During its formative years, the very existence of the town was dependent on its castle, Schloss Weikersheim, Marktplatz 11 (tel. 07934/992950; www.schloss-weikersheim.de). It was begun in 1586 after Count Wolfgang II reestablished Weikersheim as his family's main residence, ordering that the old moated castle be replaced with a new Renaissance palace. Work finished a century later in a severely dignified style that had nothing to do with the baroque style then popular in other parts of Germany.

You can visit the castle's interior daily April to October 9am to 6pm and November to March 10am to noon and 1 to 5pm; admission is 5.50€ adults and 2.80€ for students, seniors, and children. A family ticket is 14€. Its architectural and decorative highlight is the Rittersaal (Knight's Hall), which was completed in 1603 and shows the transition between the baroque and the earlier Renaissance style. This is the most sumptuous banqueting hall ever built in Germany. Note the bas-reliefs of game animals lining the walls. The entrance doorway is carved with a scene of a battle against the Turks. The castle contains one of the most remarkable collections of antique furnishings of any castle in Germany, a treasure-trove stretching out for 2 centuries beginning in 1550. Also, allow some time to wander through the well-preserved baroque Schlossgarten (castle gardens).

To one side of the castle is the Marktplatz, a semicircular market square that opens onto sweeping vistas. It was laid out in the early 18th century.


Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.