The Neuschwanstein Castle was the main reason that drew us to Bavaria. I saw the Neuschwanstein Castle for the very first time from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a Disney movie I watched when I was young. I was instantly wooed by it although at that time I wasn’t sure if the castle was computer graphics or if it was real. As I grew older, I found out the castle was for real and Disney based their logo on this fairy-tale castle. Ever since then, the magnificent castle had always been on my bucket list and now I have finally made my way to see this splendid castle !
Getting there was easy peasy. We visited the castle from Munich as a day trip. Purchase the Bayern ticket (at any ticket machine at the train station), which would cover the transportation from Munich – Fussen and back on the same day, and also the local transportation of bus 78 from the Fussen train station to the castle ground and back. The Bayern ticket is valid from 9 am – 3 am on Monday – Friday, and the entire day on Saturday & Sunday.
There are two castles in the region, the Hohenschwangau and the Neuschwanstein. Hohenschwangau Castle was once the summer and hunting residence of the Bavarian King Maximilian II and his family – Queen Marie and his two sons (the later King Ludwig II of Bavaria and the later King Otto I of Bavaria). The Neuswchanstein Castle was built by one of the sons when he grew up, by the King Ludwig II of Bavaria. We started the visit with Hohenshwangau as it was on lower ground and we thought we would move our way up, and also knowing that the Neuschwanstein would be more stunning so we left the best to the last.
“Schwangau” in German means swan and indeed the Hohenschwangau Castle is adorned with swan-inspired furniture and murals. Swan also represents knighthood and it is the heraldic symbol of King Maximilian’s family. The castle holds many of the original furnitures and decorations and it gives you a bit of insight into the King’s life.
King Maximilian II and his wife Queen Marie had separate rooms that are connected by a passageway; hers was on the third floor and his on the second. The passageway could be locked and Marie was the one holding the key, so eh hem, you know who is the boss.
In one of the king’s room, there is a piece of bread encased in a wooden box – the “100 years old bread” that is preserved for more than 100 years because it was too salty and the king couldn’t eat it.
Hohenschwangau also inspired King Ludwig II into building the fantasy castle – the Neuschwanstein castle.
The castle may look like an ancient medieval castle, but it was really just was built in the 19th century so it is not as old as it looks. In fact, it is quite a modern one during its time with an elevator and electricity.
The castle is perched on a hill and it’s a short 15 minutes hike up to the castle. The surrounding of the castle is gorgeous – lakes, green fields, rolling mountains and a low density village just beneath the castle.
The tour was about one hour and photography was strictly prohibited inside the castle; but the gardens with lots of fountains had no restrictions. I would also recommend to bring your own lunch and you can picnic out here after you’ve finished visiting Hohenschwangau. Otherwise, you’ll have to walk back down to eat at the restaurants located at the base of the hill, and your time could be quite tight because Neuschwanstein Castel is next, and you can’t miss the time slot that you have bought.
After visiting Hohenschwangau Castle, we took the bus up the hill. There was still some time before our allocated time slot, so we walked to Marie’s Bridge first to see Neuschwanstein Castle from afar. Mary’s Bridge itself is located superbly, being serenaded by trees, gorges and it is the perfect spot to see the castle.
When I saw the castle, it took my breath away because the castle that I had seen from a movie when I was young was finally right in front of my years ! It was a dream come true ! It was raining that day, making the castle seem so mysterious veiled by a layer of mist, but still gorgeous nonetheless !
When King Ludgwig II of Bavaria buillt the Neuschwanstein Castle, .he was inspired by sawn motifs in Hohenschwangau that he stayed at when he was young. He identified with the elegant creature, and he was also referred to as the Swan King.
The castle was constructed based on drawings of Christian Jank – a painter and a stage designer, which is truly amazing because castle designing really isn’t exactly the thing that would appear on the job description of a stage designer. Realized by architect Eduard Reidel, the castle boasts of magnificent rooms painted with ornate murals on the walls and ceilings, including the lavish Throne Hall, the Study Room, the Singer’s Hall, the Dining Room and the King’s Bedroom with an impressive bed canopy that mimics cathedral structures with the King being a devout Catholic himself.
An unusual feature in the castle is a small grotto that was built inside the castle, which is incredible and a bit crazy because corridors aren’t the ones connecting you from room to room; instead it is passing through a cave that gets you from room to room.
Again, no photography is allowed in the castle, but at certain rooms, when the windows are open, remember to capture the beautiful Hohenswangau across the street.
Or, when you get to the unfinished part of the castle, photography is allowed there.
Neuschwanstein Castle Official Website
Address : Alpseestrasse 12, D-87645 Hohenschwangau
Entrance Fee : If you visit only the Neuschwanstein Castle, it is 12 Euros per adult. Combination tickets are available for Hohenschwangau Castle + Neuschwanstein Castle, and the above 2 castles + the Museum of Bavarian Kings. Check out Ticket Details here.
Tickets can be bought online or at the ticket counter once you arrive on castle grounds. There is a dedicated counter for online ticket pick ups and the queue (if any) is much shorter than the ticket counter. For me, I wasn’t sure which time slot I should buy so I didn’t reserve the any time slot and just bought the tickets as I got to the ticketing office. If you wish to reserve online, you should plan to reach Fussen by 10 am, reserve the 12 pm time slot for Hohenshwangau and the 3 pm time slot for Neuschwanstein.
Tickets come with a specific time slot for the guided tour and you really need to be on time. If you miss your slot, you miss the tour and there’s no refund.