Did you know that Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle was inspired by one of the most visited castles in Germany? Neuschwanstein Castle… pronounced ‘New Swanstone’, is nothing short of a fairytale.
We spent a weekend in Munich and took a day trip out to Neuschwanstein Castle in the area of Bavaria. If you’re not sure if it’s worth it, let me tell you right now – it is 100% worth it and the long day trip to get there.
Located in the Alps in Bavaria the views are nothing but spectacular as the castle is nestled on a hill.
A bit of history about Neuschwanstein Castle
The fairytale castle was built in the 19th century by King Ludwig II of Bavaria who was also known as the Fairytale King. The castle was built at a time when castles no longer had defensive and strategical purposes. Despite being built in the 19th century, the castle had toilets with automatic flushing systems on each floor as well as air heating systems for the entire castle!
Construction of Neuschwanstein began in 1869 and was only supposed to take three years to build.. but Ludwig II wanted it to be just perfect.. so the castle was not finished by the time Ludwig died in 1886 and it is in fact not finished to this day!
Getting to Neuschwanstein
We booked the Royal Castles of Neuschwanstein and Linderhof Day Tour from Munich through Viator. I am so glad we did! The bus that took us out was probably the most comfortable bus I’ve ever been on. It was a double decker, nice comfortable chairs, curtains over the windows and overall a very smooth ride. Jenna was recovering from the flu so she took advantage of the comfortable chairs and had a bit of a snooze en-route to our first stop for the day.
The 10.5 hour tour from Munich is filled with seeing some incredible castles and learning about the interesting history behind them.
Even though the highlight of the tour, and reason for booking the tour, is Neuschwanstein castle, the rest of the tour is absolutely worth it and a great way to both fill up and break up the journey from Munich.
The included stops were Linderhof castle and the towns of Oberammergau as well as Hohenschwangau.
Built by King Ludwig II in the 19th century, it was built for the purpose of a hunting lodge. The tour allows for a 1 hour stop at the castle and you can opt for group tour through the castle, which I would recommend.
The castle was a lot smaller than I thought it would be… more like an over the top country lodge than a castle, but that doesn’t mean it was any less impressive. The castle and surrounding gardens were beautiful. The guide took us throughout and provided excellent stories about why each room was
quirky designed the way it was with meticulous detail specifically suited to King Ludwig II.
Unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos of the inside, so you will have to go and see for yourself!
Spoiler Alert: The table was installed so that King Ludwig could dine alone. However, the staff had to set the table for at least four people because it was rumored that he used to talk to imaginary people while he was eating!
Here are a few snaps of Linderhof.
After our stop in Linderhof Castle, it was time to stop in at Oberammergau. This adorable city is world-famous for its woodcarvers amongst other things. We had some time to wonder around and do a bit of shopping. For us, we were on the hunt for the perfect Christmas decoration (we collect a Christmas decoration in every city we visit!).
Now, for the star attraction of the day… Neuschwanstein Castle!
As you approach the town of Hohenschwangau, you start to notice this spectacular castle nestled up on the mountain and you quickly realise how massive it is. It is a neo-Romanesque style castle also designed by King Ludwig II.
I should start off by saying, be prepared for a steep incline and lots of steps… Don’t let me put you off because it is 100% worth the time and effort (there are food and drink kiosks on the way up if you need a pit stop).
We kept following the path up and around the castle until we reached Marienbrücke bridge (which I believe was for Queen Mary and is translates to Mary’s bridge). Jenna wasn’t too sure – the bridge was fairly narrow and quite high up. But, the views are totally worth it!
From the bridge, it was time to head back to the castle to begin our optional tour of the castle. It was fascinating to walk through the castle and listen to the history.
I was amazed at the size of the kitchen, I think it’s just about the size of our Sydney apartment!
The tours for the castle are staggered and you’re given an allocated time for your group. Don’t be late because they don’t wait for you and the groups are all full so the chances of getting on another group are slim to none.
After an exhausting couple of hours exploring the Sleeping Beauty castle, we’d worked up an appetite so we wondered down to the little town at the base of the castle called Hohenschwangau and grabbed a bite to eat and an ice cream before our long journey back to Munich.
It was then time for the long journey back to Munich. You can either enjoy the scenery if it’s summertime and you have daylight, or if you’re exhausted then you can always have a nap on the way back!
This castle is truly a fairytale! It is a must if you’re in Munich.
Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age and dreams are forever – Walt Disney