Husband and I moved to Munich in January and since then we've been slowly exploring this city and the area around it. We've been to little medieval towns with a lot of charm, to beautiful lakes, to beer festivals and to huge markets and flea markets. So I've decided to share our little adventures with you all.
I'm sure you've heard about Neuschswanstein Schloss, or at least, you've seen it in pictures. It's probably so famous because it served as inspiration for Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle. This makes it one of the most visited attractions in the whole Germany, with more than 1,3 million people visiting every year, especially in summer. We visited it on August, and I can tell you that it was packed with tourists. But both the castle and its surroundings are stunning, so totally worth a visit.
Neuschwanstein Castle is located in the village of Hohenschwangau, about two hours away from Munich. What you probably don't know is that in this village there's another castle called Hohenschwangau. It was King Ludwig II of Bavaria's childhood residence and apparently he fell in love with the area, especially the waterfalls, and because he was quite reclusive, he decided to build himself a personal refuge on the mountains. He also built himself a replica of the Palace of Versailles, you can read about it here.
When you arrive at the village of Hohenschwangau, you can already see both castles, Hohenschwangau is just a 5 minute walk up the hill and Neuschwanstein is up the mountain. There's a bus that takes you up there but it's quite an easy hike and most people, us included, opt for walking.
Also, in the village there's a gorgeous lake where you can swim if it's warm enough or take a little paddle boat. Before going to the castles, and if you want to get inside, you need to go to the ticket office in the village. When we were there, we arrived at around 11 am and they were selling tickets for 6pm already. So we decided to just have an outdoors day and come back in winter when there're less people and discover the interior then.
So after having a walk around Hohenschwangau Castle and its gardens, we started walking towards Neuschwanstein. It takes around 40 minutes to get there but as I said, it's not a challenging walk at all. Another option is going up with a horse and carriage ride. This seemed to be the preferred option for children and it looked quite fun. I guess that's how Ludwig himself must have done it.
As soon as you get to the top, the views are amazing. Not only of the castle itself but of the landscape, with two huge lakes on the other side of the mountain. I must have taken a hundred pictures. Without a ticket to go inside, you can still get into the castle and see the patio. Which is spectacular, but now I'm really curious to see how opulent and elegant it must be inside.
After visiting the castle, we decided to do another small hike to Marienbrücke, a bridge over the Pollät Gorge (the amazing waterfalls the King fell in love with). The bridge is the perfect viewing point for the castle. It was quite crowded when we were there but there were castle personnel controlling a bit the entrance so we could enjoy the view perfectly. We even decided to keep climbing the mountain at the other part of the bridge for an even more impressive view of the castle.
On the way to the bridge, you can also enjoy an amazing view of the other castle and the village. With two more lakes in the background. After our little hike, we were quite hungry so we decided to stop at the brewery located just underneath Neuschwanstein. I was surprised to see that the prices were not high at all (considering it was such a touristy place) and we enjoyed a delicious meal.
All in all, we had a fantastic day in Hohenschwangau. As I said, the area is just stunning and I can't wait to be back this winter to see it as a winter wonderland and discover a bit more about this reclusive King who decided to build himself a fairy tale castle (when he already had 3 castles). Bye Neuschwanstein, see you next time!