is truly speckled with such amazing castles — and Germany is surely one country that’s not short of it! This makes me miss Germany so much. Great post Annemarie!

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