Though purists feel that Neuschwanstein or the New Swan Castle is not a true castle please do make every effort to see it, especially if you have grown up on fairy tales.
It’s the stuff dreams are made of!
Constructed by the Mad Prince of Bavaria, Ludwig the second it has already served as an inspiration for Disney’s Cinderella Castle. Another childhood favorite Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was also shot here.
It was opened in 1886.
Its Architectural style is Romanesque Revival architecture and the
Christian Jank, Eduard Riedel were the architects.
An average of 1.3 million people visit it annually.It was built by Ludwig as a retreat into his boyhood fantasies on the hill opposite his childhood home the Hohenschwangau Castle.
Ludwig II, King of Bavaria since 1864, addressed the following lines to the man he so greatly admired, Richard Wagner:
«It is my intention to rebuild the old castle ruin of Hohenschwangau near the Pöllat Gorge in the authentic style of the old German knights’ castles, and I must confess to you that I am looking forward very much to living there one day (in 3 years); there will be several cosy, habitable guest rooms with a splendid view of the noble Säuling, the mountains of Tyrol and far across the plain; you know the revered guest I would like to accommodate there; the location is one of the most beautiful to be found, holy and unapproachable, a worthy temple for the divine friend who has brought salvation and true blessing to the world. It will also remind you of “Tannhäuser” (Singers’ Hall with a view of the castle in the background), “Lohengrin'” (castle courtyard, open corridor, path to the chapel); this castle will be in every way more beautiful and habitable than Hohenschwangau further down, which is desecrated every year by the prose of my mother; they will take revenge, the desecrated gods, and come to live with Us on the lofty heights, breathing the air of heaven».
Today a palace meant for one is full of visitors who gape at the Wagner inspired castle rooms
Please do check website for timings of the tours. Visitors can only go in with guided tours and in the peak seasons these are often booked beforehand.
As we drive in along the Romantic Road from Fussen and park , we are met with this sight. A bandaged castle!
Repairs are on till April 2013 but that diesn’t affect the tours.
Anyway as you go up the view changes drastically.
There is a long line of visitors at the ticket office and we buy tickets for 2.30pl which gives us more than an hour to get to the meeting point.
There are 3 ways of getting up there: on your own two feet ( takes 30-45 min depending on your speed), horse carraige or bus.
On a good day We would have opted for walking but I was already having trouble with my knee and so went and stoid in the bus line. Buses come every 20 min in front of a hotel just a little wY up from the ticket office. But beware of the timings. If you miss your tour there is no refund and you have to return and buy new tickets. There is only one bus and though they cram in many passengers we had to wIt for the next one for our turn. This whole exercise took 45 min so factor that in when you buy tickets.
The reason we chose the bus was because only that takes you to MerianBrucke or Merian’s Bridge on Pollat Gorge.
You don’t want to miss the view from that narrow bridge:
The Pollat Gorge with the background of the Bavarian Alps is itself is spectacular and words fail you when you catch a glimpse of the castle.
We stood on that tiny crowded bride for a good 10 minutes and then reluctantly moved to make way for others.
There is a good 10 min downhill walk to the castle after that. Along the way we stopped to admire the Alpsee and Swan lakes and Hohenschwangau Castles too.
And then you are at its gates. Though its majestic and impressive from close, to me it was far more magical from afar from the bridge
We are not allowed to photograph the inside of the castle but it feels as if we areliving in a story book.
Of the 18 rooms which we are allowed to visit and which were completed in Ludwig II’s lifetime the Throne Room and Singers hall painted with the theme of Wagner’s Lohengrin and Parsifal are truly spectacular.
The tragic prince did see himself as Kohengrin and the swan is the leif motif throughout.
Unfortunately the King himself could only kive for few days as he was declared insane, taken away and found mysteriously dead .
the castle was opened to the paying public immediately after his death in 1886 and named Neuschwanstein.
For The return journey I would recommend horse careaige as you have to walk back uphill to the Merian Bridge for the bus and only a little distance downhill for the horse carraige.
If you have time you can visit the Hohenschwangau Castle also and do visit the lake.
There is also a museum though we didnt see it.
You can check out all the info on the castle before going there.