Remember when you were little and you dreamed of becoming a princess? While I was traveling to Füssen, Germany, I kind of felt like my dream was coming true.
Neuschwanstein, or more commonly known as “Cinderella’s Castle,” is one of the most picturesque castles in all of Europe. It sits high up in the clouds on a jagged mountain secluded from the little village of Hohenschwangau, just outside of Füssen; this is where the Hohenschwangau Castle…i.e. hunting lodge/summer home of King Ludwig II of Bavaria resides.
A Fairytale Experience
The scenery alone in Bavaria makes you feel like you are in a fairy tale book. Oh, wait… you are! Have you ever heard of The Grimm Brothers? They were two German brothers who wrote some of the most famous fairy tales to date like: Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, The Golden Goose, Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella, and whose stories have sparked other creative minds to create new fairy tales such as, the Ballet, Swan Lake, which turned into American childhood movie, The Swan Princess. The little towns of Füssen, Hohenschwangau, and Rothenberg (stay tuned for my next post on this town!) are now towns on the Fairy Tale Route in Germany. On our trip, we decided to go on parts of this route ourselves and to see the castles was our first stop!
Hohenschwangau, the beautiful mustard color castle sits on a steep hill just above the village. If you choose to power through the walk to the top, views of Neuschwanstein are unparalleled. If you are going for a visit, your guide will tell you the same story: King Ludwig II was in the midst of building Neuschwanstein Castle, he had a perfect view of it in his drawing-room, where he looked out of a telescope to watch it being built. When he died, all construction of Neuschwanstein stopped, which is why it is still not completed today.
Inside, Hohenschwangau, which means ‘The High District of the Swan,’ Medieval tales can be found written and painted along the walls. What was the most interesting, though, was the Kings room. Do you remember when glow in the dark stars were a huge hit in the 90s? King Ludwig was centuries before his time. He decided he wanted include a series of twinkling electric lights within the ceiling, to emulate the stars and the moon.
The Swan King also made sure every little detail of his home had some form of swan attached to it. The door knobs, the fountains, statutes… The emblem of the swan is fundamental to this castle.
The most famous and breathtaking castle you will ever see in your life, Neuschwanstein, or “Cinderella’s Castle,” is the unfinished castle of the “Mad King.” The stunning Romanesque Revival Palace was designed to be a hideaway for Ludwig, as well as a place evoking Medieval myth and fantasy to those below in the village. The grandeur of the architecture just on the outside among the scenery evokes a fairy tale land, and that was exactly what the King wanted. The inside however, is dismal and lonely; too large for just one person, but that is what the castle was built for, just one King. Neuschwanstein literally translates to “New Swan Stone Castle” and overlooks Swan Lake where folklore, fairy tales and myths have generated for centuries.
- This town is VERY difficult and confusing to get to if you do not have a guide. We were only able to make sure we were getting on and off the train, bus and another bus by following another tour group.
- We also believed we were going to be getting ahead of the crowds by leaving early in the morning from Munich around 8am to get there when the castles open at 11am. This was not the case. Do not make our mistake and try to get there early and wait in line for tickets. You are able to buy your tickets online here 24 hours in advance, any later and you will have to wait in a hour, or longer line.
- The trail through the “Pöllatschlucht” is closed for security reasons due to rock falls. This is the stunning view you see in all the Pinterest photos. So, if you are going for just that view…maybe this trip isn’t worth it for you. 🙁
- Hohenschwangau is fully furnished, Neuschwanstein is not. In Neuschwanstein a guide will take you through the finished parts of the castle, but not the rest.
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