It’s no wonder Walt Disney styled his Fantasyland Castle on Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle. Bavarian King Ludwig II was fascinated by all things Wagner, and back in 1867 he commissioned the building of the impressive Neuschwanstein Schloss (Castle), not far from the Hohenschwangau Schloss where he grew up in picturesque Bavaria. The castle was to be a place of retreat for Ludwig II where he could immerse himself in a dream world – the Middle Ages, a period which fascinated him.
The first stone of Neuschwanstein was laid in 1869, but the castle was still not completed when Ludwig died in 1886. Seven weeks after his death, Neuschwanstein was opened to the public. The shy king had built the castle in order to withdraw from public life – now vast numbers of people come every year to view his private refuge so if you are planning a visit, beware the crowds! The castle was finally completed in 1891.
A tour through Neuschwanstein gives you a wonderful insight into the opulence and grandeur of royal life in the late 1800’s. Ludwig spared no expense in the building of his magnificent retreat, and its location high on a hill with views to the beautiful surrounding lakes, is stunning.
A trip to the Castle is a great day out, and there are a number of interesting walks in the area which are popular. Allow enough time to walk beyond the Castle to Marienbrucke, a bridge over a deep gorge that offers stunning views of Neuschwanstein.
Need to know about visiting Neuschwanstein Castle
Access to Neuschwanstein Castle is only possible with a guided tour. The tour lasts around 30 minutes and tours are available in languages other than German. Tickets must be purchased from the ticket office at the base of the Castle and a specific tour time will be allocated for your visit. Tickets can be booked in advance for an additional cost by visiting www.ticket-center-hohenschwangau.de.
After purchasing tickets, visitors then need to ascend the winding road to the Castle entrance - allow 40 minutes if you decide to walk. Horse and carriage rides and a bus service are also available for an additional cost. Entry to Neuschwanstein Castle cost €12 per adult and children under 18 accompanied by an adult are free of charge (June 2014 prices).
To reach the Marienbrucke, walk beyond the Castle entrance (it is well signposted) for approximately another 15 to 20 minutes. The walking track provides great views overlooking not only Hohenschwangau Castle but also the beautiful Alpsee, Forggensee and the countryside below. On reaching Marienbrucke, you'll have the best views of Neuschwanstein. (Unfortunately I visited on a very gloomy day - the views were amazing but the photos not so bright!).
Getting to Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle is just a few kilometres from Fussen in the Allgäu region of Bavaria. It is within easy driving distance from both Munich and Innsbruck. Car parking costs €5. For visitors without a car, a public bus service operates from Fussen.
Have you visited the fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein? Please tell me about your visit in the comments below.