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Schloss Neuschwanstein, Germany - California Globetrotter

Schloss Neuschwanstein

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Let’s be honest: I’m a total fairy tale dreamer and if I could, I would live in pretty castles in far off places. I’d wear pretty yellow dresses and when I sing, the animals would come to me. I’d have a fairy godmother and a magic carpet. Unfortunately, this is just a dream and I’m just an ordinary girl. However, visiting Schloss Neuschwanstein offers me the chance to feel like a princess for a day!

It’s likely you’ve seen images of this beautiful castle pinned all over Pinterest or maybe you’ve heard of it as many refer to it as the “Walt Disney Castle”.

Schloss Neuschwanstein is one of the four decadent castles that crazy King Ludwig II of Bavaria built but never finished and is one of his most popular castles. It sits perched atop an Alpine mountain overlooking the Schwangau valley below.

The castle that stands there today replaced the ruins of a medieval castle to make way for the new castle that King Ludwig II had planned to replicate and was planned to be his personal retreat since it was not big enough to house the royal court. As the king paid for the building of this castle out of his own pockets and not from the Bavarian treasury, he needed to borrow lots of money, ultimately leading to bankruptcy. It was built in 1869 and finished around 1892.

It is one of the most popular castles that tourists want to visit when they come to Bavaria. Every friend or family member who has come or wants to come visit me always wants to see this dreamlike castle. So, over the years I have been several times so this post will include pictures from three separate trips!

img_9265Things to Know Before You Go!

  • I’ve been during early fall, late fall and spring. So far, I have to see that the best time to go is during the late fall when all the trees are in autumn bloom. All I need now, is to go during the winter!
  • In the summer however, be forewarned that the castle can receive up to 6,000 visitors in just one day!! More than 1.3 million people visit this castle annually.
  • The weather is always difficult to navigate in Germany and even more difficult in higher elevations. I have experienced both extreme fog and clear blue sky days so sometimes its a hit and miss. But make sure to plan at least 2 days for your trip here because you’re bound to have a nice day in there! That way you can do both Schloss Neuschwanstein and Schloss Hohenschwangau and still have time to check out the village.
  • BUY YOUR TICKETS ONLINE BEFORE YOU GO! Otherwise, you will need to buy your tickets which are down in the village in a tourist office specifically for buying tickets to both castles which can take a long time! Tours fill up fast and English tours have been known to sell out.
  • Print out your reservation tickets and go to the Reserved Ticket Line, pay and get your tickets.
  • All tours have a set admission times, just like a movie theater. If you miss your time slot to enter the castle, you will not get in.
  • Get there early! Anytime before or around noon! Early bird tours = easy parking!
  • It will be quite exhausting to push a stroller up the big hill. Plus, strollers are NOT allowed inside and must be left in the courtyard of the castle.
  • Eat before going to the castle, or bring snacks. Definitely bring some water for your hike up the hill!
  • Tours only last 30 minutes!

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Getting to the Castle

  • Follow the Königsschlösser signs when driving to the castle. The signs will guide you to the “King’s Castle”.
  • BY CAR: (Taken from the official Neuschwanstein website): “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.”
  • BY TRAIN: Catch a train to Füssen and from there take either the 73 or 78 bus, getting off at Hohenschwangau.

 

  • At the Neuschwanstein ticket office, and from here you can get to the castle by foot, shuttle bus or horse carriage.
  • The walk to the castle is a brisk walk up a large hill, about 45 minutes from the ticket office. Stopping to take pictures along the way can increase your arrival time to an hour.
  • If you want to take the horses, you will see them lined up and you pay the horse carriage driver directly for your fare.
  • Horse carriage rides cost 6€ to go uphill and 3€ to go downhill, whereas the shuttle buses cost 1,80 € for uphill,  1 € for downhill and  2,60€ round trip

Once at the castle, you have a viewing platform to see the front of the castle which is a great spot for some memories captured with a picture! Then, you will continue through the main gate and you can walk around the castle courtyard while you wait for your tour time. Once your tour time is ready, you number will show up on a screen and you will be allowed in.

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Unfortunately, once inside, it is forbidden to take any photos. But you can guarantee every room that was completed is spectacular! Here is a picture of the Throne Room. No wonder it took so long to finish just the 17 rooms! Can you imagine what the whole castle would have looked like completed!? Stunning!

throne room

Picture from Wikipedia

 

History to Know!

