The desire of King Ludwig II to feel powerful and regain the dignity of a sovereign king in the face of a mighty Prussian alliance led to the creation of the Neuschwanstein Castle. Ludwig wanted to build a castle that was more hospitable than his family home of Hohenschwangau and one in tune with the breathtaking nature surrounding it. The construction of the castle started in 1869 and was occupied in 1886, raking up debts that led to the dethroning of Ludwig.
Ludwig was inspired by his friend Richard Wagner who created operas about the legends of Tannhauser and Lohengrin, hence giving the Castle romantic medieval aura. Unfortunately, he couldn’t enjoy living in his castle for long as he was found dead under mysterious circumstances in Lake Starnberg in June 1886.
King Ludwig II dreamed of a luxurious palace that was fit for mighty kings of the medieval ages. The rich gilded interiors are brimming with murals and paintings that narrate tales of the Holy Grail, Lohengrin, the Bible and the works of Richard Wagner. A recurring leitmotif is the Swan which was the heraldic animal of the Counts of Schwangau, the ancestors of King Ludwig II.
The largest of the rooms is the Hall of Singers, followed by Throne Hall which is the most spectacular. It has arcades and apses with paintings of Jesus and canonized Kings, showcasing the integral connection of religion and royalty. Ludwig’s Dressing Room is noteworthy and has a beautiful violet tapestry.
A tour inside the Neuschwanstein Castle takes you through all of this in about 35 minutes with a guide narrating interesting lores, tales and facts about all that you see inside.
The southwest region of Bavaria is replete with spectacular scenery and pretty castles like Neuschwanstein, Linderhof and Hohenschwangau Castle. You can cover almost all of the below in a day if you plan it out efficiently. Here’s all you can explore around the Neuschwanstein Castle.
Hohenschwangau is a 19th century castle and the family home of King Ludwig II where he grew up. The Neo-gothic architecture styled castle is adorned with more than 90 wall murals with Bavarian legends.
The Linderhof Castle is an intimate yet ornate palace built by King Ludwig II having been inspired by Versailles of Paris. The palace has beautiful landscaped gardens including the famous ‘Venus Grotto’.
The picturesque town of Oberammergau is a tourist hotspot known for its painted houses and idyllic streets. The town is popular for woodcarving and its production of Passion Plays that happen once in a decade!
Lake Alpsee is a charming 5 sqkm lake in the Ostallgau district of Bavaria. Wild swans call this lake home and visitors indulge in canoeing on the lake and hiking on trails alongside the banks.
Located on the banks of the Lake Alpsee is the Grand Hotel Alpenrose which now houses the Museum of the Bavarian Kings. It narrates the history of the house of Wittelsbach who ruled Bavaria for centuries.
The Tegelberg Cable Car stretches across 2,150 metres and reaches up to Tegelberg, a haven for mountain sport activities. The cable car is great to soak in views of the Neuschwanstein Castle and the Ammer Mountains.
The Neuschwanstein Castle makes for a pretty picture with its ornamental turrets, towers, balconies, and pinnacles. While the interiors are equally opulent, you cannot take photographs and have to suffice with memory. The castle’s exterior is best viewed from afar, and the best place to do that is the Queen Mary’s Bridge or Marienbrücke. All the iconic photographs of the castle have been taken from this point. The bridge is often crowded, and you can walk further from the bridge to the hilltop for unhindered and unique views of the castle. The Tegelberg Cable Car is another excellent opportunity to take photographs of the castle.