Travel Review: Schloss Sigmaringen

4 Oct

The day after we visited Hohenzollern we were traveling to Fussen which was going to be a lengthy trip compared to those we’d already taken. I wanted to break it up a bit and started researching castles that we could see more or less “on the way.” We really wanted to see Lichtenstein Castle, but it ended up being too complicated by public transport (if you have a car, look into it! It looks neat!). The next suggestion I found was Schloss Sigmaringen, which is listed on its website as a “sister castle” to Hohenzollern. A pretty good fit, I think!

We ended up getting a much less direct train route to Fussen, but it didn’t matter too much. Our first leg was Hechingen to Sigmaringen, which was about an hour. We gave ourselves four hours to get to the castle, see it, and get back to the train station, which was ample time. The castle is probably 5-10 minutes’ walk from the train station and is well-marked with signs. Once you see the castle, you have to keep going up a bit of a hill (again, marked, but it took us a while to find it!).

Once inside, the gift shop also acts as a ticket office. We purchased our tickets for the tour, which started in just a few minutes, and a booklet in English. The tours are only in German, but they have booklets of all the information in various languages so that you can follow along in each room. We decided to skim through while we waited for the tour to start.

Our tour guide did speak English, which was great. She directed us to a locked room where we could leave our luggage, and I’m sure if we’d had any questions she would have been able to answer them for us despite the rest of the tour being in German. We were a bit nervous about being able to follow along, but we were given plenty of time to read through the information in our booklets in each room while she talked.

Other reviewers have mentioned that they thought people without a booklet were getting more information, because there were times when the rest of the group would laugh at something the guide said and we were skimming through the pages wondering what was so funny. But this didn’t bother us–if the guide simply said everything that was in the packet, it would have been boring for the people listening. You have to cater to different forms of information delivery. We looked at it as, well, we’re in Germany–if we wanted to know what was funny we should have learned to speak German!

There was tons of information here, and I remember thinking the tour was quite long. We were able to see so much of the palace: bedrooms, bathrooms, sitting rooms, dining rooms, the armoury, an entire room filled with hunting trophies, the courtyard… the rooms were all beautiful and unique and contained so much well-explained history that I’d say Sigmaringen was actually among my favourites, and definitely worth the extra stop. Reading along with a tour in a different language might not be for everyone, though, so just prepare yourself for that if you’re visiting!

We weren’t allowed to take pictures in the rooms, sadly, and surprisingly I don’t actually have any pictures from the outside of the castle either. You’ll just have to trust me when I say it was pretty stunning.

After the tour, we headed back to the train station where we grabbed some food at the little shop there and sat down to read a bit. There were lots of shops in the rest of town but it didn’t look like there was too much else of interest to us, so we opted to rest up rather than wander. Worth the visit!

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