We set off in Rocky the Mini to see mountaintop castles, gorgeous autumn colors, and to have the unique experience of sleeping in a barrel on our first camping trip in Germany. There are several castles near our home base of Stuttgart that we’ve been wanting to visit, and with only a small chance of rain in the forecast, we were off on our road trip.
Just an hour south of Stuttgart, we saw the stunning sight of the first castle, Hohenzollern Castle, from the highway. I know Neuschwanstein Castle gets a lot of attention for being the “Disney castle,” but the lesser-known Hohenzollern is at least equally impressive. It may have a more dark and moody look, but that’s how we like our castles!
Tickets to visit Hohenzollern Castle are €25 / adult, which includes a bus ride up and back down the mountain (otherwise a 30 minute hike one-way). We would normally hike, thinking we might see interesting vantage points to photograph the castle along the way, but in the interest of time we took the bus.
The castle is very well preserved, and the self-guided tour of chapels, the banquet room, and the royal living quarters was fantastic.
Another castle near Stuttgart is beautiful Lichtenstein Castle, picturesquely sitting right on the edge of a cliff. You don’t see the cliff drop-off viewpoint until you pay €4 / adult to tour the courtyard area, but this felt like a bargain after the ticket price at Hohenzollern.
There are more gorgeous views here, both of the castle itself and the surrounding valley. We’re not sure if we saw a black cat, or just his spirit haunting the castle for Halloween.
More Castles Near Stuttgart
Viewing both of these castles filled our day, so we’re saving two more nearby castles for another time. Sigmaringen Castle is about a 90 minute drive south of Stuttgart, and the ruins of Burgruine Hohenurach are 45 minutes south. We saw Burgruine Hohenurach up on its hilltop, but realized we wouldn’t have time for the hike up the mountain to see it before dark. We will save these for another day.
We have seen campsites with Camping Barrels for rent, and we looked forward to trying this alternative to sleeping in our small 2-person tent. This counts as glamping (glamorous camping), and indeed the barrel is adorable. With 2 bench seats plus a loft sleeping area, it could accommodate a family of 4.
The barrel is thoughtfully designed, with room for storage, front porch seating, and indoor lights. This may not be a good option in the warmer months, it seems like it could be hot and stuffy. But it felt perfectly cozy for our stay at the end of October.
We ate dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant, part of the campground complex. Their specialty is wood-fired pizzas, and they offer friendly and welcoming service to both campers and the community.
Truly, Stuttgart is a perfect home base for taking day trips to tour castles, hiking, waterfalls, and picnicking in a gorgeous setting in nature. Throwing in the glamping experience is a great adventure: sleeping in nature, but on a comfortable bed.
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