Neuschwanstein, Germany  Map

Our next day trip was to Neuschwanstein Castle, south of Munich near the Alpsee - Hohenschwangau. We drove from Munich on the Romantic Road ("Romantische Straße"), which took us through some very pretty country side. As can be seen in the pictures on this page, there just really isn't a "bad view" of the castle from any angle !

Quick History Lesson: Neuschwanstein Castle is a 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and in honour of Richard Wagner. Ludwig paid for the palace out of his personal fortune and by means of extensive borrowing, rather than Bavarian public funds.

The castle was intended as a home for the king, until he died in 1886. It was open to the public shortly after his death. Since then more than 61 million people have visited Neuschwanstein Castle. More than 1.3 million people visit annually, with as many as 6,000 per day in the summer.

Construction of the castle started during the summer of 1868, but the first foundation stone wasn’t laid until September 5, 1869. By 1873, parts of the castle could be occupied by Ludwig II, though he never lived to see his full vision realized. The Bower and Square Towers were completed in 1892: nearly a quarter of a century after work on the castle began, and many years after Ludwig II passed away and the castle was opened to the public.

According to Ludwig's plans, the castle was meant to have more than 200 rooms. But just over a dozen were finished before funds for the project were cut. Estimates put the total square footage at roughly 65,000 square feet.

Click here to view the Wikipedia Article where the above information came from - and to read more about this beautiful castle.
Neuschwanstein Strasse

You can either walk up the hill, or you can ride a horse drawn carraige - either way you are going to get some incredible views of the castle, the valley below as well as the forest.
This picture was taken on the hiking trails east of the Castle, a heavily forested area with occasional glimpses of the castle.

WARNING: The walk from the ticketing center to the castle, is approximately 1.5 kilometers up a steep hill. On a hot summer day, this can turn into a strenuous walk, more so if you did not bring water with you. There are numerous shady spots to cool off, and if it is not hot this is a spectacular walk through a heavily wooded area.
Entrance Gate Rear View

As far as I am aware, this is the only public entrance to the castle, through the gate and wait in the courtyard for your entrance to be granted.

Upper Courtyard Level

Facing the Palace front: Bower is on the left, Palace front, and Knights' House is on the right.

Neuschwanstein East Side

As you walk about on the trails near the castle, you can see this end of the building which is not quite visible from the valley or from the front side.

Neuschwanstein West Side

This was taken as our walk up the Neuschwanstein Strasse was completed, looking east along the steep sides of the castle.

Neuschwanstein East Side

It is easy to see that this picture was taken as we ascended the hiking trail on our way to Marienbrücke, the castle views get better & better from this area.

Neuschwanstein Castle Inner Courtyard

This image is from the Neuschwanstein Castle inner courtyard, looking towards the main residence building.
At the time of it's construction, the Schloss Neuschwanstein was called the New Hohenschwangau Castle. After the death of King Ludwig II, the castle was renamed the Schloss Neuschwanstein, which meant the “New Swan Stone Castle”. This was a reference to the castle of the Swan Knight Lohengrin in an opera of the same name by Wagner.

Marienbrücke (Mary's Bridge)

Here is a great view of the Castle from the famous Marienbrücke (Mary's bridge) built to cross the Pöllat gorge by King Maximilian II in 1845. We were perhaps 500 or more feet above the castle.
The hiking path extends beyond the bridge and provides great views of the castle. Looks like a fairy tale kind of building doesn't it? King Ludwig, who designed it and had it built, was far more interested in being an architect, than he was to be the King of Bavaria.
Since we had been inside the Castle before, and because the crowds were such that all tickets for that day were sold out, we decided to hike up behind the Castle, to see it from above.

Below Mary's Bridge

Here is a great view of the Castle from below the famous Mary's bridge, in the Pöllat gorge. The hiking trails extend into the gorge if you are interested in this kind of view.
NOTE: Image is the property of Misty Wassink via Flickr.

Posing on Mary's Bridge

It was a bit difficult to get a picture while standing on this bridge, due to the large number of tourists walking to & fro, but eventually Jeremy was able to take this great picture of us - and oh yeah - with the Castle in the background!
The bridge is an easy walk from the castle, located north of the Castle and above it, click here to view a Google Map of the route.

Hohenschwangau Castle

This is King Ludwig's father's castle (Hohenschwangau Castle), and also where Ludwig was born and grew up.
Hohenschwangau Village is on the left, Schloss Hohenschwangau on right, as seen from Neuschwanstein Castle. The two castles are only 2.2 kilometers apart, click here to view a Google Map of the route..

Hot Day Rest Break

This picture was included to give you a bit of an idea of how hot it was, because on our way back down the hiking trail from Neuschwanstein, we had to stop and get ourselves a cold drink!
If I remember correctly, something had just flown over this area, and I was trying to get a better view of it.

Neuschwanstein Castle: Our Last View

This was our final view of Neuschwanstein Castle, as we walked through the little village at the bottom of the hiking trail. As you can see, there were a lot of tourists there that day, which is typical of summer days in Bavaria. Gives you an idea of how steep that mountain is behind the castle, that is where we hiked up, to get that beautiful view of the castle.
Once we got out of the trees that lined the hiking trail, we were back in the direct sun light, and it was a scorcher that day. Damn good thing our rental car had A/C !

  • The European Driving Adventure Overview & Guide We started in Paris, drove through France and ended in Germany, click here to read more.
  • Paris, France We started in Paris because it is just so darn fun to explore, click here to read more.
  • Bordeaux, France We took a train to Bordeaux and wound up having more adventure than we had planned, click here to read more.
  • Carcassonne & Rustiques area of France Our base camp was a house we rented in Rustiques, click here to read more.
  • Cathar Country Rustique area is close to the last strongholds of the Cathars, click here to read more.
  • Canal du Midi, France The Canal du Midi was just a few kilometers from Rustique, click here to read more.
  • Lake Annecy, France This was another base camp area we had selected, click here to read more.
  • Chamonix, France Day trip from Annecy to see Chamonix & Mont Blanc, click here to read more.
  • Munich, Germany Munich was the next & final base camp area, click here to read more.
  • Rothenburg, Germany Continuation of the drive back to Munich from Nuremberg, Click here to read more.
  • Nuremberg, Germany We day tripped from Munich to visit the Nazi Documentation Center, Click here to read more.
  • Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany Day trip drive from Munich to see the famous castle, click here to read more.
  • Salzburg, Autstria Day trip drive from Munich to visit Salzburg. Click here to read more.

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