Thursday, August 28, 2014

Neuschwanstein: A Bavarian Fairytale


I'd been dreaming of coming to this castle for 16 years. When I was 7 years old, my dad went on a business trip to Munich and brought me back a giant poster of Neuschwanstein Castle covered in snow. As he told me stories of his visit to the castle - which is most famous for being the inspiration behind Disney's Cinderella castle - I imagined myself as a princess frolicking through the snow towards my enchanted fortress. That poster has been hanging in our bonus room ever since.

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The man who commissioned this castle, King Ludwig II of Bavaria, was a bit of a character. Okay, well, maybe more than just "a bit". Some people still ascertain that he was a nut job. Who can know for sure? 

Back in the late 1800s, King Ludwig II spent all of his royal funds pursuing extravagant architectural and artistic endeavors. During his reign, he built three over-the-top castles: Neuschwanstein, Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee. He also had a fervent obsession with the works of Richard Wagner. Inside Neuschwanstein Castle, you can find many vibrant frescos depicting scenes from Wagner's operas. 

Although he was well-loved by his Bavarian constituents, his lavish spending sent him into serious debt. His cabinet wanted to get rid of him, so they concocted accounts that portrayed Ludwig as mentally ill and therefore unable to rule. Although the king tried to argue against these accusations, he was quickly taken out of power. He mysteriously died the next day.



Despite King Ludwig II's soap opera story and dramatic demise, his whimsical ambitions made Neuschwanstein that much more unique. This fortress was the most breathtaking castle I've ever seen, and I don't think any other castle can quite compare. I suppose these were Ludwig's precise intentions. Little did he know!


Getting to Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich:

- Buy a Bayern ticket at the nearest U-Bahn (subway) station. The Bayern ticket is valid for one day and costs 26€ for 2 adults. (You can use this ticket to get to the main train station, and also to take the bus to the castle and back.)
- Take the U-Bahn to the Munich Hauptbahnhof (main train station)
- Take the train to Füssen (But be sure to ask the information desk which train to Füssen your Bayern ticket will cover. We tried to take the 8:53 train, but apparently our ticket wasn't valid for that particular train. The 9:53 train, however, is covered.)
- Enjoy the scenic train ride, which takes about 2 hours
- Follow the tourists and take bus 73 in the direction of Steingaden/Garmisch-Partenkirchen or bus 78 in the direction of Schwangau to the stop Hohenschwangau/Alpseestraße
- The buses will drop you off below the ticket office

Planning Your Visit:

- Pick up your tickets at the ticket booth no later than one hour before your tour
- Take the shuttle bus to Mary's Bridge (Marienbrücke) to see the views before hiking down to the castle. The shuttle bus picks you up in front of Hotel Lisl above the ticket office and costs 1.80€ for a one-way ride. The downhill hike is about 10 minutes long.
- Take the Neuschwanstein castle tour, which lasts for approximately 30 minutes
- Pack a lunch or snacks and have a picnic by the castle
- Take a horse-drawn carriage ride from the castle back down to the parking lot (3€) or take a scenic hike down (go back up to Marienbrücke and follow signs down to Pöllat Gorge)
- Take bus 73 or 78 back to Füssen
- Take the train back to Munich

Be sure to buy your castle tickets at least 2 days before your visit. 
I recommend buying them at least a week in advance here.
You can click here for more information on getting to the castle. 

*We wanted to allow ample time for exploring and taking photos, so we scheduled our tour for 2:25, took the 8:53 train to Füssen, and picked up our tickets at the ticket booth before 1:25. We could have taken the 9:53 train and been okay on time - and that train would have also been covered by our Bayern ticket. We got back to Munich just in time for dinner. Although it was a long day, we were glad we took our time so we didn't have to rush through the sights.

What is your favorite castle in Europe?

Treasure Tromp

26 comments:

  1. So jealous! It's so cool that places like that are real. . .as someone with a lifelong obsession with fairytales, I'm really overdue for a tour of European castles. Also, I love your lipstick :)

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  2. I was sadly disappointed with my visit. No one at my hostel told me about the discount card, so I easily paid twice what you did, if not more. It was crawling with tourists, overpriced for seeing what I considered to be very little, and the bridge was out. Should have stuck with my gut an not gone!

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  3. Wow, these pictures are gorgeous! We are thinking about going to Germany at the end of next year, so I will keep this in mind for our trip! I knew the castle that inspired Cinderella was there somewhere, but I didn't know where it was! Thanks for sharing. :)

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  4. Neuschwanstein looks beautiful! Even though it may be touristy, I would brave the crowds to see it.


    Like Versailles, I think it's one of those touristy places that still deserves a look!

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  5. Visiting from the linkup! Wow, those pictures are so amazing! I would love to visit a castle!

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  6. Oh my goodness! Your photos are amazing and this looks like a wonderful place to visit!

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  7. These are great tips! We visited in April and it was so beautiful. The bridge was a bit scary though!

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  8. Thanks for stopping by! I hope you get to visit a castle someday soon :)

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  9. Thank you! It's definitely one of the most magical places I've been to!

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  10. Wow, looks sooo gorgeous there. Can't wait to get to Germany!!

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  11. Fabulous photos! We visited friends in Munich a few years ago and they drove us all around this area. I remember them mentioning that the castle was the inspiration for the Disneyland one. Stunning! I'm also a fan of the French châteaux in the Loire Valley.

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  12. This really, really does look like something straight from the pages of a fairy tale! I'd love to get to visit it one day! xx

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  13. ...If anything, my fave castle so far has been the Palacio Real in Madrid!!...

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  14. This has been the number one castle on my list that have to see! Every time I see pictures of it I fall just a little more in love with it! Were you there recently? It looks cold!

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  15. You're going to love it there! The people are so friendly, and from what I've heard, the beer isn't too bad either ;)

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  16. Oh fun! I really loved Munich. I bet you got to see so many cool things since you had a local's expertise! (And it's always easier to see things with a car!) I'd love to go back again someday and explore more of Bavaria.

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  17. I definitely love that place too!

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  18. King Ludwig...quite possibly my favorite king in history. One of my good friends is from a town outside of Munich so she told me all about him. I made it to Herrenchiemsee but didn't make it to this castle. I need to go back!

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  19. I have been dreaming of coming here almost my whole life too and. I still haven't made it :( I am glad you got to go though and that you enjoyed it x

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  20. Same here! His life story is so crazy and fascinating. I bet visiting Herrenchiemsee was so cool. I'd love to make it there one day!

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  21. Thanks! I hope you make it there soon! :)

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  22. Wow, you got perfect weather-- your photos are gorgeous! I went in November 2007 to be greeted by fog and more fog... I couldn't even see the lake (bummer)! I'm not sure I'll be back but I might like to look at the castle from afar. It's got to be one of Europe's most beautiful.

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  23. Wow - what gorgeous photos. Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle has been high on my travel list for ages. I especially want to go in winter when the landscape is covered in snow. Thanks for the travel info.
    Claire xx

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  24. Oh no! I'm so sorry you got stuck with fog. That's horrible! I definitely agree that it's one of Europe's most beautiful castles though!

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  25. Ooh I bet it is so gorgeous in the snow! But it is probably insanely freezing then. I went in early May, and even then it was really cold!

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  26. So far my favorite castle in Europe is the Palace in Sintra! I've never seen anything like it! This pictures are UNREAL. Amzing post!

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