We all get caught up in a fairy-tale imagination sometimes in our minds, but few of us really express them into real actions. King Ludwig II of Bavaria, as we’ll reveal it further with pictures and facts, had a very vivid imagination, which he dared to turn it into real-life magical castles. One of those castles is Neuschwanstein Castle, which originally translates as New Swan Stone castle and is located in Bavaria, Germany. This name comes from one of Wagner’s opera’s character known as the Swan Knight.
King Ludwig II of Bavaria was known with may different nicknames: Fairy-tale king, Mad King Ludwig, and sometimes as an eccentric lifestyle king. All of these nicknames have a reason behind, and all of them are connected to his obsession with building fascinating castles. It all started when he was forced to take his duty as the heir to the throne of Bavaria after his father died. At the time he was only 18 years old, and two years later he found himself defeated from Prussian Empire. Ludwig II’s country after this was forced to accept the “defensive and offensive” accord, which repealed the King Ludwig II’s power upon his army.
The defeat he experienced led Ludwig to express his pain in the form of fabulous castles, including the Neuschwanstein castle, which nowadays is visited by about 1.5 million visitors throughout the year, and in each season, as it is built on top of a mountain, the surroundings of it turn to white, green, brown, and it really makes this place looks like a fairytale.
1# Location of the castle and its timeline
Neuschwanstein Castle is located in Bavaria, Germany. Its initial name was New Hohenschwangau Castle because the castle where King Ludwig II was grown-up was called Hohenschwangau Castle and he wanted to recreate it. The modern name it has, Neuschwanstein Castle, which was thought to be in regard to Wagner’s character, known as the Swan Night, was not set until after his death.
The castle was initiated in 1869 and as King Ludwig II estimated, it would be finished within two years. But his ambitious ide of designing the castle took way much longer. In fact, the castle wasn’t finished until after Ludwig II’s death. But he did get to live in it for a while though. 12 years after the initiation, King Ludwig II moved to it and lived there only for 11 nights.
The Bower and Square Towers, basically the completion of the entire castle, was finalized in 1892.
Credits: De Agostini/Getty Images
2# The reason behind its creation
As we already spoiled that part, this castle was build due to a defeat Ludwig II experienced from the Prussian Empire when he was only 20 years old. Although as the German composer, Richard Wagner revealed that King Ludwig II has told him through a letter this castle will be built with the intention to “rebuild old castle ruin of Hohenschwangau…in the authentic style of the old German knights’ castles.”
King Ludwig II was portrayed as an eccentric, solitary personality, it is no surprise that Neuschwanstein Castle is so often called “the castle of the fairy-tale king.”
Photo: Getty Images
3# An inspiration for Disney Fairy Tales’ Castles
The castle came out to be really like a fairytale, as it was designed by a theatrical designer, Christian Jank. He combined his knowledge of theatrical design with the vivid imagination and desires of King Ludwig II. And the outcome became later on the inspiration for Disney to build its castles for the classic movie “Cinderell” released in 1950.
Before constructing the Disneyland, Walt Disney and his wife Lillian went on a tour in Europe. A Disneyland representative certifies the fact that the time he spent at Neuschwanstein Castle was the inspiration behind the Sleeping Beauty Castle.
Photo: Getty Images
4# Let’s take a look inside
The plan for this castle was for it to have around 200 rooms. but as this was too ambitious and the design took a really long time, the castle of Neuschwanstein it ened up with 14 finished rooms that are open to visitors.
As it is on the guided tour of Neuschwanstein Castle’s interior, you’ll have access to the cave-like grotto, King Ludwig II’s bedroom, and the Singer’s Hall, among others.
Photo: UIG/Getty Images
5# The dressing room of Ludwig II
As the entire design was made by a theatrical designer, poetic and artistic elements are noted. The luminous ceiling and walls are covered with paintings and mural, which illustrate the work of the poets Walther von der Vogelweide and Hans Sachs.
Photo: United Archives GMBH/Alamy
6# Throne room without a throne
Not many rooms in Neuschwanstein capture the obsession of Ludwig with being king quite as well as the Throne Room. The two-story space captures the brilliance of Byzantine churches and is finished with a 13-foot-tall chandelier, a painted cupola, and elaborate floor mosaic. Ironically, there was never a throne in this space, as the king died before he could demand one there.
Photo: Elena Korchenko/Alamy
7# The exterior of Neuschwanstein Castle
Besides its location on top of a mountain, another characteristic of the surroundings of it is the bridge that hangs over a waterfall and offers the most landscape views of Neuschwanstein. If you go on a tour, make sure to explore the wooded trails around the castle, which provide numerous chances to admire the surrounding Bavarian Alps.
8# Tour companies, ticket prices and ways to go into the Neuschwanstein Castle
Although tour groups arranged by the Bavarian Palace Department are the only way to see inside Neuschwanstein, there are many tour companies that arrange day trips to the castle from Munich and other surrounding areas. Travelers who are interested in joining a tour company should check for an itinerary that includes stops at nearby Linderhof Castle, Hohenschwangau, and others. Prices for transportation to Neuschwanstein can start at $45, though this will not include the entry fee for the castles.
Neuschwanstein Castle tickets cost €13 for adults and include a guided tour at a specified hour. Tickets for visitors aged 18 or under are free, and there are also reduced entry prices for senior citizens, students, and large groups.
The only way inside the castle is through a guided tour, which lasts for approximately 35 minutes and is offered in English and German language, although you can also request for the audio tour, which is available in 16 additional languages.
Photo: Cristina Fumi Photography/Alamy
9# When is it open?
Neuschwanstein Castle is open from 09:00 a.m. until 18:00 p.m. between April and October 15. From October 16 until March, the hours shorter from 10:00 a.m. until 16:00 p.m.
The castle is open every day of the week, save for December 24, 25, 31, and January 1.
Photo: Alexandre Fagundes/Alamy
10# Places near the castle
If you might want to stay a bit longer around Neuschwanstein Castle, there are nearby hotels in the village of Hohenschwangau. Also, there are a few very good places to eat, such as the castle at Neuschwanstein’s Café & Bistro, or at the eponymous Schlossrestaurant Neuschwanstein in the village.
While you might decide to stay a bit longer around, you should absolutely make time to visit Linderhof Castle (another palace commissioned by King Ludwig II) and his childhood home, Hohenschwangau Castle.
Photo: Stefano Paterna/Alamy
11# Important things to have in mind if you go for a visit
As the castle is uphill, people with disabilities may not find Neuschwanstein Castle to be very easily accessible, as even the shuttle buses and horse-drawn carriages to the entrance are followed by a short walk.
Also, photography is not allowed inside the castle, so if you want to take pictures, you should do it outside of it.
Photo: Getty Images