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Munich's Top 10 : Neuschwanstein and Ludwig II (part 1)

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An idealized vision of a knight’s castle on the outside and a homage to Wagner’s operas on the inside, Neuschwanstein was Ludwig II’s most ambitious project. During the same period, he commissioned Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee, two castles in the French style. More than 50 million visitors have admired these fairy-tale castles since they were built by the shy and world-weary king. At Neuschwanstein, in particular, there seems to be no low season. A daytrip from Munich toward Füssen in the Schwangau is an unforgettable experience.

  • Schwangau bei Füssen

  • Tourist Office Schwangau 0 83 62 81 980

Neuschwanstein Castle

  • 0 83 62 93 98 80

  • www.neuschwanstein.de

  • Tickets at Ticketcenter Hohenschwangau 0 83 62 93 08 30

  • Open Apr–Sep: 9am–6pm daily (ticket office hours 8am–5pm), Oct–Mar:10am–4pm daily (ticket office hours 9am–3pm)

  • Closed 1 Jan; Shrove Tue; 24, 25 & 31 Dec

  • Adm: €9 (reduced €8); combined admission with Hohenschwangau €17 (reduced €15)

  • Call ahead to book a special tour held Wed for those in wheelchairs


New Technology in an Old Castle

Despite the medieval ambience, Neuschwanstein is full of high-tech features from its era. The dining room was equipped with a serving hatch and elevator that went up three floors. The kitchen had warm running water and automatic roasting spits. Forced-air central heating kept the rooms warm. Toilets were fitted with an automatic flush mechanism. An electric intercom was used to communicate with servants, and the second and third floors were linked by a telephone.


Hohenschwangau in the hills below Neuschwanstein

Refreshments are available in the cafeteria located on the castle grounds; and there are several restaurants nearby.


Guided tours are mandatory; tickets show the tour number and precise time of entry.


Two alternatives to reaching the castle on foot are a bus service, or, for a romantic experience, a horse-drawn carriage.


To the left of Pöllat Gorge stood the ruins of two small castles. Ludwig II had Neuschwanstein built on the site of these ruins.


  1. The Building

    The foundation stone was laid in 1869, the gatehouse was completed in 1873, and the castle in 1884. Work continued, with the king constantly altering the plans, until his death in 1886. The keep and Ritterbad (knight’s bath) were never completed.

  2. Throne Hall

    Gold, saints, and a touch of Byzantium: the throne hall is modelled in part after Munich’s All Saints Church and the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Originally, the throne was to stand – like an altar – in the apse.

  3. Bedroom

    In contrast to the romanticism of the living quarters, the bedroom was designed in a Gothic style complete with elaborately carved oak panelling. Scenes from Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde decorate the walls.

  4. Chapel

    Altar and murals depict Ludwig IX, the beatified king of France and namesake of the fairy-tale king of Bavaria.

  5. Study

    Ludwig’s study is filled with pictures from Wagner’s opera Tannhäuser. On his desk is a fanciful pen-and-ink set in the shape of Lohengrin.

  6. Minstrel’s Room

    Influenced by the ceremonial hall of the Wartburg in Eisenach, this is the castle’s largest room. The walls are decorated with scenes from the legend of Parzival and his quest for the Holy Grail.

  7. Grotto

    Going between the living room and study, visitors pass through a grotto, where a small waterfall flowed during the king’s lifetime. The larger Venus grotto, complete with an artificial lake, is located in the park of Linderhof Castle (see Grotto of Venus).

  8. Dining Room

    Dishes were transported in an elevator from the kitchen three stories below to the dining room, where the shy king took most of his meals on his own. Murals depict the tradition of the minstrel’s song.

  9. Winter Garden

    Adjoining the grotto, the winter garden affords a spectacular view of Allgäu through a large window.

  10. Hohenschwangau

    Ludwig spent part of his childhood and youth in this summer palace, which is located in wildly romantic scenery. His father, Maximilian II, restored the palace fully in 1832. Hohenschwangau’s coat of arms bears a swan – later often depicted as Lohengrin’s swan, which is a constantly recurring motif throughout Neuschwanstein.

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