Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a small town in Northern Bavaria that is world famous for its well-preserved medieval old town. Rothenburg ob der Tauber is also part of the Romantic Road: an area in Southern Germany between Würzburg and Füssen with many beautiful and picturesque towns and castles that draws visitors from all over the world.
While Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a great destination in itself. The surrounding Middle Franconia area also has much to offer including historic castles. In this post, you can learn more about the beautiful castles near Rothenburg ob der Tauber that can easily be visited on a day trip from the charming medieval town.
See also: The 16 Most Beautiful Castles in Bavaria
Weikersheim Palace and Garden
Schloss Weikersheim is a Renaissance and Baroque residence in Weikersheim. The original castle was built in the 12th century as the seat of the Lords of Hohenlohe. In the 16th century, Wolfgang, Count of Hohenlohe-Weikersheim moved to the castle with his wife Magdalena of Nassau-Dillenburg, the sister of William of Orange. They turned the medieval castle into a Renaissance palace, keeping the tower (the bergfried) to show the history of the residence.
Count Carl Ludwig turned the Renaissance palace and gardens into a Baroque residence in the early 18th century. The palace can be visited through a guided tour. Visit the website for opening times.
On a mountain tongue above the Jagst Valley lies Schloss Langenburg. The castle is the residence of the noble Hohenlohe-Langenburg family. The castle was built in the 13th century and the two towers that you see today were built during this time.
The castle was enlarged and renovated twice in the upcoming centuries. In the early 17th century, the castle was transformed into a princely residence in Renaissance style. And 150 years later, the palace was given Baroque-style alterations.
The palace is still the residence of the Hohenlohe-Langenburg family but parts of the castle are open to visitors. Here, you can see how the noble families of Germany used to live with a nice collection of furniture, paintings, porcelain, and weaponry.
The royal stables house the German Car Museum. Visit the website for opening times.
The Ansbach Residence
Residenz Ansbach is a former residential palace whose origins go back to medieval times. In the second half of the 16th century, a Gothic Hall with a ribbed vault was built. This was transformed into a modern residential building in the early 18th century.
The interiors of the Ansbach Residence are magnificent and are mainly the work of architect Leopoldo Retti who worked on the palace between 1734 and 1745. The interiors are well preserved as the last Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach abdicated in the late 18th century and the building was thereafter no longer used as the seat of the ruler and it didn’t get modernized.
In the Gothic Hall, the largest collection of faience and porcelain from the former Ansbach manufactory is exhibited. But you can also see Margrave’s apartment, a ballroom with a ceiling fresco by Carlo Carlone, a picture gallery with rococo works and paintings, and the Hall of Mirrors with a collection of Meissen porcelain.
Visitor information: the residence can be visited through a guided tour. Visit the website for more information and opening times.
Set in the Frankenhöhe nature park stands Schloss Virnsberg. The castle is unique as it conists of a hilltop castle and a moated castle. The castle is first mentioned in 1235 when it belonged to the Imperial Ministers of Uffenheim. Conrad II, the Pious, donated the castle to the Teutonic Order in the late 13th century and it would be their home until 1806.
After that, the castle changed hands several times and after the Second World War it was used as a refugee camp. The castle is now open to visitors and is an event venue. Visit the website for more information.
Mergentheim Residential Palace
Schloss Mergentheim is a Renaissance and Baroque palace that was once the headquarters of the Grand and German Masters of the Teutonic Order. The palace was built from an 11th century moated castle that became the property of the Teutonic Order in 1269 and would remain with them until 1809. You can still see elements of the medieval castle complex and in 1626 the Outer Palace was constructed.
In the early 19th century, the palace became the Duke of Württemberg. And later it was used as the barracks for the Württemberg army. It now houses the Teutonic Order Museum.
Schloss Mergentheim lies on the Tauber Valley Cycle Path.
Visitor information: the palace is open to visitors. A guided tour is offered in German. Visit the website for opening times.
High above the valley of the Ette stands Schloss Bartenstein, one of the Hohenlohe residences. Bartenstein is a charming Baroque city complex with a Baroque castle. Since the 15th century, the castle has been the seat of the Hohenlohe family and from 1710 a new castle was built by the Counts of Hohenlohe-Bartenstein.
The Bartenstein Palace and the quiet town is a hiddem gem in the area near Rothenburg ab der Tauber. The palace is still owned by the Hohenlohe-Bartenstein family but guided tours can be arranged for groups. Visit the website for more information.
Schloss Morstein is a spur castle that stands on a plateau above the Jagst. The original castle was built in the 13th century but after a fire in the 16th century, it was rebuilt as a Renaissance palace.
In the 14th century, the castle became the property of the Crailsheim family of knights who still own the castle to this day.
Schloss Neuenstein is a Renaissance-style castle with a Romanesque keep in the center of Neuenstein. The castle was the seat of the noble Hohenlohe-Neuenstein family, though eventually, it fell into disrepair when the family moved to Öhringen.
Since 1878, the castle is used as a family museum of the House of Hohenlohe. In the 20th century, the castle was restored by Prince Christian Kraft zu Hohenlohe and once again became a residence of the Hohenlohe family.
Castle Hotels near Rothenburg ob der Tauber
For a true historic castle experience, it is best to actually stay in a castle. Luckily there are a couple of castle hotels near Rothenburg ob der Tauber. From here, you can experience the beautiful countryside and visit the charming towns and villages in the area.
O the Castle Road between Ansbach and Rothenburg ob der Tauber stands Burg Holmberg. The 1000 year old castle is located high above the Fanconian Colmberg and is a great starting point for hiking trips or a visit the the famous medieval town Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
High above he Jagst valley lies the 15th century castle that is now the Biohotel Schloss Kirchberg. Here, the Kocher-Jagst Cycle Path, Kocher-Jagst Trail, and the Way of St. James meet making it an ideal starting point for an active vacation or one to discover the charming villages and towns of the region.