We can’t start all of our posts with “We’re such fans of Disney that…” but, if we could, that’s how we would start this one! Because the truth is we’re such fans of Disney that visiting Neuschwanstein castle was a dream come true for us. As the castle that inspired Walt Disney to design the Sleeping Beauty castle, this is a must stop for anyone who grew up watching these movies.
For that reason, Neuschwanstein is one of Europe’s most popular castles (over 1 million people visit it every year!). Built in 1886, everything in Neuschwanstein is perfect – from its romantic architecture to its idyllic location on a small rock with a panoramic view of the surrounding valley. Neuschwanstein is everything we imagined in a fairytale castle and more.
Built under King Ludwig II of Bavaria (also known as the Swan King, Mad King Ludwig or the Fairytale King) in 1869, Neuschwanstein castle was designed in honor of composer Richard Wagner. A gigantic architectural feat, the king spent almost all of his royal fortune on the castle’s construction as he wished to make it his safe haven.
However, as many of his projects, the Neuschwanstein castle was never completed. Plus, as fate would have it, the castle would only serve as the king’s residency for a mere 170 days before his early death in 1886.
Since then, what was designed as a secret safe haven for the king became one of Germany’s most visited sites. What cost the royal family a fortune wound up becoming one of the largest sources of wealth in the country’s tourism sector. And what was one day inspired by the mastered skill of a composer ended up inspiring one of the great storytellers of our times. Neuschwanstein castle is the most romantic one we have visited to date and it deserves to be admired from all angles.
HOW TO VISIT THE CASTLE
The first thing you have to think about is your tickets. There are different types of tickets available and, depending on the time you visit, you should consider buying them in advance (you can reserve tickets up to 2 days in advance). In any case, tickets are only available at the ticket center in Hohenschwangau. Here, you can buy tickets to visit a combination of three monuments: Neuschwanstein castle, Hohenschwangau castle and the Museum of Bavarian Kings.
HOW TO GET THERE
Your journey begins in Shwangau from where you’ll have to walk slightly uphill for some 20-30 minutes (or less, if you choose to go by horse carriage) to reach the castle. We decided to walk and enjoyed the opportunities to take photos of the castle with the sunrays passing through the trees. There is also a restaurant on the way where you can stop for lunch or just to rest before visiting the castle.
Upon arrival, we quickly realized we were in Germany – there’s an internet spot, perfect if you have some extra time and want to share the stunning views in front of you with your friends. And those abound: from lakes to mountains, a splendid valley and, of course, the castle.
Marienbrucke Bridge was King Ludwig II’s favorite spot to admire his castle and it’s not hard to see why: the view from here looks straight out of a postcard. When Joana and I were there, the access to the bridge was cut off (sometimes it’s closed due to adverse weather conditions or renovations). But it was a beautiful sunny day and I knew that this was the best spot to get a photo so we jumped over the fence and off we went (with a huge crowd following us!). Of course, we don’t recommend that you do this, especially because if the access is closed it’s for your own safety, but the view from the bridge really is stunning.
The Neuschwanstein castle is open every day from 9am until 6pm (between 1 April and 15 October) and from 10am until 4pm (between 16 October and 31 March). Tickets cost €13 for adults and €12 for children under 18 years old. You can check out more information on the Neuschwanstein castle’s official website here.