I’ve been to many different Christmas markets over the years, but none quite as unique as this one.
It checks all the boxes – you have a German castle set high on a hill, perfectly set lighting for the holiday mood, and a Christmas market. The castle is also mostly open to roam around inside, which is a nice escape from the cold.
About the Castle
Hohenzollern is located in the Swabian Alb and is set on a mountaintop overlooking the area.
Personally, I think it rivals the famous Neuschwanstein and is much less touristy, which is always a plus. It’s roughly an hour south of Stuttgart and is well worth a visit if you’re in the area.
It’s been rebuilt three times and the one that stands today was built in the 1800’s by King Wilhelm IV. It is privately owned by the Hohenzollern and Sigmaringen family lines. For the longer family history be sure to visit their website.
Visiting the Castle
I was really excited to check out the Christmas market here and the market did not let us down. While it’s small, there were stands set up in the courtyard and the garden, as well as a few other areas inside the castle and around it.
We also had access to view a lot of the castle on our own. We were able to go underground into the cellars, visit the main hall inside, the two churches, and the treasury as well. We saw almost as much as you would see on a regular castle tour here.
It wasn’t very crowded when we went on Saturday night.
When you arrive you can park at one of the lots below the castle. Then to get to the castle, you can either walk up the side trail (it might be slick this time of year) or take the shuttle bus. When we went there was a small queue to shuttle to and from the castle.
On the way back we waited about 10 minutes in line to get down. The bus ride takes you up a windy narrow path that switchbacks all the way to the castle. It’s not intended for two lanes but somehow the buses manage to maneuver past each other. Thankfully it was short because it made me a little queasy!
Opening Hours and Reservations
The market used to only be open on a few weekends, but now it runs daily for a few weeks leading up to Christmas. Be sure to visit the website directly and the local German authority website for up-to-date information on COVID rules and opening hours.
The hours are more limited than other markets (it starts at 3:00pm and ends at 8 or 9pm).
There is also a fee to visit this market, and the funds help with the maintenance and upkeep of the castle. If you’d like a more formal dinner, you can make reservations in one of the two rooms and enjoy the winter menu. There is also the option of reserving a hut for yourself and your friends to hang out and enjoy the market without the crowds.
Be sure to purchase your ticket and make additional reservations ahead of time at their website.
The inside of the castle was beautiful and there were also stalls inside.
The outside had great views of the lights in the towns below. If you arrive before dark on a clear day, then you’ll get a 360 degree panorama of the valley below.
The castle was lit up in red when we were walking up. As you can see in the photos below, it looks a little ominous! I felt like I needed to look for Dracula as we were walking up, hah!
Thanks for stopping by!