23 Nov 22 | Datos útiles

Castles and Palaces near Cologne
Cologne, Germany

No trip to Cologne is complete without at least one visit to one of the nearly 20,000 castles that Germany is renowned for having. Although there isn't one in the city itself, the region is home to a number of fascinating castles. Discover our seven top picks:

1. Drachenfels
A short train ride south of Cologne will take you to the picturesque town of Königswinter. In this town, you will find Drachenfels (which translates as "dragon cliff") and Drachenburg Castle. Stephan von Sarter built this magnificent castle in the late 19th century and it is an example of renovated Gothic architecture. Drachenburg underwent extensive renovations in the late 1990s after it became the property of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, so it is in excellent condition.

You can walk up the hill to the castle on foot (it takes about 30 minutes), but an easier way up is the funicular train. If you buy a one-way ticket and walk down, you get the best of both worlds. The observation deck at the top of the train offers spectacular views of the Rhine Valley and is a great place to relax and have a drink or a bite to eat. There are also the ruins of an ancient fortress at the top of the hill.

Location: Konigswinter (40 km from Cologne city center)

Opening hours: Open daily from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm

Website: https://www.schloss-drachenburg.de/index.php/en/
2. Brühl Castle (Augustusburg)
Augustusburg Palace in Brühl is one of the most famous sights in the Cologne area, making it a very popular excursion. Known as "the Versailles of Germany," it was once the palace of Elector-Bishop Clemens August of Bavaria. Today, it is one of the best preserved examples of German Rococo architecture, which is why it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The palace's interior can only be visited on a guided tour, available every day in German or English. Inside, visitors can see incredibly ornate royal apartments along with furniture from the same period. Visitors especially like the grand staircase hall, decorated with colorful marble.

Outside the palace are some of the finest French gardens in Germany. They are gorgeous in spring, when the roses bloom and in autumn when all the colors change. If that's not enough, you can stroll through the woods to reach another Baroque gem: the Falkenlust hunting lodge. This is where Clemens August's majestic balls were held. He also used the pavilion to indulge in his most prized pastime: hunting with falcons. Hunting scenes are depicted on hundreds of beautifully presented ceramic tiles.

Location: Brühl (18 km from Cologne city center)

Hours: Tuesday to Friday 9:00 to 16:00, Saturday and Sunday 10:00 to 17:00

Website: https://www.schlossbruehl.de/
3. Dyck Palace
Located north of Cologne, Schloss Dyck is a beautiful walled castle dating back to the 11th century. A visit to this castle offers a classical experience with its historical display and beautiful design. Thanks to the fantastic gardens surrounding the park, Schloss Dyck is a perfect place for horticulturists. Furthermore, the moat surrounding the castle makes this place incredibly instagrammable.

You can let the hours pass by lounging on the lawn while sampling some delicious local produce. There is also a cafe restaurant right next to the entrance to the main courtyard of the castle. To really enjoy the site we advice you to book a night at the hotel. You will sleep like royalty in one of the nine elegant historic rooms with breakfast and a private tour of the castle included.

Location: Jüchen (50 km from Cologne city center)

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Website: https://schlosspaffendorf.de/

4. Benrath Palace
Another marvel of rococo design, Benrath Palace is located between Cologne and Düsseldorf. There is a train stop within walking distance of the palace, making it very easy to access. Benrath Palace is much smaller than other palaces on this list, but it makes up for it with its beauty. Also, the German gardens behind the palace are very popular with locals.

After purchasing an entrance ticket, you can wander through Benrath's luxurious rooms independently. All rooms in the pale pink palace are impressive and you are allowed to take photos inside. The careful restoration efforts are visible in every detail and the large chandeliers or chandeliers. You will see colorful wallpapered rooms and an impressive marble entrance.

Location: Benrath (30 km from Cologne city center)

Hours: Monday to Tuesday 11am-5pm, closed Wednesday and Thursday, Friday 2-5pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am-6pm

Website: http://www.schloss-benrath.de/
5. Paffendorf Castle
Paffendorf Castle is one of the many castles and mansions in the Erft lowlands west of Cologne. It was built in the 16th century and consists of a two-story mansion with several wings and a parade ground. After its initial construction, the castle fell into a state of disrepair. It was rebuilt in the mid-19th century, which explains the castle's current neo-Gothic appearance.

Perhaps the most impressive feature of Schloss Paffendorf is the 7.5-hectare park that surrounds it. The extensive canals and numerous large trees, such as redwoods and cedars, make this park a dream for nature lovers. The castle is surrounded by a moat in which water lilies always bloom and you can also see the fish swimming among them.

Location: Bergheim (45 km from Cologne center)

Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm

Website: https://schlosspaffendorf.de/
6. Ehrenbreitstein Fortress
For one of the best views in the entire Rhineland, set aside a couple of hours for the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress. This castle-fortress, which rises hundreds of meters above the historic town of Koblenz, overlooks the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers. The Deutsches Eck (or "German Corner") is very famous in western Germany, because it is the point where the two most important rivers merge into one.

To access the fortress, you have to take the cable car across the Rhine River. Don't forget to keep your camera ready during the ride. Ehrenbreitstein was a strategic military outpost that played an important role in several conflicts throughout German history. It is located on a rocky plateau that offers sweeping views of the surrounding countryside and the Deutsches Eck. The fort itself has been converted into a museum covering a wide range of military and regional history. Extra interesting fact: next to the fortress is a huge miniature golf park, the most fun and unmissable recommendation for amateurs and also for those playing for the first time.

Location: Koblenz (100 km from Cologne city center)

Hours: Open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Website: http://www.diefestungehrenbreitstein.de/
7. Stolzenfels Castle
Stolzenfels Castle, dating from the 13th century, is located a few kilometers south of Koblenz. It is very easy to combine a visit to this castle with the aforementioned fortress. It is a perfect short excursion from Cologne, combinable with Koblenz. Stolzenfels was largely destroyed during the Thirty Years' War, but was restored in the 19th century by the Prussian crown prince, Frederick William. It has a marked neo-Gothic style and sits on a small hill overlooking the Rhine River. You can visit this castle on a guided tour (offered only in German), but there are audio guides in other languages. The tour lasts about an hour and takes you through several rooms of the castle. It is lined with medieval paintings, weapons, armor and furnishings, as well as a unique mix of 19th century pieces from when it was rebuilt.

Alternatively, you can visit Koblenz and from the river travel on a two-hour boat ride with castle viewing while drinking a beer or eating a currywurst. There are several companies that offer these experiences at pocket-friendly prices.

Location: Koblenz (115 km from the center of Cologne)

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Website: https://tor-zum-welterbe.de/de/schloss-stolzenfels/