Germany is also home to the most magical castle on the planet
Neuschwanstein, nestled in the Bavarian Alps, is the most famous German castle. But compared to other castles in the country, Neuschwanstein is neither old, nor was it ever built for defense. Ludwig II of Bavaria constructed this fairy tale castle in 1869, with the help of a stage designer, for pure pleasure; he built it as a fantastic summer retreat. Ludwig, who was allegedly mad, never enjoyed his dream castle – before Neuschwanstein was completely finished, he drowned in a lake nearby.
Neuschwanstein – Interesting Historic Facts:
Ludwig II admired Richard Wagner, and Neuschwanstein is a homage to the German composer. Many scenes of Wagner’s operas are depicted in the interior of the castle. In fact, Neuschwanstein shares the same name as the castle in Wagner’s opera Lohengrin.
Despite the castle’s medieval appearance, Ludwig built in modern technologies of the day, such as flush toilets, running hot and cold water, and heating.
Until today, the exact circumstances of Ludwig’s death remain unexplained; some say he committed suicide, others believe he was murdered.
Neuschwanstein was the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland.
Neuschwanstein – Address:
Address: Alpseestrasse 12, 87645 Hohenschwangau, 73 miles southwest of Munich
Phone: 08362 – 930 830
Neuschwanstein – Getting There:
From Füssen, drive the B17 into the direction of Schwangau, and then continue to Hohenschwangau.
Take the train to Füssen, then hop on the bus Nr. RVA/OVG 78 into the direction of Schwangau; get off at the stop Hohenschwangau/ Alpseestraße.
Neuschwanstein – Opening Hours:
April-September: 09:00a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
October-March: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Neuschwanstein – Tours:
You can only visit the lavish interior of the castle as part of a guided tour; a tour lasts approximately 30 minutes. English tours are available; tours for wheelchairs are available every Wednesday.
Good to Know:
- You can take a horse-drawn carriage up the hill to the castle (€5)
- No photographing or filming is allowed inside the castle. For best panoramic pictures, take the walk up to Mary’s bridge, which crosses a spectacular waterfall and gives you a breathtaking view of Neuschwanstein and the plains beyond Neuschwanstein is very crowded in summer (6,000 visitors a day);
- The best time to visit is spring or fall Combine Neuschwanstein with a visit of the Castle Hohenschwangau, where Ludwig spent most of his life;
- It’s lesser known, but no less spectacular Neuschwanstein is the highlight of the scenic drive Romantic Road.
Hohenschwangau castle was mentioned the first time in records of the 12th century.
Until the 16th century its owners were the knights of Schwangau. During the following time it changed hands a couple of times and was partially destroyed during different wars.
In 1832 the later King Maximilian, father of King Ludwig II, acquired the ruin and had the castle rebuilt according to original plans. After its completion it used to be the summer and hunting residence of the Bavarian royal family. In his whole life, the famous Bavarian King Ludwig II spent a few weeks each summer in Hohenschwangau. Since 1928 the Wilttelsbacher Ausgleichsfonds owns Hohenschwangau castle.
Hohenschwangau – Getting There:
Horse carriage to Hohenschwangau Castle Start in front of the Ticket-Center. Terminal directly at Hohenschwangau castle.
Uphill: € 4,00
Downhill: € 2,00
- You pay the travel cost directly at the horse-carriage.
- The horse carriages to Hohenschwangau castle can not be reserved.
- The horse-carriages run independently of your entrance-time at the castle and don’t guarantee to be in time at your desired tour. Transport is also possible without a ticket for the castle.
- The horse-carriage to Hohenschwangau castle doesn’t run during the winter months.
You can also reach the Hohenschwangau castle by foot. Just follow the signs.
Approximate walking time from the Ticket-Center to Hohenschwangau castle: 20 minutes.
Hohenschwangau – Interesting Facts:
The grounds outside Hohenschwangau Castle are chock full of interesting fountains, rose gardens, and fabulous views.
Inside, you’ll see where Crown Prince Maximilian lived and worked. Ludwig spent his childhood here. A visit to the interior is recommended, since the castle was used until quite recently, and includes lots of artifacts, artwork, and gifts, as well as a very interesting reading chair. There was once even an elevator added.
Swans, of course, are celebrated here.There’s a huge one atop Hohenschwangau Castle.
Hohenschwangau – Opening Hours:
from October 16th 2013 – March 31st 2014
every day, from 9:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.
between April 1st 2014 and October 15th 2014
every day, from 8:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
Good to Know:
- Visits are only possible within a guided tour.
- Tours are available in German and English or with an portable Audio Guide.
- For Audio Guide tours you will receive the »Audio Guide« in the Castle and you will be assisted by your tour guide. These tours are available in Czech, Dutsch, French, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
- Pets are not allowed in the Castle.
- No smoking and no cameras in the Castle.
- Visits are only possible with a guided tour.
- Duration of tours approx. 35 minutes.
- During the tour, you will have to go upstairs 90 steps to the second floor.
Falkenstein: Another castle, this one is a ruin, a short distance from Füssen, near Pfronten. There is a great hotel and restaurant nearby, but driving there is a bit tricky.