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After 17 years of construction, only 14 of the 360 rooms were completed because of the low funds and King Ludwig’s untimely strange death. At the time of construction, he had also been building another castles, such as Schloss Herrenchiemsee which was a replica of the Palace of Versailles in honor of the Sun King who he deeply admired. He was also building Schloss Linderhof, which is his only castle he lived to see be completed. He was found in the lake below the castle, along with his doctor, drowned. There is much speculation about his untimely death and there is a Bavarian Secret Society who is determined to find the truth of his death, possibly committed to save the Bavarian government from bankruptcy. Immediately after his death, the castle was opened to the public 6 weeks later.

img_9276Thanks to its location, the castle survived both World Wars. During World War II, the castle was used as a holding place for many works of art. In 1945, the SS considered blowing up the castle and all of its artwork to prevent it from falling into the enemies hands (the allies US, Great Britain).

The palace was used as inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty castle for Disney and also appeared in one of my favorite movies: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, although in the movie they say that they are in Bulgaria.

After taking a tour of the castle, we hiked the little trail that leads to the Marienbrücke (bridge) behind the castle. This bridge offers the most spectacular view of the castle. It’s an old steel and wood bridge with lots of people walking back and forth and you can really feel it sway. And whatever you do, don’t look down otherwise you will see that the bridge is suspended over a cascading waterfall. Yes, I was nervous and had a hard time crossing the bridge, but I had to for these beautiful pictures!

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Walking behind the castle and further down offers pretty great views over Schloss Hohenschwangau and the beautiful Schwansee (Swan Lake). My second time, we saw a beautiful swan floating in the lake. Only fitting, considering the name! That is one thing I truly love about Germany, is the endless amount of swans floating around the lakes and rivers.

Schloss Hohenschwangau, Schangau, Bavaria, Germany - California GlobetrotterSchloss Hohenschwangau, Schangau, Bavaria, Germany - California Globetrotter

Make sure to take a look behind you though on your way down because you will have a great view of Schloss Neuschwanstein perched up on the hill surrounded by beautiful trees.

It doesn’t matter what season you go, Schloss Neuschwanstein is always impressive. I’ve been in the fall, spring and early summer and every time it more beautiful. Now, if I could just make it there when it’s covered in snow.

Hohenschwangau Castle

Back in the little village below the castle, you can walk around and enjoy the little town. Be sure to also check out the Hohenschwangau castle which sits just below Neuschwanstein and this is where King Ludwig II spent some of his childhood and where he lived while building Schloss Neuschwanstein.

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If you’re interested in visiting Germany and are looking for more information, I highly recommend using the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide! Without these guides, I would be lost! This is my travel Bible!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I might make a little extra spending money, at no extra cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own and these products/services have been found useful during our travels and come highly recommended to you from yours truly!

Love German Castles? Here are more! 

The Romantic Castles of King Ludwig II of Bavaria

Schloss Neuschwanstein

Schloss Nymphenburg

Schloss Linderhof

Schloss Herrnchiemsee

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Author: California Globetrotter

At 14 I started traveling the world with my parents and was hooked! By 21 I was studying abroad in Heidelberg, Germany. By 26 I sold all of my belongings and bought a one way ticket to Germany to teach English. Little did I know, I'd meet the love of my life and end up traveling to the most romantic and idyllic towns in Europe and becoming a long-term expat in Bavaria! My name is Lorelei and I'm just your typical CaliGirl, Sunset Chaser, Fairytale Dreamer, Dress Lover, Traveloholic, Beer Drinker!

36 thoughts on “Schloss Neuschwanstein

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  10. It’s beautiful there isn’t it – we visited recently on one of those misty days, but somehow that made it even more romantic!🙂 #MondayEscapes

  11. Unfortunately I decided not to take time to visit this place when I was in Munich😦 Next time though!
    #mondayescapes

  12. The castle surrounded by the colorful leaves is stunning! I’ve wanted to visit this place for a long time – it just looks beautiful!

  13. I am always impressed by this castle😀

    #MondayEscapes

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  29. Oh, I so loved Schloss Neuschwanstein! It is such an unique castle and Ludwig’s story is so strange. Unfortunately when I visited the castle it started raining and then snowing. The weather was absolutely horrible and I couldn’t take any good pictures outside. However, I have some nice ones from inside, despite the fact that I wasn’t supposed to take any (LOL!) #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • Oh bummer! Ya the weather there is supper tricky! I’ve been 4 times and only once had perfect weather otherwise it has either been incredibly foggy or rainy. Even the pictures in this post are all from Fall 2016 and we played cat and mouse with the rain all day.

  30. I would love to go here. Photos are ace #weeklypostcard

  31. I have to see it one day:) #theweeklypostcard

  32. Really informative post, looks a beautiful part of the world. Like you we love a castle! #TheWeeklyPostcard

  33. I need to visit both castles ASAP. I would love to see them with all the fall colors, so maybe I’ll keep it in mind for next year😀 #TheWeeklyPostcard

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