Just outside Burnet, Texas, towering at 90 feet high, Castle Falkenstein confuses and astounds passersby with its towers, stone gates, and sweeping balconies. It’s often mistaken for a tourist attraction, but it’s really so much more. Castle Falkenstein is an event venue, a family home, an AirBnB standout, and the fulfillment of a long-dead king’s dream. 

Builders and owners Terry and Kim Young became fascinated with Bavarian castles after a trip to Neuschwanstein Castle in Southwest Germany. While there, they learned that its builder, King Ludwig II—also known as the mad King of Bavaria—had a passion for architecture. He used his family fortune to build Neuschwanstein in the 1800s, and before his death, secretly made plans to build another was making plans to build another, which he christened “Falkenstein.” 

Likely, he never imagined Castle Falkenstein, inspired by his renderings, standing on 113 acres of prime Texas Hill Country, with stone lions guarding the double doors. The Bavarian castle is the Young’s primary residence. But guests often book the halls and grounds for events. Inside the 14,000 square-foot castle, families have reunions, and brides host fairytale weddings. The entire property sleeps a cool dozen and each of the bedrooms has a unique feel, from the master bedroom with an interior heated Jacuzzi, to an all-purple room with arched doors. 

Everywhere inside Castle Falkenstein, modern and ancient treasures brush shoulders. In the kitchen, antique tools hang above a kingly marble island. Grand and decedent, the decor echoes its Bavarian origins, but with free wifi and modern plumbing. Additionally, the owners fully outfitted their game room with a pool table and darts, as well as thousands of movies. They’ve also invested in an Oculus Quest VR system. 

Guests pass time reading on the gazebo or feeding koi at the massive koi pond with a sparkling waterfall. They find respite under the watchful eyes of the angels that stand vigil in the onsite chapel. Finally, Castle Falkenstein holds a curated collection of over 100 pieces of art and artifacts. Some date back thousands of years, and the family requests guests not touch them, but to admire them.

Originally published as part of the May/June 2021 Weekend Getaways Issue. To all those who crave starlight, beaches, and summer breezes: Texas highways are calling you. From rugged stone canyons to the kind comfort of hill country, Texas destinations are ready to welcome weary travelers. If you’re feeling cooped up this year, it’s time to run free.