Neuschwanstein Castle Germany
Read hear about King Ludwig II, the monarch who designed Schloss Neuschwanstein.
The setting could not be more idyllic: built on a top of a rugged rock with a splendid view over the picturesque Allgäu, the deep-blue Forggensee, as well as a terrific sight of the Alps. Neuschwanstein castle in winter is even more romantic, when the white snow contrasts with the dark forest.
King Ludwig II was known for his extravagant taste and his effort to retreat to a fantasy world of his dreams. During his lifetime, he built many royal palaces, amongst them Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee.
But his ultimate dream was always Neuschwanstein. It was intended to be his refuge from public life. Here the King wanted to be alone and retract from the world and the people he so much disliked. Unfortunately he didn't live long enough to see it finished.
While the outer look of the palace was meant to show the authentic style of an old German knight's burg, the interior depicts scenes from Ludwig's favorite Richard Wagner operas such as Tannhäuser, Tristan and Isolde, Lohengrin and the Parzifal saga.
Neuschwanstein is the fantasy of an eccentric King
If you visit it, you'll be taken into a real-world fairy tale. Unfortunately due to its high popularity, the castle has lost a bit of its charm, but I guarantee you will still be overwhelmed by the sight.
Usually you will arrive via Füssen to Hohenschwangau, the little village where you buy the tickets for the Neuschwanstein tour (it can only be visited with a guided tour). Don't forget to do so before going up, otherwise you won't be able to get on the tour!!
The village consists of just a few houses, most of them catering to tourists, and nothing worth visiting, except for the castle Hohenschwangau (picture below).
Crown Prince Maximilian II of Bavaria and Queen Marie, Ludwig's parents, lived there during his childhood.
Especially impressive is the "Hall of Heroes and Knights" with a stucco ceiling on pink background.
If you're interested in royal palaces, I highly recommend visiting Hohenschwangau as well. There is a combination ticket for both. You can reserve your tickets here.
Before buying your ticket to the castles, check first, if a seasonal pass or a 14-day-ticket is a good deal for you. Both of them are valid in over 40 state-owned attractions in Bavaria including Oberschleissheim, Nymphenburg, and several more places in Munich. The price for a 14-day-pass is only twice as much as the single entry to Neuschwanstein.
Ok, back to the Fairy-Tale palace: most people walk up one of the paths, which needs between 25 to 40 minutes and will take you through a splendid landscape with breathtaking views to the castles and the surrounding mountains. I think, the walk is a great prepartion to bring you into the right mood to appreciate Neuschwanstein, especially in winter.
In case you can't or don't want to walk, you have the choice to either take a bus or - very romantic- a horse-drawn carriage.
Whichever option you chose, make sure to be in time for your Neuschwanstein tour, because if you miss the tour number on your ticket, you won't be let inside with a later one!
Another "must-do" is to walk up another 10 to 15 minutes to the Marienbrücke, from where you have the probably best view to Neuschwanstein. It should be called the photo-bridge, because millions of private pictures plus many of the famous postcard and poster motives are taken from here and you will surely recognize the spot once you're there :-)
Enjoy your walk down and if time permits, relax at lake Alpsee before visiting Hohenschwangau palace and returning to Füssen.
An even better option is to stay at least one night in Hohenschwangau. This will allow you to do some of the hikes through the mountains. From Neuschwanstein castle you can go on several marked walks ranging from 30 minutes to 5 hours through one of the most spectacular landscapes in Germany.
Whereas you can walk up to the castle in your summer sandals, hiking boots or sneakers are a must for the longer hikes. Of course you can also do the hikes around Neuschwanstein castle in winter, but allow more time and take good hiking boots with you. But you knew that anyways, didn't you?
Restaurants in Hohenschwangau unfortunately have become very touristy and in my opinion don't offer good value anymore. If you don't stay here for the night, it's best to wait until you're back in Schwangau or Füssen, much bigger towns, that are a lot less touristic and eat there.
More information about Neuschwanstein and all other state-owned Bavarian castles here: Bayerische Schloesserverwaltung
By the way, my friend Edd Morris from London, UK has recently visited Castle Neuschwanstein. He's totally crazy about castles, ruins and palaces and I believe he has visited them all. Or maybe just the more important ones :-)
What's more, he's also very interested in history and geography, which makes a nice complement, when you love castles. He can describe Neuschwanstein even better than I can, even though I have visited it more often... and that's what he does. After his experience here and making some of the mistakes you should avoid when visiting, he sat down and wrote a book!
You can indulge in a room-by-room virtual tour through all of the castle and even get some historic background information on King Ludwig II, his reign, politics in Bavaria during that time and much more.
Just click on the picture to the left and you will be taken directly to Amazon.com where you can buy the book either as paperback or as a Kindle ebook for instant download.
Personally I like to organize everything myself, but then I'm here all the time and can go whenever I want. I don't have to stick to high season and make the most out of just a few days of vacation in Munich.
Therefore I recommend a guided tour for everyone on a short time budget. It makes things so much easier and faster. Especially if you want to visit more than one castle.
You can book all of the guided Neuschwanstein tours online, just click on the links below to be taken to the details page.
|Overnight Royal Castles Tour - Linderhof, Hohenschwangau, Neuschwanstein|
Overnight in castle country on this two day tour from Munch. Your first stop is the elegant Linderhof. King Ludwig's favorite castle, it was built between 1870 and 1879 and modeled on the Petit Trianon at Versailles, France.
|Four Day Munich to Frankfurt - Romantic Road, Linderhof, Hohenschwangau, Neuschwanstein|
Germany's Romantic Road offers the most picturesque and magnificent scenery on Earth. Travel along this stretch of road on this multi-day tour from Munich and marvel at the delightful spots of the Bavarian region.
|Royal Castle of Linderhof and Oberammergau Day Tour from Munich |
Visit the royal castle Linderhof built by King Ludwig II and Oberammergau, world famous for its Passion Plays and woodcarvers. This popular day tour allows you to enjoy a little bit of a sleep in with a 10:15am departure, before showing you two of Bavaria's most famous attractions.
|Royal Castles of Neuschwanstein and Linderhof Day Tour from Munich |
Hidden in the seclusion of the mountains, King Ludwig II built two of his dream castles, Linderhof and Neuschwanstein, the inspiration for Disney's Sleeping Beauty Castle. See these two extraordinary castles, both testifying to the vision and intriguing state of mind of Bavaria's fairytale King.
|Royal Castle of Herrenchiemsee and Fraueninsel Day Tour from Munich |
Board a boat to travel to the islands of Herreninsel and Fraueninsel on the Bavarian lake of Chiemsee. See King Ludwig II's last castle, The Royal Castle of Herrenchiemsee, and visit the Benedictine monastery located on one of the most beautiful spots in Bavaria. This tour is seasonal and operates from April to October only!