My poor blog has officially been neglected lately…at least according to the e-mail I received from WordPress that told me all about the things I had been missing while I was “away.” In other words, you’ve become lazy and Adventures Abroad is feeling neglected. In actuality, John and I have been having all sorts of new adventures just waiting to be written about! We’ve spent the last week and a half traveling around Germany and the Netherlands with friends of ours visiting from the States. Stay tuned for those adventures!
One of those adventures included a trip to Neuschwanstein Castle, the castle that inspired Disney’s design in Sleeping Beauty and one that is by far one of my favorites. I’ve been there four times now, and the castle and its view truly never gets old.
The story behind the castle actually leaves me a bit sad. King Ludwig II, a young King of Bavaria, built multiple castles before constructing Neuschwanstein, which he intended to be his home away from the public eye. Unfortunately, without that castle 100 percent completed, he was arrested and declared insane (by his uncle) and was found dead in a lake just days after his arrest. Although it was declared a suicide, there are questions surrounding his death. And Neuschwanstein, beautifully completed from the outside, ultimately only had 15 rooms of the intended 200 finished before Ludwig’s death. It opened to the public six weeks after his death, but the tour only includes the completed areas.
Speaking of the tour – of the four times I have visited the castle, twice I have gone inside and twice I have not. I can say with absolute certainty that the magic of the castle is truly seen outside in the unbelievably beautiful scenery. However, if you do want to go inside it is best to buy tickets ahead of time – but make sure to do it in time! I forgot while our friends were visiting that if you buy tickets online, they must be purchased by 3 p.m. the day before you want to visit. Otherwise, roll the dice and just show up to buy tickets. The first time I did this, my friend and I were able to walk right up and reserve a tour time. This most recent time, however, the line was out the door, down the block and the only English tour version available was five hours from the time we arrived – so not worth the wait! Especially considering that you only see a small amount of the finished areas and you can’t take pictures inside. If you find yourself deciding what to do, pass the tour and spend more time admiring the castle from the surrounding areas.
Not far from Neuschwanstein is the childhood home of Ludwig’s, Hohenschwangau – honestly, a castle more worthy of a tour as it was actually lived in and completely finished and decorated. You can buy tickets to either castle or buy a combined one to tour both. If you buy a combined one, know that they give you an hour to get from one castle to the other. And the climb up to the castle is uphill either way you go – if you choose the short route, know it is quite steep. The long route is not as steep but it is seemingly never-ending. Or, you do have the option to take a shuttle. Look at your group and decide from there.
If you don’t go inside Neuschwanstein, you still get to enjoy the courtyard of the castle and the Marienbrucke (Marien Bridge) at no cost.
Necessities: Watch the weather. I’ve done Neuschwanstein in clear, cloudy and rainy weather and to really appreciate the beauty of the castle, try to visit it on a clear, sunny day. Cloudy days are cool too – especially with the fog around the castle, but the optimal weather is sunny.
Time Needed: Depending on your starting point, you don’t want to be rushed so devote at least a day to your visit. You will sell yourself short if you only get a little bit of time to appreciate the castle.