See sites of royal splendour in Germany
Hämelschenburg Castle is delightfully set in the Weserbergland hills between Hamelin and Bad Pyrmont. It was built between 1588 and 1613 for Jürgen von Klenke and his wife Anna von Holle on the site of a feudal estate that had been destroyed several times before. The castle has all the attributes of a picture-postcard scene – an imposing triple-wing arrangement with moats, a fortified bridge providing access and two splendid octagonal towers housing the staircases. The most striking features are the 24 elaborately decorated gabled dormers that can be seen from quite a distance. Hämelschenburg Castle was built of Weser sandstone, a much sought-after material at the time. The founders of the castle lived with their 14 children in the most magnificent section – the three-storey south wing, richly decorated in the Italianate Renaissance style. It was thanks to this exceptional family's bravery that the entire castle was saved from being plundered and destroyed in the Thirty Years' War. An in-depth insight is given into the life of the nobility in the Renaissance, baroque and late 19th century periods. Many rooms are complete with furniture, paintings, porcelain, glassware and historical weaponry. The reconstructed Minnegarten is a colourful reminder of an era in which the garden was an intimate refuge for Minne or courtly love. Those in search of quiet contemplation after all this art and culture can enjoy idyllic strolls near to the castle on St. James' Way – the famous pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. Good news for walkers: this former country estate has a café and beer garden with views of the castle's magnificent south facade. Nearby attractions: discover the tale of the Pied Piper on the German Fairytale Route in Hamelin, just a few miles to the north. The Kurpark at Bad Pyrmont, a horticultural gem in the Weserbergland hills, is considered one of Europe's five most beautiful parks. Bückeburg Palace enjoys particular renown for its Golden Hall, which includes a mannerist portal of the Gods, and its grand banqueting hall.