“Even on the worst days, there’s a possibility for joy.” – Kate Beckett
A couple weekends ago we traveled to Garmisch and, on our way home, visited Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau. Neuschwanstein is the castle that, it’s said, Walt Disney saw and based the Disney Castle off of. King Ludwig II is so interesting. He is also called the Swan King or Mad King Ludwig (der Märchernkönig) and there is great mystery surrounding his death. He built Neuschwanstein Castle, which almost bankrupted the country, in the late 1800s. So, I feel like, it’s a relatively new castle. It was also being built around the same time as the American Civil War, how crazy!
The plans for Neuschwanstein were even larger and more luxurious than it turned out, planning for a pretty modern spa like room, “knights room”, on the back that was never built. The entire castle isn’t finished due to him running out of money, but the rooms that are finished look amazing. You cannot take any pictures of the rooms, which was a bummer, but it is a site to see. I also read there that during WWII the Nazis hid art work they stole in the unfinished room, which I found extremely interesting because this is one of my favorite times in history. Of course where you enter the castle, the gateway building, had construction so I couldn’t get a good picture of the grand entrance.
During construction of the castle, King Ludwig II started becoming a recluse and began changing plans for rooms. For example, the guest rooms changed to a hall with a fountain (neither were ever built).
Across the way is the castle that King Ludwig II grew up in, Hohenschwangau Castle. King Ludwig II wanted to watch the construction of his castle, so he set up a telescope to watch construction. Both castles require you to pay for a ride or walk up. If you are at least two days away from your visit, you can reserve tickets online. If you are going in the afternoon or at peak tourist time, is highly recommend this. We went in November and by the time we did our tours and walked around, it was the early afternoon and they had signs stating the Neuschwanstein tours were sold out.
Also a short 20ish minute walk behind Neuschwanstein is Marienbrücke (Mary’s Bridge), named after the King’s mother, Queen Marie of Prussia. This is how I got the first picture of the castle and how you can see one of the King’s favorite childhood places, Pollät Gorge. It is a neat little gorge I’d love to visit and plan in as an adult, so I can only imagine how awesome it would be for a child! The steep walk is well worth the views you get at the top, in my opinion.
In addition to these two castles, you can also see the Museum of Bavarian Kings and, about an hour drive, Linderhof Castle. I was bummed we didn’t stop at Linderhof. It has a grand garden and an amazing kitchen table. The kitchen was located under the dining room so that he could ring a bell to have the table hoisted up into the dining room when he was ready to eat.
I hope to go back to this area to hike around this beautiful Bavarian countryside, explore the lakes, and see Linderhof! There are so many things I could say about these castles and King Ludwig, but I do not want to be boring!
Below are the links to the castles sites and info on King Ludwig: