The next morning in Stuttgart (after a brilliant evening in Esslingen), I woke up with an extra spring in my step!
As you might already know, I’m a huge sucker for castles. There’s just something so grand about them that I absolutely love and today, we would be visiting one of the most iconic castles, not just in Germany but across all of Europe!
Said castle was Hohenzollern Castle – one of the very (VERY) few castles in the world still owned by the original family.
It is such an iconic spot, beckoning you for miles before you can even set foot in it.
We quickly parked up the car and caught the bus that takes you up from the castle car park up to the actual entrance to the castle.
(*You can walk but it’s a bit of a faff and quite frankly, I’d rather spend that extra time exploring the castle than walking up a driveway).
Don’t worry if you love a good walk, you still get to as the entrance then leads up up an almost spiral road to the actual castle itself.
Luckily the path is paved with lots of beautiful distractions that before you even realise it, you’re right up at the castle.
Just as we arrived at the castle, it started to snow and it just made everything so much more magical. It literally felt like something out of a fairytale and was just such a magnificent backdrop to getting into the castle itself.
Eventually, we made our way into the castle, which looked as impressive inside as it did outside.
The castle is actually not inhabited by the owners, The Prince of Prussia and The Prince of Hohenzollern, (there’s some ancient reason why this castle is owned by two Princes – with each one owning ¾ and ¼ respectively) so it’s not heated (it’d make no sense to).
Wandering through its hallways and many magnificent rooms, you start to learn so much about the ancient Royal Family that once called it home, their relationship to the British Royal family and even about how frugal they all were.
The next hour or so was just spent taking in every single detail possible in this amazing castle…
…before eventually heading outside to check out other parts of it.
If you get a chance to, be sure to pop downstairs to the museum where you can see the royal regalia and even a tobacco box/tin that once saved the King’s life by stopping a bullet from hitting him.
Oh, and you can see some spectacular Meissen porcelain here too (case in point that Eagle – which is actually worth more than the Royal crown above).
We then carried on through, deep into rather almost-secret tunnels in the castle (or at least they felt that way)…
…before popping up back outside for another amazing view of the castle.
By this point, the snow had started coming in a lot more, making not just the castle look magical but also the surrounding countryside.
The cold soon got us and with that, we retired back indoors, stopping briefly at the chapel, before making our way to the restaurant for some bone-warming goulash and tummy-filling steaks.
We finished things off with a strudel before bidding the castle farewell and heading back towards Stuttgart.
Back in Stuttgart, still, on a high from finally getting to visit Hohenzollern castle, we made our way over to find what had officially been voted the best gin in the world – Ginstr!
Ginstr is something of a brilliant startup success story, built by two friends with a love of gin, Ginstr is a brilliant example of passion turned into a fantastic product (which in turn, turns into financial success, of course, and many many accolades).
But there’s no point just talking about gin, it’s there for the drinking and so we proceeded to do just that, with a sampling of gin and tonics and gimlets – all of which went down quite a treat.
And with that, we decided it was finally time to try our hands at something we had somehow not managed to properly do since we arrived in Stuttgart!