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Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein

Not an ancient castle, Neuschwanstein Castle (Schloss Neuschwanstein) was built by Bavarian King Ludwig II in the late 19th century (kids will find it looks familiar, as the castle was copied by Disney for Sleeping Beauty Castle). The setting couldn't be more spectacular, a white turreted castle high on the mountainside, overlooking a picturesque valley below. The interior of the castle is a dazzling display of medieval-themed murals, mosaic floors, walls covered in carved woodwork, golden tapestries.

Neuschwanstein Castle Photo Album
  Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle You can visit the castle as a day trip from Munich, or plan to spend several days in the area. Taking the train from Munich, Fussen is the train stop, then take the bus to the town of Hohenschwangau. From the town, walk up the hill through the woods to the castle (takes about half an hour), or take a horse-drawn carriage.
     

Going inside the castle is by guided tour only, and be sure to buy the timed tickets in advance. The tour lasts about 40 min. Click here to buy your tickets online.

      Tip: The castle tour isn't suited for toddlers – lots of stairs, no strollers, and tour groups are large. Also, there's so much see in each room, but the tour moves very quickly.
    Inside Neuschwanstein Castle The tour starts with the Lower Hall and moves into the Venus Grotto, Ludwig's bedroom, Dining Room, Singers' Hall, and for the finale, the Throne Room.
    Swans, dragons, lions Neuschwanstein means "New Swan Stone," and kids will want to look for swans throughout the rooms. See if you can spot these: Swan door handles, washstand with swan fountain, swan emblems in stained glass windows, Ludwig's reading chair with swans on seat, bed hangings with lions and swans in blue and gold.
      Also look for lions in the Throne Hall and in Wittelsbach family coat of arms on windows. St. George and the dragon was one of Ludwig's favorite knight stories – in the Throne Hall is a large St. George mural, and gilded dragons on the walls throughout the castle.
     

Walls murals – Rooms are decorated with painted murals, depicting stories of knights and chivalry. Lohengrin, the swan knight, and keeper of the Grail, was particularly admired by Ludwig. Click here for background about the wall mural legends.

     

Scale model of Neuschwanstein – At the end of the tour, don't miss the scale model of Neuschwanstein. Really gives kids a perspective on the many rooms in the castle.

    Outside the Castle
     

Pollat Gorge Stroll over to Marienbrucke (Mary's Bridge), then take the trail down into Pollat Gorge.

     

Hiking trails to Hohenschwangau – On the road up to the castle you'll see trail signs going down the hill to the valley. Take one of the trails for a nice downhill hike back to Hohenschwangau.

    Hohenschwangau The bus from Fussen stops here in the town of Hohenschwangau, and there are hotels, restaurants and quick eats. In summer, pick up a picnic lunch.
      Alpsee – Look for swans and ducks gliding on this crystal clear lake, kids can wade or swim in summer.
     

Castle HohenschwangauHohenschwangau was where Ludwig II grew up. Not as dramatic as Neuschwanstein, but there are wonderful tapestries and artwork, and murals which seem to cover every wall in the royal rooms.

  Neuschwanstein Castle in winter We visited the castle in December, and it was just magical. Fresh snow glittered on tree branches, high mountains sparkled in the sunlight, the valley below was dotted with miniature villages, and Neuschwanstein appeared like a fairy-tale castle.
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