Neuschwanstein, A Fairytale Castle

Neuschwanstein-Nite-Dan

It was almost spring when a group of friends and I trekked out to Neuschwanstein Castle. We took the train from Munich one fine morning in March. I had been visiting a friend I met in London, and decided to extend my trip an extra day to visit this castle. In order to make it more interesting, we gathered a group through Couchsurfing to join us on this adventure. We ended up a motley crew – one American, two British, two Aussies, and one Portuguese. Not a bad blend, if I do say so myself.

Neuschwanstein Castle has quite a story behind it. This Romanesque Revival castle was commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, also known as “Mad King Ludwig”. It was meant to serve as a private retreat for the king. Designed by architect Eduard Riedel, this royal residence attracts more than 1.3 million visitors per annum. And with views such as this, it’s easy to understand why.

Neuschwanstein-panorama

As I said above, it was almost spring when I was here. That means the landscape wasn’t all green and lush – there was still snow on the ground. In my opinion, this only added to the beauty and majesty of this famous castle, perched high on its post overlooking the valley. There is a bit of distance between the train station and the castle, but our group decided to take advantage of the sunny day and walk anyways. Besides, the exercise did us good after sitting on the train.

Neuschwanstein

Neuschwanstein-snow

Neuschwanstein-2

Construction on Neuschwanstein began in 1869, and was funded largely by King Ludwig opening lines of credit. The cost of building this structure was massive, but our dear king threatened suicide if his creditors dared take possession of his palaces (he had several other projects ongoing at the same time). Clever little mad king. Of course there were certain habits of Ludwig’s that made him unpopular (excessive spending counted among them) and in June of 1886 our fairytale king met a very non-fairytale ending – he was deposed by the Bavarian government and subsequently evicted from his precious castle. He met a very unromantic end, dying a few days later in the nearby Lake Starnberg. His guard was also found dead with the king. A bit of a mystery there.

Neuschwanstein-1

For those of you intrigued by the story behind this castle, you are not alone. Neuschwanstein receives up to 6,000 visitors per day during the peak summer season. How do you get there? Here’s the details:

By train: Take the train to the town of Füssen. Then take the bus RVA/OVG 73 towards Steingaden/Garmisch-Partenkirchen or bus RVA/OVG 78 towards Schwangau. Get off at stop Hohenschwangau/Alpseestraße.

By car: Take the A7 motorway (direction Ulm-Kempten-Füssen) until the end. From Füssen first follow the road B17 to Schwangau, then the signs to Hohenschwangau
or
take the A7 motorway until the exit Kempten and then the road B12 to Marktoberdorf. Follow the road B16 to Roßhaupten – OAL I to Buching – and then take the road B17 to Schwangau and Hohenschwangau.

This information will get you to Hohenschwangau. To get to Neuschwanstein, you can either go by foot (like we did) in about 30 minutes, by horse-drawn carriage (departure point: Hotel Müller) or by bus (departure point: Schlosshotel Lisl). The horse-drawn carriage is 6 euros for the uphill journey, and 3 euros for the downhill journey. The bus is 1.80 euros uphill, 1 euro downhill, and 2.60 euros as a return ticket. Note: the bus does not operate if there is snow or ice on the road!

As for the castle itself, the grounds are free to wander to your heart’s content. The interior is by guided tour only, and tickets must be purchased in advance at the Ticketcenter Hohenschwangau. You can also reserve tickets on-line. Admission charges are 12 euros for regular fare, 11 euros reduced. There are ticket packages available that also gain you entrance to the Hohenschwangau Castle (on the way up the hill to Neuschwantstein). That cost is 23 euros regular, 21 euros reduced and grant you access to both castles on the same day. Alternatively, you can purchase a combination ticket for 24 euros that is valid for 6 months and allows you to visit the palaces of Linderhof, Herrenchiemsee and Neuschwanstein once each.

{Top image courtesy of Nite Dan, Panorama via Wikimedia Commons}

  • From Casinos To Castles

    Can you believe I still haven’t seen tis castle? I hope to go when the by is older and can enjoy it. Followed your other sites as well today; not sure why I hadn’t already? haha

    • Haha thanks!! So glad this site is working again! I spent some time talking with my server’s support – hope it’s all functioning normally again! Yes this castle is sooo cool. I want to go back since we didn’t take the guided tour of the inside. An interior designer, and I missed the interior! lol

  • Michele

    I love this castle, exactly what you would imagine in a fairytale! Though last time I went the crowds of tourists were unbearable. I definitely recommend you go back to tour the interior…it is just as gorgeous as the exterior!

    • Amy Lynne Hayes

      I know, I can’t believe that I was studying interiors at the time, and didn’t go inside this castle! In all fairness, I was the only one in the group interested (most had seen it before) so I didn’t want to be the slow one holding everyone up. I’ll just have to go back! 🙂

  • It’s really no wonder so many fairytales originated in Germany. I’d love to visit Neuschwanstein for myself!

    • Amy Lynne Hayes

      Yes I didn’t even make that connection! Thanks for pointing that out! You really should visit this castle if you ever get the chance, it’s gorgeous, the area around it’s gorgeous, and it makes a perfect day trip. 🙂