Located near the town of Füssen and about 1.5 hours away from Munich by car, Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most spectacular castles in Germany if not the world.
Built by Ludwig II of Bavaria, work started in 1869 and remained unfinished at the time of Ludwig’s death in 1886. It was built as homage to Ludwig’s favourite composer, Robert Wagner, and was the most ambitious of his many projects.
The castle looks much older than it actually is. Although it was built in a medieval style, it was actually built only 50 years before the Empire State Building in Manhattan.
Because of the King’s death, many of the rooms in the castle remain to this day unfinished. One major planned feature – a massive keep – was never started due to the Kings death and the decision of the remaining family to halt work on this feature. In addition to this, only 14 rooms were completed when the King died. As such, the castle itself was rarely used for anything other than its purpose today – tours for visitors. None the less one of the most renowned in the world, and was the inspiration for other castles such as the Sleeping Beauty castle at Disneyland.
The construction of the castle was years ahead of its time. Electricity, advanced air venting, heating pipes and plumbing for both toilets and hot and cold water are used in the castle.
It is unfortunately not possible to wander around the inside of the castle on your own. Guided tours are mandatory and included in the price of entry. The time of the tour is printed on the entrance ticket, which can be purchased in the ticket office in Hohenschwangau which is a 30 minute walk away from the castle. It is possible to catch a bus to a spot very close to the castle, or even take a horse and carriage to the top.
A combination ticket is also available which includes entrance to Hohenschwangau Castle located within walking distance from Neuschwanstein.
For those wanting to get a good view of the castle, the walk to Marienbrücke (Mary’s Bridge) can be worth doing. Like the castle, the bridge is about a 30 minute walk from the ticket office in Hohenschwangau.
The easiest way to reach the castle is by car. However, it is possible to catch hourly trains from Munich to Füssen, and then take a short bus ride to Hohenschwangau. Due to the amount of tourists, the trip is fairly straight forward, without many opportunities to get lost.