by Emily Fraser
The imposing Neuschwanstein Castle perches high on a rugged hill above the quaint Bavarian village of Hohenschwangau. One of the most photographed castles in the world, and the inspiration for perhaps the most famous castle of the 21st century, Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle, this majestic beauty is a must-see if you’re ever in Munich or southern Germany.
Built by the “Fairy tale King”, Ludwig II, in honour of renowned composer Richard Wagner, the castle is brimming with stories to be told, rooms to get lost in and architecture to be admired. Interestingly, whilst looking like that of a medieval castle, Neuschwanstein was built in the 19th century, a time when castles no longer had strategic or defensive purposes in Bavaria. Construction began in 1869 and was still incomplete at the time of the King’s death, 18 years later in 1886.
Your very own fairy tale will begin when you step back in time in the village of Hohenschwangau. Due to having both Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castles in its vicinity, the village is brimming with restaurants, hotels and souvenir shops but also retains an old-worldly charm. Tickets for entry to the castle must be purchased at the ticket centre in the village, unless you are part of a tour of course. You can also reserve tickets in advance but you’ll need to collect them here before heading up the hill.
There are a few different options for making your way to the castle, including a horse-drawn carriage! You can also take the shuttle-bus, or if you’re eager, take the steep 40 minute walk to the top. Whichever way you choose, make sure you cross Marienbrücke (Mary’s Bridge) at some point in your visit. This is where you’ll take the quintessential photo with one of the best views of the castle, plus the bridge itself crosses a spectacular river gorge that really needs to be seen to be believed.
We visit Bavaria and magnificent Neuschwanstein Castle on our Alpine Discovery tour.
Find out more about Neuschwanstein Castle here: http://www.neuschwanstein.de/englisch/tourist/