This short walk takes in fairytale-like Lichtenstein Castle, the ruins of Alte Lichtenstein and several viewpoints of the surrounding valleys.
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Location, Food & Drink
This walk starts from the main car park by Lichtenstein Castle. It costs €2 per car for an unlimited time period. There’s a ‘Castle Tavern’, the Schloßschenke, at the entrance to the car park. It sells drinks, snacks, cake and simple main meals such as sausages and chips. There are toilets behind the tavern.
Two hundred metres further along the road is the Altes Forsthaus, a more formal place for a sit-down lunch or dinner, though you can also just have a coffee and cake here.
Tips for Lichtenstein Castle Walk
- Lichtenstein Castle is open 9am – 5:40pm in April-October and 10am – 4pm in March, November and December. It’s closed Jan-Feb.
- Tickets are €4/3/2 per adult/reductions/child to get into the castle courtyard. If you also want a guided tour inside the old castle, it’s €12/10/6, though these tours are in German with an English-language handout.
- If you have an AlbCard you can enter the castle and go on a tour for free. You can get an AlbCard by staying at specific hotels in the region.
- In Autumn the colours of the trees are particularly beautiful
- If you like castles, visit Hohenzollern Burg, a huge romantic castle 40 minutes drive away.
- Also nearby are the delightful towns of Rottenburg am Neckar and Tübingen.
- Find other great hikes on our Germany Hiking Page.
From the car park, head out across the road. Turn left along the paved trail towards the castle, or schloss as it is called in German. The first section of the castle you see is the more modern part, built around the turn of the 20th century, where the owners sometimes still reside today.
Around the corner to the left is the little drawbridge across the moat to the ticket office. Tickets are €4/3/2 per adult/reductions/child to get into the castle courtyard, where you will find the most impressive views of Lichtenstein Castle.
Lichtenstein Castle Courtyard
Once inside, you can immediately see some views over the valley below to your left. You can also see the old part of the castle, built around 1840, with its very tall and slightly strange-looking tower. Continuing further you’ll come to the drawbridge across the ravine to the rocky outcrop on which the old section of the castle is built.
Guided Tours of Lichtenstein Castle
You can only cross here and enter the inside of the castle on a guided tour. The tickets for the courtyard and tour cost €12/10/6 per adult/reductions/child. The tours are only in German but you can get an English-language handout. No photos are allowed on the tour.
After the drawbridge, head onwards and to the viewpoint area at the far end of the castle courtyard. This location has the best views of Lichtenstein Castle as you can see the castle in its full glory together with the long, vertical drop from the rocky outcrop it’s built on down to the forested slopes below. There are also great views of the countryside.
Walk onwards past a few more outbuildings, and you’ll soon return to near the entrance. On your left you can peek into the garden and part of the castle where the owners still sometimes stay. Now leave the courtyard, and turn left to follow around the outside of the castle.
Countryside & Castle Viewpoints
Keep left to walk towards the edge of the plateau the castle’s built on. Don’t get too near the steep drop, but admire the views of the countryside. Continue further and you’ll see a ‘geological pyramid’ which contains fossils (mainly ammonites) found in the rocks nearby. The local rock is limestone, which often preserves ancient sea creatures when is forms.
Continue onwards, keeping towards the plateau edge so you don’t miss any viewpoints. There are some nice benches in places to have a rest with a view. The track then heads downwards towards the Old Ruins, or Ruine Alter Lichtenstein. Former aristocracy built a previous castle here, but now you can only see a few collapsed stone walls.
If you walk through the ruins, around the stony mound, you’ll come to a flat cleared area. From here you can see back up to the castle, in the distance through the trees. This was perhaps a more strategic place for a castle, since you can also see up the valley to your right.
Once you’ve finished admiring the views, head back the way you came. Once you reach the open field dotted with large trees, take the paved path to the left, which bends back towards the car park and the end of the Lichtenstein Castle Walk.
Guidebooks to explore more of Germany
If you want to see a huge, romantic castle nearby, check out Hohenzollern Burg. Also in the neighbourhood is the historic city of Tübingen and the cute medieval town of Rottenburg am Neckar. If you enjoy hiking, check out our other hikes in Germany.