Two Christmas’s ago my in-laws were coming to visit us in Amsterdam for Christmas. Having already been to Amsterdam, we wanted to venture somewhere very Christmasy. Where to go? Germany… they know how to do Christmas. But where in Germany? A castle for Christmas sounded idyllic. After much research we landed on Christmas in Bavaria and Franconia, the southeastern part of Germany (north of Munich).
I found this fairy-tale castle from the 13th century, Schloss Hohenstein, in the dense forests a few kilometers away from Coburg (north of Nuremberg). The restored castle is surrounded by a romantic park with its own chapel, a 15 room/suite hotel, 2 restaurants serving traditional Franconian food and six historical function rooms. Castle Schloss Hohenstein was first mentioned officially in the year 1306. Back then it was owned by the countess Jutta of Henneberg. In the year 1456 the Lords of Lichtenstein were given the Hohenstein castle as fief, where they resided until 1763 when Philipp Ernst Baron of Imhof acquired the Hohenstein castle. He and his descendants gave it the present appearance and also created a castle park. Between 1989 and 1996 it was restored completely and turned into a castle hotel with restaurants.
We spent a glorious four-night Christmas holiday here in the Lichtenstein Suite and Baronesse Suite with daily buffet breakfast, 3 course dinner on 23 December and Christmas Eve, 4-course candle light dinner on 1st Christmas Day and Christmas Brunch on 2nd Christmas Day for only €433 per person. We had a few days of leisure in the castle, explored the castle grounds and ventured into Coburg.
Coburg, population just over 41,700, is guarded by Veste Coburg, one of Germany’s best-preserved medieval fortresses. Its triple ring of fortified walls guard beautiful grounds, a wonderful art collection, and an original Napoleonic copper cannon. In 1530 Protestant reformer Martin Luther, under imperial ban, sought refuge here for 6 months.
Coburg also has royal lineage… in 1857, Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha married his first cousin Queen Victoria thereby founding the present British Royal Family (who quietly adopted the name Windsor during WWII). Â Albert spent his childhood in Schloss Ehrenburg which had Germany’s first flushing toilet.Â Today a statue of Prince Albert stands in Coburg’s main square, site of their Town Hall and a lovely Christmas market (Coburger Weihnachtsmarkt) during Advent.