Burghausen: see the world’s longest castle

Nestled in southeast Bavaria on the Austrian border, Burghausen is an ideal destination for a long weekend. A small, walkable town, Burghausen features the longest castle in the world and plenty of local Bavarian hospitality. It is also a fantastic spot from which to explore some of the most beautiful places in Germany and Austria.

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Panorama of Burghausen old town and castle on Salzach river, Austrian border, Germany. Burghausen Castle is the longest castle in the world.

A kilometer of castle

Germany is rightly famous for its castles. But the one in Burghausen is a must-see – both up close and from a distance. Why? For starters, the castle is more than a kilometer long (1,051 meters, to be exact), which makes for a fantastic photo opportunity when looking up at it from the beautiful medieval old town.

It’s also packed with history. The area in which the castle stands has been inhabited for thousands of years. The castle itself has been around for a millennium. Incredibly, it has escaped total destruction throughout its history, though it has been repaired and modernized on many occasions.

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Burghausen, Germany – View of the inner courtyard of the main castle of Burghausen castle.

Visiting the castle is a very memorable experience (and one that is filled with plenty of worthy photo ops, too). Visitors can explore the castle walls, race across drawbridges, duck into cool old halls and cells, and wander through on-site museums and gift shops. As a bonus, the views from the castle are outstanding. Austria lies just on the other side of the Salzach River.

Four-season fun

Burghausen is a joy to visit during any season of the year. The old town is beautiful. It offers narrow cobblestone streets, Bavarian architecture, shops, restaurants, old churches, and a healthy dose of Bavarian food and drink (biergartens!).

Burghausen also feels a little bit like a secret destination. Five hundred years ago, the town (and area) was doing really, really well, thanks in large part to the economic benefits it reaped from a thriving salt trade. Like most “good” things in medieval Europe, however, the town’s medieval prosperity came to an end because of war and a noble takeover of the salt trade. The town’s status was greatly diminished, but much beauty remained – like the castle, which is gold for today’s tourists.

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Burghausen, Germany – historic buildings at the famous old town of Burghausen, Bavaria on June 9, 2023.

In the summer, the town is excellent for swimmers. Lake Wöhrsee is incredible. Located just beneath the ridge that holds the castle, it is a perfect spot for picnickers, swimmers, and people who love to take naps beneath shade trees. You can walk there from the old town. And when you glance up, you remember: the world’s longest castle is just above you.

In the winter, Burghausen is just a short drive from a number of prime skiing destinations in Austria (and even Italy, just a couple of hours over the Alps). Autumn and spring are gorgeous times to visit, as well.

Side trip central

Would you like to visit Munich, Salzburg, and Berchtesgaden? Well, Burghausen is located an hour from all three places. In one long weekend, you can soak up all the goodness the town has to offer and some of the region’s most famous destinations.

Additionally, the Alps are so very close to Burghausen. If you’re itching to see the Austrian Alps, especially, on the eastern side of Salzburg (and you should, because they’re amazing), Burghausen will get you there quickly.

Getting There

By car, Burghausen is 5 hours from Kaiserslautern, 3 hours from Stuttgart, and 5 hours from Wiesbaden. Check with Deutsche Bahn for train information.

Categories: Attractions, Bavaria Area, Bavaria Area, Bavaria Area, Castles, Kid Friendly, Road Trips, Travel