Neuschwanstein Castle is a Romanesque dramatic palace with lofty fairy tale towers. The palace served as a model for the Sleeping Beauty Castle of Disneyland. Without a doubt, one of the most visited tourist attractions in all of Germany. Over 1.4 million visitors a year flock to this lavish castle. You are thinking, just for a castle? Well, my friend, when you set eyes on this beauty then you will know why. It is absolutely stunning and once you go inside for a tour, the attention to detail and the paintings on the walls are as magnificent as the exterior of the castle.
King Ludwig II of Bavaria, known as the "fairytale king" because of his love of extravagant architecture devoted most of his time developing Neuschwanstein Castle and a few others. Built overlooking the Hohenschwangau Castle on an alpine crag with a mountainside backdrop that his father built where he was born and spent most of his youth. The purpose of the castle King Ludwig wrote in a letter to Richard Wagner was "to embody the true spirit of the medieval German castle." The shy king did not share the same typical characteristics of a popular king took reign at 18 years old. He "mysteriously" died in 1886 at age 40.
The castle during the winter season is not as busy as the summer where it's complete mayhem here. I was told if I came in summer that I need to reserve tickets to tour the castle weeks or month or so ahead. I arrived around 10 am and there were some foreign tourists wandering around in a group and a few other cars in the parking lot which cost 6 euros. A ticket for the castle is 11 euro as well and you have to purchase tickets in the village of Hohenschwangau which is a short walk from the parking lot. They offer a combination tour to see his other castle as well but that didn't interest me. I mean, no one wants to see the 2nd best of something right? Don't get me wrong, Hohenschwangau Castle is impressive as well but Neuschwanstein Castle is in another league. Compare it to say, Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors this year.
I had an hour and 40 mins to burn until the next English-speaking tour was available. I decided to check out Alpsee Lake which is a short walk from the ticket booth. It was extremely cold, so cold that your nostril hairs freeze when you breathe in. It's ok, the view of the lake in the morning with the fog hovering over it and the swans swimming was well worth it. Picture for proof:)
Since it snowed the night prior, the bus shuttle to the castle was not working so a 50 plus minute hike uphill was not something I was expecting nor wanting to do in 1-degree weather. I pulled the tampon out and manned up and hiked it freezing my ass off and mind you I went the "wrong way" up the hill because they closed the pedestrian bridge for maintenance. The roaming rebel I am, (because signs are just suggestions) I was fully aware of this and found myself my own bridge or overlook in this case of the castle before rushing to make it in time for the tour. I was late and a dozen people were waiting on me. Fuck it, I got some sick photos they were unable to get. Murica!
The tour consisted of a walk-through (no cameras allowed inside) throughout the castle showing rooms throughout. I like to point out King Ludwig's bed is so badass! and the hall of the singers is so impressive I was in awe the whole time. Spanning 89 by 33 feet and roughly 25 feet high, the attention to detail blew me away. Sculptures that topped the pillars along the wall is what I like most. I wish I had photos but with signs posted everywhere stating no photos to be taken. I obeyed for once. Mad respect for the reclusive King Ludwig II.
Finish your trip off at the restaurant just below the castle. I ordered the jager schnitzel and even though it was not breaded because well, everything breaded and fried is better. I have to say it was delicious and the service was on point. Also, if you decide to stay the night somewhere nearby. I stayed at Hotel Sonne and I was very impressed. The service was top-notch, the hotel bar staff were extremely friendly and welcoming, and the breakfast is by far the best hotel breakfast I ever had. I had orange juice made from a machine that you feed oranges into! Tons of options to select from and it was buffet style. From Germany style breakfast, your typical eggs, bacon and, sausage, to pancakes or cereal. They offered everything. A few side notes, I met a couple during my tour from Sacramento, California which is 35 mins from where I live currently. Small world right? Also, the people you meet while traveling is something I absolutely love. Sharing the same passion and having awesome discussions about where you have been and plan on going is something I enjoy especially being able to keep in touch with them and possibly meet up again.