I’ve always had a rich fairytale imagination as a princess and being treated as one from my daddy. Life, however, has not always been a fairytale. Now that I have Island Boy as my husband, I truly feel like my “happily ever after” is not just an unattainable dream! Our fifth stop in our Bavarian tour, Neuschwanstein Castle (pronounced Noy-Shvan-Stine), would prove to be just like a fairytale: a magical setting, interesting characters, and a rewarding ending.
Stop 1- Vienna, Austria (read more)
Stop 2- Salzburg, Austria (read more)
Stop 4- Munich, Germany (read more)
Stop 5- Neuschwanstein Castle
Stop 6- Lucerne, Switzerland (read more)
Stop 7- Heidelberg, Germany (read more)
Stop 8- Rhine River Cruise (read more)
Stop 9- Cologne Cathedral (read more)
3 Reasons to Visit Neuschwanstein Castle
1. A Magical Setting
Like some fairytales, Neuschwanstein Castle was set in an enchanted forest in southwest Bavaria, Germany near the village of Hohenschwangau. Even though that forest is in a remote area, the castle is one of the most visited attractions in Europe. Advanced tickets are a must as the ticket line can be quite long and the wait is sometimes a couple hours or even sold out.
As in fairytales, we had a choice to make, pay to ride the horse drawn carriage up the hill to see see the castle or take the thirty minute walk for free. The walk was steep, but manageable, but we had made the wrong choice.
Because our story also involved an evil villain!
Little did we know, that Island Boy Joe was developing a horrible case of the shingles. He is super athletic, but on our rainy walk up, he kept falling behind. His normal happy-go-lucky demeanor had been replaced by being a quiet and stoic Joe that I didn’t recognize. Evil must have taken over me because I was not being the sweet, loving wife that I should have been. His excuses of “My side is really hurting” were met with my reply, “I told you to do more walking before we left. Suck it up, Buttercup!” Yeah, not a proud moment for me. His shingles would later result in 2-inch long blisters wrapping around his torso. He is still feeling the effects and will be lucky if he doesn’t have permanent scarring.
One of the main reasons we had chosen to walk instead of taking the horse drawn carriage ride was going to Mary’s Bridge (where the gorgeous castle pictures are taken). However, our magical setting was spoiled! The bridge was closed for repairs. No!!!!! This princess photographer, who was already in a foul mood, turned into an ugly monster!
Luckily, a food stand helped break the spell.
Those couple of bites of bratwurst and pretzel not only were reasonably priced, but also contained pixie dust and brought this princess back to her happy self. It also helped that the walk had several scenic overlooks.
When we reached the top, our setting was as picturesque as they come. I don’t know what I most loved seeing, the castle itself, or snapping pictures of Mary’s bridge and waterfall. Our rainy walk up the mountain was also rewarded with clearing skies and sweet smelling air!
2. Interesting Characters
Fairytale stories have interesting characters woven throughout them. Our story would not be an exception to that. Although some visitors do not pay the fee to tour the inside of the castle, being a history teacher, I knew that a guided tour would be something I wouldn’t want to miss. Tickets (bought at the bottom of the mountain) are time-stamped, and it is recommended that you are inside the courtyard at least twenty-five minutes before your tour time. That wait time provided us with ample people watching. I loved seeing how families and school groups from around the world interacted. It made the wait time fly by.
Once our tour started, we were disappointed to learn that photographs are not allowed inside the castle. Although, I wouldn’t have any pictures to share, our guide was so well versed in the history of the castle, my disappointment was quickly forgotten.
If you haven’t heard the story about King Ludwig, he was the epitome of an “interesting” character. You see, the castle wasn’t built during the Middle Ages, when Europe used castles as protection against invaders. King Ludwig wanted a refuge away from Munich, a private romanticized residence for him and him alone. In the 1860s he began the construction of the elaborate castle. Many called him crazy. The plan was for two hundred rooms, but at the time of his arrest (for racking up huge debts) and his mysterious death, only fifteen were completed. King Ludwig had only spent eleven nights in the castle. Upon the king’s death, the castle was opened to the public to help pay off all of the debt involved with the planning and construction of it.
3. A Rewarding Ending
A visit to Neuschwanstein Castle can make for a magical rewarding visit. The view was spellbinding, temporarily warding off Joe’s shingles pain and the gloominess of the steep, wet hike. Although Neuschwanstein Castle was condemned during Ludwig’s time as kitsch, the castle is now considered among the major works of European historicism.
The setting is so magical that Walt Disney used the castle as a model for Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Walt Disneyland. The area surrounding the castle seems postcard perfect and is worth any “evil” encountered. You will definitely feel like you’re in a fairytale!
Does a visit to Neuschwanstein Castle seem like a fairytale to you? We’l love to here your thoughts. Please comment below. Keep up with all of our travel, camping, and cycling tips by following us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Leave us your email (blue box at the bottom of the post) to subscribe to our weekly newsletter and never miss a post!